What have you been doing the past few months while all of this has been happening to try to be as ready as you can to come back and get back in the swing of things again?
"Well, I guess the first thing was just finding a routine. When the season's over, you have a few months and then you're right back at work. So just finding that routine to make sure that you weren't losing yourself in and such and just keeping your mind focused, that there is going to be a season, even though everything on TV early on was up in the air. We didn't really know any information, everything was new. So just pretty much just staying consistent."
You talked about finding a routine and as you're heading into this training camp, things are obviously going to be different. Do you think that's going to be a challenge for a lot of guys to kind of adjust that routine with all the new things that are going to be going on?
"Yeah, but that is the name of our game, right? Our game is a game that changes every few years, you have got ebbs and flows to what people do that is good and bad. Finding that routine is going to be huge, especially for the guys that have been here for a while, that has kind of been the league, and kind of know what they do. You have to be different now. Then for the young guys as well, everything for them is going to be new so they have to adjust on the fly. Well, we've all to adjust on the fly, but just the faster you can find that routine, the better off you'll be."
One of those new guys Zack Baun, obviously you haven't been with him on the field yet, but what have you seen from him in the meetings that you've had so far?
"Yeah, just so far he's, as we talked to our (position) coach (Michael Hodges), and they met with the rookies more than vets during this offseason, but as we all get on meetings together virtually he's a real knowledgeable kid. Our coach does a good job of asking everybody questions. So he's not just steering questions towards certain people. He'll go down the list and everybody's answering the questions. Zack and Joe (Bachie) as well, our other rookie has been doing a great job answering questions. We have a lot of information in our playbook. So the faster that you can capture our playbook, the better off you'll be. They're doing a good job already just starting off."
What would it be like for you as a defense of guy playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, obviously we don't know what the NFL is going to do it yet, but if there are no fans in the dome, what would that be like?
"Man, I don't know. That's a huge advantage for us being on defense and having that crowd, knowing that the offense has to deal with all the fans and the Superdome. It'll be a different feel, but if that is the case, then hey, we've got to figure it out. We've got to figure it out and you've got to just find a way to win and we'll have to figure out, try to have some more advantages in other areas if we don't have our biggest advantage being the fans."
How confident are you that the NFL is going to be able to get through this season without any interruptions? Are you pretty confident in that?
"Well, I guess you can say yeah, because I am confident in kind of what we're doing as a league. Watching baseball kind of throws it all up in the air, but I feel like us being after baseball and us watching basketball and WNBA as well, learning from their positives and negatives will help our game moreso finish so we can finish the season."
How much as the leader of the team do put an emphasis on some of these younger guys how responsible you have to be and you can't do some of the things that you typically would do in the city as far as like just going out or hanging out?
"Honestly, you're right. I'm a leader, but at the same time, I tell guys the truth. You're a young guy and you're going out in the city, you catch this virus. Nobody knows, you can catch it getting your mail. Some people are going to catch it, right? So that has to be understood, but if you're going out and you catch it, that's going to be a bad look on you. Moreso, you are a young guy in this league, the show goes on, right? Like it is an injury, so you do not want to mess your NFL career up by catching the virus one time. They have got to get somebody else to play. Now that person comes in and plays well. Now they're looking at you like, hey, well, we've kind of got somebody else now. And it was all because you didn't take those precautions. If you can take it and some people may think it's being extra, but that's the new normal now. So you've got to understand that."
Did you ever have any thoughts with the family on potentially opting out this season or what those conversations may have looked like with your family?
"Yeah, me and my wife, we talk about everything so it was a talk that we had, but it was never in question for me to opt out just because me and my family, we're in a safe place of, hey, if it goes crazy, I'll be in New Orleans and you guys would be home in Texas and be safe. It's hard to say that being a father, being a husband that you would be away from your kids to play a game, but I watched my dad do it when I was younger (minor league baseball). It just comes to a point, you only get to play this game for so long, you might as well go out and give it everything you got while you got it. That's just a sacrifice that you have to make that you'll look back on later. You want to live life with no regrets. Just going at it full steam ahead is just the way to go in my opinion."
Coming into the league as an undrafted free agent, how hard would it have been for you to make a team with no preseason games?
"Man, look, I came in during the lockout year. Coming in that time was kind of a little bit different than what they're going through now. We didn't have meetings with coaches to help us, it was like, hey, you come in and go. But yeah, preseason games definitely help because you can have guys that are practice field All-Americans and then get on the field in the preseason game and the lights may be too big for them, but that's just going to have to be the GM's deal now to see what they see in somebody on the practice field and hope that that translates on Sundays. It would have been tough for me without a preseason game, but guys that typically do well in preseason games do well in practice as well."
You do a lot of special teams stuff. How tough is it to show what you can do as a special teams player without a preseason game? How can you duplicate that in a training camp?
"I think that kind of rolls onto what we'll be doing at practice. Obviously we don't have all the details yet, but I think it'll be more game tempo type practices later on in training camp so they can see if they can get a correlation of what people are doing now and see if that matches and kind of expectations of what they may be doing on Sundays."
Do you have any idea how many players and guys are sacrificing kind of the way you are leaving their families in their hometown and then going through training camp, possibly the season away from them to avoid spreading the virus?
"No, I don't have an idea or I know of a few guys that's doing it. Right now is it's more so you've been quarantined in one area and now you're coming to a new area for most of us, right? So there's a lot of uncertainty. I guess there's a lot of uncertainty for kids like with schools and stuff. A lot of people were like, well, I really don't know. And so the guys that don't know it's more, so, hey, just keep your family at home so they'll have a sense of comfort and have confidence in what they're doing on a daily basis."
You alluded to earlier guys who potentially end up getting the virus can't play, your position group has been banged up with football injuries for the past season, what's it like to get Kaden (Ellis) and Alex (Anzalone) and Kiko (Alonso) back at least for now?
"Those are great ballplayers. Anytime you can add another great ballplayer to your room like with them coming back from injury, that just makes the position group stronger. Anytime you can add a good ballplayer is awesome, but those guys in particular, I've watched them work. I've watched them study so I know how committed they are to the game. So having them back is going to be huge for our room."
Drew (Brees) was talking earlier about how about how he's had to make a conscious effort to not lick his fingers, is there something kind of like that maybe you or your other teammates have had to think about in terms of, oh, we can't do this anymore because of germs. Is there anything like that?
"No, that's probably just going to be Drew on that one. Some wide receivers may spit in their gloves and rub their hands together to make them extra sticky, but that doesn't really affect, I guess anybody else, unless they catch the ball and give it back. There's a lot of different ways they can go about it, but yeah, that thing with Drew and he's licking his fingers, that's a little bit different."
I didn't figure you personally licked your fingers, but I didn't know if there was anything else, hygiene wise, that maybe came into play when you're thinking about being safe.
"No, you have got probably 99 point something percent of guys wearing gloves all the time. The biggest thing, I guess, some people take the gloves off cause people's gloves are tight so they'll bite the finger of a glove to pull it out. So that might be the only thing, but other than that, you can leave all the licking of the fingers up to the quarterbacks."
What about just locker room interactions? Terron (Armstead) was talking about how you might see a guy now and instead of giving him a high five or something you'd have to sort of make an effort to do a fist bump. Is that something that you've already found yourself having to think about?
"I see about 14, 15 guys a day, at least half of them, we do not know what to do. You have got a high five mixed with an elbow. You have got a dab mixed with high five. I guess moreso like the more you hang around people and we are all brothers here, right? So most of us haven't seen each other in a long time so when you see each other it's normal, like high five, hug. That's just what we do, but you have to make a conscious effort to give the elbows, to give the dabs, just trying to figure out what each person likes. It's almost like how the defense, how we all have handshakes for everybody. We've almost got to figure out what that other person likes so we aren't caught in the middle of looking crazy."
What are you going to do about your handshakes? They're really important and fun, but do you have to eliminate them?
No, come on now we're creative, right? We've got Cam Jordan on our team, so he's one of the most creative dudes ever, but we can figure out different handshakes and mix it up and just go from there. We all created all these handshakes one-on-one so we we'll just go back to the drawing board and create some handshakes."
Initial reaction on Cam (Jordan's) hair this morning in the locker room?
"You can go look at my IG story, but Cam, he is a person that is committed. That's what I told him. When I saw him, he told me he was going to do this, right? And I've seen him once before he got his dreads taken out and he had decided to have the Sideshow Bob, and then he comes back and he told me, he was like, I'm going to get a Jheri curl. And he did it. Not only did he had the Jheri curl, he had it juiced down to. If Cam tells you he's going to do something, he's going to do it. He's committed to his dream and his thought and he going to make it happen. And he definitely did with that Jheri curl he's got going on right now."
I keep hearing from people that you're in a real MVP. Talking with Cam (Jordan) yesterday and stuff, he's talking about how you and guys like Demario Davis that just never stop working out. With all this COVID situation, have you had any alterations to your routine that you've had to incorporate in this offseason?
No, I don't know. I was just blessed, three years ago we moved into our house in Texas and that summer I decided that I wanted to build a home gym in the garage. So that decision kind of helped me keep my routine now so just having a place where I can go work, having that routine, right? I'd wake up in the morning to go, then the kids would wake up, eat breakfast, and then my wife was starting to homeschool. Then I'd keep the other two while she was homeschooling one then when lunchtime hit me and (my) wife who would work out. That was kind of like my routine during the whole pandemic, stay at home order. It just became second nature. Once everything started to open back up, I still stayed at my house working out because I had a good routine. So now I feel like I'm just ready to go."