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Saints transcripts: Marcus Williams, Jameis Winston, Cameron Jordan and Pete Werner media availability | 2021 NFL Week 5

Saints players look ahead to Week 5's game against the Washington Football Team.

New Orleans Saints Safety Marcus Williams

Post-practice media availability

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Before last week the defense had been really successful in eliminating explosive plays. Where do you think the unit has become better at in terms of eliminating those for the most part?
"We just practice it in practice. We just have to do our jobs and then that's how you prevent the big plays, when you focus on the explosive and taking those away. That's really the emphasis for us."

Has some of the continuity played a role in that also, in terms of the communication and stuff?
"Just being able to know where your other person's at, where the corner's at, the safety's at kind of helps you with that. Also the play calls that we have take away those explosive plays."

What's the message for the team after a loss like that Sunday, in terms of Sean Payton saying you can't get it back, but to get something from this?
"Last week, it is what it is. We're moving forward to this week. We just have to focus on not letting explosive plays go over our head, not giving up the explosive. That's what we need to do, going into this one."

Was there a single factor that led to those happening?
"Last week is last week, we're moving on to this week. We're just going to get better this week and perform."

Are there any challenges that happen with Washington's quarterback with some of the playground stuff similar to what happened Sunday?
"He gets out. He scrambles. If we contain him and keep him in the pocket and make him make those hard throws, we cover him and lock him up."

What are some of the things a defense has to do when avoiding extending plays?
"Just do our job. If we do our job, one play at a time, we'll eliminate everything the quarterback does. Contain the quarterback, keep him in the pocket, and lock up the receivers, that's all it takes."

Can you talk about the strengths of Terry McLaurin?
"He catches the ball. I'm just starting to watch film now. He's a playmaker. He goes against the ball, he runs deep routes and catches pretty well too."

How are sack numbers related or not related to the amount of pressure that a defense is getting?
"When you pressure the quarterback, he's having to throw the ball on his back foot and the DBs are getting interceptions, that plays a big factor. You might not always get the sack, but when you see the ball on the ground, which means they are getting pressure on the quarterback. If you disrupt the quarterback, it will be hard for him to make the plays he wants to make."

Does the fact that the Saints have played a lot of mobile quarterbacks this year play into the fact that the team's sack numbers are lower?
"I really couldn't tell you. I just know that we do our job. If we get to the quarterback, we do. It could be a coverage sack, it could be them throwing the ball away. It's just how the game rolls.

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston

Local Media Availability

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Do you feel less pressure playing quarterback here than in Tampa?
"I think when you have a great team that surrounds you, you definitely can be a little more confident, because you know you're going to get opportunity after opportunity, you have a great defense. You know you can depend on a great offensive line and one of the best running backs in the NFL."

There's a narrative going around yet that there's no trust between yourself and Sean Payton. How do you feel about that?
"I know I trust him with everything I got and I'm getting adjusted to his system. This is his team. He's been here for a long time, I have to fit in. When you've had so much success as a head coach with your offense the way you do things, I'm getting adjusted to that and I'm loving it. I've been loving how efficient we've been. I've been loving having a lot off my plate. Obviously I want more, but that has to be earned. Week by week, I'm going to have an opportunity to earn it."

What's the message for the team after a loss like that Sunday, in terms of Sean Payton saying you can't get it back, but to get something from this?
"We have to finish. That's one of the most important things. With the type of people we have in this team, we have finishers. A game like that especially when you are at home, or wherever you are, you have to finish, offense, defense, special teams and we have to step on our opponent's neck. We have to place our will over them and finish that game with a victory."

How do you practice that?
"That's a mentality. You don't practice that. That comes from what you come from and we have a lot of guys like that. We have a lot of guys that are winners. Sean Payton, he's a winner, we know how to win here and that's one of the keys to winning, finishing the opponent when they're down and not allowing them to come back."

When you broke down the game tape, how did you grad your own performance?
"This was probably one of my better games this year, but we didn't finish. I promise you I'd rather play a game where I didn't like my tape and we win, rather than one where it was okay and we lose. That's just not in me, my DNA. I'd rather win than anything."

We talked about the throw to Marquez Callaway in New England and then this week there didn't seem to be any throws that were risky in this game. Would you agree with that, that you were able to keep out of problematic situations?
"Yes, coach got me into a nice rhythm. We got hot heading into the second half, really the fourth quarter, we got real hot. I was thankful that he got me in a real nice rhythm. Some games you are going to have to make plays like that. Some games you have games like that where good things happen. Obviously we didn't win."

What is your take on Alvin Kamara's lack of touches in the passing game?
"Alvin is probably my primary on most and defenses know that. So it's their job to take away my best player. But when you take away my best player and he's still getting a buck (100 yards rushing) every week. That's still the best part at playing quarterback with a guy who is as versatile as him. Defenses give him more in the passing game than they do in the running game. But I feel that we are doing some good things in the passing game that is going to open up him a little bit more with these weeks to come."

You talk about how you need to earn Sean Payton's trust. Do you feel like in this game, maybe once you look at the tape that maybe you did earn some of that?
"This man has been here for 16 plus years and he's been coaching Drew Brees, a hall of fame quarterback. Our relationship in terms of handing me over the keys. He just didn't hand over the keys to Drew in their first four games (together). This is a relationship that is going to build and as obviously we find more of an identity obviously, we're going to have different things where he trusts me more in this situation than that situation. That's how football works. That's like me with a receiver. I'm going to trust a certain receiver more in this situation than that situation. It's really just a feel because he's our play caller too. When you have a guy like Alvin Kamara and you have trust in this dominant defense that we have here, you have to be that way. You have to trust your gut. He's been really good at doing that. Like I said, I trust him, so I know that's going to come."

Is it fair to say that you haven't found your identity on offense yet?
"Early in the season, you are always searching for how we can best function as an offense, but I think after we get a nice self-scout after this game and get into the bye, get some guys healthy back on the offensive side, I think we'll start finding that identity, but at the end of the day, as long as we find wins, you can find the identity. But the key part is finishing and finding a way to win a football game."

Is there kind of a sense of just surviving to win all you can and find that identity later when you have all the pieces? I imagine Mike Thomas is a huge piece?
"He's a huge piece. I believe these guys like Marquez (Callaway), Chris Hogan…We've had guys that have stepped up in an amazing way. Kenny Stills, they called that touchdown back with him, but he stepped up in a tremendous way. Obviously defenses, they have to plan for our start players. When you add Mike Thomas. When you add Tre'Quan Smith. Those guys that's an alarm that's ringing. Now they can't just focus on Alvin Kamara. They need to focus on these other people around where they don't have much film. They have a lot of film on Chris Hogan. They don't have a lot of film on Marquez Callaway. They don't have much film on Deonte Harris at the receiver position. As a defensive coach, you're going to be playing what you see and that's why they are playing a lot to stop Alvin (Kamara) in the past few games.

Would you agree that the last two weeks, the communication with the offensive line has been much better?
"The biggest change we made is me and Cesar (Ruiz) are getting on the same page. People forget that it the Carolina game was his first time playing the center position with noise in the NFL. Communication in huge, coming off a COVID year where you don't have any crowd at all. So the biggest thing is we got that fixed. We need to continue to focus on our protections and make sure we are protected so we can roll."

There was a stretch of 14 straight plays in last week's game where you didn't attempt a pass, you scored a touchdown on the drive, so it worked out. But when you go that long without throwing a pass is it hard to stay in a rhythm?
"That's what I said, coach did a great job of helping get me into a rhythm. Once you get to the end of the game and are up by two scored, my thing is let's run it down their throat. That milks the clock. We have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and one of the best backs in the NFL. What's the easiest thing? Let's protect the football, running the football, let's get some first downs running the ball and take some time off our defense. That's been our formula a lot in these first few games. It's been working. This game, we just didn't finish. It didn't turn out the way we wanted it to turn out.

What happened on that delay of game penalty?
"We had Dwayne Washington in for a play designed for AK (Alvin Kamara). AK had just toted the ball like six times in a row again with Tony (Jones) getting hurt. It kind of put a lot on him. We designed a play for AK and we didn't have the right personnel for that play. We just took the delay."

You've played against several Ron Rivera coached teams in Carolina over the years. What do you draw from them?
"Eyes on quarterback. They always attack the ball really well. Always have a good defensive line and long rangy corners and I know they're going to be very well-disciplined."

What are some of those things you feel you need to earn with Coach Payton to be able to put more on your plate?
"I think that comes with the game, the flow of the game for the most part. Getting in a two-minute drive. I haven't had a chance to really do a two-minute drive at the end of the half besides the one in Carolina. Being able to take advantage of those opportunities and when it comes being able to get some passing numbers up. That's what I mean by earning the opportunity, by the situation."

Have you ever had a situation like this before in terms of how you and Taysom Hill are being used?
"I think its two different types of energies. He's coming in and can do it all. I'm rooting for him. That's part of the identity that we have. We have some packages where he's getting in there and toting the rock, some packages where he's getting in and throwing. The part that I play is being able to manage this team and being able to lead us to a win. That's all I'm concerned with. I know we have a bunch of great players on this team and we need to use them for our benefit. That takes some pressure off of me by throwing Taysom in there and just being able to give the uncertainty of what you're going to get in the game. I think that puts us in a lot of positive advantages when he's throwing out there."

Throwing to Taysom it looks like you had a couple nice completions to him?
"It's marvelous. Like I said, I know I talk about this offensive line a lot where they deserve the credit. I talk about Alvin a lot, but Taysom the same way. When you have a teammate like that, who is amazing in everything they do, that just helps out the team. That helps with rhythm. It helps with identity. It helps with Sean as a play-caller."

What's it been like working with Kenny Stills?
"It's been great, just because he's a savvy veteran player, very familiar with this offense and he's explosive. You saw that in the reel that he had. He's very explosive. I enjoy having a deep threat target.

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan

Post Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Sean Payton said to us after the game that he told you you can't get it back, it is what it is, but make sure you learn something. Now that you've had time to digest that one, what did you learn about yourselves?
"I don't know if you ever fully digest a loss, but with every with every loss, even in every win, there's always a lesson to be learned. When you think about what we wanted to do, there was some communication problems that we had early on that I think we corrected. We walked into the fourth quarter you figure it was, what was the score 21-10? And we end up losing 27-21. You put it on the defense, you put it on us not making enough stops. You feel like when you have a game plan you would like to fully execute it and when done so the correct way you have sort of a compatible situation for yourselves in terms of execution to the outcome of the game. We didn't have that. There was something that fell off and I think we addressed that and have addressed that today in practice. Whether it be some missed tackles, whether it be our D line not getting enough penetration, we've got to be a better defense and we're going to put on us before we put it out on the road."

Was there something they did that surprised you that was able to get (Daniel) Jones better protection?
"At the end day, not really. Again, it was more us than them. You look at the film and there were a couple times we could have had some TFLs and they end up making some plays. It was couple of times where it could have been dead before the first down marker, they made a couple plays. They've got talented people. At the end of the day, you can't ever I wouldn't say overlook anybody, but you can't not dominate them all four quarters. You let them squeak by, you let them stay around and then the fourth quarter they ended up winning. We ended up going into overtime and (them) winning in those final minutes."

From a pass rush standpoint, would you say that it wasn't good enough?
"I can say all that I want to. t the end of the day we lost. Whether I feel any type of way about it, we've got to be better from this point forward."

Everything you saw it, do you feel like it's all fixable?
"Absolutely. I think that we've shown in our wins how dominant we can be and again in our losses we've also shown we're vulnerable. You can't ever show that vulnerability on a Sunday. Any given Sunday is for a reason."

I know that the number of sacks doesn't necessarily equate to effective defending, with that being said, how are you on the amount of times you guys are getting to the quarterback?
"I feel like we can always get to the quarterback more. We are talking to a defensive lineman. I'd love to have six defensive linemen on the field on any third down situation, but the moral story is we've got to be better as what we have on the field. We can always look for more, we can always look why the scheme wasn't working here or there. You can always point our fingers out, but it starts with us. So it has to be on me, it has to be on whoever is on the field at the time whether it be Malcolm Roach or Carl Granderson or young Payton (Turner), it is what it is. We have to be better."

Is it harder to get to the quarterback from that three man front? Do you have better looks when it's four as opposed to three?
"I'm saying we have to be better. At the end of the day, like I said, we could arbitrate all we want about how best to affect the quarterback. It starts with the d-line so it starts with me."

The last few seasons, this is about the time when you have put together a really good run. What's going to be the key to this team finding the consistency you've found in the past?
"Probably winning."

How do you get there?
"There we go. Our defense being sound. Again you look at the tape (and) it's a tale of two (halves). Probably from the first three quarters to the (fourth) quarter and overtime. We have to be a consistent defense. We had a lot of three and outs, a lot of third and favorables and we need to have that the entire game. We can't let squeaky plays happen. I saw what 15 points get put on the board from all of three plays? They had two long bombs and we talked about not getting beat on anything cheap. We let that happen. Again, it's more us than them."

You said squeaky plays?
"Explosive plays would that be the better term for that?"

How are your yo-yo skills, I heard you were pretty good?
"I'm not even going to speak on that because we're not trying to be a yo-yo type team. We're trying to be consistent so catch me in the off-season."

The was the message basically, you don't want to be up and down?
"You don't want to be up and down. You want to be a consistent level team. You always want to be climbing. To have a drop is not something you want to do. You don't want to do a yo-yo type team. That's what I got from it at least."

In a matchup with Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones can get outside the pocket, how much emphasis is put on a pass rush perspective on containing and not letting guys get outside and how effectively do you feel you did that?
"I mean, in this day and age almost every quarterback, albeit (except for) the one in the south in our division is mobile. So you have runners at quarterback, you know how to handle them. You face faster, we'll face faster and we have to again, we have to be better as a defense."

The guy Sunday likes to extend plays, make plays last a while. Do you like rushing in those kind of games?
"I like rushing anytime we're in a winning position. I like rushing in anytime we're in a third and favorable. I love rushing when we have seven defensive linemen on the field. I love rushing, if you have one defensive lineman on the field. Whatever it takes to win is why I love playing this game."

But do you look at it like this guy might give you more of a chance to get to him?
"He also has a chance to make these explosive plays happen as you saw on the Atlanta tape last week. For as much as he's exposed, he's also making explosives. So you have to be able to be aware of who you're playing against every week. And this week is no different."

You've played against Ron Rivera coached teams a million times in your career. Is there anything, a theme that you see?
"Any team coached by Ron Rivera is going to be a tough, tenacious type team. He is one of those highly respected coaches that you know is going to have his players mentality in the right way. So we're going for a war and we're going to see, make it known that we're best team from jump and play all 60 minutes."

How do you look at sacks versus, you personally, sacks versus like, getting there, hitting the quarterback, affecting him, but not bringing him down?
"I look at it at anytime that one defensive end is demanding more attention on one side, the other side has to eat. It goes hand in hand. So if the left end is facing two that means the right end is probably getting a single, we have to be able to win on all these. Our interior can play better, our edges can play better. But like I said, when it comes down to it, it's just got to be on the defensive line, we've got to point at us, we've got to look at us and we have to respond better."

Do you personally feel like you have a sense of getting that first sack is getting it out of the way?
"No, not at all, I want a Super Bowl. I don't worry about personal accolades during the season. I worry about it offseason. I'm more worried about how we're playing defense as a team, how we stop this run. For the first time this season, someone averaged four yards a carry. That can't happen on our watch we have to be better than that. A lot of that is two explosive runs from the quarterback and that starts with the defensive line."

Last year you played 90 percent plus snaps three times and this year you've done it twice already. Is that something you wanted, or design of the teams you played?
"If it's up to me, I'm playing 100 percent of the snaps, but it's never up to me. It's beyond me. I just play."

How do you see this pass rush group develop at guys come into their own?
"It will be even deeper once Marcus (Davenport) and David Onyemata come back and then we'll even have a little more flexibility. As far as our edge rushers, I think we have enough depth to get after the quarterback. Teams have responded with chips, nudges and dumps accordingly. At the end of the day it's no point griping about what we're facing, we have to overcome."

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Pete Werner

Media Availability

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

What did you learn from last week's game?
"Yeah, that's a hard one to digest. Tough loss, but what he (Sean Payton) mentioned, our first feedback and what has kind of stuck with me is, every little thing matters. It is the little things that will get you beat in this league. Everybody has got the talent around so if you mess up a few plays you give up some explosive plays, then it changes the whole game around. So the little details, I would say, 100% can't get explosive plays, how to tackle in space better, just every single little detail. If we're supposed to start behind the line, we'd better not be touching the line. Little things like that."

Do you think you're comfortable in the defense now after having your most productive game?
"I would say I'm stepping through things and feeling a little bit more confident, day by day, making plays definitely helps. My confidence has gone and it did throughout the game so that helps and that will probably continue to build as reps continue to go."

Is your vision something you get from your film study or just football instincts?
"I don't know if that happens all the time. I would say film study helps. It's all vision, your eyes, putting your eyes in the right spot definitely helps, it helps a bunch. Visual keys and different tendencies to help out with everything like that. So as much as you can open your eyes as possible and see the whole picture. I feel like that helps me out a little bit. But then again, I played a good game, but it's the little things that helps me there. Just got to continue to do that."

Do you feel like those are aspects of your game?
"Yeah, I do. Yeah, I do see that. But like I said, I think film study helps with that, my vision, opening my eyes and seeing the full picture definitely helps playing fast."

What went wrong on those chunk plays and what were those things?
"Yeah, definitely. When you get these big chunk plays and it's 3rd and 15. Plus, the last thing you want to happen is for them to keep the drive going and I think everybody was in solid spots. I just think that missed tackles and guys getting driven off the ball to create big open areas and holes to run through that definitely hurts. But I would say that missed tackles in pursuit of the ball, guys kind of over running the ball and not tracking it definitely hurts. But you got to tackle in space better. We can't give up those big plays."

Was everything you saw fixable?
"Yes, 100%, everything on film we see is fixable. It's all about communication and technique and working on the details."

How do you fix tackling in space?
"Yeah, we don't tackle with your body, you tackle with your eyes, you have to put your eyes in the right spot. I think a lot of the times, when you are in space, your eyes kind of go up in the body. They can mess around and give you that shimmy or whatever and all of a sudden your eyes are going in circles. But looking at that in your head, hips don't lie some people say, so look at that and it will tell you where to go. But it is obviously easier said than done. That is one of the hardest things about football, tackling in space is so hard. But that angle and that pursuit and where you put your eyes are definitely how you help that."

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