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Transcript - Sheldon Rankins conference call 12/14/20 | Week 14 recap

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins talks about Jalen Hurts and the defensive performance against the Philadelphia Eagles

New Orleans Saints defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins
Conference call with New Orleans media
Monday, Dec. 14, 2020

You all were unable to get to Jalen Hurts yesterday, what was so difficult about that, you know, just against that Philadelphia front line?
"Well, hats off to the Eagles (who) came in and executed a game plan that they thought would be able to beat us and we did not execute well enough. And I think, it is tough when a team is able to run the ball the way they were able to run the ball. Whether it be with the quarterback or with the backs, they were able to keep themselves in more manageable situations and able to convert on some things and able to, you know, pretty much just kind of, you know, stay within a comfort zone and being able to run their entire offense, especially in the first half. So when a team is able to do that, when you're not able to kind of force them into adverse situations and able to pin your eyes back and go, it's a little tougher, to kind of be able to rush the passer and be able to execute on some pass rush things that you want to do. But, all in all, we just weren't able to execute as well, on early downs, especially in that first half, it kind of enabled them to kind of stay in some favorable situations."

Was there a reason in particular that they were able to run the ball so successfully against you all?
"Listen, there's no secret. They just came in and just had the big secret to being able to be successful against us. We just didn't execute, as well as we'd like. There are things that normally we execute on and that we were not able to do it as well, in situations where we needed to. Overall, they just kind of made some plays when they had to and that is pretty much it. I do not think there was any secret, or anything that they just turned the tape on and said, aha, we got it figured out. At the end of the day, we have to execute better. We just have to go out and make the plays when the plays are there to be made. And that's what we've been doing, for the course of the season. So, we just got to continue to stay on that path, and continue to execute better and better. And we'll be putting ourselves in a better position when we do that."

I imagine any team would get extra attention this week, coming off a loss like that, but is it double now that you're hosting the defending Super Bowl champions?
"They're on the schedule, it's kind of what it is. We know what's at stake. We know who they are. At the end of the day, we'll focus on us. So, we got to go back to the drawing board and go back to what we do. And we know if we go out and execute and do the things that we can do, that we know we can do. We're putting ourselves in the best position to win games, no matter who's out there."

Is there any particular area, I guess, after looking at the film that you guys have seen that you really want to kind of address this week?
"Like I said, it is just execution. That is really what it comes down to in this league. Cover one is cover one and cover three is cover three, man to man is man to man, like if you're beating the block, you beat the block. At the end of the day, we got to execute. We got to be able to go out there and play the call given and make the plays that need to be made. So, this isn't some thing where guys are about to start panicking and losing their minds because we had a bad outing. It's adversity, we've faced it before. We'll go back to doing what we do and I think, that it's playing hard, playing with effort, playing tough and doing what we're supposed to do. And I think the better we do those things, it'll put us in a better position to make plays and we've got to make the plays that are there to be made."

Did Jalen Hurts do some things better than you even thought he'd do just watching him in person?
"Like I said, hats off to the Eagles, hats off to him. He went out there and made plays for his team when they needed them, in crunch-time situations, whether it be scrambling, he made some good throws. A couple of those, fourth downs they went for, that they were able to pick up. So, I think the one thing about us, you never underestimate anybody in this league. I think we definitely knew what he was capable of as a thrower and as a runner. Like I said, it just always comes back to execution. We have to go out there and be able to execute on those plays. We've got to be able to get him on the ground, we got to be able to force him into throwing the ball and making bad decisions and just the things like that. Same we would do with any quarterback. And obviously, he has a different element with the run game. But things you do with any quarterback, it's whatever to make the plays that are there to be made, force him into bad throws, keep him in the pocket. And we weren't able to do so and he was able to run free, make some plays and help his team win a football game."

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