New Orleans Saints Linebacker Craig Robertson - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, March 13, 2019
How excited are you to be back and to get a chance to finish what the team started?
"It's huge. (I've) just been talking to the guys all offseason and everybody's just got the same agenda. We all just want to get back to work and just finish what we started."
How important is it to keep a special teams unit together?
"It means a lot because we really had a great special teams unit and you need three good units on a team to win a lot of games. A lot of teams forget about the special teams unit a lot of times. They look at offense and defense because they play the majority of snaps, but your special teams unit can win you games and lose you games. It's important that we're keeping a unit that we already had that was strong and just keeping it together."
How important was it to keep your family in New Orleans?
"That was huge, we have such a good thing here in New Orleans. Even all of the wives are real close, that was big from my wife because they have a great bible study group and it's just awesome for them just to continue their growth in the lord and just growing together as wives. Going somewhere new would have been something where you just have to start all the way over and we kind of familiar schools, I have three kids, so it's just easier to keep everything the same. But I mean, it was a place where we wanted to be at the same time."
How close is this team in the locker room?
"People do not realize you can sign a big name guy to your locker room, but he may not fit into your locker room. What we've built in New Orleans is really something special and I was on close teams before, but nothing like this where, offense, defense, specialists, like everybody hangs out in some way, shape or form. Whether it be after practice, guys are not on their phones, they're actually talking and getting to know about their teammates. People are like people like, hey I heard your son was sick the other day how is he doing? It's really like a family atmosphere and it is not like that everywhere else."
Do you think that winning makes the locker room close or a good locker room helps winning?
"Well, my first year here we didn't do a whole lot of winning. We were 7-9, but you could see it was building. When you go through stuff with people, when you actually do start seeing success yeah, that that brings you closer. But you know, even then we were closest, but nobody really cared to notice how close we were because we weren't winning as much, you know? Now we're winning everyone calls it a culture, but it's something that we've been doing for a while now. It's just more evident now that we've been winning more ballgames."
How much have you enjoyed being on a team so successful the last few years?
"Yeah my first two years were tough and my college years were tough as well. But it makes everything sweeter when you actually do feel victory and then to field victory five, six, seven, eight, nine, 10 times in a row. Like you enjoy it, but you just relish the moment and just how special it is. That's why me and Demario (Davis) have become so close because we both we were in Cleveland at different times, but we understand how special it is to win because when you don't have those wins and you're playing for other reasons aside, you get to the end of the season and guys are just trying to show that they can play so they can be on a team next year, you know? It is just different when you actually get to feel victory over and over and over again and the game becomes more fun. Everybody's having a good time and that's why we all play the game is to have a good time."
What do you attribute the special teams success unit too?
"We have a great group of guys to be honest. We have probably one of the best kickers (Wil Lutz) in the game, one of the best punters (Thomas Morstead) in the game and when you are on units that have guys like that, you find a way to make sure you are not the weak link. If you have the best punter in the game then you need to have the best protection in game and we take pride in our protection. And when you got one of the best kickers in the game, you have to find a way to do some extra stuff. Wil (Lutz) works his butt off and I know his deal came out today and he deserved every penny of it. It is almost like you want to work harder for the guy next to you because we all want to be the best special teams unit in league. We are all just trying to work even harder just so you're not the weak link."
What was your reaction when you saw Chris Banjo re-signed?
"We already knew because Banjo and I talked at my house before free agency started, it was me, him and both of wives and we were just in there talking for like an hour, about like what if, what if this, and we already kind of knew what we wanted to do. We just didn't know like what the deals would be. We were talking about the good, the bad and the what ifs. Once I saw his deal come out, I was obviously excited and then they knew I wanted to stay as well and they just made it a priority just to get us both done. If somebody that you're close to gets the deal done it makes you excited for them, and then when it was my turn and he had the same excitement for me. Right after his deal was done, he was like alright when's yours done? He text me like every other day, like hey, is yours done yet? Like, I need you back. I got to have you, you know, so it goes back to that family culture that we have."
Have you met the new special team coaches yet? Do you have any sense of what the group can improve upon if they'd done last year?
"No I have not. Yes. There are always things we can approve on. We need to improve our kick return and our punt return (game). We had a couple of blocks. Our special teams coach now is known for getting punt blocks and over his career he has had 11 of them I read somewhere. I mean that'd be big for us to try to get some of those, but just trying to get some returns as well. A couple areas where we can get our return game going just a little bit better, whether it be, guys blocking a little bit better or just in general having a better scheme maybe and just going from there."
Was this free agency different than the last time you experienced it?
"Yeah, the last time I really didn't know what to expect. I was coming from Cleveland and before they had all of these (recent) acquisitions, people looked at Cleveland as the players there are the reasons why they're losing. You can have whatever status, but you really weren't that great. This is that, so a lot of guys get paid and then you're looking and waiting and it just doesn't come around to you, but I just let God take care of everything and he led me to New Orleans and then he led me back to the New Orleans. I'm just happy!"