The coach also issued a daily injury progress report and roster changes (full means the player will play).
“From a transaction standpoint, we assigned wide receiver Montez Billings to the practice squad. Jermey Parnell was signed to the Cowboys’ active roster so that’s a one for one switch there. On the injury front, Stanley Arnoux (ankle) was full; Drew Brees (knee) was full; Jimmy Graham (ankle) was full; Chris Ivory (knee) was full; Jon Stinchcomb (shoulder) was full; Zach Strief (knee) was full; Leigh Torrence (toe) was full; Anthony Waters (hamstring) was full; Jimmy Wilkerson (knee) was full; Marques Colston (rib) was full; Jeff Charleston (neck) was full; Usama Young (quad) was full; Scott Shanle (hamstring) was limited; Will Smith (groin) was limited; Roman Harper (hamstring) was limited; Randall Gay (head) did not practice; Reggie Bush (fibula) did not practice; Tracy Porter (knee) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (ankle) did not practice.”
Is Pierre Thomas’ ankle progressing?
“He’s progressing. Each morning we get in and we see where he’s at and we just take it day-to-day with the treatment and his rehab. We’ll see where he’s at tomorrow and kind of approach it that way. That’s the only way that you can.”
What’s typical for an ankle sprain that isn't a high ankle sprain?
“That’s a great question because this is not high; it’s down in the lower portion. A lot of it is symptomatic; in other words, as the symptoms dissipate then you can increase land-based activities. So the swelling has significantly gone away and now it’s just getting it strong enough to where at his position he feels like he can cut and plant off of it.”
So there was no ligament damage or anything like that?
“No. It’s what I said in the beginning.”
Was Matt Giordano brought in because of Roman Harper’s lingering hamstring?
“No, he was brought in really for the kicking game and his ability to give us help and play as a core special teams guy.”
Could Randall Gay’s situation something that he’ll deal with for a long time?
“That’s a good question. Obviously it’s different than an ankle, but in order for him to be ready ready, his symptoms have to be clear and we all have to feel comfortable that they are; whether it’s the light or the headaches – some of those things that have come back. We have to feel confident that those things are no longer present.”
Is it something that he aggravated in the last week?
“No. I asked that question when it came up yesterday and there wasn’t a hit that all of a sudden…there wasn’t anything specific, but he had some more symptoms, more than we would have expected and we have to pay attention to those.”
How is the offensive line performing this season?
“I think they have done a good job. When you look at the last couple of weeks, just in regards to our ability to run the football…obviously there are little things that they want to improve on but by and large, I think that group is a group that we’re very confident in and will continue to improve just like the rest of the offense. They’re doing well.”
Have the penalties along the line been a concern?
“Those specifically, you obviously want to eliminate those, especially the ones that put you at 2nd-and-20. When you look at the percentages of converting those, you drop really quickly. That would be one area that they feel like they can improve on..”
So the run game isn't an area that’s down to the line?
“I think they’re doing a good job. It’s hard to get the numbers…you see 80-some yards last week and ask what happened with the offensive line. When you have three turnovers, then count the snaps. You look at yards per carry; you pay attention to the efficiency of when you’re running the football. Those are some of the key statistics that I think are critical.”
In general, how is Jon Stinchcomb playing?
“I think he’s doing well. He’s battling. Some of those are coverage sacks where either we’re holding on to it or we’re having trouble getting someone open. He’s battling hard and holding his own.”
Would you say that Garrett Hartley is on a shorter leash as he comes back as the kicker?
“No, that would not be the way I would word it. He’s our kicker. I just watched him kick today and he’s had a great week – he’s had a great couple of weeks. So I wouldn’t say that. There have been times where we’ve sat in here and every one of you guys have known – including myself – that whoever the player might be, but that wouldn’t apply to him. He has too much ability. He’s going to play just fine over the long haul. He’s going to play well.”
Are you a little surprised to find yourselves at 3-2 going up against a 3-1 Tampa team?
“Not in this league. This league is week to week. It’s a battle each week. We knew it was going to be tough coming into this season and we certainly need to improve in areas; that’s why we’re practicing and getting ready to play hopefully our best game of the year this week. Surprise would not be how I would ever describe where a team is at or where we’re at. From an outsider’s view, you might say that there is a certain team but I wouldn’t use Tampa in that fashion either, when you watch them play and you watch the way they’re playing. You are what your record is and that’s where they’re at; they’re 3-1 and we’re 3-2 and this is the sixth week of the season and here we go.”
When you remind your team of a danger of an opponent, do you just have to bring up Week 16 from last season this week?
“I think as you try to look at certain things statistically in a game like this you would point to some of the things that they’re doing well. They’re taking the ball away well; they’re second in the NFL in interceptions. You try to point to some pertinent statistics that relate specifically to this game. Whether it’s third down or red zone, those are all things that we’ll involve in our meetings.”
Have you had to bring a guy like Patrick Robinson along quicker than you first anticipated?
“When you get nicked up with Tracy (Porter) and potentially Randall (Gay) he’s receiving more snaps. Fortunately for us his progress has given us confidence to put the player in situations. He had a good week again this week. Very quickly he’s getting acclimated. Without the injuries would he be receiving the same amount of snaps? I don’t think so, but he’s handling what he’s receiving right now real well.”
Does that obviously make you stronger when Gay and Porter come back?
“Yes. Now you get experience and playing time and people get work at other positions with running back for instance or corner, potentially even safety last week.”
Would you go with three corners if Randall can’t play or would you need a fourth corner?
Could someone like Usama Young play corner?
“That’s something that we have to decide.”
If you look at how there aren’t any undefeated teams left and that there is a lot of parity, does it make it more amazing what you and Indianapolis did last year in terms of how you started?
“If you just took the last ten years, these seasons, I think the exceptions to the rule would be the 13-0 or 14-0. A team gets out to a slower start or a faster start, some are in between. We’re sitting here at this time and people are predicting San Francisco would win that division and they’re still trying to get their first win. In ’07 coming off the season we had, that’s why there’s such a fine line with winning and losing and I think what isn’t the norm would be what you alluded to.”
Are the records of teams being close to the pack more the norm?
“I think it’s the norm if you went back and charted the last ten years.”
Drew Brees talked about the importance of divisional games and that one on the road can almost count as two games. Can you talk about that?
“A division game carries more importance because obviously if you win the game the other divisional opponent loses the game and you pick up what amounts to a full game and potentially down the road what is your first tiebreaker, your divisional record. Certainly there’s value in how you play in your division.”
Do you place more importance on this division game than the first two because it’s on the road?
“I just don’t know that home and away matter in what you’re saying. I think it’s division games, you’re going to play three teams twice, six games, home and on the road. You want to win your division games. They don’t carry more importance when you win them at home or on the road. They carry equal importance, but you want to play well in your division. I think if you look at a set of goals, everyone of the NFC South team’s first goal would be to win the NFC South and the second one would be to earn a good seeding, the best you could possibly do and advance. The first set of goals I would say every one of these 32 teams has is to win your division and one important aspect of that is playing well in your division.”
Can you discuss the process of when Clint Ingram and Darren Sharper could be activated?
“The window of eligibility begins when they come off (PUP). There’s another period of time that takes place before you actually have to make a decision. That’s still a good time period away. We keep evaluating progress and how they’re doing in their rehab. We have time still.”
Doesn’t the six week period end after the Tampa Bay game?
“Yes. I’m not certain if it ends right after Tampa Bay or the following week. I know this when the six week period ends you have the ability to activate immediately or you have a grace period.”
They can practice with the team right away?
“They can practice for a 21-day window and then you have to make a decision”
Are both of those guys healthy enough to practice?
“I didn’t say that.”
What is their current status?
“They’re both making progress. We’ll see.”
Do they have to pass a physical in order to practice?
“Yes at some point you have to pass them on a physical before the next step.”
Can you discuss your challenge on the fumble before the goal line that went in for the touchdown?
“The fumble’s the fumble. What he (Referee) told me was that he wasn’t able to see the helmet of the quarterback go off in any of the angles he saw. We just had a clear look on the jumbotron. You could see the helmet go off. I was challenging the helmet off and the play being dead. He said he didn’t have enough evidence to see that and so ball’s out, scoop up and touchdown.”
Is that along the line of the Ken Stabler “Holy Roller” play in 1978?
“I think the nature of the how the ball came out, it was such that they felt comfortable that is was a typical fumble.”
by Ed Staton
Buy your Saints/LSU jerseys at Louisiana Sports Talk