New Orleans Saints Defensive Tackle Sheldon Rankins
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 14, 2020
How does it feel after getting your first sack this week on Monday night and getting to do your customary dance?
"Yeah, man. It's always good to get a good shimmy off But, man, listen, it's always good to get a sack and be able to help the defense and be able to make plays. So listen, I know what I expect from myself. That's the standard. Week in, week out, be able to make plays, make plays in the backfield, pressure the quarterback, get sacks. So, I look forward to more of myself doing the same thing."
Was that, do you think your most disruptive game this year? Do you feel like you're still kind of getting back to where you want to be?
"Yeah, I think each week is a growing process. Anybody that's been through injuries like these and rehabs like these will tell you, it's not a finite science, it's not a, oh, at this point you're going to feel like this or this point, you'll feel like that. Each one's different. Each injury is different. Each rehab is different. Each timeline is different. So, each week I'm trying to grow each week, I'm trying to get better, and feel better out there and get back to doing the things that I'm accustomed to doing. And I think this past Monday night was a step in the right direction. We just have to continue to build on it."
You popped up on the injury report last week, with a thumb injury, kind of came out of nowhere. What happened? If you don't mind talking about that?
"Practicing hard. Just we're always emphasizing trying to force turnovers and just went for a punch on the ball and kind of hit my thumb on somebody's elbow. That kind of, pretty much was the cause of everything. Just kind of had to clip it up, cast it up, to be able to play with it. But all in all it's football, I wasn't going to allow something like that to keep me off the field."
Going into the bye, where do you think this team is right now? What are the few things you think you really need to work on improving especially on defense?
"I think we're a team that's faced a lot of adversity. But, the one thing about this team is when we face adversity, we usually come out on top. So, going into the bye week, you're happy with where you're at with 3-2. Knowing you haven't played your best football, knowing your best football's ahead of you. Knowing you're not in the rhythm you want to be in, in any phase of the game. We'll take 3-2 heading into the bye week, get healthy and then come back and get ready for this long chapter of football. But, we can go into it knowing our best football's in front of us and can be excited about that."
How much of that do you attribute to just the strange offseason that you had with no, I mean no offseason?
"Yeah, you can attribute it to a lot of things. But at the end of the day, our job is to show up on Sundays and sometimes Mondays. The way the league goes now, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, it don't matter at this point. Our job is to show up on gameday and produce, make plays, and help this organization win games. We've kind of been up and down with that. But, coming off these last two games, getting two big wins. And that's big like I said, going into the bye week 3-2, knowing you still got a lot of room to improve and all your best football is in front of you. We'll take it."
You guys have been struggling a bit in the red zone. And it kind of continued Monday night. What's been the big issue there? How do you get that fixed?
"It's all about consistency. I think we've had times, here as a defense in past years, that we've been really stout, in the red zone and been able to keep teams out. We just got to be able to hold team teams to three, we'll play really great on one play, really great on the next play and then something happens whether it's a lack of communication or just some confusion or whatever it may be. But we give up big plays. And the thing about giving up big plays in the red zone, they're usually touchdowns. So you can give up a big play in the middle of the field, stop a guy and still have, you know, 30, 40 yards of the field to kind of defend. But, you give up a big play in the red zone, it is usually six. So we just got to continue to grind. We have to continue to work, watch the tape, know what teams are going to do down there and we have got to be more consistent, and at the end of the day, cannot make any excuses for ourselves. Our red zone defense is not good enough. We have got to get it better if we want to achieve the goals we want to achieve. Our red zone defense has to get better."
It came out yesterday that the Saints and LSU we're meeting to maybe play some home games at Tiger Stadium because no fans have been allowed in the Dome yet. It's not set in stone or anything yet, but how different would that be, playing a home game outside?
"Slightly different. At that point, you know, weather would come into play somewhat, maybe. But at the end of the day, we play away games outside. So it's football. So you know, if you got a, you know, head down to Baton Rouge and call, you know, Tiger Stadium a home game, then so be it. You know, we'll go down there and handle business just as we would you know if we were playing at the Superdome downtown."
Is that I guess just the epitome of the possibilities of how, of just how this year has gone with everything kind of, you know, if you have a plan, kind of just throw it out the window?
"At this point, one thing you can know about this year, you got to be flexible. You have to be able to go with the flow and understand that anything can come from any direction at any point and you got to be able to handle it. So if that's the way we end up going, then so be it. We'll go out there and we'll play great football and call it at that."
What did you think of Marcus Davenport's debut Monday?
"It's always good to have him back out there. He's he had that look in his eye before the game like he was ready and he came out and played that way. So it is always good to have him back out there. You guys know who he is when he's rolling. So to get him back out there, get his feet wet so to speak and kind of get him back into the swing of things, we're going to need him down the stretch. He's a big time playmaker for us so (it's) definitely good to get him back out there and get him back to disrupting offenses."
Between him, Cam (Jordan) and now the way Trey (Hendrickson) is playing. How good is that rolling for you guys there on the edges?
"Listen, that's tough to block. Cam is tough to block alone. You add in how talented and disruptive Marcus can be when he's healthy. And then, the way Trey is playing now, If you really look at it, the way Trey's always played. Anytime he's got an opportunity to go out there and really showcase his ability, he's always been able to produce and be a pressure player in the run game and in the pass. So, that's a tough trio for anybody to deal with. And then you add in Carl (Granderson) as well out there. So, that's a tough edge combo and trio and all those guys for at tackle you have to watch tape against and get ready to play."
And for you, do you have any sort of personal goal for this year? I don't know if it's even like sack based or numbers based or whatever. But is there like a level you want to hit before this season's over?
"Absolutely. There's always a number. There's always a number. I'd be lying to you if I sat up here and told you there wasn't. That's something I keep to myself, they are definitely numbers I aspire to hit. But all in all, just make sure I'm available and obviously I couldn't control the level of injuries I've sustained. They weren't sprained ankles, hamstring pulls or anything like that. They were very serious things I had to deal with so I cannot control those but all I can control now is, making sure I am available every game. And then you guys know what I'm like when I'm, when I'm rolling and I'm in a rhythm. So, getting back to that caliber of player, that level of player each and every week, down in, down out. Those are the goals I have for myself and you guys know I won't stop until I'm at that level of player again."