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Saints transcripts: Cesar Ruiz, Bradley Roby, Marcus Williams and Tre'Quan Smith Media Availability| Monday, Nov. 29

Players look ahead to Thursday matchup against the Cowboys

New Orleans Saints Guard/Center Cesar Ruiz
Media Availability
Monday, November 29, 2021

Dallas is going through COVID-19 protocols with their coaching staff this week. How big of a difference did it make losing coaches to COVID-19 protocols during week 2 (at Carolina)?
"I mean, it's definitely a difference when you're missing guys, but at the end of the day, it's always about having the next-man-up mentality. You know what I'm saying? You just have to play with the guys you have left and make sure that we're doing what we have to do to make sure there's no drop-off (in our play) and nothing looks different. But of course, it's a difference, but we're confident in everyone that we have."

Was the main difference just more responsibilities getting shared that week against Carolina?
"I mean, yeah, there's just a lot of things that get shuffled around."

What's the main thing that the team wants to focus on this week?
"Really, getting ourselves into better third-down situations, like third and manageable. We can't keep having ourselves in third and long situations, stuff like that. That's really one thing I can say we're focused on. A lot of things are (on our focus), but that's definitely one thing I can say."

Do you think the lack of production on third down has led to a chain effect of struggles on offense?
"Yeah, I can say it's a combination of a lot of things. You know, there's a lot of things that go into (our struggles). We know we just have to minimize any mistakes or anything like that to keep up out of those long third-down situations."

Have the constantly rotating offensive line rotations played a factor in the offensive struggles?
"Not really. There's so many guys on our team that we can plug in and play at any spot. So it's really just guys that need to come in and do their job. That (different lineups) hasn't really made that much of a dramatic difference in terms of like communication and all of that stuff."

How has the offense dealt with the struggles over the last couple of weeks?
"You just have to stay positive. You can't let this (negative) stuff harp on you. You know what I'm saying? We just need to come into work every day, continue to do our job, and stay positive, really. That's all I can say about that."

How do you stay positive amidst the struggles?
"Really just focusing on what we have inside this building. Of course, there's a lot of outside noise and different things like that, but the guys inside this building all have a special connection with one another. So, you know, it's just us uplifting each other, keeping each other motivated, and just being ready to go out there every single week."

Is the team morale good despite the recent struggles?
"Yeah, everybody is doing what they have to do to stay positive. (The locker room) is not really down or anything like that. You know what I'm saying, we're going into next week excited (to play), just like every other week."

Do you think Mike McCarthy and other assistants being out due to COVID-19 protocols makes any difference in the game?
"Oh, I had no clue they were out (with COVID-19 protocols). I think it could make a difference if your head coach isn't there, but for me as a player, I'm just really worried about my job. I didn't even know that (they were out) until you guys just told me."

What's this week been like for you in the locker room as a Michigan alum being around so many Ohio State guys?
"Yeah, it feels good. It's all good. It's all love for all of my guys; I love Bradley Roby, Malcolm Jenkins, Marshon Lattimore , and everybody, you know what I'm saying. 42-27 is not just luck, so that's just pure skill and dominance right there."

How fun was it to watch Michigan's offensive line dominate Ohio State's defensive line?
"Oh yeah, because you know, Michigan is obviously tougher than Ohio State. You know what I'm saying, we've got the guys and they couldn't hang in there. The best team won Saturday. It feels good."

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Bradley Roby
Post Practice Media Availability
Monday, November 29, 2021

How do you feel that things have gone for you since you got here, like 10 or 11 weeks ago?
"I'm just doing what I'm asked to do and try and do it at the highest level I can."

Did you feel that kind of pay off last week when you got that pick?
"I mean, football is going to reward you for just working. That's how I always saw it. Put your head down and work and the results will show."

How tough has it been defensively when the offense isn't putting up points, is there a certain amount of pressure on the defense to not allow scores. I know your whole job is to not allow points, but…
"Yeah, I mean, obviously right? I think that is a scenario that comes up so we've just got to just make sure we're on top of everything really. It's a team sport so we're working together. We are farming our own land and we want to make more plays. It's like we're putting more pressure on ourselves to make more plays out there. We think we have a lot of talent on defense and we expect those plays of each other so that's all it does is just has this focus more on affecting the game and helping get the ball back."

How do you view the Cowboys skill position players?
"I mean, obviously they have good receivers, good quarterback, good running backs. I think that's obvious man. They've got good guys everywhere on offense, just another good offense."

What's kind of the difference between Zeke (Ezekiel Elliott) and (Tony) Pollard especially like if you're out on the edge?
"Pollard has a little more speed, let's get to the edge and break or whatever. Zeke has speed also and likes to get out over the field and do his thing too. So two good backs. Got to be ready for them and do a good job of tackling and getting them down in open space."

New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Tre'Quan Smith
Media Availability
Monday, November 29, 2021

Is it frustrating the way the offense has performed the last four weeks?
"Yeah, it is honestly frustrating right now, the past few weeks, we can't seem to get in the right groove. (We) can't be consistent in what we're doing and what we want to do. But it's just a matter of time, you know, that that's what's going to take we need to be consistent, we can't be hot one half and then cold another. We got to find a way to be consistent and it's going to look like the previous offense we've had here at the Saints."

What do you think the most important thing to improve on would be?
"One of the biggest things by far the past few weeks, we've been making, you know, self-inflicted mistakes, a lot of false starts, holding penalties, stuff like that. We're not getting ourselves in third and manageable. It's third and long like every other drive, so we definitely can't do if we want to be successful."

Do you know why the penalties continue to happen?
"I don't know exactly why it's happening. But I know it definitely needs to stop."

Did you hear about the covid outbreak the Cowboys are going through?
"I just found out just now. I did not know that at all."

Were you around much when the Saints had their covid breakout?
"I was around, but I wasn't really around with playing then. Coming into the season, you know, it was a possibility that this definitely could happen. I just feel like as an organization, I think teams sort of prepared for it, but probably not to that extent, I'm pretty sure they probably prepared for it."

Does the team feel like when guys get healthy this team can make a run for it?
"We definitely not counting ourselves out to the playoffs, if anything we got to take it one game at a time and as far as injuries that are going on, you just got a hope for the player, whoever may be hurt, to come back at the right time and we don't want to see them come back and reinjure themselves, it's even more a setback. So hopefully they come back at the right time and healthy and they may be able to last throughout the rest of the season."

New Orleans Saints Safety Marcus Williams
Media Availability
Monday, November 29, 2021

What stands out about Dallas' passing attack?
"They like to get the ball out quick to their playmakers and let them run in space. We know they have a lot of playmakers over there, so we just have to shut those guys down this week."

How do you view Dak Prescott's mobility?
"I mean, he's a little mobile, but he likes to throw the ball. He has a strong arm, gets the ball out, and if he has to run, he'll run, but that's about it."

What next step does this defense want to take moving forward?
"I mean, the last couple weeks are just that, the last couple weeks. We have to get better and show what we're made of this week. We need to come out and perform like we should be performing and that's all you can really ask for."

How do you not get caught up in the losses during a losing streak?
"I mean, at defensive back especially, you have to play everything one play at a time and have a short-term memory. So, I've always had that mentality because no matter how far down you are, you just have to get back up. No matter how many times you get knocked down, you just have to get back up. I mean, if you keep dwelling on the past, you'll never get better. You have to watch what you did wrong, correct the mistakes, and move on, because if you keep having those lingering (negative) thoughts in your mind and not being positive, then you'll never be able to get better."

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