New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara and WR Michael Thomas
Training Camp Presented By Verizon
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability
How much do you guys look forward this third preseason game? Knowing you might see more extended time than you have in the first two.
Thomas: "Yeah, it's exciting just to be out there with the starting 11 and those guys that I'm going to compete with all season long just to get started and get off to a fast start and work on our tempo before week one."
Do you like having training camp here? Are you good with the heat and the fans, the whole thing -- everything that comes with being here?
Kamara: "Yeah. It's cool. We're the New Orleans Saints so anytime we can be in New Orleans, I'm happy with it. I've never had training camp anywhere else being in the NFL, so this is it."
Having done this for a few years now, has this gotten easier (as far as training camp goes)?
Kamara: "I wouldn't say easier but it's more, I think it's, it's not as much pressure I would say. I think it's, it's always pressure to get better and you know to be back with the guys and want to progress fast. But I wouldn't say it's as nerve wracking. Like your rookie year you come in and camp, you won't know what to expect. It's more of a, I know what to expect now. It's just now I can really focus on the things I need to do to get better."
When you look at a team like the Jets and Gregg Williams, they really got after it and blitzed the Falcons. Have you all looked at the film to be prepared for that even though it is a preseason game?
Thomas: "For sure. We went against Gregg last year in week two when he was at Cleveland. We have a lot of film on him. Our coaching (staff) is prepared."
Are there any measurable benefits that guys get out of being in an actual game with Drew (Brees)?
Kamara: "Anytime we have Drew in the huddle, it's like a game situation. It's like, well, I mean it's a preseason game, but we play it like a real game. Like Mike said earlier, it's a good time to work on our tempo, get our timing down. I'm just working on the smaller things that, you know, we might not get out of going against Demario (Davis) and Cam (Jordan) every day. We're going against another team. It's just an opportunity to see where we're at. Not only see where we are at but get better."
When you have a training camp here, when it's slightly warm, how much value is it to get to like Los Angeles and get a few days with a different climate? Is that a big thing or would you be okay if you didn't?
Thomas: "It serves a lot of benefits. Just going out there it is a lot easier to breathe without some of the humidity (is beneficial). I felt like that is one of the things we have to our advantage. We come out here and compete and go hard all day in this heat and uncomfortable situations and wherever we go against other teams that may have not had those same uncomfortable situations where they had to respond and make plays and move the ball up and down the field at their own will. I feel like us coming back here and having practice in New Orleans serves benefits for us all year long."
Given the way last season ended and you have virtually all of your coaches back and the majority of players back, I know you said you have two preseason games left, do you almost wish (the regular season could start today)?
Kamara: "Of course. You know, I mean that's we're in camp for. To get ready for that. The 16 games we've got coming up. There's a certain point you reach in camp where you're tired of hitting your teammates. You know what I'm saying? You want to go against another team and that's what preseason is for. But we want to go for it, when it really counts like Monday night. That is the first game of our season. Of course we're ready for that, but we still have time. We got things we need to correct. We got things we need to get better at. We're looking forward to it but definitely still going day by day and try to focus on what we have to do."
When you look at your situation now in the past, I know you worked on kick return, are you part of that emergency if they need you to make a play?
Kamara: "I don't know. You have to ask coach Payton. Coach Payton was just up here like five minutes ago. You have to ask him. (Laughter)."
I think Alvin was second on the team in catches last season. How do you evaluate him in the receiving game and how much do you guys share ideas about that aspect of the offense?
Thomas: "The sky is the limit for him. Every year he's improved. He's made progress. He plays running back but he's always talking to coach CJ asking questions about receiving so he is always trying to enhance his game and having a young player like that is automatic because you can get better year in and year out. We know our responsibility for this team and put points on the board. We're in it together. Whatever we've got to do help each other out."
Are there any particular elements of your receiving technique that you picked up from Michael?
Kamara: "Yeah, but I don't think I can do them all. He can run any route on the route sheet and running them hard, every one. Some of the breaks he be getting in to, I don't know how to do that. I can't make my body do that, but I try. I mean, just watching him, he's explosive. Every one of his routes when it starts out it looks the same, that's why I think these corners and safeties have a tough time guarding because you know, you don't know what you're going to get with him. He's strong. Strong hands. One thing that I do not think he gets enough credit for is that he's smart. He knows coverages, he knows where his soft spots are. He studies his opponent. He knows what gets to him. He knows how to exploit their weaknesses. I've definitely learned a lot and picked up a lot from watching his game."
Anything about hand exercises?
Kamara: "He cheats. He definitely cheats with the hand, where I get his hands strong. I'm not going to tell you what he does, but I'm trying. I've got a little bit stronger."
Coach Payton talked about the human side of making cuts (and) how difficult it is. You're going to have friends that in the next week or so looking for jobs. Do you talk to them? How do you all handle that as guys who are more established knowing that you may have friends that aren't here anymore?
Thomas: "Just share with them other real-life examples. Guys that have been cut and now starting on teams, won championships, all types of things. So just letting them know it's a tough job. There's going to be some ups and downs. (There's going to be) adversity. Keep your head high. Keep the faith. Always keep communication with the coaches you come across just because they have a lot of information that can help you. Just coming in day in and day out with your head down and ready to be better and do not let one day make you go into the tank. There are 31 other teams. There are always opportunities.
The New Orleans Saints had their twenty eighth day of training camp presented by Verizon, fans came out to support their favorite members of the Black & Gold.