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Saints Camp Q&A: Joe Vitt, Drew Brees, Cam Jordan, Mark Ingram (July 28)

New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt

Media Availability

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jabari Greer had a nice today, picking off a couple of passes.

“He sure did. I think Jabari has really showed us the past couple of years his man coverage skills. I think what you can really see now is what he can do in zone coverage. I think he’s got real good vision and you know his quick twitch. He’s got deep speed. That was encouraging to see.”

The defensive line had a nice practice today.

“Yeah I think they did. You have two really good lines going up against each other every day. I think they both take a lot of pride, and it was fun to watch.”

Mark Ingram looked good today. I know you’re taking it slow but it was progress.

“It’s a process, you know. I kind of said yesterday that we have five preseason games, so this is not going to be built in one day. This is going to be a marathon, so to bring him along the right way for the long haul is going to be important for us.”

Can you talk a little bit about Scott Shanle? He’s been in the league for ten years. What has made him really stick with this team?

“He’s a guy that over the course of his career has really taken good care of himself. Every year as a coach, you look and say, ‘Is there going to be a diminishing skill level?’ And you still haven’t seen it yet. He still has a quick twitch, he’s got some long speed and he’s got good use of his hands. The reason for his playing so long is his knowledge of how to play the game. You take a guy who has played this long and studied the game, along with his athletic skill set, that’s why he’s still playing.”

Is it unusual for a guy like Shanle to play at such a high level for so long?

“Maybe in this era of football because of the game and how much more quicker and violent it is. Back in the old days Jack Camp, Jack Lambert and guys like that did play that long. But I think it’s a little different now and he’s pretty unique.”

Is the plan still to get Akiem Hicks some work tomorrow?

“We can’t get him to work tomorrow; we can get him on the field and start working him. He has to go non-padded for the first three days according to the new CBA agreement, so that’s the plan right now.”

How is David Thomas’s injury coming along?

“Good. Much better today. He went through the stretching and we are going to try and bring him along the right way. He’s about where we thought he’d be.”

What do you see this training camp being like for Curtis Lofton coming in from another team and assuming a big responsibility?

“This is a similar system to what he had in Atlanta. (It is) a lot of zone pressures, multiple coverages. What Curtis is really learning now is the new terminology and getting in and out of checks, but that’s why we practice. So far he has handled it great.”

Where is Ben Grubbs at so far, playing-wise?

“This is our first day of pads on the offensive and defensive linemen so I don’t think that’s a fair assessment right now. Based on what he’s done and based on his outstanding off-season and his commitment to this point (one day, one practice), he’s where we thought he’d be.”

Can you talk a little bit about Martez Wilson?

“Martez continues to really grow in the system. You guys have seen it with dropping defensive ends into coverage and things like that. We drafted him here as a linebacker so he’s got a skill set to cover.”

What about Martez Wilson’s pass-rushing? It seems like he was holding his own against the offensive linemen.

“He’s doing OK. We have the big boy pads on, and this is a process. So lets see how we can get better tomorrow.”

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Post-Practice Media Availability

Saturday, July 28, 2012

What prompted you to bring in the snoballs?

“I never intended that. It was funny because a few days before camp, it was a hot New Orleans summer day and we were at Audubon park just playing on the swings there and thought to get the boys some snoballs at Plum Street. We drove on over and at the time their catering truck was headed out to go somewhere. I asked if they would come out to training camp and take care of the fans and they said absolutely. Especially the first weekend, when a lot of fans couldn’t be here and watch us practice, it got rained out the first two practices. I just wanted to do something special for them, just cool them off on a hot summer day while they watch their boys play football.”

Was it good to get the pads back on today?

“Yes. We have been chomping at the bit to get back on the field. We had a couple of days of pretty extensive walkthroughs, a lot of meeting time, just installing a lot of the offense and defense. Defensively, it is a new scheme. There is a lot to get through. Offensively, a lot of the same guys are here. Some new guys are being brought up to speed. It is camp, it is that mindset. We are here to work, we are here to get better, we are here to prepare ourselves for, hopefully, a great season. We see the opportunity in front of us and this is the first step.”

Does this still feel like install to you?

“The offensive system is one that we are all very familiar with. It is the same one we have been running for the past six years here. Every camp, for me especially because I wasn’t here for OTAs and minicamp, it is just getting in the huddle, calling the play, getting up to the line, seeing the defense, making the proper checks and whatnot. And throwing the pads back on as well, that is always an adjustment. It has been six months since any of us had pads on our shoulders. To get the feel of that again, it is always a slight adjustment. This is what we do. We try to get back in it pretty quick.”

How does it feel to not have Sean Payton here in camp?

“It is different, definitely. I have said this before and I probably will be saying it every time I get asked that question, there are things that he taught me and us that resonate with us every time we step on the field. Regardless of if he is physically present or not, we feel his presence. I hear his voice in my head. I know the things that he has taught me personally. I try to apply that every day. That has become the fabric of who we are as a team. That is the way we operate. While it is not the same as having him here in person and his presence and him knowing exactly what to say at that moment, we still try to apply everything that he taught us.”

What are your thoughts on Jabari Greer’s interception today?

“I know this, that made me angry. The very next play, Pete called the play and I said, ‘Can I call this instead because I want to throw one over the top of Jabari?’ He got depth so we weren’t able to get past him but I was looking to make him pay the very next time.”

How is it different reading a completely new defense at the line in camp?

“Personnel is largely the same. Patrick Robinson, Jabari Greer, the safeties with (Roman) Harper and Malcolm Jenkins, different linebackers except for (Scott) Shanle. You know the personnel but you don’t know the scheme yet. You try to watch and see how they are being coached and the coverage schemes and the pressure schemes. You just try to recognize those things and pick on every little thing that you can. We are only in day three here but it is the first time with pads on. That is when things change. Now, it becomes a much more physical element. It is live bullets so to speak and you try to treat it as such. Things happen faster because guys are flying around. Every day and camp is a cat and mouse game, it is a chess match. We are here to compete against each other. In the end, we are trying to make each other better. Every time I step on the field, I want to beat our defense. They want to beat the offense. In the process, we know that we are making each other better.”

What do you expect from Mark Ingram this year?

“I expect great things. He impressed me last year, coming in as a rookie. As physical a back as he is, he is not as big as you would think. When you watch him play, he plays much bigger. He had the injury last year that sidelined him at the end of the season but I look forward to having him healthy and seeing what that second year can bring for him in regards to opportunities. Every time you get past your rookie season, it is kind of like your introduction to the NFL. Now, the chance to take it to the next level and find your role on this team where you can fit in. He is a guy who can do everything. He is not just a down-hill power back. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. He is very smart. He is great in protection, picking up linebackers and rushers. He is smart and can make adjustments on the run. I love his attitude. He comes out with a positive attitude every day. He is fun to be around.”

Will you comment on the growth of Jimmy Graham and his growth this offseason?

“It is still early. The guy is so hungry and so competitive all the time. He never lets up. We demand a lot out of him. He runs a lot. He is in there a lot of plays. He is in about every personnel group because he is so dynamic. He can do so many different things. There was a play out here that would have been a challenging catch for most, I think in his mind it is routine for him. He missed it and he hasn’t stopped talking about it for the last 45 minutes. Just saying ‘I can’t believe I missed it. Come back to me again and I’ll make that play. You know I am going to make that play.’ I know. I know. I am going to come back to you. In his mind, he has such a high expectation level for himself. He set the bar so high for himself. That is what you love about a guy is that you are not having to push him or motivate him, he is self-motivated and self-inspired. You love to see that in a young player, especially after the season that he had.”

New Orleans Saints DL Cameron Jordan

Media Availability

Saturday, July 28, 2012

A couple of sacks today?

“All I saw was humidity. I was seeing mirages. No, I’m just playing. I’m just out there working hard. First day out in this wonderful weather.”

Overall how did it feel to be in pads in comparison to last year? I mean, it was humid, but not as humid as past practices.

“Yeah, last season was a welcome. When you come from the West coast you’re used to the dry heat and then you enter this swamp and you get up with 90% humidity and 140 degrees in pads. Today was nice though. You know we had the overcast, and it was only a little humid. The fresh rain was on the ground. But, you know, it was a good day of practice, definitely a good intro day. Best we could have asked for an intro day. “

How does it feel to be in pads for the first time since, well, San Francisco? You’re working with a new scheme and it’s been a while.

“Like I said, this was a great intro day. You got your full pads on, you got a little more contact…for the linebackers and defensive backs. You know, offensive lineman and us defensive lineman are hitting every play.”

What do you think would be a winning situation for you, do you combine quarterback pressures with sacks, or what is your goal as far as number of sacks?

“Having a limited role last year, with third downs and passing downs, I don’t really have a ceiling as far as what I can and cannot do. I’m just ready to be on this defense and I don’t want to put any numbers on it, but I’d hope it’d be in the double digits.”

What do you think of Spagnuolo having you trying so many different things?

“You know when a defensive coordinator and a player have two different dreams, they don’t always collide very well. But it’s so great for me because I see myself as a versatile player and he sees me as playing so many different roles. And so we come together and this is great for me. I think anything he allows me to do, I can do. I’m all for it.”

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram

Media Availability

Saturday, July 28, 2012

How are you feeling?

“I’m feeling good. I’m just taking it one day at a time. I feel good out there running and cutting. I feel healthy, I feel strong and I feel fast. It’s just about staying healthy, keeping the maintenance up on it and making sure I maintain that health throughout the whole season. That’s the number one priority is getting better and staying healthy.”

Can you talk about the running backs group as a whole with you, Darren Sproles, Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory?

“I think those four names can go anywhere and play, not just here. It’s great that we all have such a good relationship in that running back room. We hang out together all the time. If anyone has a question in the film room, everybody is open and we help each other out. We push each other to get better. We compete, but at the same time it’s friendly competition. Everyone wants to go out there and win a championship. Everybody wants to be the best that they can be for the team. That’s why we come out here and practice hard every day.”

You mentioned maintaining your health is very important for this season. What else have you learned from last season that you can take into this season?

“The rookie year was just a complete learning experience, just coming in, being familiar with my teammates, getting comfortable with my coaches, the organization, the playbook and everything else. I learned the playbook last year and this offseason, just studying it and watching film. Your second year in the NFL, I think you grow a little bit more. It was similar to your freshman year in college. My freshman year, I did some good things. My sophomore year, I grew into a better player by learning offense and learning how to read defenses. I just think your second year in the league you grow more as a player and I think that could bring some more success.”

Can you talk about the reaction you got from the crowd on the play where you bounced it outside for a big gain?

“That was just a little something. It probably would have only been a three yard run or something. It felt good to bounce it outside, cut it up and finish the run. I’m just out here working hard.”

Were you thinking about the injury at all on a play like that when you do have to cut up the field?

“I don’t think about my injuries at all when I’m out there. I just go out there and give it one hundred percent. If you go out there and think about an injury, that’s how you get hurt again. I just go out there one hundred percent, full speed, and when I see something, I cut. If it’s on that knee, it’s on that knee. If it’s on the toe, it’s on the toe. It really doesn’t matter to me. I just go out there and go one hundred percent, full speed every rep I have and try to make the best of it.”

Are you at the point right now where you think you can be the every down back on third down?

“Definitely. I believe any way that the coaches need me to contribute in this offense, that’s what I’m going to do and that’s what I’m happy to do. In my eyes, I’ve always thought that I’m an every down back, an all-purpose back, a guy who can run inside, a guy who can run outside, a guy who can run routes and catch the ball out of the backfield and pick up yards for you, and a pass pro. I don’t label myself as a short yardage back or a power back. I think I’m an all-purpose back that can play for you on every down no matter what it is.”

Are they bringing you along more in the passing formations?

“Yes. You just have to grow a little more. You have to know the protections. You have to know your routes when nobody is coming so you can get to your check downs for Drew (Brees). You just have to be one hundred percent on your execution out there. That’s my main focus is coming out here and having no mental errors and just having complete execution every single practice.”

 

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