Against the Chicago Bears on Sunday, Newton had another banner day—completing 27-of-46 passes for 374 yards and a touchdown and ran for two touchdowns for the Panthers in another losing effort.
The Saints did not have a off-day on offense, just an off-day on converting into the endzone for touchdowns.
Drew Brees discusses this issue and Saints stars Jimmy Graham, Marques Colston and Will Smith respond to post-game media questions.
Also, former Saint and now Jag head-coach Jack Del Rio answered media questions after the loss to New Orleans.
QB DREW BREES
(on red zone woes) “No, we weren’t very efficient, but we had three instances where we got inside the 20 and just couldn’t convert. We’ll continue to work on that. I’m confident that when we bear down and work on it, we’ll get results. If you would have told us before the game you’re going to have 500 yards total offense and will be better than 50 percent on third down, I would have said that’s 40 points. Unfortunately, we got inside the 20 three times in the second half and didn’t come away with touchdowns. That’s disappointing, but I feel like we’ve
proven we can move the ball. So we just have to score more touchdowns.
(on playing in Jacksonville) This is a tough place to play and a tough place to win. This defense has played very well this season thus far. We knew we had our work cut out for us. The fact that we put 500 yards out is big, but that has to translate into points. Something that we very much will focus on is being able to convert third downs, keep the drives alive inside the red zone and score touchdowns when we need to.
(coming off big win) “There have been instances when coming off a big win like we did last week – a big come from behind victory, an emotional victory, that there’s been a letdown for whatever reason. We certainly were going to guard against that today. We just recognized what kind of opponent we were going up against and how well they play at home.”
(on Blaine Gabbert) “I wished him well. Obviously, this was only his second start. He made some good throws at times. At the end, our defense really did a great job of stalling him. I was a young player once and I know the process of an NFL quarterback. It’s one day at a time and you certainly appreciate the opportunity. You try to get better each week. I’m sure every time out he will continue to get more comfortable.
RB MARQUES COLSTON
(on winning on the road in the NFL) “We still need to work on a couple of things. We’ll take the win. It’s tough to come into this league into anybody’s stadium and get a win. We’ll make the corrections and get ready for our division game next week.”
(on the collarbone injury) “The collarbone felt good. If I wasn’t ready, the coaches wouldn’t have played me. I just have to continue to find my groove and hopefully it’s sooner rather than later.”
TE JIMMY GRAHAM
(on his improvement this year) “I am definitely (playing with more confidence) and if you compare to last year, it seemed like the game was going by so slow. Now it’s slowed down to a crawl and now I am noticing things quicker, noticing coverages and it’s working. This is the greatest time I’ve ever had in the sport. I am playing so confident and playing with the knowledge I have now.”
(on reading the defense) “If you could get behind that linebacker or get in front of him, that’s where the weakness is in the defense. That was something we were harping on all week. Today we were patient. It opened up and I got by ‘em and it’s something we talked about coming in.”
DE WILL SMITH
(on the defensive performance) “We knew coming in that the key to victory was stopping the run, sacking the quarterback. We were surprised that they didn’t try to establish the run a little bit earlier in the game and they kind of waited until later in the game. But it kind of played into our game plan so it worked out for us.
(on the two sacks) “We felt confident about our rush defense against their offensive line. They are more of a really good run team. We knew if we got them out of their element, we would have success against them. Our offense did a great job driving down the field and establishing the lead early and everything else was history from there.”
(on the defensive effort so far this year) “It’s always up and down during the course of the season. We’ve done what we’ve needed to do to win the game. We’ve got the big stops when we needed to and we’ve had a couple of different plays when we didn’t tackle well or where we had a missed assignment or something which caused a big play. But those are things we could correct and overall everybody is playing well and working hard to try and do whatever it takes to win the game. When it counts, the defense always steps up and makes the right play.”
HEAD COACH JACK DEL RIO
(opening statement) “Not enough offense or defense or special teams to get it done today. It’s a team game. We stick together as a team, win or lose together as a team. It just wasn’t enough.”
“We had some opportunities. I thought we threw the ball in the first half fairly well. (We) ran it ok in the second, got Mo (Maurice Jones-Drew) more involved in the second half. We just weren’t able to make enough plays to get in the end zone as much as we need to.”
“You hold the Saints down, I know it sounds crazy saying that when they get 500 yards, but keep them under their average in terms of points. You give yourself an opportunity, but you have to score touchdowns. We were down in the red zone a couple of times and we didn’t generate the touchdowns we needed to give ourselves an opportunity.”
“I saw bright signs with Blaine (Gabbert). In particular early in the game I thought he was pretty sharp. We had a combination of drops and misfires and errors that kept us from doing some more damage – in particular in the second half. I definitely saw things that were encouraging, things that we can build and grow on.”
“Not real happy not being able to find a way to scratch out one at home.”
(on if the Saints defense did something differently in the second half to shut Gabbert down) “Not really. They pretty much ran their Cover one, Cover zero pressure most of the day. They mixed in a little Cover two. I don’t think there was ever a situation where he didn’t or we didn’t understand what they were trying to do and what we needed to do. We just didn’t execute and take advantage of the 1-on-1 matchups that we were getting. We had some opportunities; we just dropped the ball or misfired. A couple of different times the projection broke down, but it wasn’t scheme-driven more like guys getting beat.”
(on the Gabbert and Mike Thomas execution) “I can’t specially to it because I’m not sure which play you’re referring to. If you see that then that means there was some type of miscommunication. I don’t recall seeing that today.”
(on if the Saints defensive line made Gabbert change his plans) “I don’t know if I would put my finger on any one aspect of it. I thought they executed a little better in holding on with their coverage, generating the rush and closing the deal a little bit better in the second half. Schematically and the people they were working with, it was pretty much the same throughout the day. There were enough opportunities there, but we just didn’t make enough plays.
(on Matt Turk’s play) “Really, just one was a mis-hit and I’m not sure what the yardage was on that. He actually had a couple pretty solid rugby punts. We got the one that went out near the two or three – that was well done. That is what the rugby ball does for you. It doesn’t just bounce into the end zone, it has a chance to bounce back or kick sideways. We didn’t quite hit it like their guy hits it. I thought Matt was ok today. ”
(on team’s performance after first quarter of the season) “I like this group of guys, I don’t like how this first quarter went at all. We’re averaging just under 10 points a game scoring and that is not going to get it done for you. We are going to have to generate more offense. We are going to have to do a better job with our specials teams, helping that happen for us. I continue to see opportunities to be even better – defensively with interceptions, sacks and things that we are not closing the deal on. You have to be able to make those plays to gain confidence and momentum so you can have a lot more fun on Sundays.
“We have done some good things, we’ve run it well and been pretty stout on defense. Today, we were stressed with the Saints quite a bit with what they did and what they were able to do with Drew (Brees) and their entire offense.
“There are some good solid things and there are some signs of life with how Blaine can throw it. We are going to have to run routes and catch it at a higher efficiency level than what we have seen to start the first quarter. We can grow those things around a talented young player and that is what we are going to do.”
QB BLAINE GABBERT(inaudible) “We’ve just got to make plays and that starts with me. We didn’t execute like we wanted to in the second half and that showed in the score.”
(on if the plays were there in the second half) “The plays were there to be made. Now it just boils down to execution and we didn’t execute in the second half.”
(on if there was a communication problem) “None at all.”
(on if he’s on the same page with the receivers) “We’re on the same page the entire game. It’s pretty simple, we had guys there but I’ve just got to make the throws.”
(on the pass to Marcedes Lewis on fourth down) “I’ve got to give him a chance. It boils down to my throw. I’d take that matchup 10 out of 10 times, Marcedes on a safety. I’ve got to bring the ball down.”
(inaudible) “It’s a week-to-week league. Every team is good in the NFL and you’ve got to bring your best week-in and week-out because anything can happen.”
(on the difference between college and pro) “Football is football, no matter if you’re in college or the NFL. Of course there is a difference in the level of players, but you get used to that. Speed of the game is the same. You face fast guys in college, but in the NFL everybody on defense was their best player on their team in college.”
(inaudible) “No not at all. We knew what they were doing. We saw everything. Of course they’re a high blitz team. Gregg Williams blitzes quarterbacks and that’s his philosophy on defense. That leaves one-on-one matchups on the outside; we’ve just got to capitalize on those opportunities.”
(inaudible) “We’ve got a great football team and I’m going to do my job to prepare as well as possible. The other 10 guys on the offense are going to do the same. Like I said it’s a week-to-week process for getting better as a football team, but at the end of the day we’re measured by wins and losses. There are no moral victories in the NFL. You’re judged on only one thing, results. We didn’t get that job done today and we’re going to be back in here tomorrow getting better and be ready for next week.”
(inaudible) “They were dropping eight. I tried to make a throw and you can’t make every throw. You’ve got to check it down to Maurice [Jones-Drew].”
(on if he was more comfortable this week) “I felt comfortable last week. It’s just like I said, you’ve got to prepare your tail off week in and week out. Preparation is not an issue with this football team. We prepare just as hard as everybody does. We know what they’re doing on defense every single snap. It just starts with me making plays, making the right throws, making the right reads and we’ll go from there.”
RB MAURICE JONES-DREW
(on why the offense isn’t producing points) “We had some opportunities today that just slipped. Getting the ball on your own fifteen and not being able to score, we can’t do that. I just think we need to execute a little bit better. Obviously with Blaine (Gabbert) coming in last week, we had time to work with him more this week. I think we’ll improve as the season goes on, but it is tough to come out and put up 45 points with a new starting quarterback the last two weeks. We are going to improve, we are going to get better. We are all competitors and we hate losing, but we saw some great things out of Blaine today. Some guys made big plays in the passing game and we were able to run the ball a little bit later on. We were able to attack in places we wanted to attack. We have to keep executing, keep working at it.”
(on whether or not the Saints changed their defensive strategy in the second half) “No, not really. They ran the same thing – cover one, slot two. We knew what they were going to do. They just started sitting more inside on some of our routes. They did a great job executing their defense and making plays more than we did in the second half.”
(on if the decision to throw the ball so much was decided before the game or because of the early deficit) “No, we saw some things we couldn’t attack as a defense in the past and wanted to explore it a little bit. I thought we did a great job coming out on the first drive. I dropped a pass that I shouldn’t have. I think I’m the one that killed that drive. That’s not how we play here. It was little things like that – when you have the ball in your hands and don’t catch it. I’m the one to blame for that one. There are a lot of things we have to work on, but we did improve from the week before and we improved from week one. Right now, we’re 1-3. That’s not where you want to be right now. We have to keep improving and can’t worry about what happened today. We have to keep working on our stuff and get better. We’re improving each game. Our passing game was great in spurts. As long as it is looking great in spurts, we can continue to get more consistent. Blaine is getting more comfortable back there. We are still explosive in the running game as usual and we just want to become a more balanced offense.”
(on what he sees in Blaine day-to-day that makes him sure of his skills as quarterback) “He was putting the ball where it needed to be – anticipating. Everyone is running the routes, he is putting the ball where it needs to be. He understands the defense. He’s a film rat, which is huge. We talked about it last week, how he stays in the film room studying. We just want to get a win for him. It is tough being a rookie quarterback and start off 0-2. He’s still a very confident guy. He took control of the offense from day one. In practice, he’s making these throws. In the game, the pass to Zach Miller in the end zone was a beautiful throw. We’re just going to keep working with him. It’s tough because we know we have a lot of talent here, we just aren’t able to put it together right now. Tomorrow we’re going to get back out there, work on some things we need to work on and put it together. I hate losing more than anything and I think that’s the way he (Gabbert) feels and the rest of this team feels. We have to find a way to correct that, work through it and change it.”
(on if he thinks coming out throwing put the Saints off-balance) “No. They came out running cover one – putting eight or nine guys in the box. When you’re seeing man-to-man all day, it’s your receivers versus their corners. Our receivers were doing a great job. They didn’t switch up their coverage, they switched up their technique to a little more inside than we expected. Our guys still made some great plays for us. Mike Thomas on than screen, I thought he was faster than that, but he did a great job making the play. We have talent, we just have to continue to work at it. I don’t want you guys to pick at Blaine. He did a great job. I understand he didn’t do so well in the second half, but to lead our offense the way he did on some of those drives, that was a great thing for us. He’s growing up, doing a great job for us.
C BRAD MEESTER
(on has today’s game helped the offensive line get balance) “We always want balance, every year it’s been that way. We’ve got to have our run game to open up the passing game. We’re a balanced offense and we’re always striving to do that. We’ve go to create bigger holes for Mo-Jo (Maurice Jones-Drew) and when we do that it opens up the passing game. We’ve just got to continue getting better getting this run game going and it’s going to click together.”
RB DEJI KARIM
(on the lack of third down conversions) “It’s not like we’re not out there competing. We’ve just got to execute. That’s one of the things that helps you win games, which is converting on third downs and we’ve got to get better at that and we will. We’re going to get back in here later this week and start preparing. We’ll get it together; we’ll get this thing rolling.”
(is there a sense of urgency) “Our sense of urgency is we want to win right now. There’s no waiting on anything. We’re going to go get it now. We’ve got a lot of enthusiasm. We’re out here trying to get it every day.”
WR MIKE THOMAS
(on frustrating loss to the Saints) “It’s always frustrating to lose. Then again, the defense is playing their ass off. (They) got two turnovers for us. We just can’t get in the end zone.
(on timing with QB Blaine Gabbert) “The plays are there but at the same time it’s just a little bit here, a little bit there. At the same time it is the National Football League. Everybody’s good, we should be able to make those plays so I really wouldn’t make that an excuse. We just got to get better.
(on offense opening up the playbook) “It’s always fun to be throwing the ball. I think we could have ran it a little more. Maurice (Jones-Drew) when he did get his shots, he got big chunks. We just got to keep at it. I can sit here and point it at a lot of different things but, the timing and this and that but the bottom line is we didn’t get it done again. We’ll just keep at it and trying to bang it out and keep getting better.
OT GUY WHIMPER
(on being prepared for Gregg Williams defense) “I think we were ready for everything he threw at us. I think our coaches prepared us very well on blitzes and coverages we were going to see in the game. Like you said, they didn’t hardly run any of them until we got into the game.”
(on Gabbert’s competitiveness) “Every chance he gets when we get in the huddle he was always saying something positive. He is very competitive. That I one thing I recognized of him. He is going to be a god quarterback in this league.”
DT TYSON ALUALU
(on defensive doing enough to win) “No, it is never good enough if you don’t win. We know that we need to do better. We need to finish the play, especially getting the quarterback down with the ball causing turnovers.”
DE JEREMY MINCEY
(on defensive adjustments after going down 14-0) “We just started playing harder, harder and smarter. We kind of keened in on our plays and got our focus. We started playing harder. We had to get the kinks out early after we settled down we started playing defense.)
(on being patient defensively against the Saints) “You have to be patient because Drew (Brees) will frustrate you. I wanted to rush hard and try to get to him and then they would run a draw or vice versa. It was a little frustrating early trying to make plays jumping out of gaps and guys getting an extra few yards. We just got to work on those things and come back next week.”
(on the offensive performance today) “We just fell short. We saw a lot of good things out there. Like I said, our whole team just fell short. We just got a regroup and find a way to win no matter what side of the ball it is on; we got to find a way to win.”
LB DARRYL SMITH
(on his take on the defense) “Definitely not good enough. We lost, no matter what happened in the game whether we played good or not we ended up with an L. You can’t take anything away from the Saints; they came in and converted third downs. They moved the ball and got off the field on defense. We have to tip our hats to them; they put the L on us.”
(on his take on the Quarterbacks) All that is true but when it comes to the end of the day we’ve got to do our jobs. It doesn’t matter who is over there we didn’t get it done today.”
CB RASHEAN MATHIS
(on the defensive effort against the Saints) “It is hard. We are one and three right now. We got to keep rolling. To smile about how we played, that is not going to happen because we didn’t make enough plays to impact the game. Today, we didn’t do that whether we played good or not.”
Steve Gleason Gave New OrleansSaints Spark, Gives ALS His Life's Work by Stephen Sabludowsky, Publisher of Bayoubuzz.com
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