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Saints transcripts: Pete Werner and Tre'Quan Smith virtual media availability | Monday, Nov. 15

Players look back on Week 10 loss to the Titans

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Pete Werner
Virtual Local Media Availability 
November 15, 2021

What were some of the things you felt were working for the defense against Tennessee yesterday?
"I think the big thing was one of the things we pride ourselves on, which is stopping the run. I think we continue to do that well and we can focus on other areas such as the quick pass game, getting to our drops and stopping that. As far as the whole gameplan, I thought we had a great gameplan. We held some of their top receivers to not have a lot (of yards/catches). We continue to focus on stopping the run and we will continue to expand to those other areas."

Recently there have been some explosive plays given up by the defense. How do you adjust to minimize some of those explosive plays?
"I think it is small things like technique and eyes. I would say those are the two biggest things. We have to get better at those little techniques and put our eyes in the right spots. The big focus is doing your job for everyone on the field. That one person that does not do their job that one play, it'll create explosive plays. That's obviously one thing that we don't want to have happen, giving up explosive plays, because we know we do a great job up front. The only thing we know that can beat us are those big plays. So, we just have to keep focusing on the little things. Our eyes, details, techniques. We'll try to get those (big plays) eliminated."

What is the challenge with being a great run defense, but having to defend a team like Philadelphia where the quarterback (Jalen Hurts) is one of their leading rushers?
"Yeah, anytime we know we play a quarterback that's capable of running the ball, there's little things we have to adjust. Always having a player to key on the quarterback and that aspect (of the gameplan). We haven't seen much quarterback run aspect other than scrambles in the passing game, so we'll look into that. We know Hurts does a good job when he has the ball in his hands, and know they're well-respected in the run game. They have one of the top run offenses in the NFL, so we're happy to matchup with this type of opponent. We just have to keep executing and eliminate the quarterback run."

How do more opportunities open up for a running back when an offense has a heavy emphasis on quarterback runs?
"It is all about numbers. There are numbers on offense that they try to create matchups with against the defense. Sometimes the offense has better numbers against the defense, so we just have to do well with those matchups. If we have heavy emphasis on the quarterback runs, then that might open up spaces for teams to create a high emphasis for more runs with the running backs. If we continue to do our job and have our eyes and techniques locked down, I do not think with a good running quarterback should be an issue for us. You do see with the good quarterback runners; things do open up for the running game because there's so much emphasis put on the quarterback. I think that executing your job, eliminating everything up front, and having great defensive line play, I don't see that being a factor against us."

During film review today, how did the linebackers react to the roughing-the-passer call on Kaden Elliss yesterday that took away an interception?
"We did watch that play. I thought everyone did a great job all-around. It is just tough to see that. It's so hard to create those takeaways. You don't get many of those opportunities during games. I thought everyone executed really well on that play. They tried to sneak a lineman out for a pass. I thought we had it well covered, and Marcus Williams made a great play, but to see Kaden get a roughing the passer like that is just hard to see. He's just trying to go out there and create pressure to make it a hard throw for the quarterback. He did well and he did his job. If that play would've been reversed, it would've been a different game. Those takeaways are critical. We try so hard to create those opportunities to get the offense the ball. It was definitely tough to watch. We finished watching (film) about an hour ago. It was very tough to watch because we know that play is critical. Everyone was in great positions, great technique, we were set with our eyes. It was just tough to see."

How do you put the close losses over the past couple of weeks into perspective?
"It's a tough league. Every opponent and every game that we've seen this year has all come down to the fourth quarter. It is hard to put into perspective. It is obviously different for me coming from college (Ohio State) where you do not see many (close) games like this. But you quickly learn every detail and every little play matters. This is a league where it'll always come down to that last wire. We do see our record, but we also do see our potential. There's great things to learn from that film and some minor things to correct from it, but we just keep expanding with those little details; our techniques, our eyes, and I think we'll be headed in the right direction."

New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith
Virtual Local Media Availability
November 15, 2021

Do you feel like you're back to playing the way you want to after your injury?"Yeah, I feel like I've been getting better each week. Just with the little things basically making all my plays. Basically, I feel like I'm getting very comfortable back to where I was before I was injured. And it's just going to take step by step each and every week just trying to get better at the little things in perfecting my craft. But honestly, I definitely feel like I've been getting better each week since I've been back."

Does the receiver room feel like you are close to finding the consistency?
"Yeah, I feel like as a receiver group, we can do way better than this past week. In the past weeks we have done (ok). Our coach has been on us a lot and then Sean (Payton) has been on us. l feel like it's kind of like all eyes on us, like everybody expecting us to make plays and coming out of last week, you know, we had a few drop balls so that was really our biggest issue this week. When the ball comes your way do whatever you got to do to make (the catch). Don't have it on our coach CJ (Curtis Johnson) looking at us, asking why we didn't make plays and looking for what we could have done better. We just came into this week, like every time the ball come our way we want to make plays so the game wouldn't feel like it's our fault, like we didn't do a good enough job as a receiver core."

Is there anything specific you guys are seeing that has allowed you to kind of turn it up in the second half of those games?
"I say it's really about the halftime adjustment. Playing against Atlanta last week, we thought they were going to to play a lot of (cover) two against us throughout the game, but come to find out they played us a lot of man (coverage). So in halftime, we made that adjustment and playing against Tennessee this week, we thought they were going to play a lot of man (coverage), but they end up playing a lot of zone (coverage). So it's really in those halftime adjustments and being able to adjust to those and make plays from there throughout the game. So I feel like basically when we watch film against other teams, we think they are going to play us this way and then they end up playing us a different way. So it's just about adjusting and I feel like we got to adjust a little bit quicker so, you know, you're not kind of trying to play catch up all the time. But other than that, I feel like we just got to adjust quicker and pretty much it."

What do you like about Trevor Siemian as a as a quarterback and a passer?
"What I love most about Trevor, he never gets flustered. He's the same guy, even when he makes a mistake, or even when he makes a big play, he's really the same person. I've never seen him get out of character and you kind of look for that in your quarterback, somebody who is going to be the same even when they are (facing adversity). You can't tell if they're frustrated or not, you know what I mean? They are just the same, they keep their composure in every way and they're always poised. That's the kind of person I feel like Trevor is and that shown throughout thus far."

What's the attitude of the team after two frustrating losses?
"Yeah, I feel like it was a big thing, you know, not to jump ship, because we didn't play a terrible game. Our last game we did not play a terrible game, it is a hard fought game. We just came up short in the end. We all know it's a long season. We know ourselves and we know it's not time to jump ship and point the fingers, get mad at anybody, you know, you have to work on yourself to better the team. We got to stick together because now's the time that people try to tear us apart from outside, but we got to stick together as an organization, as a group and we know what we're capable of and continue on to this week."

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