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Transcript: New Orleans Saints Defensive Line coach Ryan Nielsen training camp interview - Sunday, Aug. 30

Nielson spoke with media on Defensive Line roles at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Defensive Line Coach Ryan Nielsen
Video Call with Local Media
Sunday, August 30, 2020

You guys didn't really add a lot to the defensive line this offseason in terms of veteran free agents? What is it about maybe the depth and some of the other guys who are ready to step into bigger roles that we might not appreciate, whether it's Trey Hendrickson, Carl Granderson or anybody that you think has shown that they're ready to step into a bigger role?
"The entire group, we got back so and all of these guys have played in playoff games for us. So I think we've got a good deep group. The nice thing is, man, we've all been together three for four years. So a lot of same terminology, same things and then just overall I'm just looking for every player in this group just one day at a time to just continually push and get better."

Specifically to Carl Granderson, have you seen him just grow over the last year and is he ready to contribute in both the run and pass game?
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Carl did a great job in the offseason he got his body weight up, (and to) get his strength up. So he's been more of a complete player first down to third down. Carl can rush the passer, but I'm really proud of them in terms of his run fundamentals and how he's playing the run."

Amongst a group that looks like they have really gotten their bodies right in the offseason, it looks like Sheldon Rankins is really, really playing well out there for you. What have you seen, just not in terms of rehab, but in terms of improvement and explosiveness?
"He did a great job, man. And I attribute that a lot to this as a second time through (a major rehab). So you kind of knew what the expectations were to get better. But he's come in, I really like where his mindset is to push to grind. And to focus on man, we're focusing on the small details of the position. Like I said, we've all shown and has been here in this in this group for four years going on five years and it's just fine tuning, playing the position so he's done a really good job of that"

Cam Jordan's ability to play every day, every snap for nine years, how crazy unusual and almost freakish is his ability to always be on the field?
"I've never been around the player that has the stamina that he does with the strength and the power and as hard as he plays on every snap you. It really is unbelievable. It is fun to watch, like he's always available and ready to go on game day. So I give him a lot of credit for the things that he does in practice in the offseason to prepare but it truly is very special

I apologize for bringing a little offense into it, but if you look at the front on both sides of the ball, you've got a lot of first round picks, a lot of guys who sign second contracts, a lot of homegrown talents. What is it like to work at an organization that obviously values the front lines like that?
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It's awesome. We have every player back on the defensive line that we had last year. So I was I was extremely excited to see that happen. And when that happens, the continuity between the coach and the players, us as a group, everybody's on the same page. We all know what to expect from each other. We have relationships, all that is built even through what happened in the offseason, the virtual meetings and everything. It was really nice just to get on talk with the guys you know talk football because we already know each other you know we already know the expectation so that I think that's helped out a ton. And I hope we continue that trend."

In looking at film, Cam Jordan's sweet spot for him seems to be playing around 85 percent of the snaps. It seems his production per snap has gone up a little the last couple years. Is that where you guys would like to keep him?
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Yes I think so. Look, we're going to do right by the team first and Cam. So whatever that is, in terms of look, maybe one game it's a little bit more (and) one game it's a little bit less. But ultimately, having him fresh in the fourth quarter when the game's on the line, you know we want him out there. So we do have a deep group that we can get some rotation in there, and hopefully keep the productivity at a high level. So we'll just manage that and every game is different. So we just go in and figure game one to game two and how we are going to manage his reps (and) his snap counts and ultimately keeping it fresh in the fourth quarter so he can go out there and stop the run (and) rush the passer."

You've talked in generalities, but with David Onyemata re-signing this offseason, how big was that specifically for the position that he plays for you guys?
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Huge, huge, (it) is great to have David back. This is a guy that loves football. He loves to practice (and) he loves to play. He's a big strong player really good at his position. And again, like I said, the continuity because David and Sheldon (Rankins) work together in practice when we're doing some individual drills and they know each other, they give each other good look simulation of what the other team, the other other offense is doing terms of blocking schemes. So it was huge and it has been great for the group."

On Sheldon's spin move, how difficult is that for somebody to go up against?
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It is pretty fun to watch, especially when it comes as clean as it does sometimes. He's really done a good job to perfect the move. He has worked on a ton. It is a good move for him. It's not his only move, but it's a really good counter move for him. When we go out there and we're coaching everybody, you know that particular move, so we'll work on it as a group but e's really got it down.

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