New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Can you talk about playing your former team?
"A little bit different last year than this year, obviously a lot of emotions, kind of fresh, obviously (enjoyed) my time there. But a little less about that now, I'm more concerned about what we got going on in this building. Seeing them on tape, they're starting to find I think their formula a lot. (They're a) really good team coming off a big win. Like I said, they're hot right now. So for us we're going to have our hands full just getting ready for the good personal, they're getting Miles Sanders back and a couple other guys. It is going to be a good game."
How dangerous is Deonte Harris as a receiver?
"I think his explosiveness is really the main reason we have him here. Every time he touches the ball, he's got opportunity to break something open. Just his ability to change direction, the speed, you get him out in open space, he's hard to get down."
Is his stop and go ability rare in this league?
"I think there aren't many especially for his size. I think through my career, you look at other people, I think like a Darren Sproles, somebody who had that build and that ability to stop and accelerate to change direction. And who's a smaller body actually makes it harder to be able to get a piece of him. Obviously, he makes a lot of plays for us."
Why is it so hard when you have to game plan for a running quarterback?
"Whenever your quarterback runs the ball, you now have to use all 11 defenders in order to stop it, it is just simple math, right? Usually the quarterback is not part of the run game. So you're always playing defense with 11 on 10. But all of a sudden, the quarterback's running now you have to account for him and it's 11 on 11, which changes coverage. So you got to decide do you want to play single high, split safety? Do you want to go zero across the board? Where you're better in the run, but you're more vulnerable against the pass, he's not somebody who can't throw the ball. So it just creates a unique dynamic to add that third element of quarterback runs to their menu. But we've played against quarterbacks that can scramble, we watched the film tape last year and it hurt us. The quarterback scrambled when we played them last year, so it's going to be a huge emphasis, not going to be able to stop them from doing, it's a big part of their game plan. But we got to be able to mitigate the big plays."
Why are the Saints so good at run defense consistently even though you guys change personnel?
"That's all up to the front. You watch us on tape, we don't play a ton of down safety defense, a lot of it is split safety and so when you're playing and when you're as good against the run as we are, with a light box. That's pretty unusual so you got to give that up to the way that our front plays. The way our linebackers play, because it's really about them."
What are your early impressions of DeVonta Smith?
"I mean he's one of those guys that I think he's just competitive. That's the biggest thing that I see off the tape immediately is just, you know, smaller guy, shifty, but crafty route runner, catches the ball in traffic and contested catches. And I think he's the spark in that offense. They seem to rally around him and get going when he's making a couple plays. So he's just one of those guys, he's their big play guy we have to take him out or at least minimize the big plays that he has on Sunday."
Tell us what you're doing with the NFT and how you got involved?
"Oh, yeah, launched my NFT's today. My collection is called "A Minted Legacy" really been working on it for a while now. Probably since back in like February, March. Put a lot of thought into (it), I wanted to get into the NFT space, the block chain technology. But I didn't want to just slap my name on something and throw it out there. I really wanted it to be intentional about bringing in art and pieces of myself that fans don't all the time, you know, get access. So it's some of my favorite moments from my time in Philadelphia. A lot of personal kind of photography and movement and moments that I thought, you know, were part of kind of my legacy there. Be in those moments right before a game during the national anthem, like what's going on in my mind? What is going on? What are the things that motivate me? A couple plays from the Super Npw; and then just a card that really just cements the fact that we were able to bring Philadelphia its first championship, you know, so it was really the first collection of probably many that I'll put out. But it is (live) right now, it's live on crypto.com for auction. So yeah, hopefully people rock with it."
How worried are you getting beat over the top when facing a running quarterback?
"I think for deep defenders like myself or Marcus Williams you cannot allow a ten-yard run by the quarterback to all of a sudden get you to creep up or get impatient on the back end. Because then they do take shots down the field, and they time up well, it is run, run, run, run, run and then as soon as you start to creep up, big time shot down the field. So that's just going to come down to myself, to Marcus having the patience to just deal with a run here or there as long as we get him down it's not a problem. But not sacrificing the coverage end of it because we feel good about our ability to get off the field if a team has to dink and dunk and run all the way, you know, 80 yards, but the fastest way they can get (there) is obviously a big play. So we'll bet on our ability to execute over the long run of a drive and keep the ball in front of us."
Do you feel like the last two weeks have been uncharacteristic of you guys?
"No, I think to your point, when you look at the tape, and you say, ah, we actually played those games, how we needed to play them, one or two plays didn't go our way, and we didn't get the result that we want. We're not being out of character, we actually played those games exactly how we needed to play them and didn't make one or two plays. So it was just really about emphasizing that that's the difference between winning and losing for our team. It's just those one or two plays of executing, and if that's the difference, then we're this close to being where we want to be. And I think that's the message, trusting the process, trusting where we are, obviously, making all of the plays that we can make. But we're playing good teams and it's a competitive league, they're going to make plays, we're going to make plays. It's just about being in a game, winning the situations when it comes down to it. I think we feel probably more upset and some of the mistakes that we made, as opposed to some of the plays that they made. So we eliminate our own mental mistakes, then we're right where we want to be."
Would you say this is one of the tougher venues to play at?
"I think so, especially when the team's rolling, you let them hang around they get into it, the crowd's into it, It's a tough place to win and that's a team that loves the fight, they love being doubted and are (a) scrappy group. (They) can run the ball, control the game. Like I said, once the crowd gets into it, it's a hard place to shift momentum."
New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Deonte Harris
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Can you put a number on the hours you spent running routes this offseason?
"Jeez, I don't know, I started training at 7 am, finished on the field at like 9:30-10:00 AM, and I work out Monday through Friday. So probably about 15 hours a week if I did that math right. About 15 hours a week just learning how to run routes, get my feet better, understanding what I'm trying to do to on certain routes and stuff like that. So, about 15 hours a week."
Did you understand the route running process before you got to the NFL? How much did you have to fine-tune your route-running skills?
"I think as you change levels, I didn't play receiver in high school, so when I got to college I was just put at receiver. No disrespect to my college coach, but they weren't really teaching us how to run routes and what it meant to be a receiver, it was just 'this is your route, run this route'. When I got here, I had to start from scratch and just be a sponge to learn everything I could. It was a lot for me, not because of my athleticism, but just because I was never taught to play receiver."
Where did you get your ability to accelerate out of breaks? Most defenders say you're very deceptive.
"It's because I'm short, they try to say (I'm deceptive) because I'm short and they're tall. I don't know. Sean (Payton) talks about it all the time, 'you need to be able to run fast and stop fast'. That was just something I've always had an emphasis on, being able to get in and out of my breaks."
Have you always been able to get in-and-out of breaks quickly?
"Yeah, I think so."
Is the biggest area of growth for you understanding the details of the wide receiver position?
"Yeah, for sure. My athleticism is what got me in the door but understanding how to run the routes is the biggest thing I have to improve on."
Trevor Siemian commented that he's had to adjust how he throws deep balls to you because of your elite speed. Have you sensed that from other quarterbacks as well, not realizing how fast you actually are?
"To be honest, sometimes I don't think I'm that fast. I think I'm quicker than I am fast. Sometimes I still don't believe that I'm fast but when they put on the (scoreboard) that I'm running 20 mph, I say there's no way. I don't think it was really a problem for Jameis Winston because he has a big arm. For Drew Brees, it was probably a big adjustment."
What has made you an affective deep threat outside of your speed?
"I think I'm deceptive. I can maneuver a certain way to get a DB to think I'm doing something that I'm not. I think I'm deceptive."
At what point did you realize that you could be a deep threat in the NFL?
"Ted Ginn Jr., me and him, that was my OG when I get here. Just talking to him, picking his brain, him telling me I can do and stuff like that. My rookie year, towards the end, he was really the one really helping me understand the sky was the limit for me. Also just watching shorter guys around the league like Tyreek Hill, just picking up on certain things they do and just try to imitate things they do and stuff like that."
Do you think you can do more with more targets?
"For sure. I'd be lying if I said I didn't. I love this game. For me, when I'm at practice, every rep is a game rep for me. I picked up on that when I got here. In college, I'm not going to say I was lazy, we were pushing each other because we were good, but it wasn't like the way it is here. The culture here is just different. I want the ball as many times as possible. I just believe in me and believe in my talent. I want to help this team in any way possible."
Did you and Ted Ginn Jr. ever race? If so, who won?
"No. I don't know who'd win. Maybe one day."
How could you run as fast as you do and not realize that you're fast?
"Sometimes, I can feel it. Other times, I feel slow and come back (to the sideline) and ask if I look slow and (teammates, coaches) will tell me, 'no, you were moving'. So, I don't know, I just feel sluggish sometimes."
You don't notice blowing by defenders?
"No. I feel like they're always on my hip. I don't know."
Were you always the fastest person growing up?
"Yeah, but in high school, my senior year, we played some prep school and Darnell Savage, who's with the Packers now, was on that team. I was running down the sideline and he was chasing me, and he was way faster than me. I thought, 'damn, I wonder what it's going to be like in college'. But all my life, I was usually the fastest."
Didn't you spin Darnell Savage around this year against the Packers?
"Well yeah. I never said he tackled me. He's just fast. He was committed to Maryland at one point. Maryland went to watch him, and they saw me too, but they told me I was too small to play Division I football. But he was fast though."
Do you think teams struggle to figure out how to defend you?
"I know just working out in the off-season, talking to defensive backs, they hate defending shorter, faster guys. They're just used to people 5'11 or taller that they can get their hands on. I think it's just a hard adjustment for them to cover someone faster and shorter than usual."
Is it fun for you to mess with defensive backs?
"Yeah, but sometimes their arms are too long, so they get me every once in a while, where I can't get off. I just try to keep as much separation as possible."
New Orleans Saints Running Back Mark Ingram II
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, November 18, 2021
Mark, you've had a couple of days to reflect on the record. I mean, has it kind of sunk in a little bit more for you?
"Yeah, I mean, like I said, it's a blessing, a tremendous honor, I'm thankful. But I plan on doing a lot more so thankful for it. I'm appreciative of it. Lots of hard work, dedication, lots of people who helped me accomplish it. But it's one part of the journey, it's one part of the story. And plan to continue moving, continue going."
You said you were ready for the workload, how did you come out physically?
"Yeah, I am fine, it felt great. I don't remember the last time I played that many snaps. But it felt good not to have to look to the sideline after every single play to see if I'm staying in or going out, got into a good rhythm, a good feel of the game. It was a good feeling. So my body felt good. Just typical game soreness, feel a lot better today. And I'll continue to recover and be ready to roll by Sunday. It feels good."
Back to the record, what was the response like when you got around to checking your phone and seeing all the texts and missed calls?
"Just lots of congratulations. Lots of people showing love. And I'm thankful for that. I'm appreciative of that. And yeah, so just lots of love, lots of congratulations, and a lot of love. So I appreciate everyone who has reached out, who congratulated me and showed me love. That was pretty cool."
Do you know DeVonta Smith at all?
"Yeah, I'm familiar with him and we've talked occasionally."
What's that brotherhood like? Not only the Heisman, but the Alabama Brotherhood?
"If you're a Bama boy, there's love off the rip. (We've) kind of all have had similar experiences with Coach (Nick) Saban. And being in a winning program, the hard work and dedication it takes to be successful there. Obviously, he won the Heisman so that brotherhood is a fraternity in itself. So we have the Bama brotherhood, we have had the Heisman brotherhood. He's a great dude, a great player. Wish him much success in his career, but just not too much success here on Sunday."
I don't know if you realize, but you're the oldest Heisman winner that's still in the league. What does that just kind of mean to you as you reflect back on that?
"It's just longevity. It's just being blessed with health and a work ethic and a surrounding supporting team. And I think that all kind of contributes and goes into it. So yeah, just still going, I feel good, feel like I'm playing some of my best football my career right now. So just going to continue to improve, continue to get better, and continue to raise the standard, continue to raise the level. That's what I do. So what I work for, and that's what keeps me going."
Now that you've been back a few weeks, what's it like not having number nine (Drew Brees) in there?
"Obviously, I think it is different for everyone. He was here since '06. So just having that presence, that consistency and that level of preparation and eliteness. I think it's a little different, but that is just part of the league we play in and now you just have to (play without him). I appreciate everything he taught me, everything I learned from him, how to be a pro, to prepare, to execute at a high level and just kind of take that with you. He played 20 years, got a Super Bowl, first ballot Hall of Famer, he deserves to hang them up and enjoy his family and enjoy his life that he's worked so hard for. So that's just part of the league, man, you can't play forever. Everyone's day come to some point. He left a legacy here and a standard here and we're just trying to continue it."
Do you feel like you're one of the guys who can fill in some of those gaps left by his departure as a leader?
"I just try to be myself. I don't try to do anything other than be myself. So if that's being a leader, in my own way, leading by example, sharing with guys my successes, my failures and how I've got to where I'm at today and how I continue to be better than where I'm at today. That's what I do. I don't try to like fill Drew's shoes. Drew's only Drew, the legacy he had, the leadership he had, that came with him. Like I said, I learned a lot from him. I've grown a lot from him as a person and as a pro. But all I can do is be myself. So that's all I tried to do."
Is it still weird that you have his locker or has that novelty worn off yet?
"I mean, it's my locker now. But, I mean, the same location, I guess that's odd. You know that his locker, that whole wall had all his (stuff). I mean, you were in the locker rooms those years and his whole wall had whatever, supplements, drinks. He had a whole corner suite over there and so I'm just trying to make him proud. I don't have as much stuff on the wall like he did. But yeah, like I said, I'm trying to, whatever vibes and energy and Hall of Fameness he left over there in that environment in that corner, I'm trying to manifest that and let it flourish through me. So I appreciate Breesy. And he said that he'd not rather have anybody else than me occupy that space. So I'm honored."
Does the 14 feel any better?
"Man, it's okay. It's alright. It's not a, it was the best of the worst. And we're going to make it do what it do. We going to make it look good because we've got to. We have got to get activated in it. We've got to make it look good. So yeah, that's what we're going to do. We're going to turn up in the one four for as long as we have to. And then hopefully, you're back to something more fly, more fresh, but it ain't bad."
How different is it when you're playing without Alvin Kamara out there?
"He's one of the best players in the league. Just his ability to make plays, ability in the pass catching game and the running game and just his presence on the field. A team having to prepare for him, it's significant. The impact that he brings to a game, the impact that he's brings to an offense and the impact he brings to having a defense have to prepare for him."
Just the camaraderie too?
"Yeah, that's my guy. We kind of feed off each other, I make a play, he wants to make a play, he makes a play, I want to make a play, we want to help the team win. I think that's just the basics of it. Yeah, I miss my guy. But, obviously, he's working to get as healthy as he can to be able to play. So hopefully he can play. But if not, I'm holding it down for him so you can get healthy and we can get back to right where we left off. But basically, we're just trying to be the best version of ourselves. So we can get to Sunday, perform at a high level and help the team win. That's the bottom line. That's what we do on every day. And yeah, so obviously, I want my guy to get healthy. I want my guy to be ready to go. But until then, for Sunday, if it's other day, I'm going to hold it down, we're all going to hold it down for him. That's what we're going to do."
You haven't been teammates with him for very long but from your perspective, what have you seen with Deonte (Harris) and what makes him such a deep threat?
"Yeah, I mean, I think he just has the speed. He has the quickness and agility, good feet, a lot of guys are super fast like that can't really stop and change directions. And I think he's elite at that. Speed down the field, his ability to be a playmaker with the ball in his hands, yards after the catch, tracking the ball downfield all those are special abilities that he has. I watched from afar, but now being here with him seeing that every day. That's a special player. He's going to be a special player in the league for a long time. So I'm a fan. I'm a fan of him."
Have you thought much about having this 18-game schedule with no bye for you?
Yeah, I don't but Sean (Payton) is doing a great job of just not only taking care of me, but I think the entire team. So that helps, that's beneficial. And it is what it is, man. It is what it is. I have got 18 games, no bye. It doesn't make a difference to me. I'm going to stay on my routine, stay recovering, play hard, play my butt off, prepare my butt off. And then after the game, start the recovery process. So train myself mentally, physically, emotionally so I can be best version of myself every single week. It's a process of recovering from Monday, up until game time on Sunday. And that's something that I'll rely on and take pride in and it always has me ready to go. So just rely on my routine and my preparation. I'll be fine. I'll be ready to go and looking forward to it. I get some get another game to know run up some more yards. So yeah, we'll look at it like that."
That's got to be an NFL record. It's got to be.
"Yeah, we just pray to the Lord for health. 18 games, so I'll be the only one, yeah."
Can you tell from your perspective, I know you haven't played against them in a game, but what makes this Saints run defense so good. They've done it, despite a lot of personnel changes too over these last four or five years?
"Obviously (it) has to do with some scheme and with some want to. It's the mindset. It is a mindset. And when you instill that mindset in the players of your defense, regardless if it's the starters the two deeps or whoever's in there, there's a mindset, there's a standard that this is not going to happen. I think they've all bought into it, obviously, having great players on the front, great D line, great linebacking corps. That all kind of goes hand in hand. DD (Demario Davis) out there flying around, making plays, the whole D line, Big O (David Onyemata), Cameron Jordan , whoever's on the D line. Those guys, they're disciplined, they're physical, and they execute at a high level. And the mindset is that you're not going to be able to run the ball on defense, you're going to have to find something else to do. So just think everybody's buying into that mindset, buying into that mentality, buying into that standard. They've been doing it two years plus so strong defense and that's nothing but an advantage for us. It's huge when a defense can go out there. It's challenging when you have a great run stopping defenses, it makes the offense, your gameplan, it makes everything more challenging, so I'm glad that they're my defense and I don't have to go against them every Sunday."