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Transcript - Alex Anzalone Conference Call 9/18/20 | Week 2 vs. Raiders

New Orleans Saints linebacker Alex Anzalone talks about Raiders running back Josh Jacobs and the Saints linebacker room prior to Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on September 21, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Linebacker Alex Anzalone
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, September 18, 2020

When you're watching film on Josh Jacobs, what stands out to you that makes him so successful?
"I would say, one he's a physical back. Obviously, he's not the tallest back, but that obviously makes him a tougher tackle for how he carries his weight and all that. So, he's very elusive and he can make all the cuts and I think that's something that makes him special back in the league."

What are your impressions of C.J. Gardner Johnson as a run defender? You guys were in sub defense for the majority of that game and it seemed like he kind of always had his nose in there.
"Yeah, anytime you can get a DB playing in that linebacker-ish position, especially when the offense is in heavier personnel groups, that's something that's very versatile because you're good against the run in the past. He's been doing a really good job since he's got here and he's rolling into year two doing well."

It was your first game for you in almost a year. How'd it feel free to get back out there and actually go full speed?
"It was good. It was a lot of fun. Like you said, it's almost been a year and just knocked off some rust and going into week two feeling good. (I've) just got to continue on doing my thing and anytime you're able to play at this level, it's always fun. To me, I love it."

When the defense as a whole plays like it did last week, can you kind of feel like you guys can carry that momentum into week two?
"Yeah, I think we play with a lot of energy. Going into week two, I think that we are used to the environment we are going to be playing in. Obviously, there are no fans. I think that took a little bit to get used to, whether it's a quarter or one or two plays for some guys, I think I mentioned last week how it is going to be a different transition for some guys because they play off energy of fans. I think that is something that we are going to have to bring week in and week out when there are no fans or when there are fans. So, that's something we're excited about."

I know you weren't on the field for much of it last year when you were making the run without Drew (Brees), but what is it about the defense or the team in general that you guys have been able to kind of weather some of these storms in the last couple of years? Even when you went out having guys step up into your spot?
"Yeah, I think that the organization and management does a great job of getting personnel in here that's definitely able to start in this league and play. Obviously, we're a deep team and I think everyone knows that and we have guys ready to play no matter what, whether that's into a starting position or more of a bigger role, in some cases due to injury or anything like that. We have the guys that are willing and able to do it at a high level."

Obviously, Michael Hodges has been around your position for a while, but what's it been like with him leading that position room now?
"Yeah, I think it is a different coaching style than coach (Mike) Nolan was last year. He was with us the past three years. Same with Hodges. He's done a really good job and he brings energy every single day. I think that's his number one thing and his attention to detail and knowing the playbook and motivating guys. We have an old room, but we also have a young room that a lot of guys are developing. Zack (Baun), Chase (Hansen), Kaden (Elliss), Joe (Bachie) Drew (Andrew Dowell), all those younger guys. You can see their improvement and that's obviously a direct reflection of Hodges and how he's teaching them and getting them ready to play."

When you say it's a different style of coaching between the two, can you expand on that?
"Yeah, I think that one thing is that Hodges is closer to our age than Coach Nolan was and not necessarily more relatable, but I would say just (brings) different vibes I would say. I think that Hodges is a high energy guy and high energy coach and he brings (that) every day and there are different types of coaches out there. There's not one better than the other, but I think that's the biggest difference."

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