Williams wanted it know that turnovers are the most important statistic in the NFL, He also gave an update Jon Vilma’s condition and readiness for the upcoming game.
Is the feeling this week different than the prior week? “Absolutely. It wasn’t good enough. On Monday we looked at the film and we were on to the next week. It’s time to get better this week.”
After the interceptions that Drew Brees threw the last time against Tampa Bay, is there anything you tell him going into this week?
“I think every week, you know that turnovers are a critical factor in deciding a game. You look at the three interceptions from the last time we played them; one was a tipped ball, one was on a fourth down just trying to make a play and then the other one, you would say it was a good decision. The decision he made was the right one, it was single coverage, and he left the ball a little inside. As an established team, we need to find a way to avoid turnovers.
Dating back from when Jon Gruden was the coach and they ran a slightly different defensive scheme, it seems like Tampa Bay has had success defensively against the Saints. Is there something you can point to specifically?
“I think they’re a fast, physical defense. They rally to the ball and make tackles. They play hard. There’s no doubt they’re going to be fired up for the game. We have to be at our best too.”
Is it true they’re a nemesis for this offense?
“We’ve had some games that haven’t been very good against them. We feel like we have to be consistent week in and week out. It’s going to be a challenge for us this week.”
Were you surprised at how Tanard Jackson played the last time in his first week back?
“We respect him. He’s a great ballplayer. He’s physical and so we were expecting his best for that game.”
Has pressure been a common denominator in when Drew Brees has had some difficulties?
“You go back and there are some you’re going to say were tipped balls. There are some where you would say pressure got to him a little bit. I think that’s a key stat in football. You get some pressure on the quarterback and the throw’s not quite as accurate or he hurries a decision, but Drew’s interceptions this year, it’s a variety.”
With the turnover at the right tackle position, how confident are you in Zach Strief?
“I’m very confident and obviously whatever injury situation we have is coach’s matter to talk with. I’m confident.”
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams
Friday, November 04, 2011
Obviously you guys are blitzing? Have you guys blitzed more than anyone in the league this year?
“The percentages that are out there really aren’t as high as they actually are. That’s just what we do. As we take a look at each and every team that I’ve had a chance to coach, you build what you do around the people and what they can do, not what I do. Yesterday, I looked out there on the practice field, not counting Greg Romeus who is in the weight room and can’t practice because he’s on PUP. I think there are 31 guys under contract. 14 of the guys are brand new and there are only 12 guys around that were around in ’09. Each day, we discuss how we go about disrupting the timing of the quarterback. That’s critical. You can see it on the reverse on Drew (Brees) last week. All quarterbacks become a little bit more human. We’re so dominant on our offensive line here. Our guys practice against Jahri (Evans) and Carl (Nicks because it’s like running into a wall. If you give up pressure on the edges and there’s not a safe haven for the quarterback to step into. I didn’t see the (offensive) game with so much going on on our sidelines, I do know that when we’re affected by our offense in practice is when you allow Drew the time he wants to complete a pass. That time we played Tampa Bay, we totally changed what they were doing. Really we’ve done that with every quarterback. Some weeks you’re more affected more than others. There were two or three balls that when we hit Josh (Freeman), who I have so much respect for and I really do believe he’s one of the guys that’s not talked about enough in this league, is that I think there were three balls that came out of his hands and landed right in there guys’ hands. Their guy was able to come back to the ball. It’s just one of those deals. You try to get better each and every week. I know we’re more effective defensively when our guys know they don’t have to cover as long because we’re affecting the timing.
The thing that was missing out of the Tampa Bay game was the big play ratio. I know you’re supposed to be giving up one or two when you attack, but did the ratio turn more upside down than you would have liked?
“Even the last two weeks we scored on defense and earlier in the year when it was tough to steal a possession. In that ballgame, we turned it over four times, but in that ballgame if we could have gotten Drew one possession we had a chance. We understand defensively you have to go out there and play defense. If we play after a turnover, our guys need to get one back for Drew and for us. Somehow, when you can do those kinds of things is it all evens out and we’ve been one of those few teams in the league this year and Drew is so good offensively, that when he’s been on fire like that, we’ve been able to win games and be behind in the takeaway ratio. Obviously he’s a quality player. That’s one of the reasons why I’m still here. I like to coach defense where you have one of those guys where you go back out and give him another shot.”
When you talk about pressure because it fits this team’s scheme, is it the goal of winning the turnover battle?
“It really is what you try to do to win in this league, it’s singlehandedly, arguably the most important stat in the National Football League. We work hard to improve in that every single week. One thing I show every week in my team meeting was that I don’t know exactly when it came up, our corners can really cover. But the one thing I brought up today to them is that we rank up near the top of the league in our ability to cover and not have balls thrown with all these pass breakups. But conversely, look at these teams tied with us and how many interceptions they have. They don’t’ have as many pass breakups. Why? Because they caught them. The next step is we have to catch those things. We’re getting our hands on the balls. This year we’ve had our hands legitimately, we monitor that stuff, we show those things. How much do you show and become negative? We don’t worry about that. We’re constructive, not negative. When we catch a few more of them we’re going to be off to the races. It kind of comes in bunches. Our hits on the quarterback are up, collapsing the pocket, but it’s not an Atta boy unless the ball comes to you. That last week we got one out, we scored a touchdown with it. We have to continue to do those kinds of things”
Drew Brees is obvious a leader, but this week, have you noticed him being more vocal at practice?
“No, I will tell you this. I really believe too much (attention) paid for vocal leadership. You know how people tune out or turn off a vocal leader who doesn’t show good example. Drew Brees shows unbelievable leadership through how he prepares. The first car in the parking lot every morning is him with the coaches in the morning. He double-checks game plans. He double-checks everything. He’s a phenomenal guy. Our guys don’t need any rah-rah from him. They don’t need any talk from him. I admire and watch him from afar constantly. Is he zoned in in practice? I can’t tell that, because he’s like that every week. It’s a walk through and you have the chance to watch the man in a walk-through, it’s like a live play. He treats a walk-through play like it’s a live play. He’ll throw the ball and you’ll see checkdown, checkdown. You can’t get a young guy to do that in a live play, but here’s a walk through and you’ll see Drew Brees throw and then you’ll immediately see him reset the second throw and he goes through those mechanics. Our guys understand. There’s no question on his preparation and no question on his willingness to play harder or as hard as anyone else. That’s how (Jonathan) Vilma’s that way, Will Smith. Will Smith, you don’t ever see him rah rah. You watch him practice. You watch him play. He’s prepared. People want to be like those guys. The rest of our guys want to be like Drew. He prepares very well. Of all my stops, it’s probably as well-prepared a culture of how they compete every practice. The league is about competing over any carded play. On Fridays we have plays where offense and defense puts their scripts down. We don’t worry about Tampa Bay. They don’t worry about Tampa Bay. We just get after it. It’s fun. It wouldn’t be as fun if I knew I wasn’t getting underneath his skin, it wouldn’t be fun. If he didn’t know he wasn’t getting under my skin or Jimmy Graham, he’s bought in and likes to get under my skin on Fridays. That’s what we do. We have a good culture there. We just have to get back to business. We’re in the second half of the season. It’s time to come out firing on all cylinders.”
Are you worried about the possibility of not having Jonathan Vilma?
“He’s done it so many times before I trust him. I really do. I’m really blessed to have people like London Fletcher and guys like that who are very tough, very understanding of what it takes to be competitive. Understand that one player alone doesn’t make a team. We do a really good job here the next guy up needing to play. That’s used a lot, but it really is here. It’s our job as coaches to adapt to the next guy. Now all of a sudden I have a corner where we adapt to what we’re doing. I haven’t heard yet, but he’s (prepared) every week. Last time we didn’t play him there was nearly a fight in the locker room. It wasn’t because he wasn’t going to play, it was because we made the decision. That’s always better when you have guys like that. I’m not real patient with guys that tell me when they are and aren’t going to play. I’m not real patient with that. If we tell that it’s best for the team. That’s the culture. You almost have to hit him in the head if you’re not going to let him play. He’s like where you said you keep the helmets away from those guys. You almost have to hide their uniforms. That’s how he is. (He’s a) great competitor.”
Have you been disappointed in the performance by the defensive tackles you’ve acquired?
“There’s been a few times, where we had a couple plays on the edge. One of the things that gets blown a little out of proportion is first off, is the territorial game, you’re wanting to hold field position and establish field position. Really, you just get away from the numbers and take a look at the last ballgame and of that fourth and two play. It chapped me. I didn’t like it. It chapped me. If you talk to any of my guys, they may be a little thin skinned if you talk about it to them. They’re probably sick of me. There was a third and 20, third and 24 and third and 26 and we let them run it and got them off the field. Earlier in the year we got a pressure a couple times and got a screen that popped. When you’re behind in the score the way we were, we have to line up, beat these guys when they run. The cooperated. We got the ball back. Now we gave up rushing yards. We could care less about that. That’s one thing, me, Sean (Payton), Pete (Carmichael Jr.) talk about in being in synergy through the game. The worst thing we could have done in those third and 20+ was give up a throw, so we just all lined up back there, got a run, they gave it to us, got the ball back. It gave us a chance to get possessions. When you get behind by that much, we stole a possession on defense to get it back to 24-7. You can’t give them very more plays to run off the clock. That was good situation football. Did I like those yards? It made me puke. We did what we had to do.”
People associate the run stat with defensive tackles. How are Aubrayo Franklin and Shaun Rogers grading?
“We’re dressing eight linemen. One of the things you do and I think we’ve done a real good job hopefully, we’ll see, both of those guys are aging a little bit, not aging, but up in years. The first half of the season we’ve not had to play them a ton of snaps. We’re getting 16 to 25, 16 to 20. One of the things I said in training camp, especially about Shaun and even Aubrayo; when you play those big people 65, 72, 74 snaps a game and then all of a sudden on film you’re mad because their effort level went down, that’s a lot of running around. We try to take the reps off and hopefully this last half of the season, I’ll keep my fingers crossed. They’re playing as hard as they can play.
SAINTS NOTEBOOK: The Saints will present former players during an on-field pregame ceremony and will present former safety Shawn King, the 2011 Saints Hall of Fame inductee during the halftime. Knight will appear at the Saints Hall of Fame from 10-11:15 A.M. Sunday at the Saints Hall of Fame from 10-11:15 a.m. at Gate B on the Plaza level. Early fans will get free rally towels...The Saints will wear black throwback jerseys.
Other NF picks: Falcons -7 over Colts (best bet); Texans -11 over Browns; Bills -2 over Jets; Chiefs -4 over Dolphins; 49ers -3 1/2 over Redskins; Cowboys -11 over Seahawks; Raiders -8 over Broncos; Bengals +3 over Titans; Rams +2 over Cardinals; Patriots -9 over Giants; Packers -5 1/2 over Chargers (lock); Steelers -3 over Ravens' and Eagles -7 1/2over Bears. Last week: 9-4.
by Ed Staton