Friday, 26 August 2011 18:05

New Orleans Saints vs. Oakland Raiders: Hue Jackson, Payton, Lance Moore

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Raiders coach Hue Jackson calls his preseason game on Sunday night "an unbelievable test."

"It's probably the best test we can get: playing against a tremendous football team with a quarterback who I think is one of the best in football," Jackson said at his mid-week conversation with the media.

Preseason Week 3 is usually dress rehearsal for many of the starters and an opportunity for a team to gauge where they stand as a collective unit.

The Raiders defense has been preparing for the Saints' receivers. "With Brees, he's one of the five best quarterbacks in the league, it'll be a great test for us," said Oakland cornerback Stanford Routt. "They've got a great receiving corps with Colston, Henderson, Meachem, Moore, Graham, their tight end, the Heisman Trophy winner running back, Mark Ingram. They definitely give you a bevy of weapons out there."

"Our defense knows they'll be tested from the start and paid close attention to detail during practice. "I expect Brees to have them running very efficiently on Sunday," said safety Steve Brown.

Wide receiver Derek Hogan expects the Saints defense to be fired up and ready to go with  starters getting increased playing time. "This is the third game and we know a lot of the starters are going to play a lot," said Hagan. "We're definitely looking forward to it."

"This is definitely going to be a test to see where we are mentally, physically, and as a whole -- defense, offense," said Routt "You saw how they did against the 49ers back in Week 1 with all the blitzing so Week 3 is going to tell you where you're at."

The Raiders (0-2) expect to learn a lot about themselves as a team through Sunday's game. "How the flow of the game goes on offense and defense, how they gel, how you play, whether you're out there blowing coverages, blowing assignments,  out there with false starts, dropping passes, stuff like that. It's going to show you where you are," said Routt.

The Raiders host the Saints (1-1) at on Sunday at 7 p.m. on NBC Sunday Night Football.

Jackson's take on the game: "The New Orleans Saints versus the Oakland Raiders, it gets no better than that."

Saints Practice Reports:

Coach Sean Payton

Opening Statement:

“Here’s the list of players who did not practice: Ezra Butler, Tom Johnson, Johnny Patrick, Jeff Charleston, Fabian Washington, Chris Taylor, Aubrayo Franklin, Clint Ingram, Roger Allen, Jarred Fayson, Carl Nicks, Junior Galette, Lance Moore, and Joe Morgan.  Joe Morgan, we’re going to scope on Monday.  He has a meniscus.  We did the MRI today.  It’s something that came up in practice yesterday and should put him at two to four weeks from a time frame.  Obviously, he won’t play this weekend.  Mitch King received work.  Sedrick Ellis received work, limited. Will Herring the same way.  Roman Harper had a small fracture in his right finger.  That happened at practice and they went ahead and splinted it.  He should be fine.  I may not play him this weekend.  If it was a regular season game, he’d be ready to go.”

What’s Lance Moore’s injury?

“He has a groin.  It happened yesterday.  We rested him in the walk-throughs this morning and this afternoon’s practice.  I probably won’t play him Sunday as well.  It’s something that we think we’ll get him back next week and we’ll decide if we want to play him on Thursday.”

How much does Joe Morgan’s injury affect this team?

“If you look closely at the guys I mentioned, there are four or five guys that have been injured that hopefully we’re going to get back.  We’re going to get a good group of these guys back for next week, but obviously not in Joe’s case.  We’ll have to make a decision with the information we have right now and go from there.”

What’s the plan with the Raiders this weekend?  Are you planning to let the starters play three quarters?

“What we talked about last night is we’re going to play them through the first half and then we’ll get a pitch count at halftime as far as how much they’ve played.  Generally one side of the ball or the other gets more snaps.  We’ll probably look to come out in the third quarter with at least one side of the ball and go from there, so at least through the first half and then some substitutions.  The primary starters will play the first half and then we’ll see where we are at halftime to see what we’re going to do in the third quarter.”

Can you tell us about the progress Mark Ingram has made?

“He’s a quick study and what I mean by that is he learns very quickly.  He’s picked up our offense.  We rested him a couple days just to get off his knee, but he’s doing well.  He’s come in right away, he played at a real good program, he’s been well-coached, and he has a lot of ability.  He’s been exciting.  Real quickly he’s made some strong first impressions.”

What’s the hardest thing for a Heisman Trophy winner to adjust to in the NFL?

“I would really equate it to any first round pick that has additional pressure in regards to playing and getting acclimated.  Some take longer than others and then certainly when you’re a Heisman Trophy winner you get more attention.  He’s handled it well and I think he’s handled those big spots before at Alabama and he’s handled this well.”

How has it been going with Tracy Porter handling the nickel?

“We’re just trying to have some flexibility and train these guys to do multiple things so he’s someone that can play inside.  We’ve seen Malcolm (Jenkins) come inside with an additional safety and certainly we’ve seen guys like Leigh Torrence so it’s really just giving ourselves flexibility when we get into nickel situations not only with the first group but there’s a handful of packages that Gregg (Williams) is playing so some of them can put Tracy inside and I think he’s handled that well and we’ll have a chance to evaluate some.  He’ll have a chance to play in this game, but we’ll be careful with how many snaps we play him so he would be maybe one of those early substitutes somewhere in the early part of the second quarter.”

How did you feel about the way Mark Ingram looked today?

“I thought he looked good.  We were in helmets and shoulder pads, but he’s going to play Sunday and we’re going to be smart about his reps, but he’s looking good.”

As far as the amount of work you’re able to do in this weather, has it been as productive or more than what you thought it would be?

“We were hopeful when our camp ended in New Orleans that we were able to add a week.  What the weather has allowed us to do is get our practice in and it helps the latter part of practice where the focus is more challenging when it’s hot and you’re dealing with the heat.  It’s what I hoped it would be.  It’s been awhile for me since I’ve been back here.  I was here in 2004 and 2005.  The facilities are very good and logistically the players aren’t having to travel a lot.  It’s well-run.  These guys have done a number of training camps so you can see that right away when it comes to the food, the meeting rooms, and the practice fields.  It’s been really good and they’ve done a good job.”

What do you think about training camp here?

“It’s been talked about a lot and I think there’s a base tie for us in New Orleans.  We’ve always tried to be logistically smart.  We’ve had weeks in Indianapolis with (Hurricane) Gustav.  We’ve had a week in London when we played there.  We’ve been in Houston when we practiced with the Texans so a lot of it would be dependent on what the preseason schedule is and if we’re playing out West.  The experience here has given the organization the chance to really see the benefits.  In a perfect world, you’d like to have that time in New Orleans in the heat that I think is important and yet an option like this that can you out of it.  A lot of it is who you open up with.  If you open up the season at Tampa, then you have to be concerned that you’re leaving this environment and you’re playing the first game in early September and it’s 100 degrees there.  I know in Dallas that was always a concern of ours.  It was always who we were playing early in the schedule.  At that time in Texas Stadium the temperatures were getting into the 100s.  It’s just having that balance but the facilities have been great and the impression has been really good.”

What about the fight today?

“It was our first one I think.  One of the things is you see the veteran players just watch because they’re not going to waste any energy.  We’ve had some good, competitive practices.  Our guys have handled it and we’ve had a lot of contact here.  We’ve been in full pads.  Today was the first day with helmets and shoulder pads, but we’ve had good work.”

Do you think it was because guys were picking on Darren Sproles too much?

“I’ll have to look at it.  I think there was a collision in there.  I think Leigh (Torrence) and Jimmy Graham maybe came in and, who knows, we’ll see it on tape.”

What type of preparation do you have to make to play the Raiders?

“It starts tonight and tomorrow.  Getting used to their offensive sets and information and their personnel of their defensive fronts and coverages.  That will go on tonight, all day tomorrow, Saturday morning and then we’ll fly up there Saturday afternoon.

What’s your message to Saints fans going to watch the game in Oakland with what’s been going on around last week?

“We have a great following and I think for our fans, they travel well and the thing we always notice is their turnout and their vocal support.  Some stadiums are bigger challenges than others in regards to the fan base and I think the Raiders have great fans that get into the game and get excited for their team.  This is always a great place to play in the preseason because there is that enthusiasm for a game.”

Linebacker Will Hering:

How was it to be back at practice today?

“It was good. I had a few days off with a calf bruise. I took a leg whip in the game. It felt good today. I am definitely coming along trying to fit in and find my role on the defense.  It was a good day and a good week. I think we’ve definitely made some strides.”

How was your first day of practice in Oxnard?

“It was good. I think it was good on guys legs. You can go out here and get a lot of work. The defense has made strides in terms of production, getting the ball out and making strips. I think the guys have responded well. Obviously we had some things to clean up from the game. I’m excited.”

An opportunity to start was something that drew you here. Are you happy they’re taking a long look at you?

“Yes, you’re right. As a competitor, every guy’s goal is to play at this level and to come in and have a chance to compete for a starting job was a goal of mine. I’m excited about the opportunity.”

How do you rate your own performance?

“I feel good about it. Obviously there are things to improve on. I try to get better at one or two things every day. I felt good learning the new system, trying to fit in and trying to learn my role.”

How productive has it been for this team to not have to take so many water breaks and breathers as in Metairie?

“I think it’s good. You can feel the speed and tempo pick up. Just because you have your legs under you, you can get more done. If you’re in the heat, you maybe have to shorten practice a little bit, hydrate more, worrying about the cramping. I think it was good for the guys. We got a couple weeks in the heat and now we’re here trying to clean some things up.”

Would you like to come back to Oxnard?

“I’d love to come back here. I love it.”

How do you feel about the golf course nearby?

“I have mixed emotions about it because you’re nearby, playing ball, going at it and you have guys nearby teeing off. That’s kind of messed up.”

What do you think you need to accomplish to show the coaches you’re ready to start?

“Everyday I step out here. We go to be physical. The Raiders have a good running game, good offensive line, two good running backs. You have to be physical at the point of attack. We need to stop the run. Not just me, my goal whether I’m lining up over the tight end is to just do my job and beat the guys in front of me and establish a physical presence.”

Is your prior experience more at strongside or weakside?

“I’ve played both. I’ve played more at will. I know either one, I’ve started at either position due to some injuries as well as my role at nickel.”

Is that the biggest adjustment covering the tight end?

“Not really. We’re in a new system doing some different things, but I feel good.”

How do you feel physically?

“I feel good, I took a calf contusion. I just wanted to get the inflammation out and not pull something. It felt good. It’s one of those things where rather than make it a two or three week injury they wanted me to sit out a couple days do some rehab and today it felt good”

 New Orleans Saints CB Jabari Greer’s Post-Practice Press Conference

Thursday, August 25, 2011

What are you guys looking to improve on during this week of practice?

"We have to make sure that we understand that we have to go out there and play with a certain enthusiasm. We have to go out there and make sure we tackle and prevent the long ball, which is something we didn’t do last game. We have to have fun playing football. I think (vs. Texans) opportunities kept coming up against us and we really didn’t face adversity well. With the type of team that we have, we have great leadership to be able to come back here and fix our problems. I think we will be alright.”  

How much does it help to have so many fans out here cheering you guys on?

“It’s fun. It makes it fun to have these guys out here cheering for us it really does make it fun.”

Do you miss the Louisiana heat?

“I do miss home. I miss my wife and my kids. We have a great fan base down in New Orleans. It does get hot but (fans) make it worthwhile.”

How would it be to have a full training camp at Oxnard?

“This is incredible. Not for the full training camp because we have to be able to provide our home fans with the show that we give them. We have such great support down there. To take that away from them, I would think would be unfair. But to be able come here and share this with the fans we have here has been incredible.”

What do you think is the main thing you guys need to be prepared for facing the Raiders?

“We have to prepare to tackle. As a defense we have to prepare to make big plays. I think that is one thing that we didn’t do a great job of (vs. Texans.). We have to make turnovers and capitalize on the turnovers. We have to wrap up and be the most physical team.”

What are your impressions of CB Terrail Lambert?

“He is doing well. He is a great guy. I think that he has shown the hunger to play the game. He has been out there working and doing everything that is asked of him. He took us to Topper's Pizza today so that was a great treat. He surprised me. He actually wrote a book. I did not know about that. Not only is he a good football player but he is an accomplished author.”

SAINTS NOTEBOOK: Lance Moore will miss Sunday's game with a groin injury. The wide receiver had been enjoying a big training camp. He had played 85 per cent of the  Saints' first-team snaps though two games after playing 51 per cent last season...The Saints offense didn't like the way the defense stayed on RB Darren Sproles too long, setting off a brief scuffle during Thursday's practice.  S Malcolm Jenkins grabbed TE Jimmy Gr4am by the fase mask before the players cooled down...Sean Payton finally found a flaw in the Saints' workouts at Oxnard. He has an allergy that left him coughing throughout his post-practice meeting with the media...

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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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. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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