QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
The offense, I think you scored on four straight possessions when the defense came up with the big stop. You feel for Taysom (Hill), the fumble seemed to kind of change the rhythm for the rest of the game there.
"Yeah, I mean, of course, you know, that was a huge stop by the defense. You know, we got the ball at midfield. You know, I think we all felt really good that we were going to go down and get points, you know, hopefully a touchdown and kind of seize control of that game. So, you know, it's unfortunate that it happened at that time. But man, Taysom is such a conscientious guy. And he's such a great football player, and he does so much for us. It's, you know, at times that's part of the game. You know, and you got to rally, you got to bounce back."
Why have you all struggled to get the ball down the field. Are defenses just defending you all a certain way, and you're taking what they're giving you, basically?
"We called a couple shot plays today. And unfortunately, we just got, again, bad looks. I think I got sacked on one. And that actually, ironically, the second one was the one where I threw it to Alvin Kamara and he went 52 yards for a touchdown. So, I don't care how far I have to throw the ball down the field. My job is to make good decisions. I'm not going to force it if it's not there, check it down, put in the hands of our playmakers and let them do what they do."
Kind of in that same vein, has the coverages you've seen been different since Mike (Thomas) has been out? Have teams been covering you differently than then maybe you have seen previously?
"For the most part today, they just played us real soft, they played us real soft. So we ran the ball well. You know, we checked it down underneath well. I thought we were really efficient and ran the ball well too. I'd say, if we're being sticklers about ourselves, the difference was, I think in the red zone, we had four red zone possessions and had two touchdowns, two field goals. So, in a game like this against a really good opponent and a really good offense on the other side of the ball, you just have to take advantage of those opportunities and try to get touchdowns as opposed to field goals."
Do you recall a game where you could just put the ball in a player's hands like Alvin (Kamara) and good things were happening repeatedly like that?
"Yeah. I mean, listen, he's a special football player. You know, he rattled off that big run early on, and then obviously, the check down, you know, turned into a 52 yard touchdown. It's nice when you've got a weapon like that, that you just get the ball in his hands in space. And he's tough to tackle and it's kind of a human highlight reel."
And then with Emmanuel Sanders, I know you talked about trying to get in rhythm, new player. Did that start something really good at the end of the second quarter? And do you think you guys finally found some of that chemistry tonight?
"I still think we can do a better job of getting the ball in his hands. And that goes for some other guys too, you know. Obviously, you've got these guys that can do a lot of things, you know, and throughout the course of the week, you know, you're always kind of waiting to see how a defense is going to play you, so you have a lot of volume in the plan. And then it's really not until you get to the game that you know what is going to work and really what you are going to hang your hat on. But, there is no doubt that you have a guy like Emmanuel Sanders, you want to get the ball in his hands. Tre'Quan Smith, Jared Cook, Alvin Kamara and so many others, there's only so many balls to go around. But at the same time, I think just, you know, our ability to be super efficient, my ability as a quarterback, you know, to make sure that the open guys are getting the balls, you know, and on time and in rhythm. And, you know, that's really what executing the offense is all about."
Just as a veteran leader on the team, how do you guys balance, being confident that you guys can find whatever you're missing so far, with also kind of having a sense of urgency of getting things back on track?
"Yeah. I mean, it's, unfortunately, you know, we've had two games in a row now, where, you know, these haven't been our best performances. I think, both sides of the ball, there's plenty of things that we know we need to work on, you know. The penalties is still a black eye. It was last week, it was again this week. You know, obviously taking care of the football, you know, I think we pride ourselves on being a team that really takes good care of the football and takes it away. And then just taking advantage of opportunities. You know, those redzone opportunities, those opportunities to sustain drives, or keep drives going. And that's complementary football. You know, I think special teams has been solid. But man, all those things work together. And that's what helps you get victories."
Are you surprised that you all have been kind of starting a little slow here, the fact that you all have so many players back from a year ago, your coaching staff is intact? I thought this might be an advantage for you all, this weird offseason. Because you all have so much continuity. Yet, it seems like both sides of the ball a little out of sorts a little bit.
"Well, I think, listen, if you're a veteran player in this league, you know that you're not guaranteed anything from year to year. You got to come out, you got to earn it, each and every time out. And I think, obviously, based on the last two losses in consecutive weeks. I think, you know, we have to take a hard look at, you know, what we're doing, how we're doing it. And we need to be doing it better, you know, bottom line. And, you know, be as efficient as we possibly can, create a great sense of urgency. Listen, I love our team. I love the way we work. I love the way we prepare. But there's obviously some things that need to be corrected so that we can get back on a winning track."
RUNNING BACK ALVIN KAMARA
Alvin, it was a big day for you today individually, obviously, but not enough. What do you need to do in your opinion to just kind of get back on track right now?
"I think we just got find more we are find more on offense. We have to find more on defense. We have to find more on special teams. We all have to do more then what is being asked us right now. (We) Have to correct mistakes, little things killing us, penalties. Some of the same stuff that went on last week. I mean, just penalties. We have to play smarter. We got to play a play better."
Just how tough is this, playing this way offensively right now?
"It's tough. I do not like losing. I would come out every week trying to get a win. Like I said, We have got to find more. We have to do more. Individually. From me to Drew (Brees) to everybody. We just have to do more."
RECEIVER EMMANUEL SANDERS
Coach Payton said that I feels like the team's not paying attention enough to detail or making too many mistakes and details on both sides of the ball. How do the players look at it right now, some of the leaders on the team?
"That's the truth. Obviously, the number one thing that I see is, penalties, you have to stop shooting ourselves in the foot, first of all, and we got to just play a smarter brand of football. I hope that that will help. I feel like the past two games for sure. Penalties have killed us. I mean, literally gave the other opponent points. So we got to stop doing that."
Is it just kind of frustrating right now that you haven't been able to get anything going downfield? Seems like everything has been kind of contained in shorter so far?
"Yeah. That's the way teams are playing right now, it's easy to plan. It's a lot of coverage two, just forcing us to check the ball down and forcing us to run the ball. So I feel like those opportunities to come. I'm I haven't had the pain. But you know, obviously, we're, we're 1-2 but I know what type of team we got. Yeah, I know, we could possibly go on a run here. I'm looking forward to practice actually on Wednesday, and I'm looking forward to next Sunday to Sunday after that and the Sunday after that. Because I feel like we got opportunity to really still do something special even though the record doesn't say that right now."
Alvin Kamara had almost 200 offensive yards today. Just how big is he? Especially right now when you don't have Michael Thomas and Jared Cook went down and things aren't clicking as much as you would like them to.
"I told him today I say I haven't seen too many running backs as better than him. And not only dynamic players, I think the only player that I can really compare him to in terms of explosion and just big play capabilities is Antonio Brown when I was playing with him, just jaw dropping plays over and over and over. I'm happy he's on my team, for sure."
The last time we talked to you, you mentioned some stuff about just knowing the personnel packages and that do you feel comfortable yet? In the offense, or is it still a process for you?
"This game I settled in, I learned my splits, I kind of grew in offense. I figured out what I was studying wrong, or what I was studying, right and what Sean Payton wants and what he didn't want. I feel like I found my groove this game. So I'm looking forward to continuously studying and getting in the groove with Drew and seeing how far we can take this because we got a lot of baller." You said, you feel like this team can still do something special."
Why do you feel that way?
"Look at the players. We got Drew Brees at quarterback, Alvin Kamara at running back. We have Michael Thomas coming back. We got Sean Payton calling plays and on the defensive side, we got players as well. So why would I not think that? There's no excuse. But you know, the first three games, we had Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers. So we came in on the short end of the stick right now because we are 1-2 but at the same time, as the season progresses, I feel like we're going to get better and better and get more acclimated with the offense and defense and grow as a team. I feel like the sky's is still the limit."
Emmanuel, you've been on some teams that have been to the Super Bowl, one Super Bowl. What was that that mood? Like in the locker room after today? Are you kind of encouraged by the way you guys are handling this right now?
"The mood is we got a lot of ball left to play. And there's no reason to hit the panic button. But we got to correct the mistakes. We're going to go we need to play a smarter brand of football. We got to get rid of the penalties. We've got to get better on offense, defense and special teams. We just have to grow and get better."
SAFETY MALCOLM JENKINS
You've been a part of some great teams in your career. I know you said earlier, you thought this team has the chance to be one of the best ones you've played on. How do you assess where you're at now, 1-2 and some of the problems you all might be having right now?
"Yeah, I think my assessment for what I thought before still stands, I still think this is, from a talent standpoint, one of the more talented teams I've been on from a roster standpoint, but like I've said before, talent really doesn't get you much in this league on paper, especially when you're as undisciplined as we've been playing lately on defense. I think we've got the guys to execute and do what we need to do, but a lot of it has been just a lack of discipline, whether it's penalties, your assignments here or there. It's really just been hurting us, but we've got a whole season. It's still very early and there's things that we can correct, but we've got to do it and got to get it fixed if we want to be the team that we set out to be."
What was it about those bootlegs they were running? They just kind of seemed hard for you guys to adjust to.
"Yeah, it just comes down to discipline, eye discipline, understanding what the offenses are going to do. And all it takes is one guy not to be doing his job in those plays, control the game, getting people ahead of the sticks. So, something that we'll continue to see until we get it fixed."
Just considering how many veteran guys you have, is there sort of a sense that you guys can get this fixed? And is there a sort of confidence that comes along with that?
"For me, personally, I feel like that was what I was brought here to do and so up to this point, I think I've been failing in that regard, but it's definitely something I think between myself and other leaders on the team and on defense can definitely get it fixed. I think the coaching staff does a great job of preparing us. As players, we've got to take it upon ourselves and make sure that we're ready to go, that we're getting better every week and that we're playing discipline ball. And we just haven't been up until now."
DEFENSIVE TACKLE SHELDON RANKINS
Just wondering if you could just kind of give me a general overview of where this defense is at right now, just after these last two games in particular.
"Right now we're not executing at the level, we're constantly executing at. It's real simple. When we cut the tape after the games, we see ourselves doing things that are detrimental to his team, detrimental to his defense, putting ourselves in adverse positions. We're just not being consistent enough right now. We'll play one down good, and then give up something cheap. You know, on all levels. You know, it starts with, you know, myself, Cam (Jordan), guys up front. We got to play better, and, and so on, and so forth. So right now, we're just not executing consistently enough, to be the type of team we want to be. Like we have in the past we come out with energy, made plays. But right now, we're not doing that. We're putting ourselves in bad positions and forcing ourselves into games where we've given up a lot of points and given up a lot of plays. And that's not what we do."
Do you guys feel like you're creating pressure at the rate you want to create at? And if not, like, what do you think some of the reasons for that have been for that?
"Not at all. I don't think, I don't, I don't think any of us like what, as far as from, you know, putting pressure on the quarterback, you know, especially not tonight. You know, when we got this tape off, there's going to be a lot of things we don't like. Listen, we just got to keep working. I think, the good thing about this group, we take it all in stride. We understand that, you know, there are going to be times where you aren't playing well, and you aren't doing things right. But you know, the great thing about this game, you get another week. You know, we get a chance to come back next week, improve on those things, improve on, you know, getting to the quarterback, pressuring guys. And we'll look forward to putting on a better outing next Sunday."
I think we all expected the continuity to really help you guys as a veteran team, that almost everyone was back from last year, why do you think that hasn't helped you guys early in the season so far?
"At the end of the day, that is all on paper. At the end of the day, having a lot of guys who have played together, in a sense, helps. Like I said, it looks great on paper, but you have got to execute. It's real simple. When we get in these meetings over these next couple of days and watch this tape, it's going to be real simple. We've just got to execute. We've just got to go out there and do what we're coached to do and do it at a high level like we always have. This is something that we don't like to see from ourselves, because we're used to hitting quarterbacks and then putting pressure on people and having fun and doing those things and getting the ball back for our offense and allowing them to do what they do. So listen, our offense came out and played well tonight, but at the end of the day, we've got to hold up our end of the bargain. For the most part, we've done in the past, but over these last couple games, it's not what we like to see. Like I said, the good thing about his team, the leaders, the guys who've played a lot of football, we'll get this corrected and we'll come back out for a better showing."
When Marcus Davenport is out there, does that change the way teams block against you or Cam (Jordan) and when you take him out do you guys see more attention? Does it make things a little bit harder on everybody else?
"I think we have plenty of capable players. Obviously, Marcus is an immense talent. When he is out there, he's definitely a game changer, but guys like Trey (Hendrickson) played well. David (Onyemata), when he's in there plays well. Malcom Brown. We've got guys that can go in. We're just not winning right now. Like I said, it comes back to we've got to execute, we've got to execute the rush plans. We've got to execute our rush moves and we're not doing that at a high enough clip right now to help this defense, but like I said we'll get back to work this week and come back out right." Do you even feel close to that right now, executing right? "Not close to where we want to be. Like I said, we're not even scratching the surface of how good we can be. The things we were able to do throughout training camp and how we felt like we were playing and rushing and doing those things as a unit, we're not seeing them consistently enough right now. So, not even scratching the surface on how good we think we can be as far as rushing the passer, pressuring the passer. But, those are the things that we have a chance to fix. So, we'll do that and when it's time to get back out there (inaudible)."