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Transcript: Marcus Davenport training camp conference call - Friday, August 7

New Orleans Saints defensive end spoke to media about just scratching the surface of his potential

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Marcus Davenport
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, August 7, 2020

What was the rehab process like for you this offseason?
"So rehab has been pretty much, I would say continuous, you know, we put in a lot of time over this offseason because of covid and this break. And it's really helped me back a lot. Shoot I'm more excited just to be able to go through all this stuff and see how everything unfolds. It's pretty good."

How is it different than just staying at a hotel for training camp any other year?
"Well the Saints have done a great job, especially making us feel and see that they're taking all these different precautions and that they want the best for us. And so the hotel is an option for certain guys and depending on if you're just new in town, you don't really know where to go, I think that's like one of the best options you can have because it's a safe environment and that's what we're really about right now. Trying to do all we can and make it to the season."

Was the defensive line able to create more camaraderie this offseason with a lot of you rehabbing together?
"Well I think that happens a little bit with anybody. (This offseason we) kind of just happened to be around each other for an extended amount of time. But I can say that we were pretty lucky. We took all these precautions, the trainer's the whole staff, the Saints as a whole, had like a plan set out for us and allowed us able to grow and just develop some more camaraderie like you said, just build on what we had. So it has been great."

Do you have any specific goals for this upcoming season and did you have to adjust them because of the way the offseason went with COVID?
"No, I can say honestly I was blessed because I had all this time. I had the chance to be around Cam (Jordan) and you know, watch how he works. And so my goal is, shoot, I'm trying to be better than Cam. Obviously he's one of the best and I think that's a good goal, (to) try to model (after him). I would say my aspirations (are) to just try to be better. He always says 1% better each day and so to if I can do better than Cam, I'm doing something right."

What's been one of the harder adjustments to trying to stay safe, but also just be with your teammates?
"I can understand that. Spacing, that's like a constant thing. We try to keep like at least six feet spacing and mask (on) all the time. So I can't say this (is) necessarily the hardest, but that is one of the issues that will always arise and besides that. I can say that everybody here's basically taking (it as serious as) serious possible because we know that no day is really given. We don't know. The NFL season can be cancelled tomorrow so we're just trying to best we can today."

Do you agree that getting better at the little things will make you a better player?
"Well, yeah. I think that like you said speaks for itself. To be able to become a better player I have to understand the little things and I think this offseason that has been a good part of being able to build from the base up. And (to) just have all this extended time to learn. And so, shoot, for any player, yeah, we have (to) start with the little things. Because it starts to change habits and that's how you become a great player."

Did your injury make you watch more film and work more on the mental aspects of your game and how did that change your offseason? What do you think you need to do to be at the level of Cam Jordan?
"I think anytime there's an injury, there is always a time that you have to step back. Time you have to go about the schedule and trust the process and that is a big step. And as far as the other point. Personally, that's always like the hardest thing. I just say better than Cam when I just talk about statistics. I tell Cam I always want one more sack than he has. And so when I think of it as like more of a competition. That's a driving force always present. And in other sense is I got to play my own game, I am still learning and growing and trying to define myself. So in that, trying to grow and figuring out that, if I can just do a little bit better. If I can get that one percent each day then I could be something. But shoot, going against Cam and seeing him on the other side's a driving force."

When you guys do get back to practice sessions and padded practices and everything, do you expect to be limited in any way or you expect as many snaps as you're allowed to have?
"Personally, you know, I expect as many snaps as I'm personally allowed, but you know, I have to just trust the process. So whatever they give me I have to be able to take, I have to do well."

Do you feel like you are 100 percent and are just let letting them gradually bring you back?
"I guess you could say it like that."

How do you feel like your season went last year?
"I guess I just get upset about what I don't do or what I didn't do. It took way too long for me to start stringing stuff together. It took way too long to start winning one on ones. Actually any challenge I get. So that's just how I feel about it. This whole offseason I have had to hold that in and try to use that because there's a lot more I want to be able to do. Like I said, I want to be able to be better than Cam and to be able to do that. What I did last year. It was not much. It wasn't good enough, not even close? I have to do better."

How do you balance mentally preparing for the season, but at the same time knowing that it could potentially end or you know be changed at any time?
"So my mindset is really, especially with my coach talking to us and we have like open discussions on this is not guaranteed. This is not promised. So we might as well try to enjoy (what we have). We got a good group of guys, a great team that basically wants to win and when it gets there we know we can. But right now, nothing being guaranteed, this is limited time, might as well enjoy it, if not what's the point."

What was the hardest part of the seemingly endless offseason for you?
"Let's see, the hardest part probably had to be the setback I did have to take (near the end of last season), I'm pretty good when I have like a schedule, something that I have to be about and stay focused on. So I feel like that was a blessing, especially being with the trainers and all that. They helped me build from the ground up. Helped me learn how to use these different muscles and build them and you know have a firmer base. So, like I said, the hardest part was probably the time off. I know no time off is good. That way you know you never really have like a blowout and all that. But that had to be the hardest part."

If you and Cam Jordan both hit your goals, do you think the defense and the team overall will have a good season.
"It's going to be a fun year, if we can get to it. And that's the goal, shoot, it's always going to be a challenge. When you play with one of the best, it should be a challenge anyway. So yeah."

Did you pick up any good books this offseason?
"I kind of diverted from that. So this offseason, I tried to take more of a step back from anything (like) that. I also wanted to learn the guitar. But I pretty much just kind of took a step back from everything and just tried to focus on football and just listening to music while I contemplate plays and all this other stuff. So I just tried to focus this offseason."

No extra quarantine skills, it was all football this offseason?
"Ah, shoot, I love to watch movies. I know how to find better music, but really besides that it was pretty much all football."

What's the craziest thing Cameron Jordan has told you in your preparation of helping you?
"That I need to stop thinking. That's basically it. We talk about a lot of different things and most of the time I could be jabbering on just going off on a tangent, (and he stresses to) simplify it. We brought you here for a reason. So just play you and then consistently just one percent better. Yeah, I can't say it's the craziest thing, but, shoot, when someone says don't think, that's something for me and I've been working at it."

Have you heard about the CBS Sports article about comparing you to JJ Watt as far as your development this year and do you believe that this is going to be the breakout year for you?
"No, not really. Yes, shoot, that's what I plan on and I'm trying to work towards (progress) and I don't think there's really a simpler way to say it. I expect that along with a lot work that we're still continuing to do. Learning the process and all this is going to pay off and I didn't expect to be overall better than what I was and so that's it."

Did you have any other strength training goals on the rest of your body? Did you want to add weight take weight off? Were you able to do that? What were your offseason goals other than the rehab?
"So honestly, I wanted to be able to gain weight and in like my lower body and just know, pack mass, pack mass and it came to the point where it was just strength. And so you know, with the added strength and with the added stress of focusing on, shoot, like I said, build up the base, I was able to gain weight and it's just been more of, at this point, fine tuning it. So that's one thing I was blessed with this offseason. Being able to work my body into a position where even though I still have room to grow, it's one of the best ones I felt."

What's the endgame there for you to gain that lower body strength?
"I am just trying to be consistently explosive. At times, I feel like, although I am strong and explosive, I want to be more firm, you know, a healthier overall (product). We talked about explosion, but you have got to be able to recoil and your produce it and contain it. So that is something I've been working on."

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