New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers joe Vitt
Thursday, June 7, 2012
"In an overview of this week at practice, I thought we got a lot done. Again (today), it was a review of first and second down. We then went into the red zone today and had extensive work. We had our nickel work yesterday. We'll continue when we come back again on Monday to build our package. The guys are moving great, they're moving quick. They're intense but outstanding. I think that everyone understands here with the CBA, some of the things that we do are slower now. I think that we need to understand the rules. We couldn't be more happy with where we are right now."
What are your thoughts on Cameron Jordan?
"He came in last year with a tremendous amount of athleticism and want to and sometimes you can get a little bit of a sophomore jinx. He hasn't shown any of that. He's wide-eyed, this is a new system for him so he has to pay attention. I think the new system fits him perfectly. I think we'll see a little more of his pass rush skills this year. We've been happy with him, really happy."
Is it harder with the new contact-related rules this year to evaluate where you are based on years past?
"I think it is harder like I've said earlier with the offensive and defensive linemen. Everyone in the league is going through that right now. I like where we are right now. We like where we are right now and we're just going to have to wait and see."
Does this give a younger player less of an opportunity?
"I don't think so because we are still going to judge them right now on what they can do. And that would be athleticism, footwork, balance, knee bend, that's what they are being evaluated on."
Could you pick out three guys that you are excited to see put pads on?
"I think Akiem Hicks is one of them. He is a big. We can all see his athleticism, change of direction and movement skills. I think that Corey White has been great. Again, he's got balance, twitch, fluid hips and second gear but for a corner he's got power too. I think what we all know what we have in Nick Toon, but this kid, Chris Givens, makes plays in the red zone everyday. Those guys I'm excited to see put the pads on.
Everyone knows that giveaway and takeaway ratio are the number one statistics in football, how much stress in the offseason have you put into those?
"Not anymore pressure or stress than we have before. It's the number one stat that we show our football team every single week. I'll give you a stat, did you know that we're undefeated if we don't turn the ball over, since we've been together in 2006. If we forced at least one turnover on defense, I think we are 60 and 27 or something like that. We stress it but as we are stressing it we still have to play the game quick and confident and if something bad happens you have to go on to the next play. I think that we are only one of two teams in 2006 that went to the NFC Championship, that were in the minus that year. But when we won a World Championship we were plus. It is very important to us. We talk about it all the time."
Do you plan on bringing Luke McCown to training camp?
"I think so. Number one, I think that he is a heck of an athlete. He's got a live arm. I thought he really did a good job getting the offense in and out of the huddle. The ball was on the ground one time in the three days he's been here. I think he is someone that we need to take a look at. He's done a good job here."
Have you guys put anymore thought into bringing training camp on the road?
"Yes, we have. I think that we will be ready to announce that sometime next week."
Was shifting Brian Young to assist you with the linebackers to help you out with your wider responsibilities?
"That transition took place before any of this stuff happened. Brian is a defensive lineman, played in the league nine years and was working with the defensive line when we lost Blake Williams. Brian wanted to come to linebacker to learn more back coverage and he's done a fantastic job. He's a smart guy. He is learning the back coverage (concepts) right now but he understands run fits and the alignment of linebackers based on backfield sets."
How close were you in your communication with David Thomas when we was dealing with his concussions last season? Can you comment on his experience?
"I don't think that anybody can comment on something that anybody else went through. I was there with him when he went through it last year and it very concerning. You are talking about life after football. He's got a wife and two boys. He loves the game, but he loves his family more. He went and received all of the proper medical opinions that he had to receive, they wrote off on it and we feel good about it right now. It is something that we are conscious of and it's something that he is conscious of. It's serious.
The team values his presence because he is a versatile player?
"Probably the most versatile offensive player that we have. He can play three positions, the wide, the F and the H. He understands pass protections. When Heath Evans went down in the Super Bowl year. He came right in to handle all of the protections. I'm not so sure that he is on the verge of brilliant when it comes to being a football player. He loves the game. It was a huge setback for us as a team last year when down but I will say that his health comes first. Right now everything is going great. He is making plays, running around, he feels great, he's got no headaches and he's not dizzy. Everything is going great right now."
Do the young kids pay attention to him?
"We'll if they're not then they are stupid. They shouldn't be here. He is the epitome of a professional."
If Drew Brees is signed before training camp, does Luke McCown still have a chance going to training camp.?
"Once nine comes in here, we evaluate our roster and see where we are numberswise. We are always going to bring the best players to camp."
There has been reports that he is close to signing a long term deal, can you share anything?
"I haven't read that either, but I've said all along that he's going to be here so I'm not surprised."