New Orleans Saints Linebacker Kaden Elliss
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, September 4, 2020
It was a long offseason for you, longer than most just because of your injury. How do you feel in your first training camp back from that?
"It was an interesting offseason, but a fun one and a blessed one. I felt well this camp. The training and strength staff here did such an amazing job helping me get back this offseason to get back ready for camp. I was just blessed and thankful to be out there each day."
You had a very busy offseason with your rehab and you're a new dad too. What was that experience like having your first child?
"Oh my goodness, it was so joyous, so much love. Everybody always tells you you're not going to be able to know until it happens, and man is that true? It's such a blessing to become a dad. I love him. His name's Day and just getting to hold him for the first time and already seeing him grow up so much these last six months has been such a joy and such a blessing. I'm so thankful."
How would you assess the training camp you had? It looked like you got a lot of work this year.
"It was a good training camp. It was a tough. There were tons of reps they had to try to make up for lack preseason games. I think our staff has always just done an amazing job in handling it all, but it was a fun, a tough camp. Just a good time to be out there with the guys. I think I played well. I did everything I could. I played my heart out and I enjoyed it. It's such a blessing to be here with this organization with these guys and get to step out on that field each day. So just a great opportunity."
Last year obviously didn't end the way you wanted it to. But what did you learn about yourself through the process?
"Yeah, that's actually my first major injury I've ever had. I had a lot of guys on this team come up to me, give me words of advice, people who have been through it. I talked to Kiko (Alonso) a lot. And I think what you said, the question you asked is pretty important, because it kind of, first off, lets you know that you're not invincible. On that field, things can happen. You never know when your last snap is going to be. So I think it really pushes me to take each snap, each opportunity, each day, make it a little more valuable in my mind. Just know that it's not forever. I think that just the perseverance that it takes to come in here each day and work with these trainers because they're tough, Beau (Lowery) and Jonathan (Gress) and Shone (Gipson) and everybody, they had a pretty tough regimen, but it was the best and I feel stronger than ever and I'm so thankful to them for that. It was a hard time, but it was a good time."
Natural follow up to that, obviously you did not have the full season last year, but how do you feel that you have grown as a player from training camp last year to now?
"Last year was tough not being able to get the physical reps, but it was a great opportunity to sit back and watch and learn mentally to really hone in on the defense as a whole, to really hone in on different techniques and how guys (operate). I get to watch an All-Pro, one of the best in the league, if not the best in the league, do it each and every day in Demario (Davis) and then you've got so many other great guys that are out there playing last year that I got to just sit and watch and learn from, watch their process, watch how they do each and everything. Getting to see that, getting to grow mentally last year. Although again, it sucked and it was tough that I didn't get to have the physical reps, it was a great opportunity to learn."
Which spot in the linebacker rotation have you been getting most of your snaps in practice, and do you think that there's a particular side, whether it's middle or strong or weak that you think your skill set is best suited for?
"Primarily, I've been getting strong and middle. Those have kind of been the two spots that I've worked most at. I pride myself in being a versatile player, someone that can play multiple positions. However the coaches feel they need to use me in this defense, however they feel I need to help this defense and this team, I am ready to roll in whatever position. Different skill sets, obviously at each different position, the strong and the middle, but overall I feel like you've got to be a smart player and you've got to just trust yourself and go make plays. That's what I'm going to try to do at either."
What's it been like transitioning between Mike Nolan to Michael Hodges as your linebackers coach?
"We had Hodges here last year so he was a part of the coaching staff still, he was working with us. It wasn't too tough of a transition. I knew him. He is actually the guy that came to work me out at my pro day. We sat, had dinner and talked it out. I have known him more than anybody, longer than anybody (else)with the Saints organization. But he is so passionate. It is really cool to see and really cool to not just see, but get to feel every day in the meetings, in the individuals, in each team period. His passion, his work ethic, I think it really drives our room to make us even better and I'm really thankful that he's my coach."