Brees crawfishes, Schanle simmers as New Orleans Saints face Cardinals in Hall of Fame

goodellTwo New Orleans Saints were engaged in a PR meltdown of sorts early this week as the rest of the team prepared for the Hall of Fame game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Scott Scanle got embroiled in a twitter war, first with a fellow defensive player Donte Whitner, a defensive standout for the San Francisco 49ers and then arguably with the State of California reminding all that California was having bad economic times.  Drew Brees, threw fire on already-hot flames by demeaning commissioner Roger Goodell’s credibility, only to back off of his statement on Wednesday.


However, there was no mention of the twitter war when Schanle spoke to the media on Wednesday.  Likewise, there was no slap-Goodell’s -face comments by Drew Brees but a little dish of Cajun crawfish by Brees backing off of his strident comments against the most powerful man in pro football.

Schanle, while fielding  questions from the media, described the differences between the defense under now-gone Gregg Williams versus now-here, Steve Spagnuolo.  Schanle also raised questions whether the new defensive under Spagnuolo is ready for the grueling Hall of Fame match against the Arizona Cardinals this weekend.


 What have you seen from Junior Galette?

“Junior is one of those guys, that, as a veteran, you’re amazed at the progress.  His ability, his explosiveness, and as far where he has come with maturity. I think a lot of us veterans who have been here for a few years now have a lot of respect for him and I think he’s going to be an even bigger contributor this year.”


Was it always that you saw the athletic talent but you weren’t sure about the maturity?

“A little bit when he first got here. Junior will be the first to tell you about us joking around. I think he takes a lot of pride in how far he’s come, though. I see him teaching the young guys and it’s always good to see a veteran with that roll flipped. It’s been good to see him grow.”


They keep reeling in players and you keep throwing them out, how do you feel being in that position?

“That’s just the nature of the business. Some guys can do longer than others. Every year you have to start anew and you don’t rest on what happened the previous year. That’s what’s exciting about the business. Every year you start fresh and it’s the team’s job to create competition and produce talent.”


What’s been the biggest adjustment from Gregg (Williams) to Steve (Spagnuolo)?

“Just back to learning zone defense again. We were such much man to man pressure under Greg. Basic zone, drops, and basic zone fundamentals besides Cover 2, we didn’t really run much under Greg.”


So it’s basically a conceptual thing?

“Yes, exactly. It’s letting the routes develop, whereas we were leaving the huddle knowing who you’re man was.”


Do you feel Spags’ defense is entirely installed now and you’re just perfecting it? Or are you still learning it?

“I think we’re close. Obviously with the way camp has changed, the installs take a little longer because you’re not getting as many full speed reps. I think we’re close to being done. Obviously today was red zone and short yardage goal line but I’m pretty sure it’s been installed and it’s just repetition and understanding  the little intricacies.”


Is there anything unique about the way he teaches?

“The one thing is he’s very hands on. You know when we’re doing our individual drills he’s out there helping everybody. This was the defense he was brought up in Philadelphia and it’s something he really understands. He gets around the every position group and it’s good that he’s hands on like that.”


You guys haven’t played zone in so long, is everyone buying in? Does everyone understand why it makes sense?

“You know there were some things the last few years that we’ve had success but at the same time you put a lot of pressure on the corners playing so much, we have great corners that can do that. I think this is going to give us the opportunity to lay back and keep our eyes on the quarterback to make more plays and hopefully make more interceptions.”


Scott, are you primarily being focused at strongside linebacker?

“Yea, so far throughout camp I’ve been strongside. Played strongside throughout OTAs and I had a little time to learn weakside but so far through training camp I’ve had strongside.”


What do you think this game is going to mean for the team emotionally even though it doesn’t actually mean anything in the standings?

“The team is very excited for a couple of reasons. One, it’s an actual game instead of a scrimmage with your own team. Another plus is, you know, you get to take the young guys to Canton, Ohio so they can see what it’s all about. Obviously two players I’m familiar with Willie Roaf and Cortez Kennedy (who’s around here a lot, will be up there and we’ll get to see them get inducted. Just to get back to playing football after what’s gone on, I think it’s a sanctuary for us.”


How much has Chris Chamberlain been of help since he already knew the scheme?

“Oh, he’s been a huge help. It’s a little different, but the biggest thing is learning the new language and learning a new defense. You know, Chris has been brought up in the system. He’s like another coach out there. He’s been a huge help all around.”


Is practice the next couple days about getting game ready or still about learning and getting into this system?

“During the preseason your usually going to use these practices install your own stuff. You know, Saints versus Saints stuff. Maybe the day before we’ll start looking at what the Arizona Cardinals have done a lot of. But usually throughout training camp, most teams try to perfect what they’re installing and not worry too much about other teams.”


What do you think about seeing the 2009 team on display at Canton?

“Yea, Joe (Vitt) is pretty excited to see it, he and all of us have heard from a lot of people that it’s a pretty neat thing to see. He’s excited about getting the team around it. For the players that were up there in 2007, there wasn’t anything Saints related so a lot of things have changed since then. You got the display, Willie Roaf, and Ricky Jackson, obviously, there’s going to be a lot to see.”


Is it exciting to know that there are Saints players represented in there with Ricky Jackson and Willie Roaf? What are your thoughts on him?

“Willie is a great guy. He’s a guy I’ve talked to quite a bit. When he comes back to Louisiana he lives right across the street. He’s a great guy. You know, going back to 2007 we played the Pittsburgh Steelers and there wasn’t anything Saints there. Now we’re going back with the display, with the championship, and two great players now are up there too. So, it’s funny to see how much has changed in five years. But it’s also encouraging.”  

It’s just too bad Sean Payton can’t be up there with the team, any thoughts on that?

“Yea, it’s tough when we do things like this. The first big thing was the unveiling of the statue for Steve Gleason. It’s something that popped into my mind that it was a shame that Coach Payton couldn’t be there. Coach Payton was a big part of Steve’s life, and Steve has been a big part of Coach Payton’s life. That’s something that they’ll never get to redo over. But I’m sure Coach Payton read about it somewhere. We just kind of have to deal with the hand we’ve been dealt.” 

Now for the Brees Crawfish:

Drew Brees created a media firestorm earlier this week when he told SI.com's Peter King that among players, Nobody trusted NFL commish Roger Goodell.

During a sitdown with NFL. Network's Marshall Faulk on Inside Training Camp Live".  the quarterback said he was surprised at the public's reaction his comments drew.

'I was asked a direct question: How do players in the league feel about the Commissioner? I've talked to many players, I'm on the executive committee of the Player Association," said Brees. "So I talk to a lot of guys who are involved in the union, and certainly my teammates and others. And there is a general feeling that the players don't trust the commissioner.

"So I was asked a direct question and I answered it directly and honestly. By no means was I trying to be disrespectful, I was just being honest."

Brees is a very savvy media guy, and he's not one who says the first thing that comes to his tongue before his mind is in gear. Brees said what he said and I'm sure he gave plenty of thought before answering the question.

Brees is a big boy and he can deal with any fallout that may come from his comments. He shouldn't have anything to worry about.

The 2012 Saints Media Guide features 6 1/2 pages on Sean Payton and doesn't mention his season-long suspension. The cover features a night photo of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome with the Lombardi Trophy photo next to "Home of Super Bowl XLVII." The guide is 500 pages of bios, photos, history, records and everything you want to know about the franchise...If you've ever owned a pet of any kind, you can imagine the pain the Louisiana Tech community is feeling over the loss of Tech XX, the English Bulldog mascot who died of a heat stroke, the result of extreme negligence and cover-up on the part of worker at the animal facility where the mascot was housed.  We hope the Louisiana Tech community and school find a way to honor the late and loveable mascot...

OLYMPICS NOTEBOOK: Payment for winning Olympic medals varies by country. The U.S. Olympic Committee pays its medal winners $25,000 for gold, $15,000 for silver and $15,000 for bronze winners. Some of the rich U.S. Sports Federations give added prize money to its winners as well. There are also many appearances and endorsements that generally follow a gold-medal winner...Gold medals aren't very much gold in composition. They are 92.5 per cent silver, 6.16 per cent copper and 1.34 per cent gold. A gold medal in London is worth about $800 in a coin shop...

by Ed Staton and Bayoubuzz staff



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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


Website: www.louisianasportstalk.com
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