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Transcript - Alvin Kamara Conference Call 11/04/20 | Week 9 vs. Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara talks about the Buccaneers’ defensive unit and the Saints game plan prior to the Saints Week 9 matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on November 8, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Running Back Alvin Kamara
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 4, 2020

They're (Tampa Bay) a really good run defense. What concepts do you see them employing to be able to stop the run the way they do?
"I think the fact that what makes them a good run defense is their back end. They've got an active back end that's pretty smart and plays the ball well, and it's pretty disciplined. So that gives their front the ability to go ahead and kind of cut it loose and be able to play and feel good about rushing and kind of stunting up front end. And making some moves up front to disrupt the run, because they know in the back end they're covered. So they do a plethora of things that allow them to be able to be good against the run."

I know you said when you're playing against a team like this you have to be patient and sometimes that three yard run is about as good as it's going to get. But do you feel like, you know, it's one of those situations where if you just chip you'll get what you're looking for if you just chip away at it?
"Yeah, that's with anything. We stay committed to what we want to do, that's with game planning and scheming and just watching more film and finding what's comfortable for us and not deviating from that. You don't abandon, we're not going to abandon the run game because they're a good run defense. We're going to do what we got to do and just keep chipping away. We'll get what we want, as far as runs go."

Specifically their linebackers, just can you speak to just their level of athleticism, they're kind of considered some of the best in the league. And then just your career numbers against Tampa Bay, I think it's seven games, 800 yards and 9 total touchdowns for you. Is there something, I know it's a divisional opponent, but is there something to that, you know, playing the Bucs for you, that is extra or anything like that?
"Alright, so I will just answer the first part. Their linebacker core is great. Those guys, they run well, they cover well, they tackle well. They're smart players. They make a lot of plays. So just being aware of what they're doing within the defense you know that a lot of their big plays go through them. So just doing things to kind of throw them off and try to affect them in our game plan is, is definitely something we look to do. And then your second part of question, just playing Tampa, just having the success that I've had over the years, it's a division opponent. That's the cliche thing to say, we see them twice a year. But it is what it is. I'm looking to go into every game and try to excel and do what I have to do to put us in the position to win. I've seen them enough, obviously. So, it just is what it is, I kind of just try to do whatever I can. So, that's how those stats are kind of piling up."

When we talked to Bruce Arians this morning, he compared you to Marshall Faulk. What does it just mean to you when you hear things like that, those kind of comparisons?
"Yeah, I do not know exactly what he said. I didn't see it. This is the first time I'm hearing that. But obviously, I guess I'll just say respect and you know Marshall. I didn't grow up in that era, but I watched him. To be compared to a player of that caliber is definitely an honor and it's just an honor to be kind of put in that place and category. That's all I have to say about that."

Do you feel like, second part of that, that're you having an MVP type season?
"I'll leave that up to whoever votes on that."

Yards after the catch has been a big theme for you this year, I guess, is that something you've kind of, you know, consciously focused on? Or has it just been a byproduct of, sort of the plays you've been making?
"I think that's been a part of my game since I've been in this league. Maybe more than, more this year than other years. But, I've always felt like I do a pretty good job of advancing after that catch, after contact. Just the little things in the passing game, I kind of, I feel like I pride myself on that."

This is kind of a big picture question. I know you're kind of hyper focused on the Bucs right now. But I'm just curious where you're at in your career right now, how great things are going for you this season. Do you look back on your path to where you're at now any differently? I mean, would you say your college career was a little unconventional to get to the NFL? Would you change anything now? Or do you think that kind of led faithfully to where you're at now?
"I think it definitely led and everything lined up perfectly to put me in a position on that right now. So to answer your question, hell no, I wouldn't change anything that happened. It was all a learning experience. It kind of made me who I am today, molded me, shaped me into the player that I've become. And it's still things that I pull from those experiences and kind of just take with me. Tough days, long days, hard days, just battling them with certain little things. I just know I've been through so much. I've been through harder scenarios, I've been through a lot. I have been through a little bit of it all. So it makes it all worth it. So I wouldn't change anything."

And how content are you right now? I mean, for so long, it seems like you were underutilized, undervalued, maybe even under appreciated. It seems like it's all the exact opposite of that, now you've got the contract, having a great season, and so forth.
"Never content, always working, striving to evolve. And like I've said, I feel like I say this every week. But anything I could do to help this team win. That's what I've always been about and been trying to do. So obviously having production this year, having a good season, having a healthy season, thank God. I just want to keep going and keep adding things to my repertoire, keep producing for this team. So we can do what we've got to do to be where we want to be at."

First of all, we didn't see you out at practice today. A couple reports said it should be a minor foot injury, can you shed any light on if you expect to play Sunday?
"Oh yeah, I'm playing on Sunday. Have you ever stubbed your toe like on the corner of a bed post or something? Yeah, that's kind of like what I'm dealing with. So that's tough. You know, it's like, sucks, it actually hurts. So I'm fine. I'll be out at practice tomorrow, you know, just more maintenance than anything."

Obviously, we don't know for sure when Michael Thomas will play again. But the offense has done pretty well without him. What specifically do you think he really adds that will make this offense even better when him and Emmanuel Sanders are back?
"I think without even giving him the ball, you have to account for Mike Thomas. When he lines up, you've got to account for him. That's what defenses' in an anticipating game, they've got to anticipate what's going to happen with Mike Thomas on the field. So, just flat out without even giving him the ball, when 13 is on the field, he presents a threat. And obviously, when you put the ball in his hands and you get him moving around and running, how you used to run into, and doing the things you used to doing. It's not many players, not many defenses that can stop him. So obviously, like I've said before, when this question gets asked, love to have him out there, when he's out there and healthy. But this game is about your health. So it's just him, fighting and getting back to 100%. So he can do what he's used to doing and we can't wait to have him back."

You had that big long gain on that, I think it was a choice route against the Bears. What did you kind of see that set that play up? And, what kind of goes into running those routes so successfully for you?
"A lot of film study. If you asked Sean (Payton), I think it's a feel route. You obviously got to know the coverage. But it's a lot of feel that goes into that. And just on that particular play, Khalil Mack was kind of in a wide nine technique. And when the ball was snapped, as I kind of wide released, he dropped and kind of expanded. So the inside was butt naked, the linebacker expanded and he expanded. So, I just, was a little bit patient and, gave him some eyes and looked at him a little bit and broke in. He's a great player, one of the best in the league, if not the best. But, I'll take me, running the route against him any day."

I was actually going to ask you about that exact same play, because Sean Payton gave a really cool explanation of it the other day. On that route, so you made that decision after the snap that you're going to pick that route right? And when you do that, how often are you and Drew (Brees) on the same page?
"We are about 10 for 10. I'll take us on that route, any day. I think just running it the past four years, just compiling a whole stockpile of just different looks and scenarios, two minute scenarios, first quarter scenarios, third, fourth quarter, up in the game, down in the game, got to have its and just let's get its. I think Drew and I kind of got the time on task that we have. It's a high success rate when we called that play. So, whatever Sean (Payton) said, I know he probably had a whole monologue for you about it. I just say, we kind of do what we got to do when the play is called."

Can you describe to us what C.J. Gardner Johnson is like in practice? I mean, we all know he likes to talk. So I always just kind of picture him as like the motor mouth all through practice. Is that how he is at all?
"Let me see. Let me give him an analysis. You got a friend that like, you would want to be with you when you get into a fight?

"Alright. Bye."

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