There is an awful lot of excitement here this week generated by virtue of the New Orleans Saints and their football team. They are third in the league on offense, seventh on defense, outstanding kicking game, return game. They are a team that has 13 turnovers, 10 interceptions already after only four games. They are a team that has played well at home, they have played well on the road. They went into Philadelphia and I don’t think I would have ever imagined anyone scoring that number of points (48) – what they did. They have outstanding firepower. Their defensive team is playing very well. So, no doubt a game in which tremendous excitement generated from just the idea of the quality of teams.
Q: You always preach about the fourth quarter; they have outscored opponents, 45-2. What kind of challenges does that present?
A: The thought is that the entire game will be a challenge. We do know notice that. The second quarter they score a lot of points as well. They are a team that has rushed the ball for 166 yards a game. When you look – you put the numbers up side by side, it is pretty amazing – the two teams and their numbers.
Q: How has Gregg Williams changed the way they play defense? Why has their blitz been so successful?
A: That is Gregg’s game. That is the way he was in Washington. The success that they generated was through pressure. He has a diverse package. He uses one or two things special for each opponent. So it is just a combination of good players and a good scheme and I think ………
Q: Is Eli going to practice today?
Q: Full practice?
A: No, we will take care of that; whatever we think is necessary …..
Q: How will you manage him this week knowing that you want him to practice every single day and he will play a full game on Sunday?
A: Well, we will manage him just as we manage anyone. We are calling him limited only because he is going to take x amount of snaps and he is going to take the ones that we think are most important for him on a daily basis. And supposedly and hopefully we can build up as we go along. He may take x amount of snaps today, a little bit more tomorrow and a little bit more on Friday.
Q: Were there any signs of swelling with the foot after Sunday?
A: No. He came out of the game no worse for wear. We were able to, as I said, play him, get him in the game, he played well and get him out of the game. He will continue to be in the training room but he is very, very positive about it and very optimistic.
Q: What do you see of the role Jeremy Shockey plays in their offense?
A: He is their tight end. They have two good tight ends. They obviously go to the tight ends. He is their leading receiver. He is the same vertical player that he has always been. It looks to me like the quarterback and the receiver corps, the tight ends, are all working well together, and the distribution of packages reflects it.
Q: Given the diversity of their passing attack and the number of weapons they have, are you more concerned about the depth of your secondary?
A: Well I think it has been a team in terms of how we have gone about our business – team defense. And it will continue to be that way. So are we more concerned? No, because they are a multiple formation team, too, and multiple personnel. They are not just – they have virtually half a dozen to a dozen forms of personnel. And they do run the ball very well as well.
Q: Is C.C. Brown OK?
A: He will practice, yeah.
Q: Brandon Jacobs is openly down on himself a little bit. How can you help him turn that around?
A: I don’t know what people keep talking about turning around. The guy had some outstanding runs the other day. He had the numbers in terms of rushes. He had the usual number of power runs that he has. I don’t think there is anything for Brandon to be down on. This keeps coming up. I don’t know what the expectations are. He is a power runner and that is what he does. If you are talking about the goal line – it was good penetration and he didn’t get the opportunity to get into the end zone. But he will continue to work at that and continue to study and continue to look at himself. And he continues to be a vital part of our offensive team.
Q: When you have one running back averaging three yards a carry and the others have five and six, there has to be something.
A: Why not? What is wrong with that?
Q: Well the production just doesn’t seem to be there.
A: Well, we are averaging 160 yards a game rushing, so some how, some way, the ball is moving down the field.
Q: Brandon was the one who expressed that he was disappointed in his own performance. Have you talked to him about that?
A: No, I haven’t talked to him about that. If he is anxious to make himself happy again, then I think that is a good thing.
Q: With a QB like Drew Brees, is it more important to get pressure on him since he gets rid of the ball so fast?
A: I think that is the key with every quarterback. You can’t allow him to just stand back there. He is too good of a player. And that is the basic position that I think most defenses take – is that you have to have pressure on the quarterback.
Q: Just from a technical aspect on Jacobs, Carl Banks said earlier that when he is making his run he is getting to the point of attack a little bit early. He just needs to be a little more patient and then take the ball and then go. Is there anything to that when you are studying film on him?
A: I’m not going to comment on that. There have been millions of opinions, I’m sure, about everything we do.
Q: From the coaches’ analysis?
A: That wouldn’t be the number one thing that I would comment on.
Q: Are the number of carries as important as the yards?
A: I think we have run the ball – I think we had 41 runs the other day and we had 41 the week before. So we do have the number of runs. And as such, Brandon usually averages right in there around 21, 20, 22 carries which is right about where it should be.
Q: Do the distinctions between number one and number two running back mean anything to you? Does Brandon remain your number one running back?
A: Yes. And I think that what is understood is that they are all going to play. They are all going to play. They are all going to have an opportunity one way or the other.
Q: Is Danny Ware a part of the mix?
A: We’ll see. We’ll see how he practices and how he does.
Q: How is Kevin Boss doing?
A: He is going to practice. We’ll see when we get him on the field.
Q: Domenik Hixon?
A: Hixon is fine.
Q: When Hixon is fully healthy does he get back to his starting role?
A: He is always going to be involved and his special teams role will come back as well.
Q: New Orleans is the best rushing team you have faced since Dallas. Do you think the issues as far as the run defense have been resolved?
A: We have played better against the run against some good football players. This certainly presents a very real challenge. Our guys have to rise up and play well against the run. As I said, there are a lot of things to defend. But certainly that is where it all starts for us, is with the run.
Q: Do you feel that Lawrence Tynes has corrected his issues?
A: There are a couple of things that we think can continue to improve.
Q: RE: Their diversified running game. Can you tell if they have a pattern?
Q: How did you feel about Sinorice Moss's fumbled punt return?
A: I was disturbed because obviously a turnover is a turnover. And the field position was ….. On the other hand, you do have to realize that it is a calculated risk to – when the ball is on the ground for the returner to try to exactly understand where the ball is going to go and be able to field it. But on the other hand you don’t want to stand back and allow for all of that yardage to take place. I think the ball took a real severe bounce, caught him off guard when it hit the helmet. If we could do it over, you would let it roll into end zone. But you don’t know that beforehand.
Q: Is the right play in that situation that once it bounces to get out of the way?
A: Not necessarily, no. It depends on the kick; depends on the punt.
Q: RE: Eli going back to his hometown to play for the first time?
A: I don’t see him trying to do too much. He is in the same mode that he is in all of the time – studying and preparing; studying and preparing.
A: No. I don’t have anything for you. I didn’t say they were in, I didn’t say they were out. I don’t have anything for you.
Q: Are you at all to the point where you are considering shutting either one of them down?
Q: Thirteen turnovers that they have created, is that a function of Gregg Williams’ defense? And Darren Sharper?
A: ….. We have seen a little bit of that guy.
Q: What does he do?
A: He is ………. He is very studious. He zooms in on quarterbacks, gets the jump, tries to stop where he is going.