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Just When You Thought There Wouldn't be Any More Transcripts

In continuing with our Super Bowl week tradition, here are your transcripts from today's press conferences. Read none, read some or read them all; doesn't matter to me. I think they are still trickling in so I will update as needed. 

Also, we've got more AP photos from today's practice so be sure and click the picture to view them all. 

Sean Payton

(opening comments) "From a scheduling standpoint, we're back outside over at the University of Miami.  I thought our work yesterday was good.  The conditions were good...the two fields we're working on over there are in great shape.  The people have been real hospitable to us.  Today, we'll spend a little more time in the nickel.  We're just finishing up meetings right now."

(on how he decides what motivational tools to use with players from game to game) "Sometimes in a given game, there's a point of emphasis that you want to make depending on the game.  There are games where you don't feel it necessarily applies, and there are other games where you may definitely have a thought on how you want to bring a point across.  It can vary, but usually you're trying to send one clear and concise message." 

(on how he reacts to being the underdog for Sunday's game which is an unusual role for the Saints this year) "We have probably been in that role a couple of times this year...I can't recall.  Both teams are battle-tested having played a full season, and played from behind and been ahead.  When you win 13 or 14 regular season games and then win two in the postseason, there are certain things you learn to deal with.  Whether you're playing with a lead or you're playing from behind, you have to stress the importance of finishing with your players.  I think our guys understand that and I'm sure Indianapolis does, too."

(on where he is right now in installing the Saints' game plan and how the extra week of preparation affects that) "We're probably 85 percent in.  There are some things that we're going to give them tomorrow.  Not a lot.  Today we'll work on a few new things third down-wise.  I think the extra week really affords you a chance to get their legs back.  We were careful not to install too much last week.  We got them on the field and off the field, and really gave them a chance to kind of catch their breath, if you will.  The routine here is a little different and yet we got good work in yesterday with pads.  Today we'll be in pads again.  I was pleased with the schedule, and today will be very much the same."

(on the evolution of his offensive system) "I know that Jon (Gruden) worked under Mike Holmgren, and my first years in Philadelphia were really coming up in that system and cutting my teeth on the terminology.  The systems in our league and how you call plays vary.  There's probably three or four different strings, if you will.  And yet they end up being more just like computer programs.  You can get the same play design, the same type of play.  One system might call it a word and the other system might use a number.  In the end, that just becomes merely the language.  The key to a good offense is deeper than that.  That being said, Jon was with Holmgren in Green Bay, and Mike was with Bill Walsh.  When a terminology carries through coaches, there are always tweaks and changes to it.  I would say there's a portion of it there, and some of it from Dallas."

(on how the Saints' defense has acclimated to their new system under Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams) "I think from the very beginning through our mini-camps and training camp, Gregg and his staff have done a good job of instilling that approach.  Gregg said this yesterday or the day before, but you have to have an attitude and create somewhat of an identity to play good defense.  I think he has done a good job of that.  Just looking at the takeaways and the pressures and all those things that can help you, not only defensively but as a team, are things that they worked hard on."

(on the role of LB Jonathan Vilma and what challenges Vilma faces against Colts QB Peyton Manning) "He's the middle linebacker, he's the quarterback, if you will, of the defense.  He communicates with Gregg (Williams), he gets the call and gets it communicated.  Certainly in a game like this, there's that whole aspect of trying to play certain looks.  Jon's responsible for a lot and he handles that responsibility real well."

(on the most challenging part of being a coach in today's NFL) "The challenges often times are many things that come up outside of your building, things that you try to control as best you can.  For me, (the challenge is) the schedule with duties as a head coach and trying to keep on top of and keep up with the guys in the offensive meetings and not hold them up.  Dealing with the media-we've got a good group back in New Orleans.  In-season, getting the right rest and trying to take care of yourself, those are challenges.  I think the key with any job is trying to surround yourself with good people and I've been able to do that with this staff that does a great job.  Finding ways to delegate and have balance in your day-to-day routine is important."     

(on being described as a players' coach) "The whole players' coach thing...I cringe a little bit.  I'm not going to describe myself-it would probably be better for a player to (do so).  I think it's important that you're demanding.  I think it's important that you're fair.  I think you don't want to settle for anything less than exactly what you're looking for.  It's not our job to be the players' friend.  It's our job to teach and motivate, give them a plan to be successful and make tough decisions.  I think what's important is that at some point, we are also selling a game plan offensively and defensively and kicking game, and selling a system and creating that confidence within the team.  I think those are all things that are important.  So I don't know how they'd describe me."

(on the year he spent as a player in Leicester, England) "There's a book called ‘Playing for Pizza' written by Arthur (John) Grisham, and there's some similarities when you go over there and you're playing.  (I was there for) Six months during '87 that I shared with a lot of good people before I came back and got into coaching.  It was an opportunity to live somewhere else and experience that, and I really have a lot of good memories.  And also I really had a chance to reflect on where I wanted to go professionally and what I wanted to do.  It was good to see some of those people back there last year when we played in London, played the Chargers."

(on if he would prefer that Sunday's game be officiated in a "let-the-players-play" style) "No, I think you want the officials to do their job.  I think we get good consistent calls from these guys in the postseason.  Listen, it's not perfect but I think these guys work extremely hard at their job.  So I wouldn't say that.  I'd hate to have a play that should be a penalty not be a penalty.  I think the thing that's always nice is that these are guys who have graded out the best all season.  I know they look closely at those grades and those evaluations to determine who gets the Super Bowl, the (conference) championship game, the divisional game.  There's a lot of evaluation and time and effort that goes into that.  I'm sure this crew will do a great job.  The difference in the Super Bowl and the (conference) championship game is that you get somewhat of an all-star crew rather than a group that's been familiar working together.  So there are some nuances with that.  I think we'll research and study the referee and look at his background and make sure that we have a good idea of his tendencies."

(on how his experience as a replacement player 23 years ago shaped and influenced him) "That first year out, I was up in Canada, back here in Chicago and then over in England.  Ultimately when you're only spending about 20 to 21 days per stop, then you're quickly thinking about what you're going to do next.  I think that first year out of college, I knew I wanted to coach, and I certainly was grateful for the experience of the tryouts and the workouts.  It was clear that I was going to have to get into this profession in a different area.  So I had some opportunities.  I was very fortunate to get on as a graduate assistant at San Diego State.  And certainly being from Chicago, that was a good experience as well."

(on his "amped-up" demeanor on the sideline during games) "You don't know until you're a head coach how you're going to handle it.  There's certain times where maybe you're more engaged than others.  It just depends on the game.  It can vary."


Drew Brees

(on using a lot of shifts and motions on offense) "When you shift and move, that's a way as an offense to blitz the defense. You make them have to adjust quickly and make decisions quickly. At times defenses will have checks to certain formations or looks, depending on the personnel you have on the field or formation you're in. When you're able to switch guys up and move them around a lot, all of a sudden it puts the defense in a tough spot where all of a sudden they blow a coverage and a guy pops wide open. Or you get a matchup that favors you."

(on how many motion plays does the Saints playbook feature) "Every play has the potential to have motion with it. You always leave that open so that you can get in positions to leave that open."

(on the benefit of the bye week before the Super Bowl) "Rest is a huge part of it and recharging the battery and refreshing your mind. When you come into the week you know that your body is rested and your mind is ready to go. You are able to focus and put forth the work and preparation it takes to get ready to play on Sunday.

"You now really have two weeks to prepare for an opponent. Last week, even though we may not have been practicing the whole week, you are still watching film and getting ready for the opponent. That way you feel like you have a leg up on the preparation."

(on the benefit of being considered an underdog) "I don't look at it either way. In the end it doesn't matter if you win by one point or 20 points, or if you're the underdog and you cover the spread, but you lose. Who cares? We're here to win."

(on whether it shows disrespect to be considered the underdog) "You could look at it like the guys who think they know what they're talking about think we're going to lose. Whatever you can to provide extra motivation, I'm all for it.'

(on Head Coach Sean Payton motivating the team) "Sean is awesome at that. He finds every little thing. Whatever it takes to motivate and inspire. However he can narrow the focus down to something that's very singular, saying ‘This is what we need to do. Or let's use this single factor as our motivation.' He's great at that."

(on staying focused prior to the Super Bowl) "Everyone talks about pregame taking forever - the flash blubs going off at the kickoff and all the things that surround this where it could over-hype it or take your focus off the task at hand. It's really about getting pass all that stuff initially and being able to get to the game. You have to say to yourself, ‘It's football. It's another game and we know how to go out and play well and win these types of games.' It's really about taking what you prepare all week in practice and going out and translating that to the game field and getting through all the peripheral stuff in the beginning, just to be able to get to that point."

(on whether being in Miami makes him think about what may have been had the Dolphins signed him in 2006) "Maybe a little irony, but I don't think about it other than a lot of media asking me about it the past three days. Everything happens for a reason. I'm happy to be here."

(on whether he is nervous this week) "You can call it nerves or butterflies. I definitely have all those things throughout the course of a game week and into the game. The nerves and those butterflies, slowly as the week goes along, they continue to diminish and what replaces it is confidence. The more you know that you are prepared and ready and you visualized it and are ready to take on the moment, that's when the confidence comes in. A little bit of nervousness and butterflies is what gives you that edge to be able to go out and play fast and react. A little bit of that is very necessary. If you don't have any of that it may be time to get out."

(on whether he has Super Bowl memories from ones he has watched in the past) "Watching all those Cowboys' championships from the early 90's, being a kid growing up in Texas. I was 12, 13, 14, 15 years old and really getting into football at that age. The Cowboys being the home state team, America's Team. It was all about those guys. At that time you can only dream about being in this position. Here we are."

(on whether he has been to a Super Bowl in the past) "I watch the Super Bowl every year on TV because I love the sport, I love football and I love to see it played at the highest level and I love to play it at the highest level. While I said I would never go to a game if I wasn't playing in it, I certainly would watch it on TV and visualize the moment and try to put myself there."

(on being rewarded with a new contract) "I'm not worried about that, especially not right now before this game. I'm just trying to win this football game."

(on his relationship with Head Coach Sean Payton) "Sean gave me the opportunity to be here. He believed in me when nobody else did. I feel like we've grown so much together. My first year here was his first year as a head coach. It was like a new chapter in both of our lives. We were both trying to feel our way through in the beginning. It's been fun for him to watch me grow and develop as a quarterback and a person throughout this journey in New Orleans. For me, I have had the pleasure of watching him grow and develop as a head coach. I feel like I've been around some great coaches - Marty Schottenheimer in San Diego and others. To watch him, I marvel at the way he is able to say the perfect thing at the perfect moment whatever it might be whether it's a motivational word or an inspirational story. He is able to always have his finger on the pulse of the team and know this is the time to press forward and work or this is the time to back off and have a little fun. He has a knack and ability to use humor or a joke to challenge you or motivate you. It's hard to explain unless you're around it every day. I wouldn't want to play for anyone else. I get a proud feeling when I think of him and the road he has traveled to get to where he's at right now and all he has invested and how hard he has worked."

(on the synergy between himself and Payton) "We've played a lot of football games together. We've been a part of a lot of games together and big games in big situations. For us to be on the same page, it's like ESP. I can anticipate the call before it comes. A lot of that is preparation from throughout the week and us talking through things and knowing what he is going to call before he calls it, according the situation. Sometimes when I come to the sideline and we're both seeing the same thing, we talk about it and we communicate. We just have that type of confidence with one another that he is going to put me in the best position to succeed and lead the offense. I'm going to make him right as much as I can. It's just a great quarterback-play-caller relationship.'

(on before he became a Saint) "I think he (Payton) felt he had to do a lot more selling than I did. I came in with the mentality that I was prepared to have to sell myself because at the time my bargaining position was not too strong. It was two months after my shoulder injury and so many unknowns. I could've said, until I was blue in the face that I was going to come back and be better than ever. You really just had to have a lot of trust and faith in me. He did that and I know he talked to a lot of people who had been around me and knew me, my personality and work ethic. Sean (Payton) is great and being able to read people. He must have seen something in me that he knew I was going to come back better than ever. He could trust me at my word and I was going to do what I say I'm going to do. The rest is history."

(on the Saints receiving corps) "I love my receiving corps. As a group, they are the best in the league. When you talk about what each one of them brings to the field and to our offense, each one of them has some very unique strengths. They all work so well together. What's great about it is they are all very unselfish. They understand that throughout the course of a game, ‘Today might be my day. I might be able to catch 10 yards for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns. While other days I might only catch one pass, but my role is still just as important because I'm creating opportunities for other guys. It might be another guy's big catch today.' I think they all understand the philosophy of what we're trying to accomplish on offense. The ball is going to get spread around and we're throwing it to the open guy. They are really a special group."


Will Smith

(on what has changed since he first faced the Colts in the 2007 season opener) "I got used to the tempo of the game. The first time we played them, on a Thursday night two years ago, the tempo was pretty fast. We did well against them, and they schemed us a couple of ways which beat us. We have a different defense and different players, and I think we have better matchups this time."

(on his interaction with Saints fans) "I've had the privilege of meeting a lot of fans when we moved to San Antonio for that year after (Hurricane) Katrina. I am actually still friends with a lot of them to this day. It's surprising that I didn't know that they were Saints fans at the time I met them. I don't think they knew I played, maybe they did. We grew a friendship on a personal level, not on a fan level. We kind of knew what they were going through, and I spoke to them about it. We communicated back and forth. They called me after the NFC Championship Game to congratulate me and tell me how excited they were that the Saints were finally in the Super Bowl and playing well. You never know where you will meet fans. They are all over the place."

(on the Saints' defensive pressure) "The defense is schemed for us to fly around to make plays and get up the field. We blitz a lot, so when you are blitzing, it gives you a lot of one-on-one matchups. We feel that we have pretty good guys that can beat those one-on-ones and get to the quarterback. It also causes a lot of confusion which gives us the ability to fool offensive linemen and the quarterback to think the blitz is coming from somewhere that it's not. We get a lot of pressure that way."

(on how defensive coordinator Gregg Williams changed the defensive culture) "The first process was just him (Gregg Williams) talking to us. He wanted to install a whole entire playbook. That was the first time I've ever experienced that. He installed that in OTAs before we even got on the field and ever did anything. We wanted everyone to understand his principles of the defense, how he wanted us to play and what he expected. We watched film on the drills he wanted us to do, and when we got out there, we knew what to expect. And then we just flew around. The biggest thing is that he always made us work hard, do the little things that you forget about when you are a pro athlete. When you pick off the ball, run to the numbers, run it into the end zone and have guys blocking. He tried to make us score and turn us from defense to offense on the field. That's something we were not able to do in the past. By Gregg coming in and instilling that early in us, he got us to where we are right now."

(on what head coach Sean Payton means to the Saints) "He's meant a lot. When Sean came in, he cleaned house a little bit. He kept the guys that he thought really wanted to be there and wanted to play. He's brought on a lot of terrific guys, not only great players but great people. He always talked about changing the culture, working hard and doing all of the little things that we hadn't done in the past, and we hadn't had any success. The first year he got here, we went to the NFC Championship Game and fell short, but after that everybody knew where he stood and how much he loved the players, the city of New Orleans and being part of the organization. From that point, guys felt his energy. He is kind of calm and relaxed when you see him up here, but when it gets to game day, he feels like he is one of the players. He is fiery, yelling, shouting and ranting, and you know his heart is really in the game. He really wants to see everybody do well."

(on watching the Saints' offense during the game) "We watch those guys a lot. We have a saying in the locker room that with Drew (Brees), anything is possible. He has a great supporting cast with those receivers. The offensive line has been blocking their butts off. We know they can score at any time. Between (Marques) Colston and Reggie (Bush), (Robert) Meachem and Devery (Henderson) - all of those guys are big-play guys. Anytime could be a touchdown, and a lot of times when we come off the field from a three-and-out, and we are sitting down to try and catch our breath, two or three plays later they score a touchdown. Now we have to hurry up and get back on the field and get ready. It's exciting to be a part of that and see all of those great plays made."

(on Sean Payton's balance between business and fun) "I would call him a player's coach. Sometimes he thinks he's a player, even though he really never had a chance to play. He thinks that he is the quarterback out there a lot of times, which he is, but he's not the guy on the field. He loves being around the players, he loves to interact, but at the same time, he keeps that distance as the head coach and has to operate everything around him. We love seeing him because he always does something that intrigues and motivates us. I don't know how he got to the (team) hotel so early, because I knew he was on the plane, but he got to the hotel before everybody else did and put his bellman's coat on. He was getting everybody's bags, and we thought it was pretty cool and funny. He is a funny guy when he is not so serious."

(on his relentless attitude on the field) "I have always been a relentless player in college at Ohio State. My coaches always instilled in us to work hard and finish each play. It was part of the reason why I got drafted was because that was on my scouting report. I just carried it over. I like to play hard and put myself in every play. Sometimes it's difficult when teams scheme around you, chip you, and stuff like that. You can't just give up on the play; you have to fight through it and continue to go. That is one of the reasons why we've been so successful this year. Not only am I relentless, the rest of the defensive line and the defense are relentless. The guys never think that they are out of the play, and we try to run to the ball and make every tackle we can."

(on the Saints' biggest challenge on Sunday) "The biggest challenge is getting used to the tempo of the game. Everybody is going to be fired up that it's the Super Bowl, so I just have to control my emotions, not use too much energy too early, try to stay focused on the goal at hand, the game plan and try not to get sidetracked. I think we've been working pretty well to try to eliminate all of the distractions. There are going to be distractions during the game: media all over the field, people all over the sidelines and the National Anthem. It's going to be a long time when we get to the stadium before we actually get on the field and play. We can't burn ourselves out, we have to stay focused, get ready to play and not use too much energy."


Carl Nicks

(on the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award) "I'm excited. It's huge. It's the first time it was given to an offensive line, so we're the first team to win it. I just feel that it gives credibility to all of the work that we put in every week to prepare for all of the different defenses. It's a huge honor. Anytime (John) Madden has anything to do with anything football, it's huge."

(on how they are preparing for the Colts pass rush) "They are so fast. They are not your stereotypical defensive line. They're  big and strong and they are speedy. It's going to be real hard. We're going to have to be quick on our toes and be very disciplined because they're a good, obviously. Just be disciplined in technique and execution."

(on if there is one play that is most memorable from this season) "I definitely have to say the last field goal that we had during the NFC Championship, of course. I would have to say against the New England Patriots I had pretty good block against Vince Wilfork."

(on the importance of establishing a running game) "You have to establish a running game against any team you play, but especially when you're going against Peyton Manning. The less time he's on the field the better. If we establish the running game, we'll do pretty well."

(on how he prepares) "I can try to sit here and say that I'm going to do this and that and try to be focused and not let the nerves get me, but I've never been in this situation. If I get caught up in it, I'll try my best not to, but this is all new to me, so I'm going to take it in stride."


Sedrick Ellis

(on how to defend Colts QB Peyton Manning) "The most important thing is to understand what kind of player Peyton Manning is.  Even if you get back there scott free, instead of taking a sack, he'll go down himself.  There are a lot of different factors to consider when trying to take down a quarterback.  From the outside looking in, sacks are the most important thing or the most important stat in disrupting a quarterback, but there are a lot of other factors that go in it to, like batting balls, reads, not letting him get two or three reads and being able to put the ball where he wants it.  All that factors in to being a good defense."

(on getting a fast start against the Colts) "I think it is very important to start fast.  I think down the line it will be just as important.  I think when we get late in the third, late in the fourth, I think that's when it will be more important to stay on top of that guy.  He's shown that he gets better as the game goes on.  Just like our team, we play our best ball as the game goes on."

(on playing against a Hall of Fame quarterback) "Just as much as he's been in this league, he's human just like everybody else.  He makes mistakes just like everyone else, he gets hit, it hurts just like everybody else.  We played two Hall of Fame quarterbacks in this playoff stretch.  That was my first time on the field with Brett Favre and after the first two minutes of the ‘Wow, I'm playing against Brett Favre' it kind of goes away.  It's a motivation factor.  If I could sack Brett Favre or Peyton Manning, or Kurt Warner, those are the things you wish your whole life." 

(on making it to the Super Bowl during Ellis's second season) "A lot of guys go their whole career and never make it.  I'm really lucky.  We have so many older guys on this team that have played, 10, 12, 13 years in this league and this is their first time getting to the Super Bowl.  I'm definitely privileged.  You look at these older guys, they don't let you forget that you may not get back here.  We have a coach, Joe Vitt, he's been a coach in this league for 30 something years and this is his first time going to the Super Bowl.  You understand that?  When you look at it from that perspective, when you're a young player, it's about looking at it from this point. They are not going to have another chance.  I may, or I may not, but a lot of these guys will never have another chance." 

(on Colts offensive line protecting Manning) "I really don't think it's what makes the Colt's offensive line special as I do what makes Peyton Manning special.  He's definitely the difference.  When there have been situations when the defense has broken down the o-line, Peyton Manning makes up for it with his brain.  He gets the ball out before you can get to him.  There are times that you see this o-line get beat, but they are still not getting sacked because Peyton Manning is getting the ball out of hand in less than two seconds.  To be a quarterback that can do that consistently, for a reason, much less a career, I think you have to give that some credit."


Pierre Thomas

(on the run game v. pass game) "I like to be balanced.  I love to be balanced out there.  As a runner, you like for the passing game to open up for the quarterback.  If they start worrying about the passing game, then it gives you time to start working on something in the run game.  With this defense, they have Drew Brees to worry about."

(on the biggest game challenge) "The biggest challenge we have is their defensive line.  Their line is very physical and very fast, especially if Freeney plays.  He's a game changer.  It's going be a dog fight out there.  We just have to handle their defensive line." 

(on the fact that you  may not get more than 20 carries)  "Take advantage of every carry you get.  That's what I tell myself.  Always take advantage of every play I get a chance and I'm going to go out a 110% and I'm going to fight hard for every yard when I run the ball.  But if I'm protecting, I'm going to protect Drew Brees and make sure nobody touches him."


Scott Fujita

(on the last time the Saints played the Colts in 2007)  "It didn't go real well.  They came out and we played them well in the first half, but in the second half they opened it up on us and ran away with the game.  It's an extremely challenging offense to prepare for and they always close things out really well.  It's tough.  We've got to work it out for us, but I feel good about what we're doing on defense."

(on why the Saints are better equipped to handle the Colts now) "We have more depth, way more experience and a lot more maturity than we did years ago, especially on the back end.  You talk about (S) Darren Sharper, (CB) Tracy Porter.  All those guys are playing at a really high level.  I like our matchups a lot against the Colts."

(on if he was concerned about their matchups going into the 2007 game against the Colts) "I think you're always concerned anytime you face this offense because they are so dangerous at so many positions.  They are so good at what they do. I've been telling people all week, this offense is like a machine.  They've been doing the same thing for a very long time.  There's always concerns about it, but this year I have more confidence than I ever had in the past.  I've faced them a lot of times.  They knocked me out of the playoffs in '03 when I was with the Chiefs in Kansas City.  That loss stung me a lot.  They really got after us.  We didn't force one punt that game. The athleticism, the talent and maturity on this team creates much better matchups for us."

(on getting pressure on QB Peyton Manning) "He's tough because he's so intelligent.  He recognizes coverages and where blitzes are coming from so early that it's tough to get to him. You really have to pick your spots.  If you're going to send the house, you better be smart about it.  He's one of those guys that can single handedly beat the pressure sometimes."

(on if he feels the defenses are being disrespected) "Perhaps a little bit. I know we've been disrespected in the past and Indy's defense has been disrespected in the past as well.  Don't get it twisted.  This defense in New Orleans is a huge part of why we're here today.  Creating all the turnovers we did and giving Drew Brees and the offense that many more opportunities to score.  There's a direct correlation between that and our success this year.  No doubt about it."

(on Sean Payton's leadership) "He's been everything.  Coming in here four years ago, taking a job that I bet a lot of coaches wouldn't have wanted to take at the time and making a huge investment in bringing in the right kind of guys who understood the bond and the connection between the city and the team and how this whole thing could really be about a lot more than just football.  The partnership is so unique.  I think he recognizes that.  Guys like (QB) Drew (Brees) and I both recognized it when we came in.  We have a great locker room.  There are no knuckleheads.  There are no cancers.  There are no problem guys you have to worry about.  It's a bunch of great guys who have come from all over the place.  Together, they form a really great team with great chemistry."

(on if Sean Payton is a player's coach) "I would say so.  Sean does a really good job of sensing the needs and the demands of the team.  We don't need to go to him and say. ‘We need this' or ‘We need that.'  He senses it.  If he thinks we need to back on the reps in practice one day, he does so.  If  we have to take the pads off one day, he does so.  He's also a really good motivator.  Seeing his growth as a head coach the past four years has been great.  This year, without question, has been his best."

(on last week's practices) "Last week's practices were pretty intense, but that was coming off a really physical game against Minnesota.  We had some guys who needed some rest and weren't able to practice.  It was still kind of a training camp mentality.  We're getting back to the basics.  Some of the things that need to be cleaned up, you work on.  To be honest, yesterday felt like training camp practices as well, being down here outside in the heat on grass getting ready for the biggest game of your life.  We were getting after it. "


Kyle Eckel

(on how many people from the Navy reached out to him this week) "All my old buddies from the team. We are always in contact anyway so it was nothing abnormal. I've spoken to everyone that I've known for the past two years. I've been doing that ever since school anyways so it was normal."

(on how special it would be to bring home a Super Bowl victory to the Naval Academy)  "That would be great. Anything that I can do to make people proud or have a blast watching the game is kind of what we are here for. We are doing this for a living but the fans are what make it all possible. If we can please them in any way shape or form, that's the idea."

(on this season being a wild ride) "It has been a wild ride, that's for sure. It's been fun and hopefully we can finish it out here on Sunday."

(on blocking for both the running backs) "They both can make you right. No matter what I do back there it seems like they always make me right. It is pretty similar to block for them from my standpoint."

(on the best part about the week) "I would say the flight in was fun. Everybody was having a good time and all of the younger guys were having a blast. At the same time, everybody was keeping a level head knowing that we had one more game to play."

(on his emotions going into the game) "I'm not nervous yet but right before kickoff it will be there like every other game. This one may be a little more so than usual but it will be there. Right now, I'm just going to the daily routines of any other week besides the media portion of everything. Everything else is pretty normal and everything. We are keeping our routine pretty steady."

(on the media coverage) "If anything it gets me out of bed from my nap a little earlier. I am more awake for practice and all of that stuff. It's fun. It is all a part of the routine and all part of the Super Bowl week. It has been a blast."


Jon Stinchcomb

(on the ‘Who Dat' nation) "It is very special. At away games you can tell the difference between the fans that we have and the other team's fans."

(on similarities between Super Bowl week and when the team played in London in 2008) "There are so many similarities. One, you are in a different location for an entire week. You are training in a different facility, you are based in a hotel. We were going up against the Chargers, obviously a new opponent. There was a lot of media buzz about that game. There are a number of similarities between that London trip overall and this game. Not to mention the fact that there are plenty of distractions. A lot of us have never been to London. You want to see the sights and also realize it's a work week at the same time, which is very similar to the Super Bowl. You don't want to miss much but then again you understand that it's a work week."

(on how comfortable would be with Mark Brunell at quarterback) "That is a God-for-bid situation but we have complete faith in him. He has done it before. He has the leadership and the knowledge that makes everyone feel comfortable. Obviously, we know Drew [Brees] is the leader of this ship but if Mark were to have to step in, we wouldn't be cashing in our chips and bailing on him. We feel comfortable that he can lead us to wins also."

(on when the team came together) "I think it started earlier in the offseason and moving towards the end of last year. We realized that we were far more superior to what our record showed. We shouldn't have been anywhere close to 8-8. Then you started addressing some of the needs of the team and added a whole lot of life to the locker room. I don't think that we are surprised to be here."

(on if there was a game in the season that he realized that they had a legitimate run) "I don't think so. Everybody goes through that mantra that it is one game at a time. I don't think we really poked our heads out to see where we stood and what the likely hood of this-that and the other. It was more of, ‘let's worry about this game and in the end, the big picture would take care of itself.'"


Remi Ayodele

(on Peyton Manning's checks from the line of scrimmage) "For a defensive lineman, at least me and a couple other guys on our defensive line, we don't pay attention to all of those checks. If you try to do that, you will get so confused. That's more for the linebackers and the defensive backs. For us, it's either you are throwing the ball or you are running the ball. Then you get to the ball. That's pretty much what we are doing up front. I don't really listen to any of those checks. Now, I might listen to some of the offensive lineman checks if he is checking right in front of me but I can't be paying attention to Peyton back there doing things."

(on the Colts' run threat) "People haven't been talking about that as much. I think that they are a really good running team. When you have a guy like Peyton on your side of the ball, everybody seems to forget about the running game. I just feel like we have to establish stopping the run and then worry about the pass afterwards."

(on the this team compared to other teams he has been on) "It's been wonderful. The one thing that I've seen from this team apart from other teams is that we hang out with each other. We are a part of the city, we play for the city. When we go to the restaurants, we don't get private rooms.  You don't have to put us over here, we don't hide. We sit, we blend and we play for the city. You go to New Orleans right now and everybody is happy. Everybody is having a great time. People are spending money. Pretty much when we go into a game, we are thinking about that. We are not just thinking about the big pay day, we are more thinking about the city."

(on the importance of the pass rush against Peyton Manning) "It's real important. You have to try to get into his face as fast as possible. The one thing Peyton does is avoiding sacks. That's why he didn't get sacked as much. I think we're just going to have to get up on him quick. Our defensive ends are going to have to beat the tackles around the edge. With us in the middle, we have to get that three yard push to help them get there. It all starts up front."

(on the Colts' rushing offense) "I think they are a really good rushing team. I just feel like Peyton is so good with that ball that you don't feel like you need to run as much. I was just watching film with them playing the Jets and they were running the ball pretty well. I don't know what the yardage was but I was seeing chunks of nine yards here, seven yards there. That's a lot of yards. That's chunks of yards and the Jets are pretty good on defense. When I see that, it's like every game, try to stop the run first and we can go from there."


Jonathan Vilma

(on picking up signals at practice from Drew Brees) "Oh yeah, it's the same thing. It's offense vs. defense at practice and we practice the same things against Drew. I try to pick up a few things at practice in the eight or 10 plays that we go against each other. If I get something, good, if I don't, next play."

(on the difference between the Colts offense and other offenses he's faced ) "Their offense has been together for at least five years. I know that they have rookie receivers, but guys like Reggie Wayne, Peyton Manning, they're all on the same page. Sometimes it's almost like Peyton Manning doesn't have to give it, they already know they're going to get the check. They're going to run whatever route they're going to run based on the defense that they see. I think that the difference is that they are all one cohesive unit that is really good at what they do. They're good at executing. Their focus is to out-execute the opponent, to scheme up and disguise things that they do."

(on how he prepares for Peyton Manning) "When you watch film, you want to look at the schemes first and understand the concepts, what they're trying to accomplish as an offensive unit. You try to look at Peyton Manning and see if you can decipher the hand signals, if you can hear anything that he is trying to say. Outside of that, you try to pick up little things here and there throughout the week and hopefully it will hold up in the game. If it does, it will be good for us. If not, we'll just go ahead and keep playing."

(on preparing for the game ) "I feel like I've been preparing the way I normally prepare. I'm trying to get ready for this game. It's really been a grind this whole work week. I feel like I've done everything I can. I definitely want to be ready and anything I need to do to get ready, I'm going to do."

(on if he feels that the defense is being disrespected or overlooked) "I wouldn't say disrespected because you have to look at the offenses. You look at our offense, we've been number one the past two years, Pro Bowl quarterback, it speaks for itself. There is definitely no disrespect for us because our offense is just that good. We're excited when they talk about our offense. They keep us on the radar and then we go out there and have a good game, and I'm fine with that, as long as we get the victory. When you go out there Sunday, you have to play. If they put up 35 and we put up 36, nobody is going to remember that. They are going to remember that we won the game."


Jeremy Shockey

(on playing in the Super Bowl in Miami) "It's a privilege.  It's a privilege to be in the Super Bowl wherever it's at, but this is my adopted hometown.  I live here in the offseason.  It's a great feeling to come back.  I know a lot of (University of Miami) Hurricane fans are going to be supporting the Saints."

(on head coach Sean Payton ) "He's a person that definitely respects the players in every way.  He gives you a formula to win every day.  You can't ask for a better coach.  He's an offensive wizard.  It's special to be back with him after he and Jim Fassel drafted me with the Giants."

(on the difference between the cities of Indianapolis and New Orleans)  "I really don't know much about Indianapolis.  New Orleans is a beautiful city.  It's very vibrant (with) a lot of places to go.  Anything we can do to help New Orleans bring back the economy in that city, we're going to do it.  We need to win this game.  We have the best fans in the world supporting us.  That's what we're playing for - the fans."

(on winning the Super Bowl for the city of New Orleans) "That's our intentions.  We didn't come down here to get sun. We need to win."

(on how preparations for the game are going) "Yesterday was our first day of practice. We did some practicing last week.  We've got a ways to go, so it's still only Thursday.  We still have some time to study and make sure our formula is in tact and everyone is in it together. "


Reggie Bush

(on the advantages of using a lot of motions on offense) "It gives us an advantage to the extent that it is hard for defenses to key in on one person because we are constantly moving guys around, we are shifting, motioning. It can create confusion for defenses when you do that. Tampa Bay Buccaneers were one of the greatest shifting, motioning teams when (Jon) Gruden was (head coach). They created a lot of confusion. I feel like we are kind of similar to that. We create a lot of confusion with our offense and the formations that we run."

(on whether the pictures of him leaving a night club sent a bad message) "It's funny because that picture was actually of us walking into the club. They say that we were (leaving the club) at 3:30 am, but the picture they showed was us walking in to the club. That is the way it is. You are under the microscope. Sometimes things get twisted and stories get twisted. People are going to paint it the way they want to paint it."

"We decided that we were going to go out one night. We were going to have one night of fun and after that we were going to shut it down. That was our game plan for this week. You have to have a game plan when you come out here. Miami is a distraction enough, and then you throw in the Super Bowl and it's even more of a distraction. We had a game plan. We were going to go out one night, Monday night, early in the week and then we were going to shut it down after that. You won't see any guys out. You definitely won't see me out. I haven't been out late, past 10 o'clock since that night."

(on whether the players had curfew) "No. We have curfew tomorrow (Friday) night and Saturday night."

(on whether Tuesday was an off day for players) "Tuesday was an off day for us. It's a player's day off, other than the media day that we had at the stadium. That's all we had to do that day."

(on not being the focal point of the offense) "When I was at USC, I was not ‘the guy.' I think I got a lot of attention. The athletes that we had at USC, we had Lendale (White), me,Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith and obviously (Matt) Leinart, we had some really good players. I wasn't ‘the guy,' but I got a lot of attention because of the big plays that I had and the big games that I had. That was a similar style offense as the one I'm playing in now, here with the Saints."

(on whether he thinks Titans running back Lendale White is frustrated with his current role) "He is more than capable of (being a featured back). I've played with him and I know what he's capable of doing. He's playing with a running back (Chris Johnson) who just had a  2,000 yard season. Anytime you have that then it's tough. It's just part of the business. It's a business first. I know Lendale is definitely capable of being a starting running back in this league."

(on whether he envisioned having seasons like Chris Johnson when he came into the league) "Definitely, but I do so many other things. I like the fact that I'm spread around, but it's hard for me to have those 100-plus, 200 yard games every week as a running back because I'm doing so many other things. I'm put out at receiver. I'm doing the punt-return thing. At the same time we have Pierre Thomas who does a great job when he's in there running the ball and constantly creating mismatches for defenses. We use that to the best of our ability and that helps us out so much more. It is what it is. I just take it for what it is and enjoy what we have right now."

(on running back Chris Johnson) "He's a great player. Two-thousand yards speaks for itself. I don't need to say much about that guy. His style of play speaks for itself."

(on whether he is used to all the attention to his relationship) "Yes. Right now we are used to it. Going into this Super Bowl there are over 7,000 different media outlets down here. Somebody's going to see me, somewhere. Yesterday we (Kim Kardashian) were at a restaurant and I saw half of the reporters from New Orleans in the restaurant. It is what it is."

(on what type of music he listens to during pregame) "I love music and it helps me focus a little more. I like to play songs that get me pumped up. I don't narrow it down to one style of music. I listen to rock n' roll, rap and a little r&b. I even throw some old school rock in there with some Bon Jovi. I'm a little everywhere."

(on whether as a running back he likes the passing attack of an offense) "We make it work for the best. It opens up a lot more for us. When you have a quarterback like Drew Breesand receivers like Marques ColstonDevery HendersonRobert MeachemLance Moore and Jeremy Shockey, that's only going to help you as a running back. That's only going to open it up for you. I enjoy it."

(on whether he ever wants 20-25 carries per game) "There are times for that. There is a time where you feel like you can exploit a defense through the pass and there are times where you can exploit defenses with your running game. We've done that in certain games where we felt like we could exploit different areas. You also want to go with your bread and butter. If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it."

(on the Colts defense stopping the Ravens and the Jets) "Our offense is pretty different from the Ravens style of play and their style of offense. We have a spread open offense that is explosive. Not to take anything away from those guys because they have a really good team, but our offense is cut a little bit different."


Jonathan Goodwin

(On not being able to play in the Pro Bowl)  "It has its downsides and its upsides.  The downside is, of course this is your first time and of course you want to get the experience, but also it's my first time playing in the Super Bowl so I'll definitely take that over the Pro Bowl.  It feels good to even get the recognition. Your peers and coaches help chose that and it means your well respected by them. It feels good and it's definitely something I will remember."

(On making it to the NFC championship prior to this Super Bowl) "I think we learned what it takes.  The first year we got to the NFC championship game, even though we worked hard I don't know if we really realized what it took to get there.  The last two years that has flipped and going into this off season Coach Payton reminded us about some of the things that we did in '06.  In '07 and '08 we did not finish a lot of games well so that's why this year we wanted to improve on finishing our games.  We lost a lot of close games and we felt like we could of eliminate mistakes and finish games then we'd be okay."

(If they are prepared for their final game of the season)  "The ultimate prize will be the Super Bowl champions.  It's a game we are going to go out and try and do everything we can to win and play our best the same we did all year."

(On favorite memory for the season) "Winning the NFC championship.  It meant a lot to the city."

(On RBs helping with pass protection) "It's pretty important. Every now and then we definitely need the extra help to protect our guy(Brees) and to change things up on the opponents.  Hopefully we could get help when we need it, but it always helps when we can block them ourselves and get some of those guys out and drive."

(On the low key Colts defense) "I think they get credited as a pass rushing defensive.  They definitely don't get the proper respect.  They are definitely a good defense.  They are all very fast. They read things fast and they react to the ball and run to the ball fast."

(On the similarities of him and Brees)  "There are definitely similarities.  We both make checks at the line. Drew gets us in and out of plays all the time.  Drew has a great mind as a quarterback and he does a lot of things for the line of scrimmage also."