Saints Training Camp 2013: Player Press Conference Transcripts

Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Who's up for adding a little "Who Dat Say!?!?" to your day?

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Cameron Jordan, Pierre Thomas, Lance Moore and Malcolm Jenkins met with the media following the first day of practice at the New Orleans Saints 2013 Training Camp.

Transcripts provided by neworleanssaints.com - LINK.

Cameron Jordan * Post-Practice Media Availability * Friday, July 26, 2013

A lot of attention has been paid to the guys competing for the linebacker positions, but this could be a big year for you. Do you feel like you are prepared for this upcoming season playing a slightly different position and had a really good offseason?

"Without a doubt. OTAs have given me a little taste of what we need to do with our defense. I'm glad that happened. I feel a little bit more comfortable with the defense. Of course there is still a lot to learn, and I am looking forward to it."

How did the first day go?

"The first day, you try and train as hard as you can. Coming from Arizona, we get (to) 105°. I think we even reached up to 118°. We were pretty hot, needless to say. I thought I got some serious work in, but then you come out here and you get a gut check with this humidity. You can't really train for that, but I definitely think that the team is more prepared than they have been these past couple of years, since I have been on the team, and I am really excited about the season to come."

How important is it to get success, even though it is at practice, for this defense?

"Even though it is just practice, we have to translate that to the gametime and game field situations. I think if this is going to show anything about it, I think we have a lot of talent and can make a lot of plays happen."

Did you see Keenan Lewis's nice interception today?

"I saw that. Keenan is a truly a ball hawk, and I am glad he is on our team."

How is it working with Rob Ryan, your new defensive coordinator to go with Joe Vitt, the assistant head coach/linebackers? What kind of critiques are Rob, Joe and the defensive staff making?

"That's interesting. They are full of energy, and passionate about what they do. It is always great to have that collide, and just matriculate down to us."

What is the best thing you have seen in this marriage?

"You are going to get two stories. Rob definitely has a lot of stories to tell, and, of course, Joe Vitt is the storyteller. He has so much history and so much knowledge, and he is able to encompass life, as we know it, and relate it to us."

How comfortable are you in the 3-4 defensive end role?

"I would like to say that I am pretty comfortable. Although, as you have seen, even though (I) play both sides of the ball, I am more comfortable on the left side. I am getting more comfortable on the right side and working on that side."

How was it having Sean Payton back at training camp?

"I could feel that the moment he came back, when we switched up our training (and) conditioning style. I don't know if you guys heard, but it was a monster, and I think that is going to set the tone for this camp."

What did they add this year to the conditioning test?

"Well, they threw away the old conditioning test (laughing). It was a completely new test. That's one for the ages, what we did yesterday (was different). JV (Jonathan Vilma) will probably tell you more about that."

How do you feel about the defensive line, overall?

"There is a lot of weight on the d-line this year. There are a lot of big boys, a lot of big men. What is so great about it is that everybody can move. Everyone is pretty nimble on their feet. That is what I am most excited about."

Can you compare practicing with this defense, as opposed to last year?

"It is still a new defense. It is too new to compare. Maybe, later on in the season I can add better comments (about it)."

* * *

Pierre Thomas

How easy is it, like in the case of Mark Ingram, to block out criticism?

"You don't have to listen to it. People are going to criticize and talk about you no matter what. It's just the way of life. That is the way people are. You are going to hear good things, and you are going to hear bad things. I block it all out. It is the type of person that I am. I look at how I deal with it. Even if it is good, I still block it out. If people say, ‘Oh you did this." I say, "Ok, that's good.' Or if people say, ‘You messed up on this.' OK, that's fine. Let people talk. I know what I need to do to be successful in this league. As long as you just believe in yourself and do what you know is right, you will be fine."

Do you think Mark Ingram has maybe put too much pressure on himself these past two years to match what he did at Alabama?

"I don't see that. I see that he was a young guy trying to get used to this level. He is a guy who is trying to understand the game at this level, at a pro level. He is doing the best job he can. The older you get, you start to realize the type of person that you are going to be in this league. He is starting to figure that out. He is trying to see what type of person he wants to be. As long as he just stays on the right track and (does) not get caught up in what everybody is saying, bad things or good things, he is going to be fine where he is at."

From your standpoint, with the Chris Ivory trade, how has your role changed?

"It is still going to be the same. It is definitely not easier. Even if Chris Ivory was still here, it would be the same. Chris was another guy who didn't play as much, but he can play and could've been in the rotation with us. The coaches put in three running backs. They have a three-back rotation as we go into the game, That is all they have been going through these last couple of years. We won the Super Bowl with a three-back rotation, Mike Bell, Reggie Bush, and myself. We never had four guys really rotate in that much, but now, we are still on the same path. When Chris was there, we were in the situation where if one of us got hurt, we could still do the same thing. Yes, we did lose a good running back, but it's the business of this sport. You lose guys. But, we have Travaris Cadet. We still have our fourth guy, who can stay in that rotation and do everything. We won't miss a beat, just in case, you don't want to wish anything bad, but if something happens to one of us, we have another guy (Cadet) who can step up and jump right into that rotation, and everything will keep cycling perfectly."

Do you think that is what worked in the 2011 season?

"Definitely. It kept us fresh. It was a good rotation with us three. We all (Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram) carried different parts. We all had different talents and skills. Having that good rotation, I think it saved us and put more stress on the defense. You never know because we all have different talents and different unique styles, but we are always fresh. They are tired, but we are fresh. It is hard for them to stay with us when we have fresh legs."

You never felt that the four-man rotation was confusing?

"Everything was smooth. We talked about it as a group. We felt like that was a good thing. Out there on the field, you have to get used to the rhythm. It is hard to get fresh and jump into it. You have to find that feeling. That is one thing we are figuring out. As soon as you get out there on the field, you have to have that feeling that you are ready to go out and do the best job you can. We have to keep hitting them, back to back. We want to be like a combination, keep hitting them, non-stop, a three-hit combination. That's what we want to do."

As a running back, what was it like to see what Adrian Peterson did last year?

"I mean, all praise to him. That was a serious injury, and to come back and have the season that he had was unbelievable. He is a freak of nature. Everybody knows that he is a good running back. Everybody sees it, and everybody knows it. He is a guy who shows that hard work pays off. (In the) offseason, he worked his butt off to get his leg back. You have seen, the last year, that he worked very hard. He did a great job of rehabbing, very well."

How scary is it that he would be 100 percent healthy this year?

"It's not scary. I know our defensive players aren't scared. The last time he faced us, I know he didn't get too many yards. He is still a dangerous player. Hands down. You can't take him lightly at all. He is still a hard runner. Everybody knows it, but I know our defense is not scared of him."

As a running back, is he the guy that you would cut film of a young running back to show you how to do it? Would he be that guy?

"Yes. You could definitely look at him as a guy to try and compare your talents to his. To see how he did. You have got to give it to the man. He is a very good runner and a very hard player. He is very good at his job. He is very fast and very explosive, and a lot of guys see it. You could try to compare yourself to him, but at the same time, as a running back in this position in this league, you want to be the best, so you try to strive to be the best. You try to see what he can do and say, ‘Ok, how can I get better than that.' You have to be better than him."

Who was your sports hero growing up?

"My first love was baseball, so Frank Thomas, who everybody says looks like my father and my uncle, my twin. I grew up as a White Sox fan. Frank was one of my favorites. Football wise, you have Barry Sanders and Walter Payton. I was a little too young for Walter Payton, but I have still seen some of his games. I am from Chicago. Everybody here knows that I was a Bears fan. I still am a Bears fan, but I play every day, all day for the Saints, number one. I was more of a (fan of) Barry Sanders' style. I love that juke style. That is what I wanted to become."

Who is your fantasy date?

"I don't really have a fantasy date. If you want to say music-wise, Alicia Keys. She is married, though. I don't mess with married women. But, before she was married (joking)."

Talking about being from Chicago, do you think that President Barack Obama has done a good job?

"I think he does a good job. Right now, with my foundation, (dedicated to) fighting childhood obesity, Michelle Obama was out here just this past weekend. I was really trying to get in contact with her and let her know about my foundation. She is a fellow Chicagoan. I really want to reach out to her and let her know that we are out here fighting childhood obesity too. If we could interact with her program and my program, especially out here and in Mississippi."

* * *

Lance Moore

I was just talking to Drew about his completion percentage last year, 63.0 percent. That's the lowest since he has been a Saint. He still threw for over 5,000 yards though. People might say that it's the beginning of his decline in the mid-thirties but it's a lot more complicated than that right?

"Yes there's a lot more to it than that. I think that's an easy excuse. I guarantee you it won't happen again. That's something that he studied throughout the offseason and is something he doesn't want to replicate. That's been one thing he has been good at pretty much the whole time he has been here, his completion percentage. He has been one of the best in the league and I guarantee you that will be something that we will be a lot better at this year."

Why do you think it dipped a little?

"There are probably a lot of reasons. I don't think there's any one specific reason. I don't really know (exactly). I don't want to speak for him to much but we weren't really quite as we were in the past on offense all around. We didn't run the ball well, we weren't nearly as efficient, and we turned the ball over more. We can do a lot of things better."

Sean Payton mentioned being behind a lot and chasing points can make you more predictable and stuff like that. It also makes it harder for the quarterback right?

"It does. Any time you have to throw the ball more, the percentage of turning it over or the defense knowing what you are going to be doing goes up a lot more. Their chances go up a lot more when they know what's going on."

You're kind of the veteran of the wide receiver corps now. Does it feel different for you to be in this position?

"It's different. It's kind of cool, kind of uncool to be one of the older guys but I've come a long way in my career and to say that I've been here for nine years now just as crazy for me as it is for people to hear it. I feel like a have a lot of ball left and I am going to being one of those veteran guys that the young guys can come talk to because that's all I wanted when I was a young guy, especially the guys who have to come up the hard way, the underrated guys. It doesn't matter if they are receivers or not. I'm always trying to share my story and let these guys know that I came up the hard way. I was underrated, I was cut three times, and to say that I'm still here after nine years is a pretty cool accomplishment but I will just let them know that if they are willing to put in the work and show up when their number is called, they will get a chance."

There's a handful of guys that have one year experience here, (Jarred) Fayson, Saalim Hakim, and obviously (Andy) Tanner. Some people wonder if maybe that is one of the reasons that maybe this team isn't as good because you don't have a Devery (Henderson) or a (Robert) Meachem. What can you tell us about this young crop of receivers that are going to be battling for positions?

"Competition will bring out the best in our guys and we have so many guys that are so closely talented that it's going to be one of the better competitions to watch during camp. I want everybody to push everybody. It's not just Marques (Colston) and myself waiting at the top. We want guys to push us and then we will push them so we will all be better at the end of the day."

Does Drew (Brees) push his receivers?

"Absolutely. It's funny because you would think that the veteran, starting, and star quarterback would only talk to his veteran guys and Drew is a guy that will talk to, throw balls to, and chat with on the sideline every single guy from 1 to 12 and that's just the type of guy he is. That's his character and really the character of the guys on this team because everybody genuinely likes each other and wants each other to do well."

Keenan Lewis has said that facing off against guys like you and Drew (Brees) makes him better. Has the 3-4 defense given you problems in the past? It seems like it kind of gives you guys some trouble.

"The 3-4 gives us trouble because we don't see it as much and to be able to see that every day will do nothing but help us when we come in to the games against the teams that run the 3-4 defense. Not to say that the 4-3 defenses won't give us trouble ether but once you can see it everyday it will definitely help us out."

What's your overall reaction of coming back with Drew (Brees) being on the field and Coach (Sean Payton) being on the field?

"There's an overall since of normalcy. Just to have everything back to the way it was two years ago is good so we can move forward and not have to worry about hearing things other than (about) football each and every day. We can just go out to work and enjoy getting better each and every day."

Are you impressed with some of the new members of the team?

"I think we have a great group of guys, especially the draft guys and some of the acquisitions that we got. I think we got a great group and if we continue (to strive to improve) every day we will have a chance"

You played all those years with Devery (Henderson). Is it sad to see a guy like that go or do you realize that it's part of the business?

"I would say both. It's sad to see a guy like that go because we were together here for eight years. The first time you come into that meeting room and he isn't (in) there is a little weird but you understand that that's part of the business (of pro football). He is in Washington now so I wish him good luck but we still keep in contact. I talked to him two days ago and he was teasing us about how easy their conditioning test was. He is a guy that I played with for a long time and will be my friend forever."

Is it nice to look over the line and see the defense win some battles occasionally?

"No. I play offense. I don't want them to win any reps, any routes, or anything. I'd be lying to you if I said it's nice to see them win. We want to kick their butt every day and when we don't we are upset. That's the nature of the business. The competitiveness never leaves us. We would be foolish if we came out here and said well they beat us today. If you can just walk away like that then you are in the wrong business."

Did you tell Devery (Henderson) it's about time he gets out and sees the world because he has been in Louisiana his whole life?

"No, I didn't. I talked to him when he was getting ready to sign somewhere. He said he had a couple teams in mind. He said he would love to be here but since he realized that he wasn't going to be here he moved on and all you can do is wish him good luck, hope he stays healthy, and hope he plays well."

* * *

Malcolm Jenkins

Can you talk about the first day of practice?

"I think it went well. Guys are moving with a little bit of pace. I think guys are trying to catch the second wind a little bit, but I think it was good for the first day."

Is it encouraging to see the turnovers on team drills?
"We we're able to get our hands on some of those footballs and come up with a pick and that's something we definitely want to get back to doing as a defense so, to start out like that, that was definitely encouraging."

Is there something to be said about a big tall cornerback like Keenan Lewis?

"Yes. If you see the league, and the progression of where the game is going as far as the corner position, those bigger longer guys are starting to really shine in the NFL and Keenan is obviously one of those. He's got great hips, great feet, and he plays the ball pretty well so we're excited about his addition to the team."

You're talking about Keenan, that's a special skill in (going beyond) his highest point?

"While we're talking about the point that he's tall, he's long, those corners are starting to really make an impact on the league. You know, 10 years ago, corners were all 5-9 and real quick guys. Now, you got the longer, taller guys that are making plays on the balls that can still move their hips like a smaller guy and Keenan is definitely one of those and we're saying that he is a great addition to our defense."

How about his attitude so far? What did you notice from him?

"He's hungry. That's the biggest thing. Since the day they signed him, the next morning he was in the weight room getting it in. I can tell he is definitely motivated to make a huge impact this year. He's happy to be back home and definitely, he's driven. He knows he has competition with Patrick Robinson and Jabari Greer and I think it's making it that much better."

Is it a healthy transition to defense when you have guys that can play man coverage?

"Yes. I think you know, that's getting back to what we used to do. Man up and letting more people (cover), you have more people to rush to quarterback (and) give pressure. That helps, us on the back end because it's less time to cover as well, it gives the D Line and the blitzers a little bit more time to get there when you got those guys that can just line up and cover receivers."

Is there any extra motivation coming into a training camp knowing it's the last year of your contract?

"Yes it is. You just know everything counts. Every opportunity is big and huge. At the same time, I'm motivated every year. Just with the opportunity we have with this team, outside of myself, we have a lot of good people. All we got to do is put the puzzle together to see what happens, but potential doesn't win any games, so we come out here and every day try to get better than we were the day before and see what happens."

Rob Ryan said that having Joe Vitt was like a first round draft pick, he really didn't get to coach in his true role last year. Having him back in his true role with a combination of him and Rob Ryan, what do you think they can do?

"I think having Joe back in the linebacker room is huge especially for guys like Jon Vilma and Curtis Lofton. Joe has all of the tips in the world. He is seasoned vet in his league, he knows the game and he can break it down (and) put it in understanding. He is very very adjustable too so if Jon Vilma or Curtis has a problem with something, they will work it out and get it fixed so as a defensive coordinator when you have those specific coaches that can be that coordinator in their own position rooms it's huge and it makes not only the player smarter, but it makes us smarter as a defense."

* * *

Now that they've had their say, what do you say?

More on 2013 Training Camp from CSC:

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