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Vilma Says Saints are in a Good Place Heading into the Regular Season

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New Orleans Saints LB Jonathan Vilma
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Coming off of that Oakland game, what are your thoughts on how you guys performed?
"We like to treat that third preseason game as close to a regular season game as we can get.  I felt like we definitely improved as a defense from that Houston game to the Oakland game.  There are still some things that we need to correct.  We came out yesterday and today and got some really good work in.  We're always trying to work on those little things, the little details.  We're in a good place right now heading into next week against Green Bay."

Can you be specific on what details you touched on today and yesterday at practice?
"It's always continuing on the fundamentals.  Our tackling was still a little spotty at times in the Oakland game.  Our run fits weren't exact at times.  We harp on and preach hustling and effort.  We wanted to make sure we got something out of practice yesterday and today and we did that."

Do you contribute those factors to the new training camp schedule with only one practice?
"No.  We don't like making excuses.  We work on trying to fix it and get it right and get it to our standards.  That's our focus.  We don't worry about why's it's not happening, we just get it corrected."

You mentioned the tackling.  How worried are you about it at this point in training camp?
"Not at all.  We don't make that an issue.  As I said, we just worry about correcting it.  We've been doing that.  We did it yesterday and we did it again today."

Not going through two-a-days, has that helped your legs at all or is it a non-issue?
"It depends on the way you approach it.  If you take care of your body, it should help you out.  Naturally you're going to be tired just from the grind of camp.  Aside from that, you just try to get back and get ready for the regular season.  There are always pros and cons to two-a-days and not having two-a-days.  I would say that nine times out of ten guys would pick this new schedule over the old schedule."

How heavy have you guys been involved in preparing for the Green Bay game?
"I don't want to get into too much detail about that.  I will say that when September 8th comes, we'll be ready."

It's a tough thing to go play the defending Super Bowl champion in their stadium to open the season.  How big would it be to go in there and get a victory?
"We haven't really looked at it that way.  We do know the history though.  They're a very, very good team.  They have a very good quarterback.  For us, that would be a quality win to start the season off.  I don't think we look at anything else besides that.  You don't want to make it bigger than it is, because at the end of the day you still have 15 games after that.  We would love to get a quality win on the road against a NFC opponent."

How much has playing in the opening game last year helped?  
"It helps in the sense that the schedule will be very similar besides the fact that we'll be traveling instead of staying at home.  For a lot of the guys, it's been there, done that.  We know that we're going to be on a short week.  We'll have seven days after tomorrow's game.  The familiarity of it is good but we still have to go out and play.  We have to practice and perform.

It's been a different preseason this year than in the past.  Does that change the way you approach this fourth preseason game?
"Not at all.  We approach it the same.  I think guys have practiced mentally and physically the same way.  I'd be surprised if they did change some of their routine because of the lockout.  Everything is back to status quo."

Can you talk about how much you're going to play and how many snaps you'll get?
"I would compare it to last year.  Whatever we did last year as far as the guys and reps, I think it will probably be similar.  I'm pretty sure Sean (Payton) would want to keep it the same."

Are you happy about where you guys are eight days from the game against Green Bay?
"Yes, I'm happy where we are.  The biggest thing is that we want to get better and constantly improve.  Our coaches always tell us it's a race to improve so wherever we're at right now we don't want to stay there eight days from now.  We want to keep improving and get better so that we can be ahead of our competition."

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