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Saints transcripts:  Blake Gillikin, Erik McCoy, Paulson Adebo and Alvin Kamara  media availability| Friday, Jan. 7

Players preview Week 18 matchup against Atlanta

New Orleans Saints Punter Blake Gillikin
Zoom Call with Local Media
Friday, January 7, 2021

Are you looking forward to seeing Thomas Morstead and just how much have you been following what he's been up to this year?
"Yeah, obviously really looking forward to seeing him. I mean, I knew the whole time last year, when he got released that he was going to land on his feet somewhere. I said that publicly and obviously, that's happened, and then some. So I follow what he does, every week, just like I follow a lot of guys and (I'm) just really happy for him. Obviously, he's proven that he's still got it and hopefully he doesn't have it this weekend. But it's been a great season for him and just kind of watching him prove people (wrong and) that he's still got it."

What does that mean to you to have a mentor in him like that and how he helped you in the early parts of your career?
"Yeah, it was a really unique situation last year and a lot of guys aren't privy to that and don't have that kind of mentorship their first season. A lot of guys get thrown in the fire and I kind of wasn't so I'm very thankful for that, thankful for him. And I'm hoping to maintain that friendship for a long time."

Is there anything that you kind of learned about yourself this season?
"Yeah, I think last year I learned a lot, but you really don't learn a lot until you're in it and you're playing. So I'd say as the season gone on, just handling certain situations, you know, this league is all about situational awareness. Just being able to dictate where we are on the field, what hash were on, the weather, stuff like that. But there's stuff I can really improve upon the rest of this year and going into next year. I felt like I've had some solid games, but also some games where I could've affected the game in an even bigger way. So just constant learning, learning curve, learning experience and really looking forward to this game and beyond."

Is that situational awareness heightened even more when you're playing a style of football this team does?
"Yeah, I mean I go into every single game wanting to make a very big impact and especially how we're playing right now. We're playing great defense. I feel like if I can affect the game in a big way our defense is going to shut the opposing offense down. So I'm just really trying to help those guys out as much as I can and hoping to play a big role in this game to."

What's it been like reuniting with Brett Maher after working with him in training camp briefly and working together as a unit with him?
"Yeah, look, losing Wil Lutz during camp was really, really tough on everybody. And obviously we have kind of been through some trials and tribulations with the kicking game, but Brett has done a great job. I think he is 13 in a row right now on field goals. Zach Wood has really stuck with me and helped me out, as a holder and then Brett's really been clear and concise with what he wants out of me and Zach. So it's been great, he's great guy. Obviously, he's kind of rebooted his career here, which has been great and we're really going to need him this last, you know, hopefully a couple games of the season. He's been big for us, especially, you know, scoring all the points against Tampa Bay and four field goals last week. So he's played a big role for us."

New Orleans Saints Center Erik McCoy
Zoom Call with Local Media
Friday, January 7, 2021

How are you feeling and how weird was it to watch last week's game from home?
"I am feeling better, there's was about three days where I was feeling pretty sick. But getting my wind back now, getting better now. As far as watching the game at home, it sucked, I mean I did earlier in the year too and it's not a fun thing. But I'm happy we came out with a win. That's the positive about it. I'm looking forward to being back out there this week."

What's this year been like for you missing games since that's not something you're used too?
"Yeah, I would definitely say that I look back on my first two years and realize how lucky I was because there's times where I should have been injured times or I should have been hurt. That I just made it out alright, I guess because I was super young and still young now. Um, so yeah, it's a hard thing to do to play all the games. But it's definitely going to be a goal of mine each year. Just because the best ability is availability."

Do you think this year has been more challenging with all the adversity this year and for you personally?
"For me personally, not really. The only week that I was really like, dang kind of down was against Miami, just because we had so many guys out. But outside of that injuries, I mean, that's something happens every year. We just have to play the next play, next man up mentality and really just be able to face adversity and handle it well."

Y'all have been through a lot this year, but you're still in the in contention for the playoffs, what does that just say about the team as a whole?
"Yeah, I would say that it shows the resiliency and the attitude of this team. These guys are fighters, they're warriors and it overall shows the mentality that the team has and we're going to fight even when we're backed into the corner."

If I remember correctly, you played every single game in college too, right?
"Yeah, I missed a half vs. Auburn my last year there, but that was it. Outside of that I played every snap pretty much."

What is that experience like watching a game on TV?
"I don't know if I'm technically allowed to say this. But number one, I hate it because I want to be out there with my boys. Number two. I just I can't stand commentating. It is not my thing. I absolutely hate commentating. I hate that more than anything, but yeah, it's definitely new. I mean, I haven't missed a game my entire career up until this point, not in little league, not in high school, middle school, college. So it's definitely something that I'm kind of learning how to handle that adversity myself. And really kind of how to get in the groove once I miss a game. So yeah, just kind of fighting that own battle myself and ultimately, doing the best I can to stay available."

Do you lose that groove when you miss games?
"Yeah, 100% I mean, even when I came back after my calf injury, it took me a couple of games just to get back used to hitting people. Man after that first Seattle game, I felt like I got jumped into a game like, I felt like somebody beat the crap out of me. It was just hard to walk for like two days and just come back off of this COVID stuff, you know, getting my wind back, getting my muscles back really, because I didn't do anything for five, six days. So it's definitely like an adjustment period that comes with it for me. I am trying to think of the best way to handle that going forward."

What's it been like just having Ryan Ramczyk out there at practice?
"Yeah, I mean you just have a sense of confidence. You know the type of guy that Ryan is, you know the type of player he is. He's an All-Pro guy. Just having that confidence that he's out there because you know that he's going to be out there strapping it up every play he's in. Yeah, it just gives the offensive line as a whole the confidence."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Paulson Adebo
Zoom Call with Local Media
Friday, January 7, 2021

When did you know last week that Bradley Roby wasn't going to be playing and how does that change your mental prep going into a game?
"I think throughout the week he was kind of telling me that his shoulder was hurting and so I got word. But as far as my preparation, it doesn't change too much. I'm pretty much prepared the same way I usually do. Obviously, I'm going to play more reps, but it didn't change too much."

How do feel like your game has developed over the course of the year?
"Yeah, I think I'm getting more comfortable every week. I'm gaining a lot of experience playing in a lot of games, so definitely still a lot to learn. But like I feel like I've come a long way."

What have you learned through all of the adversity that the team in general has faced this season?
"Just to control what you can control. There's a lot of external factors that are happening, but as far as me, just worrying about what I can control to help my team and help myself, you know, be in a better position."

What have you learned about yourself and what it takes to have success at this professional level?
"Just the amount of work it takes, you know, as far as being detailed, everything at this level is a lot faster, everybody's better, everybody's smarter, so the little things matter. That's probably one thing I learned."

New Orleans Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara
Video Call with Media
Friday, January 7, 2022

I know this isn't your situation, but if you're a team like the Falcons who are already eliminated how motivated would you be as a team to be able to get a chance to knock another team out of the playoffs knowing what's at stake for you all and for them?
"I mean, eliminated or not, I think the tempo will be the same, the message will be the same. We're trying to get a win. And then especially if you've got a chance to kind of knock somebody else off their pivot another team off their pivot. So I don't expect them to come in and lay down. I do not expect to go in and just walk out of there with a win. So we have got to be on our game. It is what it is. It is another opportunity. It is another week in the season, the last week, but it is another week. So everybody promised 17 games, they are promised 17 games, so I do not expect nothing less than a hard fought game."

What's it been like for you watching Marquez (Callaway) take off these last couple of weeks with a couple big games? Just considering everything that was kind of put on his shoulders this year, as a guy who's only in his second year, was an undrafted rookie last year, all that stuff?
"I am just excited for him. Just happy for him. Like, that is like my little bro. We went to school together, Tennessee, just watching him from 2016 all the way up until now. Like, just being with him and kind of just seeing like his progression, not only on the field, but off the field. I mean, just happy for him, happy for his family. I mean, he's obviously stepped up and been able to fill the role that he got asked to fill. It wasn't something that being in his second year, undrafted rookie, everything was against him, but I mean, he doesn't think about it like yeah." He just comes into work and he's like, 'Man, shoot, I've got to go ball. I've got to go put us in position to win.' So (I'm) happy for him and (I'm) proud of him."

How much has this just felt like a playoff game or atmosphere? Since it is an elimination game, essentially, how much has it felt that way this week?
"Yeah, I mean, we've been on it. I mean, we're on it every year. I mean, every game, every week. But I mean, the preparation, I think it was one of our better practice weeks, I think. Knowing that and I think just because, guys, like I said earlier, 17 games is all you're promised really. I mean, I think just the preparation that we've had this week has been with that in mind. This is the last one that's promised. Everything else, from now on, we've got to go take starting with this one. I think guys are ready, guys have got the right mindset. We're locked in. It's time on Sunday."

You were at the Louisiana State University-South Carolina womens basketball game last night. What does that mean to you just to show your support, whether that's for the Pelicans or women's basketball, or whatever is really going on?
"Yeah, man. (Kim) Mulkey is my home girl, for real. But that was a cool game. It was good atmosphere to be in. I don't get to Baton Rouge too much, but just being able to be there and kind of get some love and then show some love to the women's basketball team and just kind of soak that up. Like, we get so caught up in our season. Like, I find myself like, it's rare I go to a sporting event. So like, when I get to go, it is kind of cool. It's a different feel from me. So, I mean, it was cool just being out there. And then there was a lot of, obviously there was a lot of Saints fans, but just being a part of that different kind of mix. The support for LSU Women's Basketball is huge. So, I mean, it was fun. It was cool. I'll try to make another game."

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