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Transcript - Sheldon Rankins Conference Call 9/24/20 | Week 3 vs. Packers

New Orleans Saints defensive linemen Sheldon Rankins talks about containing Aaron Rodgers and the Saints defensive game plan prior to Week 3 against the Green Bay Packers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Sunday, September 27, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Defensive Tackle Sheldon Rankins
Video Call With New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 24, 2020

When you're going up against a quarterback like Aaron Rodgers, what's kind of imperative from your end as a defensive line?
"First thing is, you can't get frustrated. He's not necessarily a 4.5 guy, but he's elusive in the pocket, he makes things happen. So the big thing is, don't get frustrated, you're going to beat your guy clean sometimes. He's going to get the ball out. There's going to be times you get to him and right, as you get to him, he's getting the ball out. So, we've got to remain persistent in our rush, our approach, our gameplan, and continue to pressure him, you know. As good as he is, as good as any quarterback is, the more pressure you put on him, it's going to affect them, so. That's probably the biggest thing thus far. Just got to remain persistent in the rush, and not get frustrated, because that one time you get frustrated and don't execute, that's when he's over our head for a touchdown, so."

Just how do you feel being back out there through the first two (games)?
"I feel good. I think for me, I have always played the game (like) I have always been a rhythm player. So, the more reps, the more I can start to feel my rhythm, the better I get, I liked some things in week one, some things I didn't like. I was able to correct some of those things in week two. But there's just some things I don't like. So, each and every week, I'm just trying to grow and I like where I'm headed. It won't be long until I'm really feeling like myself out there, getting in that rhythm and really doing the things I know I can do to help this defense."

Marcus Davenport was at practice today. How exciting is that for you to just finally get him back? Even if it is limited or just going through stretch?
"Yeah, listen, it's always good to get that big guy back out there. know he's been working his ass off, trying to get back out there and get back to the team and help us. So, it's good to see him back out there. Obviously, he's got to take care of his business for the team to progress. But, just getting him back out there. For what, the little he was out there, it's big. We just got to continue to build on that. Once we get him back into the fold, it's going to be scary."

Has there been anything in particular that stood out to you that's just different to get adjusted to in empty stadiums, whether it's tactical or whether it's something you have to do on the sideline, or just any change to your routine, what would have stood out as being the most different?
"The most different, I'll just say, is like that first initial, run onto the field. You're used to hearing crowd noise. You're used to hearing cheers getting louder, or when you're in an opposing stadium, you hear boos or something like that. Once you're out there, and you go through your routines, stretch, pregame things, it's football. And then the moment the ball is kicked off, it's football. You know me, I'm real, even keeled all the time. So (I) never really feed off anything else. I'm always just kind of driving myself. So the crowd never really too much affected me. But I think that's the biggest thing, just that initial run onto the field. You're just used to hearing crowd noise, whether it's boos, cheers, whatever it may be. But you don't hear that. But the moment you kick off and you know, we start going through the process, it's football. You got to beat the guy in front of you."

The team announced today that they'll let some fans go to this game. Do you have anyone coming to the game this weekend?
"Listen, I just found out myself. So, I have not thought that far ahead. My focus is just on trying to rebound, from Monday night, help his team and try to get out there and make as many plays as possible to help this defense, to help this team win the game."

You guys have been talking about, you got a lot of young guys on that D-Line. Have you guys, you, Cam (Jordan) and everybody, kind of you know, talk to them a little bit about, you know how the team has to put that behind you and focus on this week?
"Yeah, I think the thing about that is, they're a good group of guys who can just kind of, follow the lead. I think you know, it obviously starts with Cam (Jordan) and then guys like myself, David (Onyemata), guys who have been here for a while. And we kind of set that tempo, they kind of fall in line and go to work like we do. They just kind of, you know, follow our lead and don't say too much. (They) Don't get too high or too low and they've been good for us so far. But yeah, they definitely get the message about how we just got to continue to move forward. It's a long season, it's a marathon. Sean is (Payton) always preaching it's a marathon. So we can't allow a loss in week two, to cause losses in week three, four and so forth."

You guys have kind of been dealing with, I guess more or less, white noise in the background these first couple of games. But even during that, how much do you guys hear Craig (Robertson)?
"Listen, if the stadium was full, you would hear Craig (Robertson). So, it doesn't matter how much noise they pump into it. He's Craig the juice man for a reason. He provides that energy for us. Practice, game, playing cards, Nintendo, walking into meetings. That's just who he is. And that's big for this team."

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