New Orleans Saints Linebacker A.J. Klein
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 30, 2019
Yesterday was your first NFL touchdown? Correct. How do you feel?
"Oh, it was good. Obviously, had had quite a few when I was in college, so it's good to get back to the end zone and it was a good turning point. (It) Brought some energy to our team and I think once that happened, we obviously opened up a pretty big margin so (I was) just happy to make the play."
Did you see something specific on that play?
"No, we're just playing cover two, played my normal post route and he ran a stick route. That's a route I can steal and I went ahead and broke on it and (Will Grier) threw it right to me, thankfully."
Does that familiarity with the Vikings help with the process of preparing for them?
"Possibly. I haven't seen any of their tape (yet). I haven't seen what they've necessarily done the same or differently from years past. But you could assume that there are going to be some things that are the same, obviously personnel and we know obviously the playmakers on their team, but how to dive more into the tape before I can really say."
How do you think your play or the defense as a whole, how do you think that play is going so far with you guys heading into the playoffs? Do you feel like you're coming off one of your better performances and better second halves?
"I think these last few games we have, after the 49ers, kind of reset gears and kind of refocused a little bit. I think we're playing good football. We're still not playing our best. There are obviously things week to week we can always continue to improve on and whether it's communication or just alignments and fits, there are always things that we can improve on, but we are trending in the right direction and obviously the goal is to peak four weeks from now or whatever it is, five weeks from now. But we'll take it one step at a time, one game at a time. As long as we can continue to improve from week to week, I think we'll be alright."
Did you watch the game in Seattle last night?
"To be honest, I didn't watch it, but I had the updates on my phone. Not until this afternoon I actually found out how it actually went down, but I had the updates. I mean for me we couldn't control our seeding. Obviously other people kind of decided our fate as far as our seeding. But I will say that we control our destiny. You know what I mean? We can't rely on other people to make plays or other teams to do certain things. We just have to focus on ourselves and focus on our process. It just goes to show, obviously we would have liked Seattle to win, to give us a bye. But you know what I mean? This is just the way it's written for us and it's part of our journey this year."
How confident are you in the way this team has been constructed the last couple of years? Back to back to back division champs, back to back 13 win seasons, a team that looks like it's capable of winning a variety of ways and in a variety of venues. How confident are you in the way this team is constructed?
"I'm very confident because from top to bottom, we're (a) competitive team and I think we've shown, especially on defense, offense, If we have somebody go down or get a shoelace, guys can come in and fill in at multiple positions across the board. Whether it's on the offensive line, the defense backfield, the linebacker room, quarterback, running back. We have had a lot of moving parts this season, a lot of guys up and down on gamedays. I think it just goes to show the resiliency of this team and how it's built from top to bottom that we can compete, no matter who we put on the field because of how we're built. I think that's positive for us."
How would you say your playoff experiences from the last two years has helped shape this team? Obviously it has been good experience, but there have been some painful ones too. How do you take that with you into this playoff run?
"Well, I think the longer that you play, you take every single year with a grain of salt and obviously you learn from past mistakes or past scenarios and just try to do your best to, I want to say play a perfect game, but to try to limit the same mistakes that you had in the past. I think this team is very experienced when it comes to the playoffs. We have had a lot of guys that've been on even multiple teams that have had playoff experience. I think it goes a long way to, I think having guys that have been there in these situations because it's different than the regular season. It's different in the preseason, it's the same thing every single year. Preseason is different. It picks up when it gets to the regular season. The same thing with the postseason. Tensions are high, it's one and done, and there's a lot on the line. I think to have guys that are experienced in the situation and know how to handle the commotion, obviously cause the fans and everything else. It's beneficial for us."