Q: 4-0, how does it feel?
A: Well, it is early in the season yet. I think there are some things that we have done well, we have improved on, that has really helped us overall. I think we are playing better defense. We are doing a better job with the turnovers. Those are a couple of things that come to mind.
Q: Obviously you know Jeremy. You were here with him. Can you compare for us kind of what he is like now maybe on and off the field compared to what he was like when he played here?
A: He was obviously real young when I was there. So I think there is always that growth period for players as they get into the middle or latter part of their careers. I think he has been able to stay healthy this year and had a good offseason with us. And I think all of us – players and coaches – become wiser the longer we are in this game. And I think he is someone that is comfortable and understands his role in the offense. And like I mentioned, the key has been his health. He has got his weight where we want it now. He is moving around well. So he does those things that we are looking for on the inside portion of the field. He is doing a good job in his blocking and in giving us some consistency there.
Q: What have you told him this week as far as managing his emotions?
A: I think this – each week it seems to be a different player with the free agency in our league. Last week it was Jon Vilma and the New York Jets. I think any more it is not uncommon with the rosters the way they turn over to be playing an opponent maybe that you once played for or there is some member of your team. So I think with him it is no different than any week in that it is still about the execution of the plan. And this is really about the Saints and the Giants and not any one individual in a game like this. And I think the players are smart enough to understand that.
Q: But you have to admit that he rants it up a bit more than some players.
A: Yeah, but again, like I said, I think he is smart enough to understand how we have to play as a team to have success.
Q: Is he still the weapon on the field that we used to see – explosive. Physically is he still that same weapon?
A: He is a big target and he is explosive. He still runs well and certainly we try to look at match ups with – not just Jeremy – but other individuals on our team and try to find the right match ups that we think are an advantage. So his size – he is quick in and out of his cuts. Those are all things that you still see, especially now that he is healthy.
Q: I was reading the story that he had done with the local paper. He will say those things - that he felt disrespected. He still holds on to some of that emotion. So I think that is what Mike was getting at. Do you feel the need to remind him to corral those emotions at all?
A: No, I think that he is smart enough and he understands. It is the fifth game of the year for us and certainly there is always that – where you initially played and where your career began and the history that he has had with the Giants – and so that part of it, I think he understands. And I think certainly the fans and the media covering the game understand. And yet, it comes down to both teams doing the little things and trying to eliminate the mistakes in a game like this.
Q: How about for you? You have faced the Giants a couple of times over the past couple of years since you have left. But is that anything special for you when you get to face them?
A: No. Again, it is just really the opportunity to play. And for us, certainly, play a real good team now. When we do our analysis on Wednesdays and we cover the opponent there are so many things that this team is doing well. And I’m talking about the Giants. And when you put – not just the record – but when you put up all of the statistics and the numbers, they are well coached. They are explosive. They play real good defense. And so the challenge, I think, for coaches and players is a chance to play in games like these and a chance to coach in games like these. And I think the significance in the game is really pretty simple. It is the fact that I think the Giants are 5-0 and we are 4-0. And I said this the week before with the Jet game – if the records were different, then it wouldn’t be as significant.
Q: You were very, very aggressive going after Gregg Williams. I’m guessing that you feel it was worth it – both effort wise and financially.
A: Well, he has done a good job of bringing in a confidence level to the defense. They are playing with that. On the film you can see it. We have done a real good job of taking the football away. We have done a good job of minimizing the big plays. And Gregg was someone that I didn’t know too well; had really never met him. But had competed against his teams the times – the one year here in New Orleans and then in Dallas. With him being in Washington and prior to that in Tennessee. There were always some characteristics about his defenses that you respected as a fellow coach. And I’m glad he is with us now.
Q: Is he still as aggressive as he was with the Redskins?
A: Well, I think there is a certain part of a pressure package that he likes, and part of some of your good plans defensively, are how you play coverage and how you do those things. So I think he has got a number of packages that we implement. And I think more importantly, it becomes the fundamentals and the confidence that he brings to the defense in general.
Q: Can you give us some impressions of Corey Webster and what it is like to try to go after him?
A: Each year it seems like every week you are going to play someone who is an outstanding pass rusher. You are going to play someone who is doing a great job in coverage. Last week we saw Revis of the Jets, who is having a real good season. And in Corey’s case he is playing with a ton of confidence now. And you watch players through their careers develop and certainly he is one that you can see after his rookie season continue to get better each year. And so he is someone that you can see the results on tape clearly when you watch the game film.
Q: What is so good about him? What does he do so well?
A: He has good feet and he can transition well.
Q: Re: Shockey and the fact that Payton worked with Shockey early in his career. Has it helped your personal relationship with him to kind of get him back on track and focused the right way?
A: Again, we try to develop players and we try to bring them into our program. We look for players that we think can help us win. We felt that way; we feel that way about a player like Jeremy. We have made, I think, a lot of important acquisitions in the last two or three years. You just hope more of those pay off. The acquisition of Darren Sharper this past offseason was significant for us, and Vilma a year and half ago; certainly in Jeremy’s case now. You try to pay close attention to what they bring to the table. And certainly when you have an experience with the player it helps you a little bit more because of the transition. In my case certainly, I had an experience with him.
Q: Is it just the health as you said. Other than that, what has allowed him to be among your best receivers this year?
A: He is playing well and doing a good job. He is certainly – from a timing standpoint - he has been around Drew. Like anybody, they get acclimated to the system and the offense and what we are trying to do.
Q: I don’t think you guys have trailed at all this year, if I’m not mistaken. And I think the Giants have trailed for 18 minutes, is the number. How important is it going to be to get out to a fast start in this one?
A: In the case of both teams I think you are always wanting to play well early. Both teams have scored on their first possessions of every game they have been in. I think, ultimately though, I know it is a cliché, but we are going to have to play well – both teams, I’m sure are wanting to play well for four quarters. But sometimes I get a question, ‘Do you think this week is a more important week to get out to a fast start?’ And I kind of scratch my head. We want to get out to a fast start every week. Maybe there are some weeks where we are going to be a little bit more patient in regards to how we plan on playing a game, but that being said, you want to go out and execute early. You want to eliminate the mistakes. And I think in a game like this, it is something both teams will be preaching.
Q: How big a loss was Jammal Brown?
A: Well, we were in Houston with kind of one of those weeks where we were practicing against the Texans. And we found out initially it was a sports hernia then later the hip. So you lose a left tackle like that it is significant because he is someone that has been an outstanding player for us. We, too, have had consistency in the offensive line. So you don’t like to lose a starter like that, especially a guy at left tackle. Fortunately we have had some good guys that have been taking a lot of snaps. Jermon Bushrod, that week in Houston took over and got a lot of reps and then played in that preseason game. Zach Strief is someone that has played and started before. And so you never want to lose a starter and certainly someone like Jammal. But we have had to insert both Jermon and Zach in that position now. And both of those guys have played well in filling in for him.
Q: Who is going to start there this Sunday?
A: We’ll see.
Q: How about Kendrick Clancy? Is he healthy?
A: He is. He practiced today. We listed him as full.