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Fleur-de-Links - Nov. 18th: Patrick Robinson Returns to Practice, Shockey Again Sits Out

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Today's injury report was basically the same as yesterday's with the exception of Patrick Robinson being upgraded to "limited" instead of "out." Payton says Pierre Thomas has "turned a corner," but he looks highly unlikely to play this week. Thomas dressed and went through individual drills, but did not participate in team drills. Jeremy Shockey didn't even do that much. He was no where to be seen today, but has not yet been ruled out for Sunday. No word on the severity of his rib injury and if it may keep him out of this game. We should know more on him after tomorrow's walk-through practice.

In other Saints news, Drew Brees is named "Patron Saint of the Year" by GQ Magazine, the Superdome will undergo major renovations this offseason, and the Times-Picayune has helpful tips on planning your Thanksgiving dinner around the 3:15 CST Saints game. Who needs turkey when you're wanting to see a bunch of Seahawks get roasted?

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 Mama I made the front page! Lol http://twitpic.com/37wxuu

 jeffduncantp Good news is he returned to prax. Bad news is he's still not ready. My guess: 2 weeks @ThaMonsta1980: anymore news on pierre's availability?

jeffduncantp No. Just the opposite. He's respected for his toughness. RT @SKIUMAH7: Is the perception around the Saints' camp that Pierre is soft?

Official_Saints Mama Vilma must be so proud.... RT @JonVilma51: Mama I made the front page! Lol http://twitpic.com/37wxuu

LanceMoore16 Feels like a nice little Thursday lol. Doin work like I'm supposed to. Holla.

Official_Saints Congrats to @DrewBrees who was named GQ magazine's "Patron Saint of the Year" !

Official_Saints Brees will be featured in GQ's Men of the Year issue, which hits stands this Tuesday, Nov. 23.

Official_Saints Here is a sneak peak of Brees' GQ feature (Photo credit: Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin /GQ) http://twitgoo.com/1qpr8h

Official_Saints Here is a chance to win a trip to Pro Bowl or Super Bowl! $10 raffle tickets to help Special Olympics LA http://bit.ly/PBSBTickets

Official_Saints Payton announced Bush, Ivory, Jenkins, Stinchcomb & Robinson were limited at practice today. Sharper, Shockey & RB Thomas did not practice

Official_Saints Payton said he believes that their defense is playing the best it has since he has been here.

HeathEvans "We had the "perfect" Christian home to everyone on the outside looking in." - I AM A VICTIM http://ht.ly/3c5Yp #imavictim #abuse

jgoody76 Smh RT @rockie91: Ok Dammit...I was suppose to be working out today bit instead I'm doing breakfast, lunch and (cont) http://tl.gd/71qoko

Official_Saints Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll talks about facing the Saints & two of his former players: Reggie Bush & Sedrick Ellis http://bit.ly/9WOIOG

ChaseDaniel Just got out of the cold tub, extra chilly today! Excited for a home cooked meal tonight & this weekend w @tylerlorenzen & @randisavoie

T_Porter22 Had a good day at prac...I'm tryna get out the tank!

 

PRACTICE REPORT:

Saints running back Pierre Thomas happy to see "progress" on his injured left ankle | NOLA.com
Thomas said he did not experience much swelling in the joint but said it remains sore. He said the ankle is not 100 percent healthy, estimating it's "in the high 70s or high 80s."

Saints’ Thomas back on field, still listed as DNP | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Saints running back Pierre Thomas once again worked during the team’s practice session at their Airline Drive facility, but he didn’t do enough to be listed as having practiced as he continues to rehab an ankle injury.

Saints running back Reggie Bush close to return versus Seahawks
Bush is close, real close - I mean really, really, really close - to returning to the lineup, perhaps as early as this Sunday afternoon at the Superdome against the NFC West-leading Seattle Seahawks and his former college coach, Pete Carroll.

New Orleans Saints tailback Reggie Bush is eager to return from injury | NOLA.com
"I think it was a little stiff at first, but once I got running around it felt pretty good. I'm just taking it day by day at this point and looking to obviously get back out there this weekend. But obviously the final decision will come toward the end of the week, and we'll see what happens. I feel like this is a good weekend to get out there."

Coach Payton: New Orleans Saints defense might be playing at highest level of his tenure | NOLA.com
"I think we're playing our best defense that we have in that time frame," Payton said. And while the turnovers have not come in the torrent that marked the Saints Super Bowl run in 2009, that statistic, too, should begin to improve.

Little change in New Orleans Saints injury report Thursday | NOLA.com
Running back Pierre Thomas, still nursing an ankle he hurt against Atlanta in week three, was again on the field in pads and participating in individual drills. But he did not take part in team drills or more full speed activities and thus remained on the did not participate list, Payton said. Still, while Thomas remains a longshot for the Seattle game Sunday, Payton said the team is encouraged by the progress the back has made in the last week and a half and said, "I think we've turned a corner."

 

SEAHAWKS @ SAINTS:

NFL.com Blogs " Blog Archive Saints bandwagon will fill up fast "
If you want to jump back on the Saints’ bandwagon, better jump quickly. Room will be running out.

Forecast: Saints win a squeaker over UL-Monroe | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Since the Saints were off last week controversies or crazy stories of Drew Brees flying to Argentina to get goat ligaments inserted into his knee, I think what Week 10 needs to kick it off is some rampant, uninformed speculation.

New Orleans Saints feel refreshed, recharged after bye week | NOLA.com
"Mentally I think we're pretty sharp right now," Harper said. "We had two really good days of practice, a little bit of extra preparation for Seattle. So we've got to be able to go out there and make it show up on the field."

Seattle Seahawks Coach Pete Carroll doesn't believe he has an edge against former USC players Reggie Bush and Sedrick Ellis | NOLA.com
Carroll said he hasn't fared well against former Trojans so far

2theadvocate.com | Sports | RB Jones familiar with next two Saints foes — Baton Rouge, LA
"I don’t have any ill feelings toward anyone up there," Jones said recently. "I was in a situation where they wanted to go a different way. It didn’t have anything to do with me. I did everything I could, everything they asked me to do … and more. So I don’t have any ill feelings toward anybody."

Overheard at the Saints’ facility: Wednesday Pre-Seattle edition | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Reggie Bush, on his leg: "Everything feels good. The biggest thing is seeing how it feels once I take a hit, take a shot. You know, the contact part.

Brees: ‘We plan on being there’ at the end | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
"The fact of the matter is we’re one game off the lead in the division, in the NFC and the one seed if you really look at it," Brees said. "We happen to play one of those teams again, Atlanta, who’s sitting on top of our division at 7-2. We control our own destiny right now. That’s really all you can ask for."

Bush's return should provide immediate impact | National Football Post
Let’s discuss this for a moment, because I do see Bush’s return to the lineup as a major upgrade to Sean Payton, Drew Bress and this New Orleans' offense. Forget about numbers or the box score, because when you have a dynamic player like Bush on the field, the game plan—and the play calling—will change. That is the advantage we are talking about for the Saints moving forward.

 

LAGNIAPPE:

Superdome shutdown planned for big renovations | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Louisiana Superdome will shut down at the end of football season for a $100 million renovation. It's forcing Endymion to move its Extravaganza to the Convention Center in 2011.

Vick's Offer Super Bowl Trip For "Most Dedicated NFL Fan"

Entergy signs on as partner with the New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee | NOLA.com
 The New Orleans Super Bowl Host Committee took a major step in filling the obligations of its winning Super Bowl XLVII bid by announcing that it has reached a partnership agreement with Entergy. As part of the agreement, Entergy will give $1 million dollars to the Host Committee to help put on the game and serve as the community...

Contract extension 'not on the radar' for New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees | NOLA.com
"It's not an issue during the season," Brees said. "It's not on my radar. I'm just thinking about winning games. But obviously when the time comes, we'll definitely be talking."

Your game plan for Saintsgiving? Make the meal ahead of time | NOLA.com
Her Shockey Slush is already in the freezer, a bourbon slush ready to be served with appetizers before the main event.

Like Drew Brees, Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick came back stronger | NOLA.com
"It was like a video game," defensive back Malcolm Jenkins said. "I thought I was watching someone play Madden (2011)."

New Orleans Saints: 'Amoeba defense' nothing new | NOLA.com
"Each week you try to prepare for it," Payton said, noting the Carolina Panthers employed the floating fronts on a few snaps against the Saints two weeks after the Cleveland loss. "One thing that helps is that when you stay in the third-down-and-manageable situations, where it's not as one-dimensional to where it's just pass. When you stay underneath third-and-7, I think it's harder to play in the third down and 2-to-3 or 4-to-6, and yet each week you work on those different looks."

New Orleans Saints Notebook: Sedrick Ellis once considered LSU over USC
"I made a verbal commitment to LSU and the next day I got home from (LSU) and coach Carroll and all of ’em were at my high school (Chino High in Chino, Calif.) just to make sure that I didn’t end up in Louisiana,’’ said Ellis, the Saints’ No. 1 pick in 2008 who has a team-high four sacks this season.

New Orleans Saints mailbag - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Eric in New Orleans writes: Why are the Saints still getting very little respect as an NFC top-tier team? No one team around the league looks as if it is going to run roughshod over anyone in the playoffs. Let's be honest. The Saints' ceiling is probably still the highest in the NFL (talent-wise).

Mike Sando's MVP Watch - NFC West Blog - ESPN
6. Drew Brees: Brees has 10 INTs in his past five games, with seven of those coming in surprising defeats to Arizona and Cleveland. The Saints have won their past two games by a 54-13 count, however, and they should be healthier coming out of the bye. The immediate schedule gives Brees a chance to improve his stats. He'll need a strong finish to factor more seriously.

ProFootballWeekly.com - MVP Meter: Falcons' White pushes off, steps up
3. Saints QB Drew Brees (No. 2) — If Brees is going to end the season with the MVP, he'll have to pick up his play on the road. Following this Sunday's game vs. the Seahawks in the Superdome, the Saints will play four of their final six games away from home, including a tough stretch in Weeks 15 and 16 at Baltimore and Atlanta. So far this season, Brees is averaging 307 passing yards a game at the Dome, compared to only 262 yards in road games.

ProFootballWeekly.com - Week 11 power rankings
7. New Orleans Saints: Bush's return could provide another boost.

The absurdly premature 2010 playoff picture: Week 10 - Shutdown Corner - NFL  - Yahoo! Sports
Comprehensive National Football League news, scores, standings, fantasy games, rumors, and more

 

LOTS OF TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Press Conference

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opening Statement:

"To first hit the injury report, tackle Jon Stinchcomb (knee) was limited today; Reggie Bush (fibula) was limited today; Chris Ivory (shoulder) was limited; Malcolm Jenkins (neck) was limited; Darren Sharper (hamstring) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice; Jeremy Shockey (rib) did not practice; and then Patrick Robinson (ankle) was limited. It’s pretty much the same as yesterday with the change being Patrick getting work today."

Can you define ‘did not practice’?

"It’s pretty simple. There are a certain amount of team drills, team work, and when we say a player did not practice it means he didn’t participate in the 11-on-11 team drills. A player might go out and go through walkthrough and go through some individual drills and yet – all these guys would be a case of that as those guys all took part in the individual portions and some of the drill work but they didn’t take part in the team."

How is Pierre Thomas running? Can he cut?

"I think he’s making progress. If he was at 100%, then he’d be getting team reps. But he’s making progress and I think we’ve turned a corner a little bit in the last week-and-a-half I’d say. We’ll just keep treating it. He’s doing a lot of agility work during the course of practice with the trainers and I think he’s starting to get his strength back."

What has Roman Harper been doing really well this year that we may not be making note of?

"Number one, his tackling and the position that he’s been in; a lot of times he ends up being the down safety, the support safety. He’s rushed the passer at times when we’ve pressured with him real well. Overall though, you just look at all the aspects, whether it’s in coverage, whether it’s with a rush, or whether it’s down in the run front just being real consistent. Overall, that’s the one thing that we’ve seen from him this year."

Are there any plays that come to mind?

"I don’t know that there would be any one specific play to point to, but there are a number of plays in which he’s fit the run properly or he’s played the pass the correct way or been involved in a hurry. We ask him to do a lot and mentally he’s on top of each game plan and is versatile enough to play in coverage and also support the run in an efficient manner. Those are the things that you can see week in and week out."

Has his coverage improved in particular?

"He’s done a real good job. Often times he’s matched up on a tight end or sometimes on a receiver and he’s handled those matchups well."

You’re second in the NFL on third down conversions. How crucial is that?

"Third down statistics are important in regards to just staying on the field. Defensively, when you can get the three and out, that affects field position and it affects snaps for your offense. Offensively when you can stay on the field, that’s critical. It’s one area that we’ve done a pretty good job with on third down. Because of that you have more snaps offensively. In weeks where we haven’t been as efficient, you’ll see the snap count drop, you’ll see the rushing numbers drop, you’ll see a number of things drop. Just as turnovers affect those plays, third down is an important number."

Seattle has only scored 15 points in the first quarter but then have really picked it up in the second, third and fourth. Is there anything you’ve seen on film to explain why they haven’t started fast?

"I don’t know that there’s anything specific in regards to that number. They’re a team that has a lot of confidence in Matt (Hasselbeck). He’s an experienced veteran who has played in a lot of big games and he’s someone that gets rid of the ball on time. He has a quick release and he knows right where to go. Defensively, this is a team that has played very well on third down, whether you’re looking at third-down conversions, whether you’re looking at hurries, pressures – they rush the passer very well. When they can get you one-dimensional, they’re very tough in their nickel defense."

Despite not creating the turnovers that they did last year, is this the best that your defense has played since you’ve been in New Orleans?

"I think we’re playing our best defense in that timeframe and I think the turnovers will come with the effort and the hustle and the energy that we’re playing with. We’re doing a good job. The first number you look at is scoring defense and that’s the number one objective and then you go from there, whether it’s passing defense, third down, red zone; those are all statistics that all are definitely improved. Like I said, as we just passed the mid-point of the season with seven games left, I think we’re getting healthier there as well."

Does the help you have gotten from backups speak to the depth of your roster?

"It’s the reality of our game now. Each season you’re going to get some injuries. We’ve had them, whether it’s in the secondary, with (Scott) Shanle being down, we’ve had it at running back. The key is the other guys stepping up and playing. The case you bring up is true."

Pete Carroll talked about how you use Reggie Bush the right way and the way he wanted to use him at USC. Did the two of you ever talk or discuss Reggie when he was the coach at USC?

"We never discussed it. I do know that after we selected him, we spent a lot of time looking at what he did well at USC and certain aspects, tried to do some similar things, but do some things in addition to what we saw. I think like any player, the vision and role you have for him needs to be clear and with each guy, whether it’s a guy like Jimmy Graham, (Jeremy) Shockey, Devery (Henderson), you want to have a vision for what you think they do well and put them in those positions. That’s we’ve tried to do with Reggie."

You said you talked to Andy Reid about how he handles bye weeks based on how successful his teams have been following a bye, being 12-0. What did you get from him?

"A year ago we changed our schedule and we played some of our better football the week following against New York. This year’s schedule was similar. More than anything else it was confirmation. That’s a pretty impressive number when you look at 12 years in the league following a bye and they’ve been against good teams, but they’ve played well. More than anything else it was calling to make sure I wasn’t missing anything and he’s someone that’s done this long enough and someone I have a lot of respect for. He does a great job there and has for a long period of time."

What did he tell you about what you were or weren’t doing?

"I think more than anything else, before we let everyone out of here for the full week, I wanted to make sure there wasn’t anything that I was missing. He kind of just went through their schedule with the bye, bringing players in during that early portion of the week and getting them out of there for a full week. Monday is the bonus day that we’ve done. It’s similar to what we did a year ago."

Do you guys self-scout and look at tendencies?

"Yes, you can do that without the players there. We had time to begin Seattle work and then look at our own team."

So you didn’t get a bye?

"We all had time away and we just came in for a couple more days in regards to film study. Coaches were out of here Friday, Saturday and Sunday."

 

 

Drew Brees

Post-Practice Press Conference

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Are you seeing more different types of fronts? Do you consider it a fad?

"I think the minute someone does it and has some success, whether they’re copying another defense, their scheme or something that has worked against you, they’re going to do it. At least show it to see what kind of traction they can get with it, but I think in the last four weeks it seems like we’ve seen more of it than usual and I feel like obviously we had in the Cleveland game, they were able to get some pressure with it. After that we saw it from the other teams, but I feel like we’ve handled it pretty well since then. We have a plan for it."

Did you see Michael Vick Monday night at all?

"Yes. I saw some of the game. I turned it on early in the third quarter, not expecting to see the score the way it was. Obviously you think ‘what happened?’ All of  sudden you start seeing the highlights. It was an unbelievable performance. Very impressive. You look at the fact that it was on the road and half the game was in the rain and it was probably one of the best performances any of us have ever witnessed at the quarterback position."
                                                       
You wrote a book called Coming Back Stronger. Is this an applicable situation?

"I saw his interview after the game. What he said, the last thing he said was that he’ll never take anything for granted again, especially the opportunity that he’s been given in Philly. I’m sure he probably feels a real sense of loyalty to them now, because they took a chance on him when maybe not a lot of teams wanted to or felt like they didn’t have a place for him. They took him in. He feels obviously what he’s been through, fighting through that type of adversity that he’s getting another chance and another shot and that there’s somebody that wanted to take him in and give him that chance. He’s obviously taken advantage of it."

Will the return of Reggie Bush be something you really welcome back because he’s such an underneath threat?

"There are many ways we can get Reggie the ball. We can hand it off to him. His ability to catch balls out of the backfield whether it’s designed for him or he’s just a checkdown out of the backfield, or you split him out or you get him the ball or you get him screens, whatever it might be. Anytime you can just give him the ball in space he’s a matchup problem for everybody, because there’s not really a guy who can cover him in a short area because of his quickness and athletic ability."

Is there a specific correlation where maybe if a team has been playing a lot of two deep zones, maybe one safety has to creep up a little after his return?


"Yes, I think he changes their gameplan for certain formations or personnel groupings when he’s in the game, just because you have to account for him. You have to account for this guy. If you’re dialing up a lot of man coverages for example, who’s going to guard this guy if he just runs out and he’s the lone receiver out here? Do we feel good about that matchup? Now all of a sudden do we have to cheat a safety for that side, which opens up an opportunity for the other side of the field. (Those are) just things to consider when he’s in the game."

How much does he being there open things up with both some short passes and bigger plays?

"Definitely. The better your run game is, the better your threat of underneath passing is, the better your opportunities to throw it down the field. All that stuff can help."

Do you feel maybe because he wasn’t there bigger plays on the outside didn’t open up because they were keyed on the outside?


"I think that’s part of it. Lack of opportunities when I look at the whole season as to why maybe we’re a little bit lower or why I haven’t had as many big plays, that’s certainly something that could happen."

The last couple weeks the offense has been opening up without Reggie. What is different?


"I think we’ve just taken a very aggressive mentality. We’re kind of getting back to our brand of football with great tempo obviously, a lot of formations, a lot of personnel groups, a lot of guys involved, taking shots, at least dialing them up if they’re there, taking advantage of them, otherwise check it down, move on and we’ll call it again another time."

Have there been a lot of differences in play design? Have you tweaked it a little bit to open things up?

"It’s a matter of what we’re getting, how well we’re running the ball and then you gradually get into that stuff. We go into every game with the thought  we’re going to dial up a lot of those plays."

When you see a quarterback like Donovan McNabb get his deal re-worked, the question comes back to you. Is it on your radar to get a new deal done before a new labor deal is reached?

"It’s not an issue during the season. It’s not on my radar. I’m just thinking about winning games, but obviously when the time comes, we’ll definitely be talking."

What is your big picture assessment of where the Saints are going into these last seven games in the NFC and meeting your goals?


"The fact of the matter is we’re one game off the lead in the division, the NFC and the one seed if you really look at it. With seven games to play that’s where we are. We happen to play one of those teams again, Atlanta, who’s sitting on top of our division at 7-2. We control our own destiny right now. That’s really all you can ask for. We haven’t really played as well at the start of the season as we wanted to at times. We’re starting to hit our stride. We’re starting to get healthy and this is when you want to be playing your best football."

It seems like people are talking more about the Falcons, Eagles, Patriots and Jets right now. Given how you guys have played lately, what you do you make of that and see for the rest of the season?

"We’ll just keep flying under the radar, keep winning games, doing what we can, let the chips fall where they may at the end. Everybody can talk about who they want as maybe being the favorite or there’s going to be plenty of speculation. We plan on being there."

What do you see in Seattle?

"They’re a team where I look at them defensively, the one thing for them negatively is maybe they’ve given up a lot of big plays, but I see their ability to get after the passer a little bit. I see a group that plays with their front and coverage a little different. Their scheme is a little different than most teams you play. It’s something that requires extra preparation and study for. They have a lot of personnel groups in their subpackages. Know who’s on the field, where the opportunities for matchups are and maybe big plays, but you obviously have to be able to protect, pick up the pressures and take advantage of those opportunities."

How are the fronts and schemes different?

"Just kind of where they align guys in the front and it’s not a big deal. I’m not going to get overly technical here. Just leave it at that. Their front’s a little bit different than most the way they align guys and like I said, some of the pressures and subpressures in personnel groups give you something to think about."

Do you think Matt Hasselbeck will play with a cracked wrist? Can you talk about taking the snap with it? Does it make a difference?

"I think a lot of it’s your ability and how you can flex your wrist. You’re almost at a ninety degree angle on the snap. How can you flex your wrist? I don’t know his situation. I’m just kind of giving you a little dissertation on taking a snap. Maybe they’ll be in the gun a lot. I don’t know."

 

 

Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll

Conference Call

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The team has been a little inconsistent and then last week your team had maybe your best performance on the road. Could that maybe be a breakthrough game for your team?

"I don’t know. We’ll find out. We’ll take it one week a time. We played real well on the road against Chicago, played kind of in similar fashion this week against Arizona. At least we know now that we can get it together, take our football on the road and have the opportunity to play well. We’re obviously going to have to play a great football game this week to deal with all the Saints bring us. I love that we were able to bounce back after two hard weeks in terrible performances. But we came back in character and played like we had earlier. We’ll see what happens. It’s week to week here."

The Saints don’t want to give anything away, but we assume you’re preparing as if Reggie Bush will play? Is it a little bit odd to face the prospect of having to stop him for a change?

"No, I’ve tried that for years in spring practice. We’ve been playing against guys who are SC guys every week. It’s not strange. It’s kind of fun to watch them play and see how they do. It’s interesting to have insights on them, but it doesn’t seem to helm much so far. All the SC guys have played well when we’ve played them."

With the SC guys that you’ve gone against so far, especially Reggie this week, do you go in with a knowledge set of this is what we can do to try to stop or contain this particular player?

"Sedrick’s (Ellis) there too. Sedrick’s a guy we had for five years too. Surprisingly I can’t seem to find a way to help our guys at all. Those guys are playing great football. We know that Reggie causes a bunch of problems. All the things we’ve seen them do, we know they’ve done before. People couldn’t stop him then. It’s hard to stop him now. We’re going to try. We’ll do the best we can to see if we can keep him corralled."

On the outside there is a debate of how valuable Reggie is compared to where he was picked in the draft. His talents are so unique I’m not sure if statistics tell the story. What are your impressions about the impact he has had, given the expectations of where he was drafted and the career he’s had thus far?

"I think you’re accurate on that in that his impact goes beyond the stats, because he is such a  factor and you have to deal with him. That helps their football team. So, just looking at the numbers they won the first two games with them and it’s been hard ever since. He’s a fantastic player that causes problems. Sometimes when he’s not getting the ball, he’s still causing problems, because you have to make sure you pay attention to where he is and what he’s doing. They utilize him so beautifully. You just can’t take your eyes off him. Sometimes when you have four eyes on him you can’t stop him, so it’s interesting to go against. I’ve seen him so much. To try to slow him down in scrimmages and stuff is really challenging."

Is this thought although we see the glimpses of his greatness here as at SC, I guess people expected to look at the stat sheets every year or see more Pro Bowls? I don’t know what your expectations might have been of him making the transition to the pros. Can you talk a bit about that?

"Whenever you get picked second in the draft. People are going to have extraordinary expectations for you. It’s always hard to live up to those and somebody’s always going to be disappointed. The things that they’re doing with him are the things we tried to do with him in college. You try to get him in space. You try to get him matchups. You try to utilize his great speed and ability to bust plays and games wide open. They totally understand it. Sean’s (Payton) great at it, utilizing him and deploying him and all that. You can see by the way they’re playing him, he’s not getting the ball 25 times a game from the tailback position, but he’s still a factor in playing championship level football obviously. So, it can’t be more obvious. They won a World Championship with him. I think whether the critics are satisfied, who cares. They’re playing great football with the guy and he’s a big factor in all that."

What was the most amazing thing you saw him do at SC?

"I think just control games. There was not just one play. There were too many single plays he had. It was the ability to control games and be the factor that won football games for you. We were playing up at Oregon State one night and we were struggling. He ran a punt back for a touchdown, changed the game. We were losing to Virginia Tech one night. He scored two touchdowns in five minutes. That changed the game and he did it against UCLA three different years. He scored touchdowns from long range. We didn’t have to worry about how to get down the field. He just made it happen so fast. That’s the stuff that comes to mind when you think of it. He was able to control the outcome of the game because he could make those huge plays."

Reggie says he still has a great relationship with you and that you keep in touch with him. Are there any thoughts of calling him and recommending his leg needs another week’s worth of rest?

"If I get a chance to talk to him before I’ll certainly advise him that way. I’ve kind of made the practice of not talking to the guys during the week. We’ve had some messaging going on back and forth. I need to kind of hold the line on that. I don’t think people understand how close everybody is. It’s just better to leave it. I wish him the best. I hope he can get back as soon as possible. He’s an extraordinary competitor. I’m sure it’s killing him to miss any game and not that this one’s any different for him, I’m sure he wants to get back as soon as possible."

On something besides Reggie, can you discuss the status of your quarterback? How much does his injury affect what you can do this week?

"No, Matt (Hasselbeck) came back, finished the game and did fine, didn’t have any issues. We don’t expect him to have any issue at all. The way his wrist is splinted up, he has full motion. It’s not restricting him in any way. We just have to make sure he doesn’t bang it during the week. But he’s real safe and secure. There aren’t any issues with it. We haven’t practiced yet. We’ll see how that works out, but we plan on him having a normal week."

Not to shortchange Sedrick Ellis. When you see film, do you see the kind of NFL player you thought he’d be?

"Sedrick is really a good football player. He’s really stout. He has a style with the long arms he has is disengaging. He has real good initial quickness. He gives guys problems getting them on the edge in a hurry. He loves the game, plays really hard and has always been a terrific competitor. It doesn’t surprise me a bit he’s been a big factor. I’m happy to see him play three technique where he gets rush opportunities and be under center all the time. I’m sure he enjoys that. He got stuck as a nose tackle for us for the most part and is probably still mad at me about that. He’s playing well. It’s exciting for me if you can imagine, seeing all these guys playing so well around the league, having careers and getting going. It will be fun to go against Sedrick too."

Is it almost like a reunion tour where you play these guys from USC?

"Yes, it’s almost like that. I always said one of my favorite things would be able to travel and watch these guys play. It’s just fun stuff. Imagine Matt Cassel starring and all these other guys starring in their different cities. It’s fun to watch them play. Unfortunately we have to play against them now."

Reggie talked about you being a fun coach. How much of that were you able to take back to the NFL again?

"There’s no fun here in Seattle. We left that in Los Angeles. It’s just blood and guts here. We’re having a good time doing it. We try to practice harder and faster than anyone in the NFL. We try to do that with great consistency. We have a way to enjoy it. Hopefully our guys are feeling that. We’re just trying to do everything we can. But I think you can have a good time while coaching and playing this game."

It seems like you’re almost an anomaly. Maybe Rex Ryan is the same way. People seem to think NFL coaches are bah humbug and about paranoia. What are your thoughts on that more open and outgoing approach to the public and media?

"You have to do what feels right to you. I like engaging people in what we’re doing and letting them being around us. We’re somewhat in the entertainment business for the fans and in business to keep them a part of it. We try to be connected in the summertime when we can in camps like a lot of teams do. For the most part, I want our guys and understand how special this opportunity  is in their life and how they should give back when they get their chance. I feel the same way personally. We try to make it as open as we can. Being competitors, there’s a regard for not giving stuff away. I still think you can interact and make it a special relationship, not just the players and the coaches, but the people who are close to the program as well."

Is there anything different about coaching in the NFL now that is different from the last time you did it?

"it’s not that much different. I’m different. I went through a lot of stuff since the last time I was there, the 10 or 11 years I was out of here. I feel different about being in charge of it, just more experienced and I wish I would have known what I know now back then, but you can’t, so we’re trying to enjoy the heck out of it and see how far we can take this thing."

 

 

Seattle Seahawks QB Matt Hasselbeck

Conference Call

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

How are you with your hand injury?

"I feel fine. I have a little crack in my wrist. It’s actually not that painful. I have a splint on it. Really I don’t feel any pain. I came back and played in the game. I surprisingly feel normal."

Have you practiced today?

"We had our first practice. We have our second one coming up this afternoon."

If you could talk about the first year under Pete Carroll and what it’s been like with him coming from the college ranks, how would you describe it?

"I would definitely not classify him as a college coach. Everything he does seem to be predicated on his time in the NFL whether it’s the 49ers, Jets or Patriots. It’s been very different. It’s been very different from anything we’ve done. I don’t know that I could summarize other than it has a whole different feel to it this year, starting from day one and even now. Never mind the roster turnover and all that stuff when you have a new GM and head coach. There’s been a lot of change in the personnel, people and coaches, but it’s just everything we do. As an example, Wednesday is all about competition. Competition ones vs. ones, twos vs. twos. We really don’t talk about the opponent that we’re playing on Sunday on Wednesday. It’s really about getting after Lofa Tatupu, Earl Thomas, Lawyer Milloy, those guys. It’s just a mindset that he has. To me, it’s similar to a John Wooden philosophy of we’re going to worry a lot more about ourselves than the opponent, scouting, all that stuff and we’re going to get right what we do. That’s kind of what Wednesdays are dedicated to."

This will be the first time you’ve played the Saints since Gregg Williams took over the defense. What do you see of the defense on film, specifically the top ranked pass defense?

"I’ve played against Coach Williams a bunch of times and even though we haven’t played against him recently in New Orleans it was hard not to watch with admiration the Super Bowl run they had and the kind of play that basically the Saints are making happen defensively. For a long time the Saints were known as this great offense, but not so much about the defense. I think that reputation is out the window. I think everybody knows they’re a great team. Defensively they have some playmakers, obviously guys like

Darren Sharper and (Jonathan) Vilma, the guys who have been doing it for years and years and years are continuing to make plays. Their scheme is not the same as when you play teams and say that these guys are like some other teams. There’s really no one like them. They have their own style. They’re creative in their blitz packages and coverages and I think the most important thing is they play team defense and play it well."

Can you talk about the story about Mike Williams?

"He’s done a great job. He came in here. We signed about 17 guys at that position. He was just a face in the crowd in a sense. He had a few opportunities, took advantage of the opportunities, made some big plays here and there and then all of a sudden was maybe going to even get a chance to make the team and maybe even get a chance to start for us and then the quarterback’s, we kind of took a liking to him and not only is he starting for us, but now we’re counting on him a little bit. He had a couple big games for us. He’s done a great job. I have a huge comfort level throwing to him. We’ve had a lot of turnover on our roster, but, it feels like he’s been here a long time even though he hasn’t and it’s definitely a great story. It’s not a story that’s over. Hopefully he can keep improving and take advantage of his opportunities and see how far this thing can go."

How do you credit your offense with having one of their most efficient performances this past Sunday and do you think your unit has turned the corner?


"I think we’re just getting better each week. It hasn’t always shown on Sunday. We have so much turnover and offense is a lot different than playing defense. You don’t just run and go get the ball. You’re so reliant on offense with all 11 guys doing what they’re supposed to do on each play. It takes a little longer. We’ve had our ups and downs. From my perspective with practice, I feel like we’ve gotten better and better and better. I feel like players and coaches, the communication is really good right now. I feel like we’re improving. My hope is we can be playing our best football late in the year, but I think we’re on track. Even though last week, we had a decent game offensively, we didn’t score enough in the red zone. We didn’t take advantage of some opportunities we had. I think we can be a whole lot better. We just have to keep improving, keep doing what we’re doing everyday and just stick to what we’re doing and what our coaches are asking us to do. Hopefully it will click for real."

What stands out to you on film about the Saints strong safety Roman Harper?

"He does a nice job. He’s a different type of safety than (Darren) Sharper. He’s down in the box some more, but he’s a very smart player. You can tell he has great instincts. You can tell that within the system that his coaches are allowing him to play free. A lot of times you see a guy on film that he’s kind of robotic. He knows where the ball’s going to come but he has to do what he’s told, but it seems like with this defense and Roman in particular. It feels like they have a knack for finding the football and making plays, a knack for playing it free and letting it loose within the system and it seems like all 11 guys are on board. I think they’ve done a nice job. They have a lot of guys in the box on every play, yet they’re ranked really well against the pass. It’s not what you’d expect, but the stats are there."

Is it
because they’re not giving you time or comfort to find something you like down the field?

"I’m not sure exactly. It will be a challenge for us. We know it’s a challenge anyway, but it will be a challenge for us. We think that we’re improving in certain areas. These seem to be the areas we’re strong in and so, we’ll see. I think you have to credit a little bit of it to coaching and scheme. Some of these games that you watch, I’m not sure the quarterback knew the coverage. They got tricked occasionally, some newer or younger guys and you just wonder if they were fooled by disguises or what. They Saints defensively have a confidence level in their schemes, their defensive coverages, blitzes. It all kind of looks the same if you don’t study it that well. I think just a veteran presence on that defense is clear. It’s clear all 11 guys are working together on every play."

Can you talk about Julius Jones as a teammate and a player?


"We love Julius. We love Julius to death here. He was great for us. He came in the year we lost Shaun Alexander and he came in with T.J. Duckett. They were a great 1-2 punch for us. We had a revolving door up front, so it wasn’t always the greatest situation for a running back here, but he did a great job for us. When we shook out our roster this year, we had three very similar backs in Julius and Justin Forsett and Leon Washington. I think what Pete (Carroll) was looking for were backs that were a little different style and he went out and made the trade for Marshawn Lynch, because he wasn’t a real big, big back and he wanted the smaller back that we had in Justin Forsett. Just a situation where Julius didn’t fit that right mix and kind of got caught in the turnover here. He was great for us. He did a real nice job. This team faced real adversity over the last two years and it was guys like him that helped hold it together for us. It was a loss when we lost him."


 

VIDEO:

 

(For some reason, I can't get these to open at the NOLA.com site. They seem to have changed things around with their videos)

Black and Gold Report video: Preview of New Orleans Saints vs. Seattle Seahawks - Video | NOLA.com

Reggie Bush video: talking about getting back to football | NOLA.com

Reggie Bush's return will benefit New Orleans Saints: video - Video | NOLA.com