Holy crap this is a lot of transcripts! How many? Well, I feel comfortable saying this is definitely the most transcripts to ever be accumulated in one post here on Canal Street Chronicles. They keep coming in as I type so I'll keep updating as needed. Hope you're enjoying all this big game madness. Kinda cool, huh?
And don't forget to click the picture to view more AP photos from the day.
(on how the season went for the Saints from start to finish) "I thought coming out of training camp that if we stayed healthy that we'd have a chance to have a pretty good team. As the season began to unfold, I think the one thing that we were able to do was handle some of the setbacks. We played from behind, we played with a lead. As the season unfolded, I liked our response in those games. I think you develop a vision. I think our players felt that."
(on the Colts' defense) "It's a defense with great team speed. I think they do a great job of rushing the passer. I think their linebacking group, as we watch them on film, are very good tacklers. The secondary does a great job within their scheme. I think it's important that your approach is one in which you're somewhat patient. You've got to be able to give (Drew) Brees protection. You always hope to have balance in a game like this. We don't want to become one-dimensional. What they do offensively can force teams to become one-dimensional. To some degree, what we've done this year has maybe forced teams to have to just throw. I think protecting the quarterback for both teams is going to be critical in this game."
(on "borrowing" Bill Walsh's prank of dressing up as a bellman to greet the team upon its arrival at the hotel) "I said yesterday that a guy like Bill Walsh is someone who has his hands all over this league offensively and practice schedule-wise and installation-wise. He was very successful in the postseason, and if we take a simple play that we like that he had success with, then why wouldn't we apply that to another aspect of what we're doing? I mean we flat-out plagiarized it (the prank). The only difference is we had our Pro Bowlplayers here ahead of time. It was a little different for us flying in without them, so all eight of them were in bellhop suits (along with Coach Payton). We had a little trouble getting a few to fit, but I thought it was good. The message was, ‘Hey, let's relax a little bit here. We've got a big week in front of us.'"
(on the philosophy of preparing logistically for Super Bowl week) "We were in London a year ago for a week. We were relocated with Gustafe last year for a week in Indianapolis. We were in Houston this year for training camp for a week. We've got a good support group that can really take training camp and move it somewhere. Obviously, you try to prepare and there's going to be some glitches. But I think we travel pretty well and set up shop. Our setup at the hotel is fantastic. It's that of a training camp mentality. All our computers are here. We'll be drinking coffee until the wee hours tonight and just spending more time on the game plan."
(on if and when he will script his initial offensive plays for Sunday's game) "It'll probably be later in the week. I wanted to make sure that we didn't install the whole game plan last week. We did that in New York. There were a handful of players who couldn't practice last week. We've done pretty well off of byes, so we kind of backed off some of the practice snaps. They need to feel that sense of urgency as if the plan isn't in yet. So Wednesday, Thursday, Friday here, although there are a few things that are different, is going to be much like it would be in the regular season. Installation, run-install, pass-install, same way defensively, and then just practice it."
(on TE Jeremy Shockey and the perception that he is "different") "I don't know that that's necessarily the case, really. He's a guy that last night was floating around the meeting rooms and half the team is out for dinner. He's looking at tape and getting ice. So I think a little bit of that is mythical. It's fun to write about. He's a wiser, older player who understands that at this stage, you begin to fight the arrow down. In order to do that, you've got to rest more, hydrate. He's doing a good job progressing with the injury. I think he'll be ready. He's excited about it (playing in Super Bowl). I like his personality a lot. There's something that he has about him that brings a little confidence. You know our receivers are kind of quiet. There won't be a lot of people at their booths right now (on Media Day), and if there are, there won't be a lot of talking going on. He brings a little something to the huddle that I like."
(on what he takes from his previous Super Bowl experience with the Giants) "The venue has changed over the years. I think there are some similarities and there are some things that as a coach, you gather all of those things in your thoughts. And there's some things you want to do the same and some things that you want to do differently. There's a lot more nightmares about that Super Bowl than there are fond memories."
(on what his time working with the Giants means to him) "My time there was fantastic. It afforded me the opportunity to be with a great organization and to begin to really build the thoughts of putting together your own program. Ownership from the Tisch family, the Mara family, Coach (Jim) Fassel who gave me a great opportunity there, (General Manager)Ernie Accorsi...there were so many people that were a part of me being able to sit here right now. After four years, for them to allow me an opportunity to interview within the division (with Dallas) was something that I don't take lightly. They afforded me the chance to go with Bill (Parcells) to Dallas and that's a little unusual. Working for an organization like that, and then on with Dallas, those are special opportunities and certainly were for me in my growth period."
(on the role the Saints have played in the rejuvenation of the city of New Orleans) "I think the city is tied pretty closely to the team. Logistially, you're less insulated than you are in some other cities in regard to where you live. I think that's part of it. I think the fan base has been passionate about this team. After Katrina and the devastation, for them to be able to hang their hat on one common, consistent thing, and for that product to be successful was very important."
(on the key to this Sunday's game) "The game is always going to unfold in different ways. I was watching an NFL replay last night and they had the Giants-New England (Super Bowl) game on. I think a lot of people expected that to be a high scoring game. I think the two defenses that are here and that have been outstanding in the postseason, if you really look at what they've accomplished, Indianapolis in the postseason is pretty impressive. Our defense has stepped up as well. How the game unfolds, you don't know. Certainly with a quarterback like Peyton Manning, he can put points on the board quick."
(on his time as an assistant with the Eagles) "It was my first opportunity in the NFL and it gave me a chance really to learn. Ray Rhodes was the head coach, but Jon Gruden and Bill Callahan were the guys who were responsible for me getting hired there. I learned a lot in a short period of time working with Jon and that offense. It was a foundation for me that I still hold onto. It was a little bit like law school. There were a lot of late nights and a lot of early mornings. I learned about preparation. You come out of college and you get into this league, and you realize that there's a lot of football that you don't know. It can be humbling, but yet it was important."
(on his relationship with Jon Gruden) "He's been a big part of my development. When I got hired there (Philadelphia) in '97, just for me to really be a blank tape is what they were looking for, for me to study and learn. It afforded me a great opportunity. He's someone who is a close friend to this day. He spent some time with our players in training camp. He's got a great mind. He's a unique guy and he's very talented. It's just like the relationship I would have with (Bill) Parcells. There's a handful of people in this profession that you try to always stay in touch with them and pick their brain."
(on the #1 and #2 passing teams being in this Super Bowl and if the model for winning in the NFL has changed) "The games can vary how they unfold. Last night, watching the replay of the Giants-Patriots (Super Bowl), you saw a different game. I do think this. I think you've got to be able to convert third downs. Now, how you get to that third-and-four or third-and-three, whether it's by running the ball twice or throwing it. To get to those manageable third downs is important. I think you've seen a shift in 10 or 15 years, and some of the rule changes have certainly aided that. I think you're seeing quarterback play that's probably as good as this league has ever had. There's a dozen teams that are getting outstanding quarterback play, and I think you've got to go back a long way before you could say that."
(on the inspiration behind the motivational techniques that he uses with his players) "I've got a good staff and I lean heavily on my assistant coaches. There's some weeks where your team is going to be ready to play because it might be a Monday night game or a national TV game, or maybe a divisional game of importance. There's some weeks where maybe you've got to find something to change it up or bring attention to one specific coaching point that you want to get across. We try to do that and yet we try to make sure that we're brutally honest with our guys. I think this is a game when you look at even the NFC Championship last weekend, when you get in the postseason, it becomes more about the execution and the development of your game plan so that everyone is on the same page."
(on if the success of Drew Brees dispels the notion that you have to be a tall QB to have success in the NFL) "I don't think he's shown that but I think history has shown that. I think sometimes what is maybe mislabeled is his athleticism. He's a rare athlete. When you look at his foot agility, his release, his accuracy and the fact that he has hands as big as mitts, he's got a skill set that is perfect for the position. So on top of the hard work, and on top of all the things that you guys have read and written about-- a lot which is true-- he's an amazing athlete. He's a great tennis player, great basketball player, baseball player. The touchdown he scored here when we played against the Dolphins, he jumped up and spiked it over the upright. I just saw the tail end of it and I accused him of climbing up Jahri Evans' back to get the elevation. It's pretty unbelievable when you watch it. He's been a winner everywhere he's been. He won in high school, he won at Purdue with (head coach) Joe Tiller, he won with the Chargers and Marty Schottenheimer. He's very competitive. Some guys just have that and certainly you're seeing two quarterbacks this weekend that have that (competitiveness)."
(on what he took from the Bears and then-Head Coach Mike Ditka when he was a player there) "Coach Ditka was a lot like Bill (Parcells). He valued confrontation. When you're young and you're coming out of college and you come from a different system, it's eye-opening. It's not until you get older and wiser that you begin to appreciate why (he was like that). That was the one thing that I look back on. It wasn't a long period of time (that he was with Bears), maybe a month and a half, but certainly if there was anything bugging him, you would know about it. So there was nothing ever tabled. You want to be true to who you are, but it is important to address things and not table them, especially in a team environment. I think that once that's done, I think the players, coaches and everyone involved understand that that's just how it is. That can be healthy, rather than letting things fester or not addressing certain things at all. That's something that I think he was very good at."
(on the importance of role players on the Saints) "I know this has been said, but a kicking game snap, a punt team snap, a third down snap, they're all units that can make the difference in this game. If you went back and looked at the history of this game, you've seen kick returns that meant the difference between winning and losing. You've seen a fumble on a coverage unit, you've seen those plays just represent one six-second snap that's equally important to the other. Those plays involve other guys who are sitting over here with three people instead of 30. I think that's the message each week when you play because we can point to it each Monday after the game and specifically say, ‘Here.'"
(on what he has learned from Bill Parcells) "I've said this before. There's a lot of on-the-job training. Daily, there might be something personnel-wise from an organizational standpoint, practice schedules, training camp schedules, whatever. He knows how to win and I learned an awful lot in a short period of time, three years. I look back on my career and I was touched by so many people that were successful and they're a big reason why I'm here right now. I'm humbled by that. When you think about that opportunity for a young guy to work for a Hall of Fame coach, it's invaluable. Honestly, he hired me over the phone. The very last thing we discussed was salary and benefits and any of that stuff. I hadn't even met him. The first time I met him was at Republic Airport flying on Jerry's (Jones) plane to Dallas. All of the other things were more important to him. The football and the passion...those were the things that he got excited about. We just drew on napkins on that flight into Dallas for about 2 ½ hours. He did most of the drawing and I just watched and listened. I had a couple of pieces of luggage and he had about eight with his tailored suits and everything."
(on Drew Brees having a great season following the death of his mother) "Drew lost his mom during training camp. People grieve that in a lot of different ways. He's a real strong person and that's what makes him somewhat unique. I lost my mother in 2002 during the bye week when I was in New York. Sometimes the season and the league can rob you of something because of how consuming it is. I remember when that year ended for me, it was a little bit of a blur. We were at the funeral and then three days later, you're putting a game plan together. I think ultimately for all of us, time is what helps us all. That's some of the uniqueness in Drew Brees that he was able to put that (grieving) somewhere, grieve and still continue with all of the responsibilities that he had."
Rita Benson LeBlanc
(on New Orleans Saints fans' enthusiasm) "There's an excitement in New Orleans and in the fans. They're really everywhere, and we see it. We see it as we're driving the busses around and people are waving and it will only get more intense as we get closer to the game. And then the fans are there when we come home. Win or lose, you see them and they're there, and the team is aware of that. It's all black and gold."
(on being a woman in the NFL) "There are many women that orchestrate a lot of things behind the scenes and through ownership or support. I'm very proud of the other women that I've seen come before me and are young now. At the Super Bowl, I always get to speak to some of the other female relatives and some of the other owners and really encourage them to get involved, even if it's just a short internship to get them familiar with the family business. I think that's very strong in the NFL, as we encourage families to work. You see coaches and players and corporate executives come and go, but unless you really have that oral history and sense of family tradition, those are the values that you really need to stay strong. Then, you balance that with the other pieces. But I think that's really, really important to the NFL. There's always a long-term thought process and responsibility to our community and our country, but also to grow fans internationally."
(on if she played sports growing up) "I wasn't very athletically inclined. I was a manager, that kind of thing. So, I would be involved, but I have very interesting peripheral vision. I'm one of those people that will duck away from the ball."
(on how old she is) "I'm 33."
(on what New Orleans will be like if the Saints win the Super Bowl) "Mass pandemonium for weeks upon weeks. I don't know if it will cut off at Lent with Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Generally, everything stops after Mardi Gras, but I don't know. I guarantee you that from Super Bowl to Mardi Gras, it is going to be the biggest time in New Orleans that anyone has ever seen."
(on the Colts offense) "It's a good offense. They have been able to be successful up to this point. They are one of the best offenses in the NFL. Fortunately we go up against a good offense every day in practice. We understand that in every game there is an opportunity to make a play. In these types of games, it amplifies. You have to step up and make a play. This is a good offense; a good quarterback, a good receiving core, a good offensive line. We realize it's going to be a challenge."
(on being in the Super Bowl) "It's fun. We worked hard to get here. It's a great opportunity for us go out there and make something happen. It's nice, a lot of hard work and dedication from the guys."
(on the Saints defense causing turnovers) "I think we are going to have to make the most of all our opportunities. This is a game where being able to create a turnover is amplified. It's big. We have to create turnovers, we have to establish field position for our offense, and we will be all right."
(on if there are similarities between the Saints and Colts offenses) "There are a lot of similarities, and there are a lot of differences. I think that our quarterbacks are similar; the way that they read the defenses, the way they do the audibles. I think they are similar in that way."
(on the Colts running game) "They are effective when they [run the ball]. They've been good with some off tackle, some draws and being able to incorporate it into their offense."
(on the Saints secondary being an opportunistic group) "I believe we are, and I believe you have to be in the NFL. Fortunately we are able to be. That's something that we really work on. We work on trying to be opportunistic and make plays."
(on if you can gamble in the secondary when playing Peyton Manning) "I think with a quarterback like Peyton Manning, you have to be patient. You have to realize that when there is an opportunity, you have to make it. There are going to be few opportunities to make plays, but when there are, you have to make them.
(on the matchup between Peyton Manning and Darren Sharper) "We have confidence in [Darren Sharper]. We have confidence that he is prepared and that he will make plays."
(on if Darren Sharper is calling the plays in the Saints defense) "Actually we get it from everybody. We get our call in. Our calls within the calls, we communicate. He's not necessarily the one that's calling all the calls."
(on comparing former teammate Donte Whittner with Darren Sharper) "Well it's two different players. Donte is a good player. He's a really good competitor. He enjoys to play the game and plays the game fast. [Darren Sharper] is like that too. It's two different characteristics, but they both enjoy playing the game. It's fun to play with them."
(on playing good defense when you are unable to force turnovers) "If that's what the game calls for then that's what we have to do. If we are not able to get turnovers, then we have to play a very technically sound game. If that's what the game dictates, then that is what we have to do."
(on the importance to forcing turnovers) "The name of the game in football, especially for defense, is creating turnovers. As you see across the league, the more turnovers you create, the more success you have."
(on how rewarding it is to be in the Super Bowl for the city of New Orleans) "It's special. The way that this city supports us, since the first day of training camp and to be at this point right now, is indescribable. We appreciate it."
(on luck) "As far as the ball bouncing this way for us and that way for them, I don't really believe that. I think you make your own luck."
(on what he envisions for the Super Bowl) "Obviously I think we have to get off to a fast start. We don't want to fall behind these guys. Last week is stuck in my head, running out after the game winning field goal, confetti falling down, everyone putting on their T-shirts and hats celebrating. I know it would be like that times 100. That would be a great experience."
(on the city of New Orleans' support) "Just to go to the Super Bowl is amazing. I was taking my son to school, or whatever, and there are so many people that are so grateful for everything that we have done for them this season. The thing about it is that we are so grateful for what they have done for us; the support they have given us. It wouldn't be fulfilling if you went to the Superdome every week and there were 25 people watching. It's packed every week. They are loud for us. They love cheering us on. So we love giving them greatfootball games."
(on the deciding factor in the Super Bowl) "I think a lot is going to be built around the offenses in this game, and it should. They are two great offenses. To me, the defense that plays better in this game is going to decide this game. Both defenses are underrated a little bit. Both defenses have helped their teams get to this point, so as a defensive player, I'm always going to say it will come down to defense."
(On seeing the city of New Orleans come to life after winning the NFC Championship) "It was a lot of fun. The dome is always going nuts every game, but it was pretty special the way the fans just stuck around and we got to celebrate with them."
(On how the weather may factor into the offense on Sunday) "You just deal with whatever it is. Both teams deal with the weather, so whatever the weather is, we will play in it. We'll be fine. It's not like it gives any team an advantage. We will deal with whatever it is."
(On if he has any plans lined up for after the Super Bowl) "No, I just plan on being with my family and hanging out with my kids and wife."
(On how he thinks the city of New Orleans will react to the Saints winning a Super Bowl) "I think with everything the city has been through, with all the hurricanes and this team with how up and down the history has been, the fans down there definitely love this team a lot. If we are able to win the game, it would mean a lot to them and I don't even want to know what Bourbon Street would be like."
(On what he can bring to the Super Bowl from playing in a BCS Championship game) "Obviously, the BCS Championship game is not as big as the Super Bowl, but at that level, it is as big as it gets. I think you can take the experience you had there, how to handle the pressure, how to handle the hype, try to translate it to this situation and hopefully that will work."
(On how the Super Bowl experience has been for him) "It has been a lot of fun. They have been taking really good care of us down here and it is a great opportunity - a great experience."
(On playing with TE Jeremy Shockey) "He is a great football player, great competitor, great teammate, works really hard, shows up every day with a good attitude, and is very competitive out on the field. He has really helped me a lot here."
(On tight ends coach Terry Malone) "He has really helped me since I have been here. I have only been here a few months. I got here right before the season started, so I kind of had to learn everything on the fly and he did a great job of really helping me learn the offense and understand what we are trying to do."
(On what we can expect from him in the Super Bowl) "I just try to do my job. Whatever they want me to do, I just do my job everyday in every play in every game. Whatever they have me doing, I am just going to step up and make a play when my number is called."
(On how the fans sent off the team as they headed to South Florida) "Our fans are the best in the league as far as I am concerned. The way they get behind us and the amount of support they show us, they just do a great job of really showing this team a lot of support. Hopefully, many of them will make it to the game on Sunday. It is going to be a lot of fun."
(On how the Saints feature tight ends differently than the Patriots do) "Just the way the offenses work, the tight ends get some more passes here. The tight ends are on the field a little more here. The Patriots do a lot of the three-wide stuff. Really, with (TE Wes) Welker, he catches a lot of balls underneath that sometimes tight ends catch. When you've got one of the best in the business at what he does, it is hard to falter from giving the ball to Welker and he is a great player."
(On starting training camp with the Patriots to now playing in the Super Bowl with the Saints) "I have come a long way, I know that. It was a crazy start this season getting traded right before it started, but I couldn't be happier to be in New Orleans and I am really enjoying my time. I am excited about the opportunity on Sunday."
(On how he found out he was traded) "I got a phone call from (Patriots head coach Bill) Belichick just telling me I was going to New Orleans and I was on a plane the next day heading down there."
(On if his family moved down to New Orleans with him) "My wife and two boys; basically my wife left, picked up all the pieces and came down. I guess that is the nature of the business that time of year. I have a great wife and she takes great care of me and the two kids. She did a great job of getting the whole family down."
(On if he was upset with how his trade happened) "You know, everything happens for a reason. I have worked really hard my whole career just to get myself a chance to be here. The way it happened, it just makes it even more sweet to go through that, but still be here."
(On the variety of the offense) "I think with a quarterback like Drew (Brees), every play every receiver is a viable option and he does a really good job spreading the ball around to all of us and (Saints head) coach (Sean) Payton does a good job of different formations and plays every week to create the match-ups that we are looking for and he does a really good job of calling the plays at the right time."
(On how many plays are in the playbook) "Every offense has a lot of things going on and every offense is complicated in this league, so it is not like one offense is more bigger or complicated than the other."
(On his Super Bowl experience with the Patriots in 2007 as compared to this year with the Saints) "Anytime you've got some experience going through it for the second time it is good for you. You have a little more idea of what to expect, but at the same time, I didn't play in the Super Bowl that year. I was hurt, so this will be my first Super Bowl to actually play in and it is a very exciting time for the team and me too."
(On Coach Belichick's Super Bowl message compared to Coach Payton's) "Each coach has his own different style. I think that the way they do it has worked for both of them. They have both had success and this week we are really just focused on everyone doing their job, everyone doing everything they can to prepare for this game. I think everybody understands what a great opportunity this is. These opportunities don't come along very often, so just to put everything in now and not to get worried about all the other stuff. Just to put it all in now and be ready to go."
(on Drew Brees' work ethic) "Drew is definitely the hardest working player that I have ever been around. His play on the field is definitely a result of that."
(on his biggest inspiration) "Definitely my late father. It has always been both of our dreams for me to be doing what I'm doing; just to be in this and know that he is definitely still a part of it for me."
(on his hometown of Harrisburg, PA) "I just really want to say thank you for all of the support. Hopefully I will be bringing that trophy and ring back to you guys."
(on growing since high school) "In high school, I think that is where you learn the fundamentals. For me, it was just trying to learn how to work, just getting a better work ethic. Obviously, I have grown as a player since then and continue to keep growing."
(on having success at such an early age in the NFL) "I think I was just put in a great situation with a great coaching staff that believed what I could do. Obviously, I havea great quarterback and other great skill players around me. I was just put in a great situation and was able to take advantage of it."
(on his motivation to progress) "You don't get to this point or to this level without being a self-motivated person. Like I said, I was placed in a great situation with great players and people around me. I owe a lot of my success to that."
(on WR Coach Curtis Johnson) "When I first got down to New Orleans, he and I really didn't see eye to eye just because he is really an in-your-face type of guy. Over the years, our relationship has definitely grown. I respected him from day one but have learned to tolerate him a lot more over the years."
(on the organization) "You know you are coming into a situation when you are going to get an opportunity to show what you can do. As a player, that's all that you can ask for. It's up to you at that point to just take advantage of the opportunity that you are given."
(on WR Robert Meachem) "Meach obviously is having his breakout year of his career so far. He is only going to continue to get better. He is a guy who works extremely hard. I'm so proud of him and just so happy for him just to see him having the success that he is having right now."
(on the biggest difference with Meachem) "I think he is finally healthy. He went through his rookie year coming off a knee injury and just fought through injuries up until this year. He is finally healthy and is finally getting the opportunity to show you guys what he can do."
(on how he ended up playing college ball at Hofstra) "Coming out of high school, I was 175 or 180 pounds. I wasn't very polished as a receiver or a player. Hofstra ended up offering me a scholarship and gave me an opportunity to grow at a rate that I needed to grow. I just continued to work to get better as a player. Hopefully I've shown you guys what I am capable of doing."
(on if Missouri offered him a scholarship) "They came in late. They offered me [a scholarship] after I had already committed to Hofstra. I stuck with my original decision."
(on why he stuck with his commitment) "For me it was important to play. I knew coming into Hofstra, I would get an opportunity to play a lot earlier. I took that opportunity."
(on Reggie Bush's post season) "He has been as explosive as I have seen him here. He has been having a great post season and is definitely a huge part of the reason why we are here right now."
(on Reggie Bush's turning point) "If you look at the second half of the season, the healthier he got, the more productive he was. I think he is probably as healthy now as he has been all year and expect some great things from him on Sunday."
(on Sean Payton's game plan) "It is like starting from scratch every week. We kind of keep some of the concepts going. Sean has a great offensive mind and he has the tendency to put us all in great situations and to take advantage of our strengths. It is all in the game plan and you are always excited because you know you are going to have a chance to be successful."
(on Bree's back shoulder throws) "That is something that all of the receivers and Drew work on day in and day out. It's something that Drew is so good at that it has become really a staple of our offense."
(on if he can take on any cornerback in the NFL) "As a player you have to feel that way. I definitely feel confident in my abilities and how healthy I feel at this point."
(on his father) "Still to this day, he is my role model. Just a really stand up guy and definitely a family guy and community first type of person. I aspire to be like him still."
(on dealing with the loss of his father at 14-years-old) "For me it was really important to have my family around but a loss like that, you never get completely over it. In a lot of ways, I am still not over it. Just being out here doing what I'm doing is kind of like therapy to me just because it was always both of our dreams to be doing."
(on playing for a team so deep with WRs) "It is definitely a blessing just to have so much talent around you. I think the thing for us, we are generally happy and excited for one another. Just that atmosphere alone makes it so easy to share the ball. We all dream about winning. Just to be in that atmosphere is special."
(on representing the number 12) "That's funny because it's not a number that I actually chose. It was one of those things where you just come in and they give you a number. After training camp I decided to stick with it."
(on his favorite number) "I would have to say 89 in college but I have a feeling I will be sticking with 12 for a while."
(on if he thought 12 was a bubble number) "That was definitely a thought initially. It didn't really make it past the first our first game. Once I got into practicing and started to compete all of that stuff was a nonfactor."
(on Bree's saying he was confident in Colston since day one) "I felt exactly the opposite. I felt terrible coming out of minicamp. To be honest, I really didn't think that I was going to be on the roster too much longer. I got into training camp and was able to do some good things. I'm sitting here now."
(on why he didn't think he was going to be on the roster) "I really wasn't in the best shape coming into that first year and really didn't know what to expect. The heat and humidity in New Orleans definitely didn't help me out. It is so far removed from that and I am just so happy to be here right now."
(on the Colts' defense) "They are fast. I think everything in their defense is built around speed. There are going to be some interesting matchups come Sunday."
(on the Colts' roster having Super Bowl experience) "I don't think once the game starts it will be very much of a factor. All of the stuff leading up to the game, they have been through it. They know what to expect. We feel confident in our preparation and will do everything that it takes to be successful in this game."
(on the turning point of the season) "It might have to be right here in this stadium. We were down 24-3 to the Dolphins. Just to see the look of everyone's eyes and the sideline and to really know what we had on the sideline. No one was wavering in their confidence that we were going to win that game."
(on Media Day) "It's funny, because my senior year of high school, I was actually an honorary reporter for Media Day in San Diego when the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Oakland Raiders played in the Super Bowl. It's funny to be back here, and now I'm actually getting the chance to play. It's a little ironic, but obviously it's a blessing to be here, and I'm excited to be here getting the chance to speak to you guys. It's fun."
(on how healthy he is) "I'm 100 percent. It's probably the healthiest I've been all year. Coming off the injury I had with the micro-fracture surgery was tough. I'd say it took about halfway through the season to really feel like I was back to my normal self."
(on if there's a need to have experience in big games) "Experience helps a lot. Obviously, this is our first Super Bowl run, but I look at the Colts a couple of years ago when they first won it - they had no experience at that time. All we can do is go out and give our best effort, 110 percent, prepare as best we can all throughout the week and go out and play as hard as we can. We can't really worry about the experience level. Obviously, that would help us if we had been there before, but we haven't. This is our first time. You know, it's tough to get here."
(on how important the running game will be) "It's very important. I've always said that I've felt it's a running back's job to set the tone for the game. When we get the ball in our hands, it's our job to set the tone, and we're going to have to do that on Sunday. We can't allow the Indianapolis Colts to slow down our running attack, because we need a balanced attack to win this game. If you look back, the teams who have won the Super Bowl, they ran the ball well. When the Steelers won it, they ran the ball well. We have to run the ball well if we want to even have a fighting chance to win this game."
(on if the Super Bowl will be more important for the Saints or the city of New Orleans) "I think it's for everybody, but probably more so the city of New Orleans. This game is obviously huge for them. Being able to be a part of this run right now - the first New Orleans Saints team to make the Super Bowl - is special. We're excited to be here, but we still have a game to play. We're going to go out and give our best shot and try to bring it home back to New Orleans."
(on if he's worried about turnovers and protecting the football) "We pretty much do a good job at ball security, and that's something we've preached all year, is that securing the ball is the No. 1 important thing, and it's really the No. 1 stat when it comes to winning or losing. If you look at percentages when it comes to winning or losing, when you turn the ball over, it obviously lowers your chance to win games. We know that, we're well aware of that, we've preached that all year. On the other side of the ball, our defense has done a great job of turning the ball over all year and giving us a chance to stay in games, win games. That's been our M.O. this year - ball security on the offensive side of the ball, and turning the ball over and creating turnovers on the defensive side of the ball."
(on if the situation at USC has been a distraction) "No, not at all. It hasn't been a distraction. I've been so focused on this season and what I can control. We had a great run this year. I can't control everything else that goes on with USC and with what's going on there. Obviously, I'm four years removed from college now. SC is still in my heart, and always will be. I'll be the first one to do anything I can to show my support to USC."
(on how he feels about playing in the Super Bowl) "It's a huge game. I don't want to say it's the biggest game of my life, but it is. It's the biggest game of my career at this point. When I think about all the great players, guys who haven't yet, but will get a chance to play in the Super Bowl, I feel blessed. To be able to be here right now is a blessing. To be able to have experienced a championship game at every level - high school, college, and now the Super Bowl - it's a blessing. It could be another 10, 15 years, or I could never be back in the Super Bowl. You never know when your next chance will be to get to a Super Bowl, and I'm just trying to take it all in right now. Enjoy it, remember these times, but at the same time remember that we still have a football game to win."
(on dealing with distractions this week) "I try not to think about whatever's going on with contract issues, and if I'm going to be here or not next year. I just try to clear my head and think about, ‘It's just one game.' That's what it comes down to - winning one more football game and not really worrying about the distractions that come with the Super Bowl and the tickets for your family, hotel accommodations, trying to get everybody situated, and like I said, the contract issues. I try to control what I can control, and that's playing 110 percent on Sunday."
(on how much he thinks he'll be used on Sunday) "Coach (Sean) Payton just came up to me about 15 minutes ago and said, ‘Make sure you're ready, because your tongue is going to be hanging out on Sunday.' Guys like us, we love to hear that we're going to be involved in the game plan. I want to be dog tired by the time the game's over, because I know then that I've given it everything I have."
(on how he would define what he's done so far in the NFL) "I would say I haven't lived up to the expectations I set for myself, just because before I got to the NFL, I thought once I got drafted, (I'd be at the) Super Bowl every year, Pro Bowl every year. It's tough. It's hard to get to the Super Bowl. It's taken me four years to get here. There's a lot of great players that haven't even been here yet. It's special, and it's a blessing to be here. For me, I would say I haven't lived up to expectations that I set for myself yet, but I know that hard work pays off and it will come."
(on if there's any truth to the rumors that he will marry Kim Kardashian if the Saints win the Super Bowl) "No, no truth to that."
(on the ‘Who Dat' chant) "It's, ‘Who Dat? Who Dat saying they're going to beat them Saints?' That's basically something that's been a part of the Saints since the beginning of the Saints organization. It's basically just saying that nobody's going to beat us. You'll hear me saying that on game day after we win."
(on what a Super Bowl win would mean to New Orleans) "I think if we're able to bring a Super Bowl trophy to the city of New Orleans, it would be huge. It might be the single greatest event to ever happen in New Orleans. It would be more than just about football, just as the reopening of the Super Dome was more than that game, that day. It was about Hurricane Katrina, the thousands of lives that were lost during that storm. The same thing applies, I think, to this game. We're going to try to do the best we can to bring it back home to New Orleans and give the city something to be proud about."
(on if he still sees dominating play in his future) "I've always been my biggest critic, and nobody's going to be a bigger critic of myself than me. I've always set the highest goals for myself. I aspire to be the MVP of the league, of the Super Bowl, all the highest goals that I can set. That's what I aspire to be. Eventually it's going to happen for me."
(on how this team was built) "We've been building this team starting back a couple years ago, my rookie year, but it hasn't been just about us building this team. It's almost like the New Orleans Saints and the city of New Orleans have been growing together. It's been a continuing effort to rebuild New Orleans. We feel like the city has been right there with us from Day One, and they have. They were here before we were here. They were here before my rookie year, before Drew Brees, and before Sean Payton, before Deuce McAllister. They've been here from Day One supporting the Saints. It's really about the city of New Orleans and bringing back a trophy for them. This game means so much more than just winning a football game."
(on the Saints' offense) "It's been fun. For me, coming from USC, at that point in time I thought Norm Chow was one of the greatest offensive coordinators, and he did a great job at creating mismatches for us constantly every week. We were excited to get the game plan every week. And then to be here with Sean Payton, I feel like I haven't missed a beat. He does the same exact things and just gives you a constant opportunity to be a difference maker. He constantly creates mismatches for me. He gives me a chance to be a nightmare for defensive coordinators, for defenses, every week."
(on how special teams could affect the game) "All throughout the year, we've preached that we have to play well in all phases - not just offense and defense, but special teams, too. If we want to be successful, if we want to have a fighting chance to win this game on Sunday, special teams has to be just as equally important as offense, as defense. Maybe even more than offense and defense, because we feel like with our special teams that could be an advantage for us. If we're able to get our offense field position, whether it's (by) kick returns or punt returns, then that's a win for us. We have to play well, definitely on special teams, and make sure that we give our offense and defense a chance to be successful."
(on what attracted head coach Sean Payton and QB Drew Brees to New Orleans when times were difficult) "I think it says a lot about those guys. I was drafted here, so I didn't have a choice. They had a choice, and I think it says a lot about Drew Brees and Sean Payton. Getting a chance to know these guys for the last four years, Drew Brees is one of the greatest guys I've ever met, and not just a great athlete. He's a good person. He just has it all together in all phases of his life. Sean Payton, he's done nothing but a great job with this team, building this team from Day One. His vision that he had for this team - we're a living testament. Look where we are now. We're in the Super Bowl."
(on Saints Head Coach Sean Payton) "He's very detailed. I've said this before: One of the things that you have access to is these interview tapes that the league makes. They do it with a number of assistant coaches around the league. They do it with the rookies, as well. It's a half-hour interview. He was telling a story about when he first got into coaching. He was talking about the breakfast that he had eight years ago, and he knew exactly what he had for breakfast. If he could remember exactly what he had for breakfast eight years before, then I knew he was detailed because I can't remember what I had for breakfast yesterday. That was impressive."
(on the Colts' ability to build their roster through the draft) "(Colts President) Bill (Polian) has done a great job with the Buffalo Bills, the Carolina Panthers and now, obviously, theIndianapolis Colts. He's a guy who all of us who have this position admire and want to emulate. It doesn't mean we have to do it exactly the same way, but obviously, we have a lot of respect for him. The number of games that they have won over the last decade is just remarkable, really, and maybe even unprecedented. You can't say enough good things about him."
(on traits he wishes he could take from Polian) "I think (I would take) Bill's attention to detail and his philosophy of building through the draft, finding value players and finding undraftedfree agents and free agents that other people have had. You pay attention to that because clearly, they have a great system of evaluation. He has great philosophies about the way he approaches talent acquisition. There are a lot of things you would take. I don't want to divulge all of them, though, because I don't want everyone to know."
(on Dolphins Executive Vice President of Football Operations Bill Parcells' influence on Payton) "(He had) a really strong, really strong influence. Sean would be the first to tell you he'll cite Bill often. I think Sean puts his own spin on it, if you will. Often times, his delivery is different, but there's a base philosophy there that, no question, he gets from Bill. That's a good thing. It's something that I was looking for when I was looking for a head coach. I was looking for a coach with a pedigree from a really disciplined, tough-minded mentor. That's one of the things that attracted me to Sean."
(on acquiring Saints WR Marques Colston in the seventh round of the 2006 NFL Draft) "We felt good about the pick, but I think in our building we would have said to you, ‘Hey, this is a guy who we can spend a few years with, maybe on the practice squad, and develop into a guy who can contribute to our team.' No one in our building would have said, ‘Hey, this guy is going to be an 80-catch, 1,000-yard receiver in Year One.' "
(on if it has become easier to find talented receivers as college and high school football teams begin to pass more often) "No, I don't think I'd say that. In fact, I think that receiver is one of the tougher positions simply because the attention to detail is so much greater as you get to this level. You can't just rely on athletic ability. You've got to pay attention to detail. It takes awhile for receivers. (Saints WR) Robert Meachem on our team is a guy who it has taken three years to really learn the position, gain the trust of our quarterback and learn the nuances of playing the position. It takes awhile for those guys. Sometimes it's the first-round picks, and you don't have the patience for that. We've got to remind ourselves that there's a pretty steep learning curve for receivers."
(on how Saints QB Mark Brunell aides Saints QB Drew Brees) "I think that's a question for Drew, not for me. But I know from my perspective, I think it is always good to have someone in your building who has been in the quarterback's shoes. (Brunell has been) not just in his shoes in the position but in his shoes in terms of being one of the elite players in the league. Mark played in AFC Championship games, so he has been in that position. He understands the pressure. He understands the leadership aspect of it. It's a reference point for Drew. Beyond that, I think you'd have to talk to Drew."
Pete Carmichael, Jr.
(on the depth at running back and receiver) "The thing about our receiving corps that we feel good about is that whoever is on the field we are comfortable with. Really most of the year, with some injuries with Lance [Moore] and stuff like that it has been a three man rotation. We feel pretty good with any of those guys on the field. In running back, it has been nice to have all of those guys."
(on preparing for the Colts' defense) "I think you have to be ready to handle their speed."
(on the Dwight Freeney situation) "I don't think we can work at it any different. We are preparing for it like they have all of their guys playing."
(on if any Super Bowl events can pose as a distraction) "I don't think that it's a factor. We dedicated this day for media day. We are just going to follow the itinerary and go with it. We had an opportunity to go out yesterday and practice. Today we are just focusing on this media day and will be back at it tomorrow. It's a normal practice week."
(on what this game means to the city of New Orleans) "I think it is unique and very special. The city is a part of this team and has been behind us this whole time. I think as a team we feel like they are a part of us."
(on experiencing the Super Bowl) "This experience has been wonderful, I mean amazing. I never thought that I'd be in this position especially just coming in my third year. It's been a crazy experience. The experience I went through playing behind some great backs - Deuce McAlister, Reggie Bush. I've seen a lot of guys I used to watch growing up as a kid and in college also. Just to be here at the Super Bowl - I'm ecstatic. It's like a dream come true."
(on the Saints being the underdog) "I always like being the underdog because I can always show people, a lot of people don't expect a lot from me. When you get that you don't get a lot of attention from the defense, the defense doesn't really look at you. They don't pay too much attention on you and that lets me go out there and do what I can and I'm able to surprise a lot of people."
(on proving doubters wrong) "I want to show everybody I have the talent to play in this league and to be one of the greatest backs to ever come to the NFL. I'm working very hard to just establish myself and just be successful in this profession."
(on how he felt coming on to the Saints after they had just drafted Mike Pittman) "I wasn't worried at all actually. Coming into the League, going through the draft I was talking to my agent I said, ‘Hey, all I need is my foot in the door. Once I get my foot like an inch in the door I'm going to break it down. I'm going to do whatever it takes to make the team or to show any team out there that I can play at this level and I can be a top player for them'."
(on coming in so deep in the depth chart) "I knew it was going to be a big challenge. I told myself, ‘Hey, this is another battle you have to step up to. This is another challenge in your life. What are you going to do to compete with these guys?' I had to compete with Antonio Pittman - that was the guy they drafted, I had to compete with him. I had to compete with Reggie Bush. I had to compete with Deuce [McAlister]. I had to compete with [Aaron] Stecker. All those guys they have in the backfield I had to compete with them. I had to compare my skills to theirs and try to better myself in this league, in this profession. They want the best and I always strive to be one of the best guys on the team."
(on the threat of having three good running backs) "I call us the ‘Three-headed Monster'. We have some similarities but we're all different at the same time. You have Reggie [Bush] he's athletic, fast, quick, agile. The man can do a lot of different things. And then you have [Mike] Bell, he's a hard-nosed runner. This guy will knock the mess out of you. He will lower his shoulder. He's not scared at all. He'll just run you over. My skills - I try to be versatile. I try to us some of Reggie's skills and some of Mike's. I learned from Deuce [McAlister], I tried to use some of Deuce's skills. The one thing about him is his vision. Deuce has excellent vision and he's always been on my side and teaching me the ropes. There's no one better to learn from than him. He's one of the best guys to play this game."
(on the struggles he's endured in his career) "A lot of people try to compare me with the city of New Orleans. The struggles I've been through to get to where I'm at now to make it to this level, I've been told in my life, "You're too small, you're not fast enough. You're not going to make it." I've just blocked all that out and just kept going, kept fighting. A lot of people compare me to New Orleans because of what happened in Katrina. You see these people still fighting, they're not giving up. People in New Orleans never give up and that's one thing I love. Their spirit is strong and these are die-hard fans. That's one thing I love about New Orleans. It's like a big family out there and I'm a big family person. I love my family and I feel so comfortable with New Orleans."
(on any regrets he has) "I grew up a Chicago Bears fan. As I look back, I don't regret anything. I don't regret the way I came into this league. I don't regret anything. It was destiny. God made this road for me. He paved this road for me to take this journey and I wouldn't change anything."
(on something people didn't know about him when he came in the league) "My determination to never give up. I think that's one thing they didn't recognize. I'm a guy that's going to give you 110 percent every time I touch that football. Every time you put me in, I'm going to fight for each yard I get. I'm never going to give up. I'll prove it. I will fight to the end. I will not stop. I don't care if we're in the game and we're down by so many points. I will never give up."
(on what's the most important skill to be a running back) "One thing I always thought was important as a running back is the leg power. Not so much the upper body, the upper body is important to hold onto the ball, but its more leg power, more leg drive. If you're in the pile and you have a lot of guys on you, you want to push, push, push. If you have fourth-and-1 and you're right there in the end zone and the game is on the line you have to push to get it in."
(on the running game against the Colts defense) "That's definitely in our favor. We want to strive to get our running game going. We talk about that all the time. We watched film on the Colts. We want to strive to get this running game going very positively. We talked - Reggie, Mike and myself - we all got together and said, "Hey, we have to establish, we have to set the tone for this game." If we do that, I think we'll be successful."
(on keeping Peyton Manning on the sidelines) "You definitely want to keep him on the sidelines because he's an outstanding player. The things he does are unbelievable. He reminds me of Drew [Brees]. I haven't played with Peyton Manning, but I've played with Drew Brees. Drew Brees has done some amazing things. The calls he makes right there on the spot it's like, ‘OK, how do you know this guy is coming, the pressure on that side of the defense?' I see some similarities between each quarterbacks. You definitely want to keep him on the sideline, so we're definitely going to establish something. We're going to be more balanced than anything I believe."
(on the offensive gameplan) "As a running back group, we want to establish the run game. You hear a lot of people that say the Saints run game is not all that powerful and we want to establish that. We want to show everybody that our running game is powerful and we have been successful this year but we want to keep it going. We also have Drew Brees so we want to be more balanced than anything. We want to confuse the opponents' defense. Either they have to watch for the run, whether we have Mike Bell, Reggie [Bush] or myself in there. You have to be careful of that, but you also have to be careful of Drew Brees because he's capable of anything."
(on the Colts' defensive strengths) "Some of their D-line is very fast. That's one thing that we're going to have to establish first is their defensive line because they're so quick off the ball. Their linebackers, they've played a little hesitation, they've played back side mostly. We have to really get on their linebackers and really press the hole as running backs. We have to be more patient and cautious with our runs so we can read our holes and read our blocks. That's the biggest key to our run game."
(on Drew Brees) "Just hearing his words inspire you to go out there and do the best that you can. You can see the passion. You can hear the passion in his voice when he speaks to you or just a one-on-one conversation. His passion is so heart-warming. It makes you want to go out there and do the best that you can and play all out for this guy. He really wants to be perfect. Nobody's perfect but he really strives to be perfect. For a guy like that you really want to play hard for him."
(on media day) "A lot of guys told me, especially the vets, that media day is something that you're never going to forget. I'll never forget this. This is unbelievable. I never thought I'd experience anything like this. Just being in this atmosphere. Just being in the Super Bowl, words can't even express it. I'm blessed and I'm very happy to be here."
(on the injuries this season) "It was tough just battling through injuries back and forth. As a player you don't want to go through that. You want to be healthy. You want to help contribute to your team. You don't want to battle injuries. It's very tough when you have to keep battling injuries. You don't have the chance to help support your team and be there for your team on the field every chance you get. As a player you want to continue to fight every chance you get and you want to try your best to get back on the field and help your team."
(on the city of New Orleans) "It's been good just coming from where we have been when I first got drafted there and I drove in from Alabama, it feels great. It seems like the place was very, very destroyed. Signs and stuff were down. Now seeing New Orleans, where it is now, we've come a long way in four years. We have really rebuilt a lot, but a lot is not back from what I was told. It has come a long way. The city is behind us so it has been great."
(on fan support in New Orleans) "The city has always been behind us and we have always brought a little bit of juice and brought a little feedback to the community and do as much as we can. It's always good, now when the city of New Orleans is getting more respect and a little bit more eyes on it and (people) see how it really, really had to rebuild and how it's coming along. Now that everybody else is starting to pay little attention, the more success we have it seems the more eyes have come on the city. It's good for that but everybody else is giving it a little bit of respect."
(on Peyton Manning's ability) "I just think that his accuracy, the thing with his timing and the way he understands everything and communicates and runs that offense. It is the things he does. It seems that everything revolves around him. He does such a good job with all the pressure and all the calls that he makes and getting his team in the position to make plays with his pinpoint accuracy on throwing the ball and doing the little things he has to do to be a great quarterback in this league. He does it all with the hand signals. Just everything he does is just amazing to watch on the field."
(on containing Manning) "I don't really know if you can contain him. You really can't stop the guy. He is going to make plays and we understand that. Hopefully we can limit him, try to confuse him a little bit and try to rattle him to throw off his timing. Hopefully we can affect (him) with coverage and maybe we can affect him by hitting him and knocking him down and little things like that."
(on making mistakes against the Colts' offense) "We understand that mistakes are going to be made throughout the ball game. We are not trying to out-execute them and their offense. I know their offense is going to execute extremely well. They all are going to be on the same page and they are going to go out and make plays, too. The biggest thing that is going to help us out is that our offense is also very talented and our offense is going to make plays."
(on the mentality of the Saints' defense) "We have always understood that it is not about yards given up or anything like that, it's all about points scored and limiting (mistakes) when in the red zone and always trying to force turnovers. That's what we always talk about, ‘Why can't we get a turnover every possession or why can't we get the ball out?' We have got to do something and try to make something happen. It's not always that our offense scores, maybe we can score. So we are always trying to affect the ball, trying to tackle the ball and trying to over populate the ball with guys trying to tackle and get the ball out. We are always trying to talk about it, and the more you talk about it, it becomes more of an issue and you want to make it happen."
(on being in one of the best Saints' draft classes) "I have only seen four draft classes come through and I definitely think we're probably one of the better ones that has come. No one really thought we were going to turn out as well as we have but it has been a great, great group of guys. You know you have got (Marques) Colston in the seventh round; you had Jahri (Evans) in the fourth and me in second and of course Reggie (Bush) in the first. We all came to help our team and we all started since we got here and it's all been well. I guess it is one of the best draft classes since I've been here."
(on being friends with his draft class) "We all kind of jelled because we were all in our little separate rookie locker room. At the same time, we all focused on trying to learn the playbook, go out there and make plays and do what we do. Lo and behold you see Colst (Marques Colston) snagging balls across the middle so he probably stands out more. Jahri (Evans) starting immediately when he gets there and Reggie (Bush) is Reggie so there's not much to be said. Reggie is going to make his plays. Then I get thrown into the fire really early and I make my first start against the Colts, I think, in the preseason. It all started soon and happened so fast for us. We were just young guys playing and we didn't think about that we were just doing what we normally do and just trying to make plays."
(on the training camp rookie locker room) "In training camp, you have your rookie locker room and then you've got your veterans locker room. Once you get out of the rookie locker room when the season starts, you're officially a part of the team."
(on fans from Jackson, Miss. attending training camp) "Yeah we were at Millsap College in Jackson, Mississippi, and it's hot as hell. Nobody's happy. Everybody is cranky every day. We are going to try to make this thing go and everyone had a really good year that year."
(on what media day means) "I just sat down so I am trying to soak it up too. I will probably get the most questions asked to me today than I have in a long time. I am going to have a good time though."
(on when being in the Super Bowl sunk in) "I think it's starting to hit now. Now that we are here, all the events, the different things that we got to come to and all the different things we got to do. It is starting to hit me now. I am just ready to get back into practice and get back into a little routine and then be ready to hit it on Sunday and be ready to go."
(on playing in New Orleans) "It's been good. I wouldn't want to be in any other place. New Orleans is a great city. It is so much fun, the culture, the people. Everybody is very friendly and everybody loves their Saints. That's all they want to do. They want their Saints to win more than anything. They have been believing in the Saints for a long time, way before I had been there. This is honestly the first time they have had all their dreams come true. We have got to go out there and win it for them. We have got a big time challenge ahead of us. The Colts are a great team and they have won a lot of games. We are going to try to knock them off one time."
(on matching wits with Peyton Manning) "I don't know how you match wits with the guy. The guy is all over the place. He knows actually what is going on. Anybody that is on the take, that moves or does anything he checking it. He is trying to see what you are doing and he does a great job of that. You can see on the film all the things that he does. He gets the team lined up in the right position and puts them in the right plays and does everything to make sure they have the best success. They have been putting up large numbers and big yards all year long and we ‘vejust got to try to limit them this Sunday."
(on Saints owner, Tom Benson potentially moving the team after hurricane Katrina) "It was a realistic concern. We didn't know whether the city would be able to support a team after Katrina and even before Katrina. I think all those concerns were very justified. It's kind of funny to look back now and think that the New Orleans Saints could have been some other Saints like San Antonio and there were rumors about LA. For a period of time, it was up in the air."
(on when the Saints found out they were staying in New Orleans) "There was a point at the end of the season that there was assurance the Saints were staying in New Orleans. That was the year I was hurt, and I was on injured reserve and was unsure where to do rehab because people were still in San Antonio, people were still in New Orleans."
(on New Orleans embracing the Saints) "You win a few ball games. You try to take care of your city. The players that we have in our locker room and not only the way the city has embraced the team, but the way the team has given back and been a part of the community of New Orleans, that's just water under the bridge at this point."
(on Benson's interaction with the Saints) "He's constantly at practice. He's always walking through the locker room or in the locker room after the game. His presence is felt."
(on Saints offensive linemen being named Madden O-line of the year) "That is a great recognition. It will be just a little more on us when we get around the Super Bowl. Hopefully we'll live up to that billing."
(on why the o-line has been successful) "I think we have a very selfless group. There aren't a lot of ‘me' guys across the board. When the attention comes, we appreciate it, but nobody is out there seeking it. When (Saints tackle) Jamal (Brown) went down, to have a guy like (Jermon) Bushrod fill those shoes, was obviously vital to get us to this point, theSuper Bowl.
(on Colts experience in the Super Bowl) "Obviously, they've got the experience factor on their side. I think it's an advantage to them in that aspect. I think we need to minimize that advantage for them as much as possible. We need to act like we've been here and that we're not here for just the circus of the Super Bowl but that we're here to play a football game. I'm sure that's the approach that Indianapolis is taking. We can learn a little something from previous teams that have been in this position. I think we'll be the better for it.
(on whether this game the highest scoring game in Super Bowl history) "You never know. On paper, I'm sure it looks that way. But this could turn into a game that is defensively dominated."
(On what a championship would mean to the city of New Orleans) "I don't even know how to express what it would do for the city and the people in New Orleans to bring home aSuper Bowl ring and the jubilation that would go on. Obviously, the support this year has been great and the city has been on fire for this team. I could only imagine what would take place if we won the Super Bowl."
(on being a man of faith) "I've always believed in, "Where much is given much is expected." Every one of these guys has been blessed beyond anything they could ever dream of. Do all that you do and in whatever endeavor you take, do it for the Glory of God. When we play on Sunday, we are representing Him."
(on Colts DE Dwight Feeney) "In stature, he's not one of those guys that hops off the bus and impresses you. But you watch the way he plays in a game, he's relentless in his pass rush efforts. He's constantly harassing the quarterback. At the top of the pocket, the way he reaches around, there are times he doesn't even make contact with the quarterback, but he has a great feel for getting his hand on the ball. When we played two or three years ago in Indianapolis, he reached around into the pocket and knocked the ball out of (Saints QB) Drew (Brees)'s hands. On film, I see him time and time again do that effectively. He's one of those guys that you have to prepare as much as you can for a variety of moves he has and get ready for it."
(on his first Super Bowl media day) "This is a heck of an experience. I didn't know that this many media guys existed."
(On conducting a difficult offense) "If we don't have Drew, we're not sitting here. We know that he is the heart and soul of what we do and our success centers around how we protect No. 9 and making sure the wide receivers can get open for him. But he makes this ship go. There is not a more professional player in the game today than Drew and his approach and I think that spills on to the rest of us."
(on whether he prefers running or passing plays) "I think you have to learn to love the pass game being in New Orleans. As an offensive lineman, you like to grind a little bit and you like to run the ball. But you see the points you put on the board and you see what Drew can do when you give him time, it makes you have a little more love for the passing game, too."
(on whether his brother, Matt (Stinchcomb, former NFL offensive lineman) has words of advice) "He's sent me a couple of texts like make sure I keep a journal because when you look back, you're not going to be able to remember all that has gone on. It's a work week, and at the end of the day, we're here to do our job but to enjoy it. There have been little gems along the way that he has shared. The family is coming Thursday, but Matt is coming Sunday just for the game."
(on Colts pass rushers) "They've had such success, you're talking about two of the best defensive ends in the game. I think Robert Mathis gets overshadowed a little bit because they have Freeney on the team, but those guys are the catalyst that makes that defense so effective."
(on how the offensive line adjusts to what the defense does) "We don't do any of the adjusting. Brees makes it happen. He has a very great grasp on how to move around in the pocket, how to position himself to get the throwing lane. We try to block him to the best of our ability, and he'll try to make us right. He's been doing it for a long time, and he's been doing a good job at it."
(What to do to rattle QB Peyton Manning) "We are just trying to build a scheme, a game plan to go up against left tackle Charlie Johnson, and try to figure out ways to beat him. I'm going to try to time it up to where I can actually get a sack, or get some pressure on Peyton."
(Getting pressure on Manning) A couple years ago I hit Peyton a lot, and I missed a couple sacks last time I played them. The plan going in this time is to try to keep getting after and keep going after. It's a totally different defensive scheme, so we're going to be changing it up and doing different things than we did a couple years ago. It's always an advantage to go up against someone you have played before because you have a feel for him. I think the biggest thing now is try to game plan it to where I know the tempo of the game and I know what they are trying to do to us, so that helps a lot."
(On if he thinks he will get chipped a lot) "No, I don't think so. They get the ball out pretty fast, and the offensive line has done a pretty good job this year only giving up 10 sacks. I don't think they are going to chip anybody."
(What being in the Super Bowl means to New Orleans) "It means a lot to the city. After we won the NFC Championship the city was filled with so much joy and happiness."
(How different it's going to be playing against Manning compared to Farve) "They are similar in a way, but they are different. Peyton kind of calls the offense at the line and he changes up a lot of things. If he sees something in the defense, he will change it up and kind of counter whatever we are trying to do. It is important for us not to show him what we are trying to do early, and go out and play our game. If we can do that, then we feel as if we can have success against him."
(Specific ways to have success against Manning) "I don't know if there is a particular way. As far as us, we don't shift as a line. We just go out there and play, go straight forward and do whatever the call is. We don't scheme like that. It's more the linebackers and the secondary."
(On breaking down film through the week) "We study the players, we watch all the players throughout the league and we watch the Colt's offense against somebody else's defense. We try to study everybody on both sides of the ball to find out what they do well and what they do badly. In previous weeks we have seen guys that are fumble prone, or quarterbacks that just hold the ball loosely, and if you sack them, you can get a fumble. We focus on those and pick out those players so we know if they ever get the ball, that we need to be swiping at it because there is a possibility they may fumble."
(Trying to sack Manning) "He's definitely tough because he gets the ball going so fast. He does not hold it. Once he sees something he throws it. It's very rare that you actually see him holding the ball, more than 2-3 seconds."
(On getting Manning uncomfortable if you can't get him to the ground) "You just have to keep going. It gets frustrating at times because sometimes you're so close and you can't get him. You just have to continue to go and pick up on some of his tendencies and pick up on the flow of the game. There are going to be opportunities where you're going to beat the guy, then possibly get a sack or a QB hurry."
(On if this was his best year) "I feel I played well. I went out and accomplished things I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to be more efficient in my pass rushing, get more quarterback looks and get more quarterback sacks. I was able to do that, and overall I accomplished everything I wanted to do this year, other than a couple other things (laughing)."
(On Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams) "Gregg, Bill Johnson, my defensive line coach and I worked for hours just working on things that he thought could make me a better pass rusher. I got my weight down which made me a little bit faster and quick off the ball. We did a lot of things to change it up and try to improve my game. Gregg's scheme and his game plan worked well because he allowed me to go out and play my game and do what I feel is comfortable."
(on playing for the city of New Orleans) "It's a great source of strength for us and our team, just knowing that we are playing for much more than another ‘W' or a Super Bowl for our organization. It's a Super Bowl for our city and our fans and everything they've been through the last few years. There is no organization or city that deserves a champion more thanNew Orleans."
(on how important it is to establish the run) "It is very important to be balanced, to be able to run and pass and have each of those set the other up, because you can't be one-dimensional against a team like the Colts. They've shown with their pass rush and their ability to bring a safety down in the box to stop the run, if you are one-dimensional, they can eat you up. You have to be able to mix both the run and the pass and be effective at it."
(on if he is concerned whether Dwight Freeney is playing or not) "We're planning on that he is playing. We feel like they are going to have all of the bullets in their gun and their full arsenal, just like ours. Anytime you play a team like this in an atmosphere like this, you expect everyone to play."
(on his study of the Colts' defense) "I don't think there are any holes, but you hope that you can catch them from time to time and be able to get a big play. You rely on the ability to catch, break a tackle and get yards after the catch, run the ball efficiently and be balanced - to be able to mix the run and the pass and never be predictable. You always want to feel like you have the upper hand and that you are setting the tempo for the game."
(on which Super Bowl-experienced players or coaches he talked to prior to the trip) "I talked to a few quarterbacks who have been in this situation before, Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks. Also, our head coach Sean Payton was here as a coordinator in 2000 with the Giants. He was able to give me some words of wisdom on how to approach the week and how to handle it and prepare to deal with the media and the hype and stay within your routine."
(on what the Super Bowl means to New Orleans and himself) "It means so much. I have met season-ticket holders since New Orleans started in 1967. For so many of them, just to have waited so long through so many tough times to this point, and what people went through in New Orleans post-Katrina, it's so much more than just a game to us. It's a feeling that we have an opportunity to give them so much hope, lift their spirits and give them something they deserve."
(on coming through adversity) "You have to go through some tough times and fight through adversity in order to get to this kind of level and have these types of opportunities. Had you not gone through some of those things earlier in the history of this organization or in my own career, you wouldn't have learned the lessons you learned in order to get here - have that chip on your shoulder or have the motivation we have to be here and take part in the Super Bowl. I believe wholeheartedly the fact that everything happens for a reason. At times, God is going to put you in a position to wonder why this is happening to me or to us, and yet you know it's happening for a reason. It's there to make you stronger and to give the opportunity to accomplish something later on - and here we are."
(on if he feels any pressure from Saints fans) "We don't look at it as pressure. We feel like we are playing for so much more than just to win a game for our organization or team, we're playing for an entire city and region. And you could say for an entire country because there are still so many New Orleans natives who had to evacuate after Katrina who have not been able to move back yet. We know we have fans across the country who are pulling for us and rooting for us, fans who will eventually come back to New Orleans, but are just waiting for the right time. Whatever we can do to give them hope and raise their spirits, that's what we want to do."
(on a formula for success against the Colts) "We have to be balanced and mix the run and the pass. We have to have a plan for their pass rush, because we know how they can rush the passer. Take care of the football, try to keep Peyton (Manning) and that offense off the field as much as possible and take advantage of the opportunities when we get them."
(on having offensive balance) "You can't be one-dimensional against these guys, because they are too smart for that. You have to be able to do both. If you can do efficiently, possess the ball, convert third downs, keep them off the field, eat up the time of possession - all of those things that you talk about as an offense, that's the key for success."
(on his injury while with San Diego) "The injury happened in the last game of the 2005 season, my fifth year in San Diego in which I did not have a contract after that. All of a sudden here I am thrust into free agency two months after a right shoulder dislocation, which I was told by some doctors that I had a 25 percent chance of coming back and ever playing. Only two teams were interested in me in free agency to be the starting quarterback - Miami and New Orleans. That was a defining moment in my life and one that brought me to New Orleans with a sense that this is a calling for me, an opportunity that I have to not only come to a city and be a part of the rebuilding of the organization, city, community and region. This was an opportunity that really doesn't come along for most people in their lifetime, and yet here it is staring me in the face. So it was much more than football and I felt it was destiny that God put me there for a reason. It's been such a special experience. I was embraced by the city in a way that I can't even describe. My wife and I had our first child in New Orleans a year ago, so it seems like so many things beyond football, from the standpoint of our family. Our foundation (Brees Dream Foundation) has raised or committed $3 million dollars to the city of New Orleans. That's just the beginning. I want to be somebody who is not only a leader on my football team, but a leader in the community, somebody who is going to follow through with what I say I am going to do, be accountable, show integrity and give back."
(on when he felt at home in New Orleans) "It was right away. That first year in New Orleans in 2006, we made it to the NFC Championship Game, the first time in the history of the club. It seems like we have had so many ‘firsts' as a part of that organization, a first time to go to the NFC Championship Game, and this year a first time to start 13-0, first time to host an NFC Championship Game, first time to be in a Super Bowl and hopefully it will be the first Super Bowl championship as well. My wife and I felt like a part of the community quickly because of the way we were embraced by the city. I've had more people come up to me on the street who tell me, ‘Thank you for being part of our city. Thank you for being a part of our community. Thank you for what you have done and by the way, good luck on Sunday, but we love you for being part of this community.'"
(on the Saints' pregame chant that he leads) "I am not going to tell you what we say because that's what makes it unique and special, because it is just for us. It's for our team, and if you are a member of our team, you know the chant. For everybody else, you can keep wondering what we are saying. I think that's unique because each year there is an inspiration for that. This year's inspiration was from an USO trip that I went on to Guantanamo Bay in Cuba. I got to do P.T. (physical training) with the Marines one morning, and as we are jogging in formation and doing calisthenics, there are all of these chants that the Marines do. So I took one of those chants, made it applicable to us as a team, and that's what we chant about. It's inspired by the Marines at Guantanamo Bay. That makes it unique."
(on how the comeback against the Dolphins in Sun Life Stadium earlier this season might help them in the Super Bowl) "Walking into the stadium today and for the Pro Bowl, all those memories come back from that game, everything that transpired. Being down 24-3 in the second quarter and going into halftime with that touchdown with six seconds left where we jump over the top. We score feeling like that was what we needed momentum-wise, and we come out in the second half with an interception return for a touchdown, just this sequence of events where all of the sudden we have this huge come-from-behind victory. The feeling in that locker room, looking around and saying, ‘You know what? This is the feeling that we want a couple of months from now on Super Bowl Sunday when we come back here.' And sure enough, here we are and I hope we do have that same feeling in the locker room."
(on the team's progress in the last four seasons) "We had that special season back in 2006. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hits. the team relocates to San Antonio, has a 3-13 season and never really plays a home game, playing in the Alamodome, Baton Rouge and a Monday night home game in New York against the Giants. Everything they went through and I've heard the stories from the guys how it was tough. Back in New Orleans, the team's facility had been used by the government as a staging ground for rescue missions throughout town to save people. Here we are trying to come back and find ourselves. Sean Payton gets hired, I get brought in as a free agent with Scott Fujita, Reggie Bush and Marques Colston gets drafted, we bring in guys like Mark Simoneau and Scott Shanle. The list goes on of the guys we brought in that year as free agents. In a way all of us were castaways, guys who were obviously free agents because there were plenty of teams out there that didn't want us. Yet, the New Orleans Saints wanted us and they wanted to give us an opportunity. We all used that as a rallying point to come together and accomplish something special and we did. It was the first time we made the NFC Championship Game, and we fell one game short of the Super Bowl, which is our ultimate goal of being Super Bowl champions. To take that memory and that bitter taste, to go through the adversity we've gone through the past two seasons of missing the playoffs - all that's done is build our motivation, our strength and mindset to be able to get to this season and to say, ‘You know what? This is our time. Why not us? Why not the New Orleans Saints?' And here we are."
(on his comments about the Saints delivering some ‘remember me hits' on Peyton Manning) "In all honesty, it was really kind of a tongue and cheek thing with Blaine Bishop. When Blaine played for me, he was that kind of player. One of the things I worried about Blaine, whenever he would get mad, for the next three or four plays he would abort all coverage, he would abort all responsibilities and just go take it out on the opponent. I would ask him, ‘What are you doing?' and he would tell me, ‘Giving him some remember me shots.' We were joking about that and what he said was, ‘You got any remember me's in you this week?' I said, ‘Who knows? That could come up.' It kind of got blown out of proportion, but in all honesty, every single time you play you have that. Even my own son who is in high school - I read where ESPN rated him the 73rd rated football player in the country this year. He was the 10th-rated middle linebacker in the country. All of the sudden he graduated early and is at Virginia Tech now - I told him every single time he played, after the ball game I want you to make sure every player that played against you remembers your number, remembers your name and if they can't, it's because you knocked the memory out of them. That's how good defensive players play. He took that to heart and even made sure that some of the coaches that voted against him for some of the things that they would remember him after games, that they would remember him after games. It's just kind of a thing from an aggressive nature, from a fun-loving nature that all defensive guys have about them and I'm sure most competitors do too."
(on how big of a story his comments to Bishop became) "I was a little surprised that it took off, but in that respect it didn't bother me because it's true. I do believe that. I do believe that I want our players to play hard. I don't want them to have any apologies. I tell them all the time...I told my kids when I was the head coach of the Buffalo Bills, ‘I don't ever want you to apologize to anybody at any time about being a competitor. When you have to apologize about being competitive, I'll be down there at the principal's office. I'll go down to the school board. I'll go to whoever I need to,' because that's what pushes our life. That's what pushes successful people. They want to compete and the fact that you're going to be competitive and be tough about doing those things, I don't know what I should have said. Maybe I should have said that we're going to blow him kisses or send him a Valentine Day card or something like that. I don't know that that would have been the right message to send the defensive guys that I have."
(on if his bosses took issue with his comments) "No, they all know. It's just part of it. It was tongue in cheek. In fact, Blaine has been more worried about it. Blaine is texting me and called me a couple times apologizing thinking I may be dog cussing him about it. I said, ‘Blaine, don't worry about that. That was just you and I having a good time on the radio.'"
(on the ‘gift' Sean Payton sent him at breakfast Tuesday) "The poor waiter came over to the table at brunch this morning and gave me two big jars of peanut butter, saltine crackers and a glass full of sand to wash it down with. Maybe if I took all that stuff down I might be able to keep my mouth shut and not say something at media day that will haunt him all week long like I did last week."
(on the importance of hitting the quarterback) "I don't know what that stat is. (Linebackers coach) Joe Vitt shows a lot of different stats on the night before the games and he speaks to the team the night before the games. We've been in the top one, two and we never have fallen below three this year on hits on the quarterback through the whole year. When you hit the quarterback, the whole team feels it in that respect and when you hit the quarterback and/or cause the quarterback to do things a little off rhythm, then you affect the offense from a rhythm standpoint. I always say this tongue and cheek: when you go watch practice - and I was a quarterback, I was an offensive coordinator for 10 years, too - they want to practice on air. Well, the game's not played on air. The game is played with contact. The game is played with changing the routes, hitting the linemen, hitting the quarterbacks. All of those things have the defense have a chance to be successful if you can go to the head of the offense, the quarterback, and make him get off rhythm. If you can get him off rhythm, you've got a chance. Not many people do that with Peyton Manning. Peyton Manning is probably I think the best in the National Football League...he's been the best in the last four or five years on not letting people getting to him, so we've got our work cut out for us this week."
(on Manning ‘laying down' sometimes to avoid hits) "And you know what? That's not bad. A lot of people would say, ‘Maybe that's not tough.' I don't perceive it (that way). He understands that he's the lifeblood of that football team and without him being on the field, their chances of winning go down. I'm not saying anything bad about the backup quarterbacks or anything like that, but he understands that. Also, it's easier to get back up and throw one at you when you're not suffering the bruises and the pain and everything of getting driven into the ground. He's learned that throughout a lot of years. That again shows how smart he is. I wish he was a little dumber and I wish he would stand in there and take some of those hits, but that's not what he does. It's pretty smart on his part."
(on the Super Bowl platform allowing people to discover how colorful and animated he is) "Probably, but I've been doing this a long time and for a lot of years. I really don't fake who I am. When you stand in front of the players and you stand in front of warriors every day, you can't be a fake and you can't be a con. They can smell you out. You can be whoever you want to be as long as they trust you're being sincere. They've always appreciated the fact that I'm in the foxhole with them. We coach aggressive, we coach nasty. I told them from the first day no matter where I go that, ‘All your life you've had coaches where you've had an excuse to where they slow you down, they don't let you play the way you want to play. You're not going to have that excuse here. All my life I've been trying to speed people up. I've been trying to get people to play tougher, get people to play nastier so you're not going to have that excuse here.' They've jumped on the bandwagon and they've taken the ball and run with it. This is a real fun group of guys to coach. This group was here before I got here. There are only a couple of additions that we've brought in here, but the approach and the culture and the philosophy and all those type of things have changed. I met for three weeks with the new coaching staff that I inherited and never once said one thing about X's and O's for the first three weeks. We did the same thing with our players once we first got a chance to meet with our players. There are a lot of things from discipline, there are a lot of things from a foundation, a trustworthiness and a team camaraderie-ness before we got to X's and O's. Once those things got ingrained, the rest of the stuff kind of fell in place."
(on Colts OL coach Howard Mudd) "He's one of the all-time bests at that position. I can remember going to a high school clinic back when I was a high school coach in Kansas City and he was the offensive line coach for Marty Schottenheimer and the first time I ever heard anybody talk about the inside and the outside zone. It was Howard Mudd back in the mid 1980's. It was kind of a unique thing on how he was teaching the footwork and the whole zone blocking concept. I never forgot that. In fact I just ran across those notes in my file this week. Every single time I play the Colts or wherever he's at, I've always pulled those notes out. I was speaking that day, he was speaking that day. I was a high school coach, he was a pro coach. Those notes still hold true."
(on coming within a yard of winning a Super Bowl as Titans defensive coordinator) "It was 10 years (ago) to this game. It was a tough experience. I've never seen that game or watched that game on TV. Every time it comes on I shut it off. People say, ‘Why do you do that?' Well, I was there. I saw it. I felt it. I would like that to not happen again. There have been a couple of vows that you take and you leave those settings and you say, ‘Is there something else I could have done? Is there another thing I could have helped the guys with.' That's kind of spurred on these last 10 years. It's made me a better coach in a lot of ways, but I will tell you this: it's a memory that I'll never forget in respect of coming that short to having a chance to get into overtime. The tide had turned. We had all the momentum in the world. We just couldn't get it there and get it done."
(on beating Kurt Warner to get to the Super Bowl this year) "I've had several games against him in years since that game (Super Bowl XXXIV) and every time we've competed since that game, we've talked about that game. In fact, the very next year we went to training camp in Macomb, Illinois and went through three practices that week. All three practices were fistfights, remembering that one yard short. Some of those guys were trying to back off and felt like it was a game in practice because we had a (ticked) off approach about how we were practicing. We had a preseason game against (the Rams) that year right after it happened and just kind of demolished them. They still have the one that counts."
(on his desire to draft Drew Brees when Williams was the head coach in Buffalo) "I might still be there because he's an important part of that puzzle. He can take an average receiver, he can take an average tight end, he can take an average offensive tackle, and he controls the whole thing. He's amazing how he can take people and make them better. I always believe this: the mark of someone exceptional at this level is playing exceptional yourself but raising the level of performance around you. The Magic Johnsons, the Michael Jordans, the Drew Breeses, the Peyton Mannings, those kinds of guys can take average guys and make them look pretty doggone good because of their own skill level and their own intuitiveness of playing the game. Drew Brees could have done that and he would have been special to some of those offensive skill guys we had up there. We turned the defense over and we made the defense pretty good when I was there."
(on watching Peyton Manning's performance against the Dolphins this year) "It doesn't let you sleep at night. I tried to watch that game early in my preparation because I wouldn't have slept the rest of the two weeks in this preparation because Tony Sparano and the Dolphins did just a phenomenal job of doing everything they needed to do to keep the ball away from the guy and he was able to win the game. Those kinds of things, we've researched every game all the way back into games I coached against him in Buffalo, games I coached against him at Tennessee. I go back and look at all those games. You know why I do that? He's such a pro that I know he is too. I know he is, so it forces me. He's one of the best pros I've ever been around. Peyton and I have a good friendship. We really do. We care about what each other thinks about each other. For instance, when we (Jacksonville) beat them up there last year, we were able to get some hits on him and that kind of stuff. We talked after the game and he wasn't in a real good mood after the game. After the second game down there, we really played pretty good defense. He had a 140 quarterback rating. He ran over to me like a little puppy dog. He couldn't wait to talk to me after that game that he had just won. My first words out of my mouth were, ‘What? What do you want me to say? Are you waiting for me to say something nice?' He starts laughing. I told him this, I said, ‘That's the best game I've ever coached against you that you've played. You played lights out in that ballgame.' And you know what? He did."
(on Manning throwing three touchdowns in six plays against Williams' Bills) "Bam, bam, bam. I know. We did the same thing with the Redskins. We went over there and we had a depleted roster. We were really in the thick of it and all of the sudden, the first five minutes of the third quarter, it was ‘bam, bam.' Then they got nothing the rest of the game but it was over with. That's how fast he can do damage. We can't take a play off. We can't take one play off."
(on changing the attitude of the Saints' defense) It's an everyday thing. You don't turn attitude on like a light switch. You don't take discipline and turn it on like a light switch. It was a culture shock to them from the very first meeting. My aggressive demeanor in the meetings, making them defend themselves with explanations and demonstrations on the field. Every single time we stepped on the field of play in practice, it's been a game. We had to turn that scout team mentality there on defense. I've joked with Sean about this, because a lot of times offensive head coaches want the defense to play scout team in practice. You don't get better on defense that way. You get worse on defense that way. We had to attack our offense. We had to challenge our offense, and we made our offense better because they had a tough time dealing with us this spring. Everything was a thing where it was a step-by-step process. The thing that spoke volumes about these guys was every single time that I gave them a challenge, every single time that I tried to break them... Buddy Ryan would say, ‘Some of these thoroughbreds, you've got to break them before you bridle them.' I tried to break their spirits and make them do physically unbelievable things from up-downs and running sprints and all these things for semi-attention deficit disorder mistakes they were making. It made them stronger. When things don't break you in times of easiness, then they find out they become stronger later on. I tell them all the time, ‘When you bleed more in times of peace, you're going to bleed less in times of war.' They kind of paid the price in minicamp, OTAs and training camp. It was remarkable to see the leaders come back and say, ‘We want more.' When they started that swagger and attitude back at me, I knew I had them. Now I have to manage them, and that's not easy. Our motto has been live on the edge, play on the edge, never hurt the team."
(on having Media Day indoors) "I'm trying to work on my tan, because out there in Louisiana it hasn't been too sunny. The weather looks like it was holding up pretty good outside, but we decided to come on inside, but that's all right. It's perfect temperature in here. We don't have to worry about the rain touching us."
(on being on the big stage for the first time since 1997) "It's been a long, long time, as they say. (In) '97, I thought I'd be back many a time after that game with a great organization and a great quarterback, but it lets you know how tough it is to get to this point, and you have to appreciate it, cherish this moment. And I'm going to make sure I do that, because we can pretty much say this might be my last time."
(on how difficult it will be for him to try to set up Colts QB Peyton Manning) "You know what? The thing about playing against Peyton is that he has seen it all. He's a cagey veteran. You know, you try to say you can't teach an old dog new tricks. He might be one of the oldest and smartest dogs, and I don't know if you can trick him too much. But we have different things that if you're able to get to the quarterback, disrupt his timing, always knock him around a little bit, you think you might get a chance to, as they say, trick him or make a play off of him, because he's still human. As he gets hit and hit and hit, it will start to change some of your decision making. So if we can get to him, we think we can make some chances to get turnovers."
(on how effective the Saints' previous two game plans can be against Manning) "I don't know. With all this talk, he might be throwing the ball off a one-step drop every time and not even give us an opportunity to get to him. But depending on how the game dictates itself, if we can get up, or if it's a close game and he continues to have to make more plays or hold on to the football, we'll see. Saying we can rattle him, I don't know if that's going to be possible. But we're going to try to get to him."
(on saying that defensive coordinator Gregg Williams "spilled the beans" last week) "Whether it's the quarterback, whether it's the running back, receiver, we want to make sure every team we play remembers that they were in a tough dogfight, a physical matchup. And if we were able to do that each and every week, it put us to the point where we are right now. That's what I meant with ‘spilled the beans.' He just let out our philosophy out for the world to know."
(on how Colts TE Dallas Clark epitomizes a new breed of tight ends) "These are guys that can spread out wide and matchup against cornerbacks, safeties. He mismatches against linebackers and can make plays all over the football field. Dallas Clark has been a guy that when he came into the league, you knew he was going to be that type of tight end that could stretch defenses and could make big plays in the passing game because he was so athletic. And you accompany him with a Peyton Manning, who knows how to get you the football, it's a tough thing to stop. He's just another weapon that they have, and the fact that he's on the same page as Peyton for the majority of the games because they've been playing with each other for so long makes it a tough combination to slow down."
(on playing in New Orleans and for the city's fans) "It's been a blessing, first of all. I've had a great time playing in New Orleans. The fans have been tremendous. I thought I played - I have played - in a lot of towns that the fans embraced the team, in Green Bay, Minnesota. In New Orleans, it's a little bit different, though, because the team and the city have been tied for so many years and have gone through so much together. Whether it's using our stadium as a ground for people that were displaced because of the storm, re-opening the Superdome that night and seeing what it meant to the people of New Orleans. It's just a close tie between the city and the team. Everyone says, ‘Are you guys playing for the community? Are you guys playing for New Orleans?' We think that we are."
(on if the Super Bowl will help New Orleans' recovery) "I think so. I think it'll definitely help the economy of New Orleans, just the fact it'll bring more exposure to the city. You know the Super Bowl is going to be back there in 2013, so that should be a lot of great preparation for that day. But it's going to definitely help out the city. The more you win helps out everyone."
(on if his success against Giants QB Eli Manning will help against Peyton Manning on Sunday) "I don't know which one it is. Is it Eli or Peyton? Which one is it? I got confused with my brother (Jamie Sharper) the other day, so I feel like I might confuse him."
(on reading Eli Manning's eyes and if he expects to read Peyton Manning's eyes) "I don't know if you want to read Peyton's eyes too much. He kind of has those cat eyes that'll trick you if you watch them too much. The thing with Eli, I got a lot more opportunities against him. We'll see if Peyton is going to give me some opportunities because of our defense, some opportunities to make plays. He's just such a technician with the football. I think that earlier on, I got Eli when he was younger. Peyton is a little bit older, so I think he has seen a lot of things that defenses can throw at you. So it might be a little bit of a tougher challenge to get him than it was compared to his brother."
(on forcing turnovers and going after the ball) "That's something that we practice each and every day - attacking the football and stripping the football. Whether it's interceptions, whether it's a running back or a receiver who has the ball, we're taught to attack the football. In certain games, we'll have more opportunities to have those turnovers happen a lot more. I think against Minnesota, we got a lot of opportunities. We actually had three that we did not get. But that's something that Coach (Gregg) Williams brought to this team, attacking the football, going after the football. When you win the turnover battle, a lot of times you're going to win the game."
(on if he is telling younger players to enjoy the game because they never know when they'll be back) "Yeah. That's what we've been talking about all week long, and I'm a perfect guy to let them know that. Like I said, in '97 being in the Super Bowl as a naïve rookie thinking you're going to get back each and every year - yeah, you do. You definitely take it for granted. And I'm trying to make sure I let the guys know that it is a special time right now, to appreciate it, but also to do everything you can do to make sure that you play as well as you can to help win the game. Because the loser of this game will be forgotten, but the team that wins the game will be immortalized."
(on if practicing against Saints QB Drew Brees helps to prepare for Manning) "That's a big help, a big help. Drew is similar to Peyton. Some people might say better, some people might say that he's not as good, but as far as practice and being accurate, being a technician, being able to read defenses, he's as best as I've been around. It's been great preparation for us having to play against a guy like Peyton, who does a lot of similar things that Drew does."
(on if Manning is the ultimate challenge) "It's always a challenge. It's always a challenge. You could say it's the ultimate challenge, because he, I truly believe, is one of the best quarterbacks not only of my generation, but I think maybe of all time. So if you're able to make some plays against a quarterback like that, it is the ultimate challenge for a guy like myself who's the counter (attacker) against him. He's the quarterback; he's going to be throwing it in my area. And I'm trying to find ways to trick him or try to get an interception, and that's a tough task to do."
(on the Saints' defense having a low ranking) "You know what? Everyone's talking about the rankings and saying, ‘You have the 25th-ranked defense.' At the end of the day, at this point, you don't care about rankings. It's the defense that plays the best on any given day. Our philosophy, as everyone knows, is to take the football away and create turnovers and get the ball back for our offense, and we've done a great job with that in the postseason and during the regular season. So if we can stick to that philosophy, it's going to carry us a long way and it'll definitely help us out on Sunday."
(on whether to approach Manning aggressively or to sit back and wait for him to make a mistake) "You know, it's one of those things. You talk about playing a cat-and-mouse game. You want to try to mix it up a little bit. You don't want to do just one thing against a guy like Peyton Manning, because he'll figure you out, and then at the end of the day, come third, fourth quarter, he's killing you. The philosophy that we have is that he can't kill you if he's on his back. If we knock him around a little bit, we'll be playing a cat-and-mouse game. He won't be playing it with us."
(on what has changed this year to allow their offensive line to improve) "I think we've been more balanced on offense. We've ran the ball better, and I think it's made things a lot easier for us, even in the passing game. When teams have to respect us running the ball, it opens up a lot of things and slows down the pass rush a little bit. So I think that's been the key to everything. We've called more runs, we've blocked better, we've ran better, and it's done great things for this team."
(on if he likes it when they're calling a lot of runs) "Definitely. You definitely don't want D-linemen just pinning their ears back and rushing the whole game. When you're in situations like that, it's always tougher to pass block, so whenever you can switch things up and run the ball at them and they don't know what's coming, it helps the mind a lot."
(on if his mindset changes whether Reggie Bush, Pierre Thomas or Mike Bell is in at running back) "Believe it or not, most of the time, I don't know who's in the game until I see him get tackled or break a run. But all our backs have done a great job this year. Mike's the power guy, Pierre's the slasher with power, and Reggie's the slasher who, the last couple weeks, has been running guys over. So they all have done a great job, and all of them ran well and have been great for this team."
(on the mix of different players on the offensive line) "I think that the scouting and coaching have done a great job, and we're a tight-knit group and we work well together. Everybody gets along. We've just been a bunch of no-name guys who've turned out to be pretty good players."
(on if Jahri Evans and Carl Nicks are the nastiest guard duo in league) "I agree. I was joking with Carl and Jahri the other day that I've never seen so many people get tossed on the football field that I've seen this year. I've seen Carl just take guys and throw them. Whenever you see a grown man get thrown, it's a rare sight."
(on if playing next to Evans and Nicks brings something out the rest of the linemen) "Definitely. They've gotten a lot out of me, just out on the field when I hear those guys talking about, ‘I just got a ‘cake, Jahr, how many you got?' They're out there counting pancakes, so, at times, I've been out there (saying), ‘Hey, I just got one, too.' So they've brought a lot more energy out of me this year. They're two great guards, and I think they both potentially could go down as two of the greatest to ever play."
(on an interaction with New Orleans fans that probably wouldn't have happened anywhere else) "In my neighborhood this year, when I come home after wins, the neighbors have been putting up signs. Tracy Porter and Marques Colston also live in the same neighborhood. Our neighbors put up signs thanking us."
(on what the signs say) "‘Congratulations,' ‘Thank you for everything that you're doing for us,' and things like that. A lot of well-wishes. It's amazing to come home and your fans, no matter what time you get home, your neighbors are out there putting signs up."
(On the Super Bowl) "We are going to do our best and give it all we've got to win the game. We just have to take it one play at a time. No one has to be Superman. We just have to enjoy the moment, and do what we have been doing."
(On what Drew Brees expects) "Well, Drew pretty much demands the best out of you. When he gives you that look in the huddle, he's like, Ok, I'm coming to you, now go make a play, and make me right. That's what you do. You try to make him right."
(On his career journey) "For me, it has been a humbling experience. You think you come here in your first round draft pick, thinking that you're going to play. All of the sudden guys say, ‘Hold on, I tore my meniscus again.' The second year, It was not how I wanted it to be, I was not playing how I wanted to play. For my third year, I told myself I have to do something different, ‘What did I do my previous years to get where you were?' I had to go back to praying, and I had to go back to thinking I have a great personal trainer."
(On the experience in New Orleans) "It's just how the fans approach you now. At first everybody said, "It's all right, you are going to play.' That's how the fans were, and the fans kept pushing for me to be the best. A few weeks ago, a fan walked up to me and just started crying, and said, "Thank you for what you did for our city.' It makes you know that you are not bigger or better than anyone else, but you are doing something that's good for our city."
(On believing in destiny) "Yes, we believe in destiny and faith. We always tell each other to have faith in each other. The sky is the limit."
(On working with wide receiver coach Curtis Johnson) "(He is) one of the best coaches in the world. He is just like a parent. Sometimes they get on your nerves, but he demands that we be great. If you don't think highly of yourself, then you will feel he's a bad coach. He is a great coach for us, because he pushes us to the limit, and we try to push ourselves."
(on difficulties playing at Indiana University) "My first couple of years there we didn't win a lot of games. I think my freshman year we won three games and the year after that we won four. We steadily improved and my senior year we made it to the Insight Bowl. Things there have certainly increased and we've done a great job collectively of doing our best to turn that program around."
(on making the same decision again on choice of colleges) "I wouldn't change it go no where. I had a great time at Indiana. The Bid Ten is a great conference to play in. I wouldn't pass that up for the world. I loved playing there."
(on who recruited him) "(Gerry) DiNardo was there and the guy that eventually recruited me was Joe Cutler."
(on being a Colts fan while at Indiana University) "I supported them. I was up there so I supported them. I like the Colts but I bleed black and gold, I've been a Saints fan since day one. Not saying that those guys aren't doing what they need to do, they have done a great job all season, matter of fact, all year. At the end of the day I have been a Saints fan."
(on going to Colts game while in Indiana) "When I was there, we made it to a few games. It's been a wonderful experience. Those fans up there really support the Colts, they really love the Colts. It's been a great time showing my support for the Colts."
(on being one of seven Louisianans to play in this year's Super Bowl) "Louisiana happens to be one of the top states to have guys in the NFL. It's real big for us to have guys on both teams playing in the Super Bowl. It says a lot about Louisiana football."
(on following Reggie Wayne after he left high school) "I really wasn't into football when he was at Miami. I was a basketball and track guy but once he got to the NFL and got to the Colts, I've always watched the NFL. He is a real big time receiver who can run real good routes and can get open on some of the best defenders. He is a guy that can really make plays."
(on playing for a team he grew up loving) "It definitely makes it much more personal. If you haven't been down to New Orleans or to Louisiana, the amount of love that that state shows for the Saints is almost as if everyone down there is a Saints player. If we lose a game, you can see on the faces on the fans or the people, they are real down. If we win a game, they are just like us, they are up, they are happy. It really shows a lot of what that state gives to the Saints. They have been behind the Saints since day one and like I've been telling guys all season, the fans are just as much of a part of this victory, this Super Bowl run that we are making as we are. They have been behind us since day one. Winning this championship will be the utmost reward for the fans because it will be just like they won the Super Bowl."
(on draft day reaction) "I was in Port Allen at home with mom, my fiancée, my entire family. We were all at home watching the draft and the fortieth pick rolled around, I was sitting on the couch and the telephone rang. I looked at the screen and it was the New Orleans Saints then I looked at my phone and saw a 504 number. I didn't want to tell my mom, I wanted her to see it to pop up on the screen so I answered the phone. I tried to answer it as calmly as possible but being on draft day that was hard to do. I tried to the best of my ability. I remember the question to this day when I answered the phone. Coach Payton asked me are you ready to come play for New Orleans. Without a screaming and yelling I said yeah Coach, I am definitely ready. Even after getting that call, seeing my name on the screen, coming back home to New Orleans, words can't describe how I felt. My mom was extremely happy for me. I think she shed a few tears. It was real big."
(On being back in Miami, where he grew up) "It feels good right now. It's a little different - it's the first time that I'm coming back in February to play football. Right now it's a good feeling, but it's still a business trip."
(On facing Colts QB Peyton Manning) "It's going to be another tough challenge. We've had two tough challenges the past couple weeks with the Divisional game in (Arizona QB) Kurt Warner, and the Championship game in (Minnesota QB) Brett Favre. I expect it to be just as tough."
(On the earthquake in Haiti) "It was difficult, but I was fortunate enough to hear about my family being OK the night that the earthquake hit. That was a relief, and I was able to just put it to the side a little bit, focus on football, and I can now do that until the season is over with."
(On if he watched the Haiti coverage on television) "I did for a little bit, but the news that was coming out was so grim, it was just bad news that wasn't really helpful. I had to watch it a little bit and then really just try to put it to the side and start to focus on football."
(On if he feels like it's his duty to help in the community) "Oh yeah. We always try to contribute. We feel like it isn't enough to just go out and play on Sundays. It's more than just the football game, especially down in New Orleans. We want to help as much as we can, and me being new to the city, this being my second year there, I'm really starting to understand what it's really about to be a New Orleans Saint."
(On DL Anthony Hargrove, who will play in the Super Bowl after being suspended for the entire 2008 season for violating the NFL's drug policy) "That's really a tremendous story, and I wish that he got a little more pub for it, because you don't hear too many positive stories such as Anthony's. For him to come back from everything that he's been through, it says a lot about him as far as a mentally tough person. He came back in shape, ready to go, he's contributed for us, he's played real good football for us, so a guy like that I wish he would get more hype, because that's a tremendous story."
(On how the Saints are handling the hype surrounding the Super Bowl) "We're handling it well. We have guys like myself with cameras, we are enjoying taking pictures, but at the end of the day it's football. We understand it's football with a little more media hype and a little more around the game - it's a huge game, it's a very important game. But outside of this, we'll get back to practicing, watching film, the whole nine."
(On if the Colts have an advantage having played in a Super Bowl before) "It's only an advantage if we let them make it an advantage. We're not going to sit here and be awestruck about what's going on, about the media. We have to lock in and really get ready for Peyton Manning and the offense, and Drew (Brees) is getting ready for the defense. All of this is really what the Super Bowl is about - you have to be able to adjust and handle these distractions."
(On if he is having fun with all the University of Miami connections in the Super Bowl) "We're having fun with it - we'll have a little more fun with it afterwards."
(On creating a T-shirt to sell, with the profits going to the Haiti relief effort) "That was my idea - the saying, the logo, everything about the shirt. Then you see my signature at the bottom. Everything about the shirt was something that I felt like we needed, and it really helped with everything going to the Haiti relief effort, that really was a huge plus for me, because I can't really do anything else besides that at the moment."
(On contributing to the Haiti relief effort) "It means a lot. In the position I'm in right now where I'm really restricted in what I can do, it's really about doing something positive, doing something effective right now, then being more efficient once the season is over with."
(On how he can help the relief effort right now) "The one thing I can do is just go out and play as hard as I can play, and for whoever is watching to say, ‘You know what? This guy is really giving all his effort.' Understanding that this is more than just playing the game for myself and personal accolades. This is really about trying to be a champion, trying to bring back something not only to myself but to everyone in the Haitian community."
(On if he was hoping he would face his former team, the New York Jets, in the Super Bowl) "I was hoping - not for bad reasons, though. I watched their season and I still have a lot of friends there on the team. I was really hoping because two years removed from being with those guys, they deserved it. I felt like they were playing real good ball at the end, had a real good stretch really playing some good defense, especially. I was hoping they'd go. I would have been excited for them."
(On playing in a Super Bowl with TE Jeremy Shockey, who he won a national championship with at Miami) "We talked about that a little bit at the beginning, and we said, ‘We're back at it again.' This is our first time, obviously his first Super Bowl, my first Super Bowl, and this is an exciting moment for us. But it only becomes a special moment if you win. We felt that way when we were playing in the Rose Bowl against a good Nebraska team. We felt like it was a special moment for us, but it's only special if you go out there and you take care of business."
(On if having a former teammate in Shockey helped his transition to New Orleans) "It definitely was [helpful]. It's funny, we had similar situations - he got hurt, I got hurt, he got traded, I got traded - and we've just been making the most of it since. It felt like we were a little slighted. I know that he had a lot more controversy coming from New York to New Orleans, but it's been really good for us just to be able to relate. The situations were similar, and we've just been excited about being down here and winning games."
(On if New Orleans is like a second home to him) "Of course. It definitely is. The way that the fans have embraced us, myself and Shockey, and the way that you go out after a game and everyone's excited - everyone feels like they played the game. All the fans feel like they were a part of it, they had something to do with the win. It definitely is a second home for me."
(On the Saints' Pro Bowlers dressing up as bellhops to welcome the rest of their teammates to Miami on Monday) "It was (Head Coach) Sean Payton's idea. He got it from Bill Walsh, and we liked the idea. It was cool. When the guys came, it could have been a little bit of a tense moment. Guys didn't know what to expect - some of the guys thought we were really doormen and bellmen. (laughs) It was pretty good, though. We liked it."
(On his plans to help the Haiti relief effort after the season) "In general, my intentions are to go down there and be productive. You hear a lot of people just going down and saying, ‘Look at the devastation,' and that's what they're reporting back. Well, that's a given. That's obvious. I want to go down there and help, whether it be to clear out the devastation, try to help build homes, whatever it is I want to go down and not just look around and say it's a sad situation. We all know it's a sad situation. What can do I do to help the situation?"
(On being traded from the New York Jets) "I said when I was leaving that I had a real good time up there. I really enjoyed playing up there in New York. I enjoyed the fans; I really enjoyed my teammates. I still keep in touch with my ex-teammates. So leaving, I just felt like it was part of the business. It was a situation where I didn't fit the system, whatever anyone could speculate. It didn't really bother me because I knew I was coming here, I was wanted down here and I was coming to a situation that was good."
(on blocking the small but fast defense of the Colts) "They have some smaller guys up front but they create a lot of power with their speed. They run a lot and get around the edges. I don't want to say you have to slow them down, but you really have to read your keys and make sure you cover those guys who are showing."
(on how difficult it is to pick up zone blitzes) "I think we have seen everything this year so it shouldn't be too difficult at all."
(on the experience this week) "The experience has been great. There is a lot going on and there is a lot of commotion at times. There has also been some down time to rest. Overall the experience has been awesome."
(on the offensive line earning Madden's Most Valuable Protectors Award) "It is a great honor. We work so hard as a line and as an offense as a whole. It feels great to win that award."
(on what has been the key for the offensive line to gel) "Communication. We communicate well. Drew does a great job of directing the offense and making sure we know where to go. The main thing is just communication."
(on how the Colts' defensive front ranks among the teams faced this season) "They are not the biggest guys up front but they create a lot of power with their speed. They move a lot and cut down angles and play the gaps well. They are not the biggest guys up front but with all of the movement that they do they are a very tough defense."
(on the Colts defense) "We know that they are a fast defense that moves to the ball well. They cover their gap assignments well. What we have to do is just stick to our game plan and keep working the way we have all season."
(on how he ended up at Bloomsburg University) "Junior year of high school was a good year for me but I had an injury that summer. I fractured my knee and it put me out of commission for the whole next year. Coach told me that whenever colleges came through he would let me talk to them and Bloomsburg was one of them. They were recruiting a couple of our guys on the team so I took a visit up to the school. I loved the coaches, loved the atmosphere, and the rest is history."
(on which schools recruited him) "As I remember it, it was mostly schools on the east coast such as Virginia Tech, Maryland, and University of Virginia. I guess they were the letters that all of the kids get coming out of high school. I had a few shoeboxes full of those."
(on qualifying for an academic scholarship as well) "At Bloomsburg they don't have full athletic scholarships, so our coach spread the money around to get the guys in. Coming out of high school I had a good GPA and a good SAT score to where I could get an academic scholarship. With the academic scholarship and the football scholarship, I was able to handle all of my expenses."
(on the importance of focusing on academics after his injury) "When I got hurt I knew that I couldn't get to college on an athletic scholarship. I buckled down hard and put a lot of focus on my academics because I knew that would be my ticket to get to college."
(on one of the Saints' scouts attending Bloomsburg) "His dad was the offensive coordinator for Bloomsburg and he worked his way up from being a scout at the Eagles to where he is now with the Saints."
(on making All-Pro) "I'm just soaking it in. I cannot wait to play this game on Sunday. I wake up every morning and say. "Wow , I'm here."
(on what he felt before kicking the game-winning goal against the Vikings) "Just was telling myself, you know, I guess subtle things. I missed a kick versus Tampa, which I kind of rushed myself on. I didn't get to follow through and so I was just going to kind of relax a little bit more and really just make sure I'm getting through the ball and things work out. John Carney has been such a tremendous attribute to me learning. I'm 23, I know I'm young. I have a lot of learning and maturing to do and he's definitely helped me with that on an astronomical level. Just coming out there, just telling myself to come through the ball, slowing down my approach. Whenever it came off my foot, there was no question in my mind that that ball was going exactly where I wanted it to go."
(on how he feels about being at Super Bowl) "It's just an amazing feeling to be out here, knowing that we're competing for a chance to be world champions. Honestly, I've never experienced anything like it."
(on whether Colts K Matt Stover's experience gives him an advantage) "Yeah, they definitely have a lot of experience in the league. I can't worry about that, though. I just worry about myself and going out with the mindset, ‘whatever it takes,' from extra points to field goals in order to help put points up on the board and, overall, help my team win."
(on what it means to him to join in the prayer circle post-game) "Growing up in a strong Catholic house with my mom and my brother and everything... It's so rewarding because there's definitely a higher power out there overlooking, and actually [New Orleans FB] Heath Evans and I prayed before when we stepped out on the field to hit the kick and just giving thanks to the person who makes it all possible."
(on his first media day) "It's kind of a crazy experience, I'm just glad to be out here and I guess we're kind of sitting outside, beautiful view. There's nothing like being around your teammates and just experiencing everything with the team on Super Bowl week."
(on if he's dreamt about kick a game-winning field goal in the Super Bowl) "Absolutely. It's not just me, it's every kicker coming out there either high school, college, or even in the NFL to have a chance, but I'm not so concerned with that. If I have to hit extra points, so be it. I just want to be able to go out there and put up points to help my team win."
(on whether he'd rather kick the game-winning kick, or have the team win by a touchdown) "If I had it my way, just as long as we win. It doesn't matter. From the offense to the defense, I'm just another piece of the puzzle. If we all come together, then we're going to create the perfect picture."
(on how he feels about playing on a potentially soggy field) "Growing up in college and in Oklahoma, I've playing outside on grass and all types of weather games. You just have to adapt to it and in warm ups. Their kickers have to kick under the same conditions, and just go out there being confident and strong-willed. I just go out and do what I do every day in practice."
(on if he ever thought he would play in a Super Bowl) "Actually, I moved to Southlake to play soccer and that's how, actually, I thought I was going to go to college. Never did I really start thinking about [playing football professionally] until my junior year of high school after I committed to Oklahoma for football. Things worked out there and I was given the opportunity here and it's, honestly, been such a surreal experience."
(on if he thinks his youth gives him an advantage in the Super Bowl) "I don't think I'm naive about it. I understand the stage that we're on, but, once again, I can't think about it. I have no idea if I'm the youngest. Things like that, really, I don't think about I just know, starting tomorrow, we'll get into our normal routine and I'm going to get into mine."
(on if he thinks about the fact that he may never get back to a Super Bowl) "That's the harsh reality about this. I might not ever get back to this stage. Knowing that my preparations throughout the week will help me perform to the best of my capabilities is what I'm going to do. I think that's the mindset of the whole team."
(on if he has any superstitions) "I really don't, maybe simple stuff. I always tie my left shoe before my right. Other than that, I don't really have too many quirks or superstitions."
(on how his life has changed since he kicked the game-winning field goal against the Vikings) "It's kind of funny. Sometimes I'm at a restaurant and whenever I'm walking out now, I get a standing ovation and I'm over here like, ‘For what?' I don't understand what's going on. I think we were at Outback the other night, and a 70-year old man busts out a harmonica from his coat pocket and starts playing ‘When the Saints come Marching in.' It really just tickles me to death -people and how they perceive me now, but, at the same time, how would people have perceived me if things didn't work out that way. That's how I keep myself on an even playing field. Come Sunday, I'm going to go out there and perform and prepare the best that I can."
(on playing in the Super Bowl back in Miami) "It's obviously a great a great feeling anytime that you put in a lot of hard work. Your dream is always to play in a game like this and to be back in this city, where a lot of hard work got me where I am today, is very gratifying and humbling."
(on the atmosphere back in New Orleans) "The fans are much deserving. They had some tough times with disasters and some rough days with their football operations. They are very good fans and are much deserving of us, not only being at this game, but expecting us to win the game."
(on the example of the team's resilience this year against the Miami Dolphins during the regular season) "We were down by a pretty big margin at halftime and no one really thought that we were out. I've said this before, I've been on ball clubs that would have been like, ‘We're down by a lot of points and we'll play it safe.' We went out and finished the game. We had a slogan in the offseason to finish and we get the perfect opportunity to have the ending of our word, [which is to] finish."
(on practicing back at the University of Miami) "I haven't gone back there yet. Yesterday it was raining, so we had to go up all the way to Davie, Fla. We went to the UM, and I got made fun of by all of my teammates about the locker room. They didn't get a chance to see the weight room or the outdoor facility. They saw the six national championships on the wall, so that speaks for itself. But going being back there was something special."
(on both him and LB Jonathan Vilma being drafted by New York teams and now playing together in Super Bowl XLIV) "Jonathan and I are real close. I played with him at UM. He got drafted by the Jets and I got drafted by the Giants, but he got traded and I got traded and it seems to be all working out."
(on the opportunities that he might have in the Saints' game plan) "The game plan will be cut down tomorrow. I don't want to give you any premeditated Nostradamus. We put in some of the game plan earlier in the week and it's very basic stuff. We're playing a very good football team, we know that. We're definitely going to have to play our best football to try to win it."
(on the origin of the pregame chant that QB Drew Brees uses to fire up the team) "That's something that he came up with when he had the chance to go to a couple of USO tours and spend a lot of time with the Marines. Obviously when we play a game, they always compare it to a life or death situation. It's not war, it's not life or death, in comparison to what those guys [go through in] Afghanistan. I think he got that from the Marines, we kind of followed it and it was a great chant to help us go 13-0. Everyone is in this thing together and everyone gives their own speech before a game and it's a very close team."
(on his relationship with late New York Giants owner Wellington Mara) "We had a connection. He and my grandfather were about the same age and we'd always talk about little things. Just the things that he's done for that organization, for the NFL, for us as a team to be in a situation like this. He did a lot for this league and I don't think a lot of people realize what he did for the NFL."
(on how he'd like the New York fans to remember him before being traded to the Saints) "I'll leave that to them. I love all of the fans up north and everything. I can see why they were bitter about the situation. They came and saw every Sunday how much hard work I put in every game. They remember me by the plays that I made, the hard work, never being arrested or doing anything stupid, or any off-the-field issues. Hopefully they can respect the fact that I take this game very seriously. I have no wife or kids and all I really do is football. All I think about is football, and when I'm done with football I'll probably start a family but I'm not quite there yet."
(on the Colts defense and possible matchup problems) "They do a good job. They have some good safeties and are obviously missing [S] Bob Sanders, but they play a very simple defense. They get a lot of pressure from their front four so you have to be able to hold up that front four in order to be able to give the quarterback that three-foot space in front of him to step up and throw the ball. I understand the weapons that they have on defense and I'm sure they understand the weapons that we have on offense."
(on being on another Super Bowl team) "I actually have a leg that's not broken, so that helps me out. I'm active, that's another thing. Just a whole new system, it's definitely a unique system, a unique offense. [Head coach] Sean Payton is a mad scientist when it comes to route concepts, so you can bet that he's going to have his best game plan for this game."
(on the leaders on the Saints' team) "I think the obvious leaders on this team are [QB] Drew [Brees] and multiple people on this team. It's not just one person that they try to point out and make a leader on this team. Everyone has their arm in this. Everyone's connected to the arms, the hands, so I think that just being out there and talking to the guys on the sidelines, always being active, even if I'm not playing in the games, and giving messages from what I see from a standpoint from the sidelines when they're playing [is special]."
(on his thoughts leading up to the Super Bowl) "I don't know. A lot of old memories might come back, I can't really tell you. I don't know. I've never been at the tunnel of the Super Bowl, but I know that the team that we're facing has been to the Super Bowl before and they are experienced. They're staying at the same hotel, they have the same setup as they've had when they were down here last time and doing the same things. We know that we have to play our best game. We know we have to do the right things, and that's not missing any meetings, being on time, not going out partying or doing stupid stuff to get yourself in trouble. I think that everyone knows how important that is leading up to the game because that can distract the whole team, and that's the last thing that this team needs."
(on the personal significance of playing in the Super Bowl) "You want to play in it. It's something that coaches have always harped on you as a kid and in college about maybe one day [playing]. You hear stories about, ‘I was at a Super Bowl or part of a Super Bowl team.' Thirty years from now, this is something that we can take, which is very special, and all of us that are on this team can talk about this 20 to 30 years from now. We've had coaches that have been in this league for 30 years that haven't even been in a Super Bowl yet and we know how much is at stake and how much they want it as much as we do. I can promise you that it's going to be fun."
(on what a championship would mean to the city of New Orleans) "A lot, the fans are very deserving and expect us to win this game. Just being here is not satisfying for them. They want us to win in a true fashion. We're playing and expecting to win [this] game and it would be great for the city to bring back tourism to the city of New Orleans and any kind of money into that city because of the rough times that they've been through. It's a good feeling to be part of that."