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New Orleans Saints DE Will Smith Media Q&A (Oct. 24, 2011)

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Will Smith
Conference Call Transcript
Monday, October 24, 2011

Are you guys on defense jealous of the offense since you scored only one touchdown?

“No, you know it’s harder to score on defense anyway. We’ve had some the last few years based on what we’ve done in ‘09.”

You guys were looking for turnovers and got three with all of them leading to touchdowns. Can you talk about the increased point of emphasis on that?

“We’ve been struggling to get turnovers. We got some. It’s hard to get them. We knew they were going to come. We just didn’t know when they were going to come. They came early and it helps. We gave our offense a short field. You give them some confidence and start racking up the points. After that it starts to snowball.”

Sean Payton talked about how he gave you a speech yesterday morning telling you guys to look at yourselves more so than an opponent and that you hadn’t played your best football yet. How much of that tone was set during the week?

“After when he came back on Thursday, he had a meeting, where he said he feels good about the team being 4-2 and he feels that the team hasn’t played to expectations. He set it there and brought it back up Sunday morning. He was honest with us. He said they’re always evaluating and trying to see what was going on. He pretty much said for the most part that we haven’t played up to who we are. He thinks we have a better team than in ’09 at all positions. He just challenged everyone and said we need to play our best because we have it. Guys honestly responded.”

Did you agree with that?

“Yes. He wasn’t lying. You get caught up in a lot of things coaches will say to motivate you. But his (point) was very realistic. We haven’t played to potential. We know we’re a better group. For whatever reasons, the missed tackles here and the same with our offense with the turnovers, we just didn’t play up to our potential and what we’re capable of doing on a consistent basis. We know he was just keeping it real in a sense.”

Is it important to follow things up with another dominating performance?

“We didn’t take Indianapolis for granted. We can’t take St. Louis for granted. Those guys are getting paid, are hungry and want to win also. Who better to beat than the New Orleans Saints? We have to go in the game prepared, focused with a lot of energy ready to go play, because we know if we don’t, any team can beat you in this league. We have to be prepared”

We got the impression that fans were a little nervous on this change in Sean Payton having to coach from upstairs coming off a tough loss. Now that the game’s over and you can maybe speak more freely, what did players think of it? Was there some anxiety and how do you feel going forward now that you see the results?

“Fans are worried about everything. They’re worried about wearing the right cleats. They get uptight about everything. We respect their opinions, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t pose anything for the players and coaches. Player wise we weren’t really concerned with Sean being in the press box. We like him being on the sidelines. We knew he wasn’t going to be here (at times). We had practice for the entire week. Everyone felt confident. On the defensive side of the ball we don’t really see Sean that much anyways. It didn’t really affect us. On the offensive side of the ball, I don’t know about those guys. I’m sure there was some sort of concerns. If anything it was minor concerns, because those guys go out and play well no matter what.”

What areas have you been impressed with Cameron Jordan on and what areas does he need work on?

“I’ve been impressed with his ability to play the run. Coming from the Pac-10, I never thought he’d as tough against the run. He’s played very well though and his fundamentals are very good. Where I’ve seen him progress is on his pass rush. He didn’t get that many opportunities because they were taking him out on third down situations. This past game, he was able to play a lot of third down situations, because me and the rest of the guys, coach sat us. He was playing well against their starters.”


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