Good afternoon, we look forward to getting started this week, again. Preparing for the New Orleans Saints, they’re a talented football team that’s overcome some adversity this year. They started the year off, as you know, at 0-4 and came back now to be 5-3 in their last eight games. The only team to have defeated the Atlanta Falcons this year in the division, they’re an outstanding team and very skilled with the quarterback, the front, the running backs, the wide receivers and the tight end. They’ve got a multitude of talented people on the offensive side of the ball. Sixth in the league, 31 touchdown passes, you know, great percentage in the green zone with 70 percent, leading the NFL in that area as well. Any combination of runners or receivers out of the backfield that you want to feature, they’ve got it. So, they’re a very good offensive team. The only thing I’ll say about their defensive team is in their loss the other day to Atlanta, they held Atlanta to 283 yards, so I understand all the discussions about their defense, their stats and all that stuff, but I’ll tell you, they play hard. They have good, talented people. They have definitely improved and they are a physical outfit. You can attribute that to the division that they’re in.
If you look at their special teams, their punter (Thomas Morstead) has the outstanding net in the league at 44 yards. Their returner, their kickoff return game is outstanding. (Darren) Sproles will be back there on occasion. Sproles is back there on the punt return team. They have good team speed, so we’ve certainly got our work cut out for us in this preparation.
Q: Do you see Steve Spagnuolo’s influence as a reason for their improvement on defense?A: Yes, definitely.
Q: Does that make it an attacking type of defense?A: I think they’re getting more to that mode, yes.
Q: The last two times you’ve played the Saints, both games were in New Orleans and the outcomes weren’t good. You love to talk about the fast track there, it’s indoors. Do you look forward to getting them on your surface?A: Well, hopefully. Yes. I mean, you’re not going to change any of the skill sets or anything of that nature. It will be nice to play them at our place, yes.
Q: You’ve talked about finishing before, in regards to the season or the fourth quarter. How do you get back to that? Is it about mindset?A: Well, it’s an execution thing as well as the mindset. It’s something that, when you sell, sell, sell and then you follow through on it, you can build upon that. That hasn’t happened in our last two, when we lost the fourth quarter and didn’t finish the games the way we’d like to finish them. That’s something that we do try to pound away at each week as the week goes on, in terms of an objective for the game. We need to get back to playing that way.
Q: How is Travis Beckum? What’s the situation?A: I don’t know, we’ll see.
Q: Is he going to practice today?A: Today, he will practice.
Q: How much did Jason Pierre-Paul’s back bother him in the game?A: I think some, but not to the point where he couldn’t play or wasn’t effective.
Q: You look at the penalties last week as a blip on the screen and you guys have not been a very penalized team. That’s obviously something that you stress.A: I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t expect that. I thought I had the game pretty much analyzed, understood and knew exactly how it was going to have to go for us to win. The first half did go that way, but that area, I didn’t see that coming. That’s my fault. Call it whatever you want.
Q: Do you know what to expect from this team this year? Based on the inconsistency that we’ve seen so far?A: Well, the consistency factor is something that has to happen for us and that’s one of the things that we talked about today. Consistency, in terms of all three phases helping each other, not hurting each other. Whenever you get to the point that you’re trying to bring up and I really would prefer not to talk about it, is the fact that you’ve got to overcome your own issues before you can expect to win. When you have a circumstance such as the way the penalties popped up the other day, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Whenever you’re shooting yourself in the foot, you’re aiding the other guy, in terms of your objective, which is to try to win. As important as that whole thing is, numbers wise, it is disturbing not to be able to understand in the nature of the game. If it’s going to be called like that, you’ve got to get yourself under control. You can’t continue to put yourself in a position where things are called. That’s bothersome to me. I am trying not to go backwards, by the way. Is that kind of obvious? I am looking forward to this next game. We did talk about this the other day. I would like to move on, if you have any questions about New Orleans.
Q: Drew Brees has put up pretty good numbers against you guys.A: Yes, he has.
Q: Why has he been so successful?A: Well, he’s an outstanding football player with great knowledge of what he wants to accomplish. He has a lot of confidence in his receivers. You can go around the board with it. It’s (Marques) Colston or (Jimmy) Graham or the speed on the outside, or the running back coming out of the backfield. He has great confidence in that. He has a big, strong offensive line to protect him. He’s been effective, not just against us, but against a lot of people. I think he has 31 touchdowns to 16 interceptions. I know the five picks stands out pretty strongly in the game the other day.
Q: Your own offense has been out of sync for a while. You got back into it for the Green Bay game. When you look at what happened last week and going forward, are they still struggling for consistency? Did they show enough, besides the penalties, that your offense might be on a little bit of a roll?A: No points. Points.
Q: They did move the ball-A: Yeah. Yes, we did in the first half. You have to put points on the board. You have the half that we had and you come off the field with 13 points, it’s not the way it should be.
Q: The fact that your team has to face a more traditional quarterback this week as opposed to the offense you faced on Monday, will that possibly help your defense?A: Well, it depends on which weapon you want to talk about. Will it help us in that it’s a style that we would be more inclined to defend or try to defend? But on the other hand they ran the ball on us last time too. So we’re not just going to have to defend the pass. They’re going to run the football and they do well and then in the last five games they’ve averaged 119 yards a game rushing, so they’ve rushed the football. What was it, 148, that they rushed against Atlanta? So they have everything in that regard and so we have the whole gamut to defend – up-tempo offense, the type that they play, which is fast. When they don’t huddle, they play faster. So there’s a lot of things that are going to have to be grasped, but it’s not the scheme that we’re least familiar with. We might be familiar with it, but it still doesn’t make it any easier to defend, I guess, is what I’m trying to say.
Q: Is Phillips' snaps on Monday night based on maybe his knee wasn’t quite there or was that a game plan or combination of both?A: Combination.
Q: Do you think he’ll be able to…A: We’ll see. All I can tell you is we’ll see.
Q: Who’s not going to practice today?A: Sash. I think most of the guys are going to try to go in some capacity to the extent that we’re going to… of course Sean Locklear. We’re more or less going to have a glorified jog through is what it is.
Q: Antrel Rolle said he wanted to see more of a nasty attitude out of your team. Do you believe that’s something that’s needed coming down the stretch?A: I’d like to see a lot of things. Anything that Antrel says is in the spirit of improvement and I’m all for that. I’m all for it in as many phases as I can stand here and discuss. I’m for it.
Q: Do you have a feeling that the guys in that locker room are ready to play their best football?A: You asked me that last weekend and the week before that and the week before that. So I don’t know what you expect me to say. Do I feel it? Yeah, I feel it. I feel you better. There’s a four-game schedule now. I’d hope I stand here 2-0 in this schedule. It’s 1-1 now. But thanks for reminding me.
Q: You told us yesterday that you felt like you need to win out.A: Naturally. We needed to win all 16. What would you expect me to say? I expect us to win all six games. I expect us to play well. That’s the objective. That’s the goal. I don’t know why it wouldn’t be.