Arizona Cardinals Head Coach Kliff Kingsbury
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 23, 2019
What are your memories of New Orleans during your time with the Saints?
"I loved it. It's still one of my favorite places. The culture, the passion you have down there, such a festive atmosphere at all times. I fell in love with the city and had to evacuate, so got to go through that entire deal, but yeah I loved it. (I) Loved the Saints organization, everything about them."
Can you elaborate on that experience evacuating for Hurricane Katrina?
"Yeah, I mean it was just intense. I remember, they had talked (to us) and a lot of the locals were saying, they say this happens all the time, don't worry about it. We're going to stick it out and my mom talked me into leaving, right at the last minute and so it was like normally an eight hour drive back home to Texas and I think it was like 15, 16 hours and all the roads were going out and nothing coming in and it was like a parking lot and quite an adventure. But I loved my time there. I loved the people and still have a great appreciation for the place."
Have you had a chance to talk to your team at all this week about the challenges of playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?
"We have a lot of guys that have played there and we have talked amongst ourselves and in front of the team about the atmosphere and then the noise and being able to try and handle that and we know it's going to be a hostile environment. We know it is going to be tough to try to replicate that in practice. They are playing as well as anybody in the league. It's obviously a very tough challenge for our football team."
The Saints have played quite a few mobile quarterbacks this year. Does that help you guys out at all? Just kind of seeing how they defend that?
"I don't think so because they've defended it really, really well. It's not like we can take a lot from those games I don't think. They're playing at such a high level. When you watch the tape, there's not much that that jumps out that you think you can take advantage of and that's a credit to their coaching staff and just the way they're rolling as the defense right now."
What are the things that stand out to you about Dennis Allen's play calling?
"Yes. They play so sound, everything's earned, nothing's given. You do not see anybody running wide open, there's no busted coverages. You have to earn every inch and on third down they put their ears back. They get in some of those exotic looks and come after. They're playing with a lot of swagger and that's a testament to their personnel department and their coaches and those guys and that defense buying in and then playing at a really high level."
How have you seen Kyler Murray kind of develop in almost half of the season thus far?
"He has progressed each week, which is what we are looking for with a young player. You know you're going to have some ups and downs as he's figuring it out. It is not easy to come in day one and be the guy, but he has worked hard at (it) and he continues to get better. I think the games slowing down for him each week and this will be our toughest test to date going on the road against this defense and I'm excited to see how he responds."
When you were a quarterback did you ever have to play with a thumb injury or with a brace in that area?
"I did not. I did not. I know that would be a challenge, but you know if anybody can do it, Drew (Brees) can do it. I mean, he's one of the toughest to ever play and then one of the best ever do it. I wouldn't be surprised if he can pull it off."
What's the challenge for you in preparation? Is there a difference in preparing for a Teddy Bridgewater led Saints offense or a Drew Brees led offense?
"Drew is one of the best (to) ever play and we understand that, but when you watch the film this year, Teddy's playing at an incredible level and Coach Payton has such great offensive creativity, finds great matchups and they're rolling right along. We know whichever guy it is we're going to have our hands full as a defense. I think that's a testament once again to that coaching staff, that organization that you can have your backup quarterback come in and still play at such an incredible level."
I know Sean (Payton) in the past has said he routinely will steal stuff from other coaches, offensive minds that he studies in the game. I'm just curious, over the years in your career, do you watch the Saints' offense? Is there something that stands out about what they've done here over the years with Sean Payton and what makes it so special?
"I have watched them every year and I think his ability to evolve with his personnel, adapt to his personnel and continue to put those guys in positions to be successful (is impressive). He's one of the most creative offensive minds there is. He does what he does, but nobody's better than I've ever seen at finding mismatches and taking advantage of those. He's one of the best offensive minds of all time and that's why he's had the success he's had year in and year out."
Was Larry Fitzgerald everything you expected when you got there?
"Way more. I knew about the production on the field. I didn't know the type of person, the character, to the end that it is. Every day, even in the spring, OTAs, he's going full speed, he's showing up to workouts. Things that a guy of his status and age normally doesn't do, but he loves the game. He loves his teammates. He's an even better person off the field. I think as a staff, we as a staff feel honored to just kind of watch him operate each and every day."
Can you just elaborate on that performance from (Chase) Edmonds last week? Just kind of filling in and going off.
"We were excited for Chase to get that opportunity and play at such a high level. He has worked really hard the last two years to change his body and become an every down back in this league. I think you saw the versatility, you saw what he can do in that role. We were all just proud of his effort and he's a team guy, plays special teams, does whatever it takes. For him to have his opportunity and to take advantage of it like that meant a lot to all of us."
Everybody talks about rookies getting acclimated, but this is a new role for you too as an NFL head coach. How are you learning and evolving as the first part of the season has gone on?
"It is one day at a time. Every day something new comes up that I am experiencing and I am trying to learn and get better from it. Luckily for me, we have Vance Joseph on our staff who was just a head coach he's been a great sounding board for me. Jeff Rogers, our special teams coach. has been on some great staffs and some of those guys have been huge to kind of help me through this process as we kind of grow each and every week."
I wanted to ask one more about Saints offense in particular, their use of personnel groupings I know is kind of a trademark of a Sean Payton offense. As a coach, what is the advantage of that from an offensive point of view and the challenge from a defensive point of view in trying to defend it?
"He's just great at finding mismatches and then bringing in those different personnel groups and trying to get you in a defensive unit that he feels like one of those guys in that group can take advantage of. There's nobody better. He's substituting late in the play clock and waiting for your communication to shut off so he can get his guys out there and kind of create chaos if you will. That takes a well-oiled machine and a great offensive mind to be able to pull all that off and they've got it rolling."