All come courtesy of the New Orleans Saints official website.
Q: What kinds of problems does the Kansas City defense pose to you guys?
A: Looking statistically, they have taken the ball away more than almost any other team. They have 18 takeaways, the leader has 19. They’ve done a phenomenal job of getting turnovers and creating opportunities for their offense. Certainly the emphasis for us is to take care of the football.
Q: How do they do that so successfully?
A: They’re great at stripping the ball. 11 fumbles maybe. You look at the film and a ton of balls have come out whether they recover the ball or not. Balls are on the ground quite a bit. I think it’s something that they teach and they are obviously quite good at it.
Q: Are they a deceiving 1-8?
A: They very well could have won these last three games and when you flip on the film they don’t look like a 1-8 team. We know we have our work cut out for us playing at Arrowhead. When I played for the Chargers, they were an AFC opponent and we’d go there once a year and it was always an extremely difficult place to play.
Q: Do you have a better read three days later after the last game as to what you guys did wrong and have to do better?
A: When you look at it, certainly the turnovers and I put that on myself, especially the ones in the fourth quarter. We could have cut it close enough to have a chance to win at the end, but unfortunately we can’t go three quarters with only scoring six points. I thought there were some opportunities there. If only we could get that first first down, get in a rhythm and get going and unfortunately we had a couple of three and out scenarios, just scenarios where for three quarters where I felt like we weren’t on the field very long. Granted, they did a good job of possessing the ball and keeping us off the field. You walk off the field saying, consider the fourth quarter where we had those two minute drills and marched right down the field. Prior to that we didn’t feel like there were other opportunities for us.
Q: Do you feel a sense of urgency on the practice field?
A: Absolutely. We’re tired of sitting here talking about getting over the hump. We’re not that team. We’re not a .500 team. Obviously that’s the way we’ve played for the last year and a half. That’s not the type of team we are. We’ve gone back to the drawing board and identified the things that win football games and the things we’re good at, so that’s what we’re going to do.
Q: Is there a certain formula?
A: Yes there absolutely is a formula. A lot of times the formula is if you do things the right way things work out for you. Sometimes you don’t get the breaks in this league. The teams that end of making the runs at the end kind of have things go their way. I think in order to put yourself in that position you have to do things the right way, have a lot of confidence and if you do that long enough, things will happen.
Q: Is that confidence more difficult to come by after two difficult losses to divisional opponents than earlier in the season after close losses?
A: Yes, we’re well beyond saying we could be or should be 6-3 or whatever, because you look at these two games against divisional opponents on the road where we had very lackluster showings and just felt like we were outplayed. It seemed like they played with more intensity and more emotion, which is not us at all. We’re going to have to fix that.
Q: What is the answer?
A: The same thing that got us out of that 0-4 hole last year, just getting back to what we do extremely well, the things we are all very confident in, because when you step on the field on Sunday, you want to be prepared, you want to feel as confident as you can about the gameplan, which means you feel good about what you’re doing and that you’re comfortable with what’s going to happen. Obviously do what you’re going to do during the week and get your body ready to play as well. We’ve been beat up like everybody else. As long as we can get to that point and play physically on gameday, we’ll be fine.
Q: Are there other guys that need to be challenged? Has complacency set in?
A: I think there’s always guys that need to be challenged. I think I’m always a guy looking for the next challenge. I think there’s plenty of those guys. I know what you’re getting at and we have the right type of guys on this team. We don’t have the type of guys that need to be motivated necessarily. We have a lot of self motivated guys on this team that are always looking for the next challenge. We have a huge challenge ahead of us which is win this game on the road at Kansas City and find a way to get on a roll here. We’ve proven that we can win a number of games in a row in the past. We rattled off four in a row after starting off 0-4 last year. The year before we had a couple of runs. We need to get back to feeling that way.
Q: I know your team like the Saints have suffered through a lot of injuries. How are you heallthwise going into this week?
A: We’ll see where it’s at, but we’ve lost some guys. That’s part of football. You know that. But we’re a young team. We’re trying to rebuild. The worst part about losing starters, especially when they’re young, that’s the time when we need them to play, because that’s how they gain experience. Some of those guys aren’t in the lineup right now. Hopefully it’s not serious for a lot of them.
Q: It looks like the last three weeks, you have been on the verge of beating some really good football teams. Do you feel some progress?
A: Yes, we’ve seen a lot of progress the last three weeks. That’s the good part. The bad part is that we have to finish the game in the closing parts of it, but I think that's a little bit due to lack of experience, because we’re not very experienced at all as a football team. We’re very, very young. The consistency is the thing I like the last three weeks. We’ve been very pretty consistent. We’ve given ourselves an opportunity to be in these games, now we have to try to finish them off.
Q: How has Glenn Dorsey done in his rookie season?
A: He’s done well. He’s started every game, every week and that’s what you like about the guy. He’s a sponge. He tries to learn. Every week he gets better. With rookies, it’s the first time they’ve played this opponent and unless it’s in the division, it’s the first time they’ve ever seen this team unless it’s on television. It’s going to be another learning experience for him going against the Saints.
Q: What’s the biggest adjustment for a defensive tackle going into his first year in the NFL?
A: When you have his status when he was in college, some of the guys he played against in college football, they go on to be doctors and lawyers and businessmen in the community. The guys that he plays against in this league, they’re football players. That’s all that they do. They live it. They have a lot of experience. I think he’s learning that now. He’s getting better and I think that’s the good thing about it.
Q: How are Dwayne Bowe and Rudy Niswanger doing?
A: They’ve played well. It’s Dwayne’s second year now. Rudy it’s his first year for him to start. Both of those kids are doing well and you guys know that’s a heck of a football program. A lot of players come out of there. We’re fortunate to have three of them.
Q: Should we look for Larry Johnson to resume his former role or will it be a gradual process?
A: It’s supposed to be gradual, but he’ll still play. He’s missed a month now. We have him slated to play some and that’s what we anticipate.
Q: Is he in reasonably good condition for a guy who has been sidelined so long
A: Yes. He’s in good condition. The other three weeks when he was not activated, he practiced. The week he was suspended, he cannot be on campus, but he was working out. He doesn’t have any gameday experience at this point, because he hasn’t played in a month.
Q: Can you talk about the progress of Tyler Thigpen since he’s been in your lineup over the past month?
A: The Atlanta game was his first start and you can imagine a guy from Coastal Carolina, this is his second year, but in my mind he’s a rookie, he didn’t do much last year, he got his opportunity. You saw some flashes against Atlanta, but we turned the ball over three or four times in the game and the game got away from us early before the half and in the third quarter. We put him back down and he didn’t play again. It was Damon’s (Huard) turn and Damon started playing again. Due to the injury to Damon, he had to come back and play and it was his first time out against Brett Favre in New York and he played well, played well enough for us to win and didn’t turn the ball over. He repeated that the following week against Tampa at home. We went on the road and he did it again this week. He’s a guy that’s progressed every week. He’s gaining confidence in himself and it’s a tribute to him and the coaching staff that we feel he can do well. You talk about the guy who’s only started four games. He still has a long way to go. He’s done fairly well so far.
Q: How does Reggie Bush’s possible presence complicate things when you gameplan on defense?
A: Obviously the matchup problem he presents. They use him in that role. Obviously coach (Payton) does a great job in doing that. That’s a headache for you . He can get on some guys and he can get some mismatches against safeties and linebackers, he gets in space. He’s tremendous. He’s a heck of a football player. You love watching him play when you watch him on tape. You just hate playing against the guy. He’s a handful.
Q: You’ve had a lot of success throughout your career. What is the most difficult part of how this season has gone?
A: I just think the losing is tough. You don’t like losing, but I think when you’re rebuilding, you understand that could happen. It’s the process of what you’re going through when you’re developing a young football team. That’s the hardest part. Obviously it comes in the fact that you’re motivating a bunch of young guys. You’re talking about 19 rookies on your roster and 35 other guys who are second or third year guys. That’s a young team, so you have to keep them upbeat. Other than that, they continue to grow and play. That’s the hardest thing. You’ve played in three football games where you have an opportunity to win and you haven’t done it yet, so you feel bad for the players, because they’re working at it, they’re getting close, but you have to take wins. Nobody gives them to you.
Q: When you look at the Saints on film, what’s your biggest concern?
A: They’re scary. They’re very scary on offense. They do a great job. Defensively they run to the ball. They have some speed, the linebacker corps does a good job and they’re athletic. The secondary, I know they’ve been a little nicked too, but they do a good job. Their offense is the thing that sets them apart. They’re the number one offense in the NFL. They have a lot of weapons. Their receivers are very good running after the catch. That’s what you notice on tape. They throw a lot of short passes. They can go vertically on you. The quarterback’s having a phenomenal year. He’s an outstanding quarterback.
Q: What stands out about Drew Brees and makes him so successful?
A: He’s very accurate. He keeps his poise in the pocket. His line’s done a great job for him. The line coach/offensive coordinator Doug Marrone actually started with me in New York. He’s an excellent football coach. They have a good staff. They have a good plan on how they do things. He’s very accurate. He’s a leader. When he has the ball in his hands, he knows how to move the football team. He’s very good when you take away his first read. Sometimes he comes back to the third read and that’s what makes him one of the better quarterbacks in the National Football League.
Q: Are you not surprised by Jonathan Vilma’s performance in New Orleans?
A: No, when you know the kid and know what he’s made of, he’s an excellent football player, excellent leadership skills. That’s what we brought him in there for to lead and he did a great job as a rookie stepping right in there and he played very good for us. I’m glad for Jonathan. I think he’s a consummate pro. He works at it. He’s a team guy. He does what’s best for the football team. You’re glad to see guys, he had an injury, he bounced back from it and he’s playing well.
Q: Tell us how your rookie season is going so far?
A: It’s going alright. There are good days and bad days, but it’s getting better every week.
Q: Did your preseason injury kind of set you back a little bit?
A: One day, I’d come out and be good, the other day it would be sore. It’s good for the most part now.
Q: Was it the same knee that you hurt last year at LSU?
A: It was my left knee.
Q: What’s the biggest adjustment for a defensive tackle going into his first year in the NFL?
A: Just techniquwise and the game speed, getting used to everybody being as good as you are and just trying to come out and work on everything, because everybody’s good.
Q: Are you aware that the Saints were interested in potentially drafting you?
A: Yes, I was aware of that. That would have been cool too. I’m a Chief. I’m happy here. I’ll be happy wherever I go.
Q: Did they tell you they might try to get you?
A: Yes, they were back and forth with my agent. They were talking to my agent about it. That’s how it worked out.
Q: Did you grow up a Saints fan?
A: Of course. How can you grow up in Louisiana and not be a Saints fan?
Q: Does that give added meaning to this Sunday’s game?
A: Of course, I have a lot of my family coming up this week for the first time. They’re Saints fans, but they’re going to root for the Chiefs on Sunday.
Q: How much family do you have coming?
A: Like 40.
Q: Did you talk to Dwayne Bowe a lot about it? Is it special for them even though he grew up in Miami?
A: Yes. He has a lot of friends that are coming into town too; it’ll be a big game for us.
Q: Have you formed a friendship with Dwayne and Rudy Niswanger?
A: Yes, we stick together. We’re always talking and clowning around, asking how each other’s doing. We’re always checking on each other to see if everybody’s going alright.
Q: How did you like Herman Edwards’ decision to go for two the other day?
A: I liked that. We’re playing to win. We played some close games, so if you have an opportunity to win, why not go for it.
Q: How hard as it to lose as many games this year as in your college career nearly?
A: It’s tough. If you look around the locker room and at practice, everybody’s going 100 miles an hour and moving around to get this thing turned around. It’s bad losing, but coming to work, it’s good to be with your teammates, because everyone's pushing each other.
Q: Do you think you’re close to turning the corner?
A: Yes, I think we’re real close. We’re putting in hard work all week. I think we are almost there. We just have to keep pushing, play hard, play a whole game and not give up big plays and make big plays. I think we’re close.
Q: Did you get to see the LSU Alabama game?
A: I watched the whole game. I felt bad. That was a tough way to lose after LSU played great. It was a tough way to lose. They have to keep it going for the rest of the season and play hard.
Q: Are you kind of hoping you get the chance to play against Reggie Bush?
A: Yes of course. Reggie Bush is a great player. He’s running everywhere. He’s a guy you want to keep contained. It’s fun to play a guy like that, because he’s a big challenge.
Q: Since LSU and USC never play, with Reggie and Sedrick Ellis on this team and you, Dwayne Bowe, and Rudy Niswanger, can this settle the score?
A: We always go back and forth about that. If LSU and USC met, I feel like LSU would dominate, but it would have been a good game. It would have been fun. We’ll probably be talking back and forth this weekend.
Q: You’ve had some troubles stopping the run, what’s the biggest thing there?
A: Earlier in the season we had trouble stopping the run, but if you look at our last couple games, we’ve done a good job there. There were a lot of mental mistakes, but we got those corrected, but we’ve played hard.
Q: What do you think of Herman Edwards?
A: I like to play for him. He’s a great coach. He’s a good motivator. He’s talking trash. He makes practice fun and makes you want to go out and work hard. He tries to uplift you. He tries to stay positive, while talking about the little things you have to work on.
Q: Have you heard his play to win speech?
A: I heard that in college on You Tube. He doesn’t say that anymore, but you play to win the game and that’s the objective. If you can’t do that, you try to get better.