New Orleans Saints Running Back Pierre Thomas
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
What did you think about this atmosphere and practicing at a high school?
"It was different. It reminded me of the old days, underneath the lights – even though it's a Wednesday night, I'm used to Fridays. It's good to come out here in Mandeville and perform in front of these fans out here. Just to hear the excitement coming out of them, to see the support and just to hear it, it was just an amazing feeling. I'm not going to lie, one time I turned around and looked at the crowd and (thought) it's a lot more fun looking at them than practice. I had a good time. I like to entertain with the crowd a little bit."
Is this a nice change of pace, getting out of that heat a little bit?
"This is New Orleans. Even though it's nighttime, it was still hard to breathe. It is a good change though, to come out here for night practice. Some guys don't like to practice at night, they like to get it out in the morning. I'm kind of a morning guy too, but it is a nice change. It's definitely a good change and it gives time for people getting off work late bringing their family to our practice and get a chance to see us and what we do on this field to get ready for a game."
Do you know how important it is for people to come out and see you that might not be able to afford tickets to a game?
"Definitely. They get to see how we work and get to see how our character is, especially on the sidelines. Some people don't get to see us clown on the side. We're all about business when we're on that field, and then we show another character when our group is not out there, we're on the sidelines, we're going through special team segment. You get to see some guys communicate, interact with the fans, the crowd. Like I said, I was interacting with the crowd. They get to see a different side of us, and I think that's something special that we can give back to them. They get to see another side of their team."
How was the tempo? You said some of the guys are morning guys. How did it go at night?
"It went real good. I thought it went very well. Coach (Payton) said this was one of our better practices he's seen out of us. I feel like the guys had a lot more energy. They got a chance to rest their bodies during the day. I've seen a lot of guys get worked on, such as myself. I got worked on a little bit to get myself ready for tonight. I felt like we were out here flying around and guys were making plays. You like to see that out of your teammates."
When you look at the running back corps, how do you expect your role to compare to 2009 or 2011? Do you see yourself evolving at all, or still the same?
"Right now I see it as the same. Right now, everybody is trying to get younger guys involved more to see what they've got. That's what I want to see too. I want to see how these guys do if I'm not in the game for a certain play. They've got to step up to the challenge. I like to see these guys get involved in some of the blitz pick-ups, protection-wise. I want to see them go out and protect our quarterback, see if they can pick up some blitzes, because I don't want to be the only one going in there and protecting him. I know Mark (Ingram) can do it, I know Khiry (Robinson) can do it, they've just got to go out there and show it. That's what I think the coaches want to see too."
You were in the game on third down a lot in the last game. Is that something you expect to do often because of pass protecting and pass catching?
"Definitely. I know my role is going to change a whole lot this year. I'm going to do a lot more pass protection and do a little more route-running. That's one thing I'm working on is improving my route running. I'm still going to be running the ball, they told me that too. I've got a few changes here and there that I'm going to adapt to, and I just know all of us can do the same thing. The coaches see that too, so they're getting everybody in the mixture. You see Mark out there wide, same thing with Khiry. So it's a lot of rotation. We want to make sure we're unpredictable. We want to make sure our offense is there with us. If one of us goes in, if Mark goes in, they don't know what it's going to be."
Last year you had the most carries on the team. Would you be comfortable being the third guy this year?
"Whenever my name is called, I'm going to go out there and do my job. I don't complain about my reps, I don't complain about anything. I know I'm going to get the ball. I know I'm going to go out there and put myself out there on the field and help my team out. I know my name will be called because that's my attitude. I know that these coaches are not just going to put me down and sit me down on the side. Like I said, these guys are my friends and my teammates, but they are going to have to out-work me. They are going to have to put me on the bench, and that's going to be hard to do."
New Orleans Saints Inside Linebacker David Hawthorne
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, August 20, 2014
What was it like to practice at Mandeville High School tonight?
"It brought back a lot of memories of high school football and how we used to grind in Texas."
Was there a noticeable difference between today's practice and yesterday's practice? It seemed like the heat was getting to everybody a little bit yesterday.
"It was definitely cooler out here. I guess it's that breeze off the lake. Yesterday I thought we did a good job also. We came out and got better out here today."
Does this take you back to why you love the game?
"Definitely. I think just coming out here and seeing the lights kind of brought us all back. Being able to change up the scenery from Metairie and come bring Mandeville our presence was a big deal. The turnout was great."
How much of a difference does Jairus Byrd make being back there?
"He's a ball hawk, and everybody knows that. The wisdom and the level of play that he brings will definitely make us better."
At one point, Champ (Bailey) and Keenan (Lewis) were out there together as well, so it looked like the secondary was coming together.
"They're definitely loaded back there. I think they have that whole 'next guy up' mentality. Rob Ryan will do a great job of creating as many packages to get the best people on the field at all times. He's done a great job of that in camp."
Photos from the New Orleans Saints practice at Mandeville High for 2014 Training Camp presented by Verizon on Wednesday, August 20, 2014. Photos taken by Alex Restrepo (New Orleans Saints photos)