Payton: Williams expected to recover fully from head hit

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PJ Williams

PJ Williams started the first two games of the season for the Saints (Photo: Parker Waters).

METAIRIE, La. (AP) New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton says cornerback P.J. WILLIAMS is expected to make a full recovery by this offseason from a traumatic blow to the head that occurred during Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

Payton, who discussed Williams’ health on Thursday, says the decision to place Williams on injured reserve this week was “an easy one” because doctors made it clear that Williams would require significant rest to recover from a concussion the coach describes as one of the “more severe” he has seen.

Williams was knocked unconscious when he absorbed a knee to the helmet during a collision with Giants tight end LARRY DONNELL.

Payton says Williams is again doing normal daily activities and that he saw the second-year pro having breakfast at Saints headquarters on Wednesday.

Online: AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and AP NFL Twitter feed: http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

 New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Can you talk about the decision to place P.J. Williams on Injured Reserve. Was there anything further than a concussion that he was dealing with?

“No. It’s a concussion, but it is one that is significant enough you wouldn’t really see on a normal basis. He (Williams) will be able to make a full recovery. He will be able to return to football in the offseason and yet I would say probably one of the more severe concussions that I have seen. It is not measured just by on the field. There are a series of tests they do and they are able to determine how much trauma in the event, his is one where the rest and recovery is going to be necessary. All the experts really take a peek at the different slides and scans. So that made the decision to put him on IR, obviously an easy one but challenging. We went ahead and signed Tony Hills to the roster.”

Is that something you might not have done five years ago knowing more in this day with improved medicine and being more cautious?

“No, this is not us or we. When they scan this concussion, they are able to measure to some degree the type of trauma he had and it was significant. You could tell on the field it was significant. I don’t know whether five years ago this would have been the exact protocol but it’s an easy one for us right now.”

How long was he unconscious? We saw the way he was laying there.

“I would not want to guess. A good portion of while he was on the field. The medical people got there and they (were) just wanting to make sure he was breathing properly. All of that was taking place and then there is a period of time when he’s on the field going to the cart, but a longer period of time than normal compared to what we’ve seen or what we’re little bit more used to seeing.”

How is P.J. now?

“He is doing better.  He spent the night sleeping. I can’t speak for him, but I’m sure disappointment to some degree because the type of recovery of just having gotten into a position where he is competing/playing and starting. From an encouraging standpoint none of this will carry over and limit him anyway in the future. I think more than anything else it has been rest and recovery getting back into the routine here.”

He (P.J. Williams) is able to be at the facility?

“Yes. He is up moving around. He was here yesterday having breakfast, I saw him.”

The way Craig Robertson has played, how do you plan on continuing to utilize him when (Dannell) Ellerbe returns?

“I think we have a handful of packages and we’ll be smart on how we deploy them. I think he’s played well. It’s a good problem to have and defensively we did a lot of things well in that game. But if you’re watching our personnel groupings based on our opponent, there are generally two, three or maybe four packages and we’ll put the best guys on the field in those packages.”

How has the improved depth at safety helped you guys this year?

“Well you have some versatility with it. I thought Vonn Bell played pretty well Sunday and it gives you flexibility to play two safeties/three safeties looks. Obviously it helps with (the) kicking game, (where those) guys can play special teams.”

Just a quick one on Tevin Coleman, they’re going with more of a two-running back system. I was wondering if you could kind of comment your view on how they are approaching the running game and what kind of challenge that presents?

“Well, I would say this, they are very good at running the football. It is important to what they are doing offensively. Both backs are explosive and we know them both well from the draft. (Tevin) Coleman is kind of more of a slash/straight line speed guy. We have got to be prepared to handle that wide zone scheme and how they run it and they have some misdirection. They do a great job as good as anyone with their boots and naked scheme. Just simulating that speed with the running game and the angles in which it hits is always one of the challenges.”

What are some of the things you can do to prevent this from snowballing into 0-3? What are some of the signs you can see to not have that attitude trickle into their mindset?

“I don’t see that as an issue. I think our focus and attention to detail has been good. Guys are working hard and preparing hard. I think more than anything there is sense of frustration after a tough loss like that. No different than the week before but I think they know that we are playing a division team on Monday night against Atlanta. These games have been close. That in itself is the whole reason you are working hard and you understand the importance of the game. I don’t sense that at all.”

You mentioned the Falcons running back tandem. What about their tight ends? Especially when you look how they were used against Oakland last week.

“Well you get into some of this play action. They have two that got a lot of work last week with the rookie and (Jacob) Tamme. The boots, the naked and the returns, they do a good job with getting the ball out in the passing game. You would say in two week they did a good job.”

Do the injuries to the cornerbacks limit what you guys can do?

“I think number one, you’re preparing the guys that are getting ready to play and then I think you’re always mindful of the strengths of the guys that are in the gameplan and trying to tailor the gameplan around what they do well.”

Are you expecting an emotional atmosphere given the 10-year anniversary of the Superdome re-opening?

“I wouldn’t say so, having been through the actual (re-)opening, that was emotional. I said this and I’m not downplaying this, but last year was the 10th year anniversary of Katrina and this is the 10th year 10th year anniversary of the opening of the dome. Many of these players here, I’m sure saw it and heard about it, but I see it being an emotional, physical game, Monday Night Football, a division opponent and I don’t think that will come into play as much.”

How often do you actually reflect on the re-opening of the Superdome game, what it meant for your career and what it meant for the city?

“Everyone stated the symbolism in that game. That idea of rebirth, that idea of the begin(ing) back to normalcy if you will. Coming here right after Katrina there was a lot concern, in regards to, the long term future of your healthcare, your schools. Forget sports for a while, there’s a period of time where just life as New Orleanians new it or Louisiana residents knew it, how would that be affected years later, so you have this event that coincides with the opening of an area that was used to shelter people. There were a ton of thigs that were unreal about it and then of course the game itself, I don’t remember a lot of it. I remember parts of it and knowing that there were going to be traffic issues and I remember going early a couple days before to have a night practice to get used to the lighting and try make sure the players got used to that environment, before they were actually in that game. It was the first series where Steve (Gleason) blocks the punt and I remember we had an eight-man rush in and John Bonamego aka. Bono…there was two Bono’s that night. (John) Bonamego, who is now the head coach at Central Michigan, came to me during that first series and said do you want to rush the punt right here on the very first one and I said let’s do it. The one part that I didn’t remember was (Scott) Fujita caused fumble that all of a sudden we almost pick that thing up and we would have never seen the blocked punt, but obviously that was an emotional night and it was loud, as loud as we’ve seen.”

Does the message of rebirth fit with this team this week?

“I think it’s more of a ten-year anniversary for the city, but I don’t think this team puts their helmets on an hour before kickoff (and that’s the prominent thing on their mind). This is an important division game and I would say to answer your question, I think the focus is on this game, one team is 0-2 trying to get a win and another team is 1-1 early in this season, both in the same division. I think it’s not as significant, but more importantly just a celebration of that game 10 years ago, if that makes sense.”

How many (bad calls) do you submit to the league for review?

“I didn’t submit any, I’m not going to come in here every Monday and get on the phone for a half a day, periodically there will be something, if it (is) egregious or something that is just completely (egregious) then I might call Dean (Blandino) and send it in. Two weeks ago the 4th and 5th interference call that were sent in, but look when you’re receiving a lot of bump and run, it’s kind of back and forth with the corner and the receiver and it’s something that you continue to work on and you learn to try to understand it and utilize yourself what you do offensively.”

Is Coby Fleener’s consistency just based on time on task?

“I think some of it is, yesterday we had good work. It’s just that confidence level, timing level, he’s (Fleener) is a big target. What are the specific things that he does well in man and zone and again I think overall our third down numbers are down? Now we are two weeks into it (the season) and yet yesterday watching every third down and then looking going back looking at everything on third down from a year ago, ultimately you’re receiving contested coverage or receiving tight man to man coverage and I think the key formationally with your players is how you separate from man to man coverage.”

How is Zach (Strief) recovering from that game?

“All good.”

Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle Jonathan Babineaux

Conference call with local media

Thursday, 22 September, 2016

So I think you and Matt Schaub were the only ones on the roster back in 2006 for the Hurricane Katrina homecoming game. What do you recall from that contest? Just the emotions and everything?

“From what I remember, (there were) a lot of emotional things going on prior to the game. Being in the Superdome you could definitely feel the energy from the people/crowd that were in there that night.”

What was it like not knowing, obviously focusing on your own things but just with the hurricane and everything? Not knowing the future of one of your division rivals was going to be at that time.

“Collectively as a city you felt bad for them and what they endured at that time. Hoping that they can regain and get back into their daily transition of what they do on a daily basis. I think the game revamped that city.”

What do you think it did for the National Football League? Especially considering the circumstances at that time?

“I thought it was huge to come out and play that game and to be energized off of football alone. People who came out that had to endure the hurricane suffering great loses throughout the process and to come back and have that game and to have that revival from having a football game played that night. I think it really revived that city.”

What gets overlooked a lot actually is what it was like to be on the visitor’s sideline. I am sure as a football player and a human being you had some conflicting emotions because you were really trying to win and you were early in your career and trying to establish yourself. At the same time you probably saw the big picture. How did you kind of balance that in your mind at the time or were you just tunnel vision?

“I was really (using) tunnel vision. I had a job to do that night. I knew that the city and the team were very emotional through this game and through the process of it. I think it was just them wanting to come out and display the best they could do and put on for their city and to give that city life again.”

Did the Saints feed of the energy of the 2006 Superdome reopening game?

“I don’t think we were bothered by the crowd or anything else. I just think we didn’t play that well that night. I think the Saints came out fired up and they were ready. They actually got the game going in a positive direction on the first punt they block it for a touchdown. That really got the momentum on their side throughout the game and it just trickled on down from there.”

Do you ever get annoyed at how often you see Steve Gleason’s blocked punt?

“Not at all, I do not get to see it that often, of course the NFL Network is running a special on it (right now). There will be shots and memories from that game that will be brought up in the next few days, but that happened in 2006, we can’t do anything about that now. What we can do is look forward to the opportunity to play against a great team this weekend and it is a great rivalry game and it is going to be battle tested from every point of the game, offense, defense (and) special teams. I look forward to a great challenge.”

What have you seen about the Saints rushing attack, it’s been pretty unproductive?

“I cannot say that so far, but I know their rushing attempts have not been where they want them to be. I mean obviously through the first games they lost, could have been the situation where they had to pass the ball a lot more than they wanted to, but again Drew Brees won’t have no problem throwing that ball anytime Sean Payton gives him the opportunity too, but my guess is they are going to try and get back on track with their running game this week and (I’m) looking forward to a balanced offensive attack from them this week.”

What have you seen out of the Saints offensive line?

“They look the same as they did in the past, of course they have some injuries last week. Who knows where people will be playing this week, but we have to go into the game prepared like everybody’s going to play.”

What is it like going up against Jahri Evans?

“It’s very competitive between us two, he brings it,(and) I bring it. It’s like two giants clashing in the rings. We try and make the best of every play and have fun and enjoy it while we are doing it.”

Atlanta Falcons Head Coach Dan Quinn

Conference Call with Local Media

Thursday, September 22, 2016

What do you see out of the Saints offense so far?

“The biggest thing is that you just know how explosive they are. I thought that just going against the guys through the years, the ability to use the tight ends, the running backs (stands out) – it just seems like everybody gets involved. That can make it really challenging. When there are tight ends that can make catches, obviously the wideouts do, but the running backs have always been a big part of their package. Then, you have a sense for the speed, certainly with (Brandin) Cooks and the big plays he’s able to do. We’ve got our hands full, we know that. We know how explosive they can be, in terms of moving the chains and getting first downs, and obviously they can score easily on a lot of folks. We recognize that and we know we have our hands full.”

As a defensive-minded coach, what did you see when you looked back at what the Saints were able to do in Week Two, especially at the cornerback position?

“I think that is one that is not spoken about this week, and I think it is a totally relevant topic. It really comes down to being really disciplined and really fundamentally sound. That is when it kind of shows, when a guy goes down and the next man steps up and has really good technique and is really disciplined, and knowing how to feature guys in the best way. I have a lot of respect for (Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen) in knowing that next man’s up. Not only did they play and function, but they played really well to hold them to that few points. I just don’t think that you can speak to that enough. I came away very impressed after watching that video of the job that they did in getting ready. It really speaks to the players and their confidence in their teammates.”

Is (Falcons wide receiver) Julio Jones practicing today or is he limited?

“He is going to participate in the walkthrough portion and then he will not participate in the active practice today. He is going to get some work. He is definitely on the improvement heading up, but he is not going to get the full load today. He got a good bit of the walk through work today.”

You anticipate him being 100% for Monday night?

“I do.”

I know you weren’t there 10 years ago (for the reopening of the Superdome), but how do you address that with your team and the historical perspective?

“The historical perspective – I think everybody has their timeline to recognize where they were when events like that took place. Although I wasn’t part of the team when the Superdome reopened, any fan of any sport certainly recognized the energy that was in the building on that night. With that said, all the work this week has got to be focused right back into the team, just like theirs is as well. I know they’ll have the added dimension of their crowd there but all of the focus has to be on the team, in terms of us getting ready. They’ve got plenty of things for us to look at this week. We recognize the environment coming on Monday night. It is going to be a special one. Honestly, we are pumped to be a part of it.”

Do you brace for that initial emotion and enthusiasm by the crowd, and if you can handle that, you’ll be in good shape?

“We will not talk about withstanding. What we will talk about is that it has got to come down to us and our technique. We know the uniqueness of the night and the historical perspective of it but we’re really trying to bring it back to the players. When that ball is kicked off and it is now between the white (lines) and the guys, that is where we have got to execute. We know that the communication is certainly a factor in this game because of the energy that this crowd will have. Past that, in today’s practice, we really focused on our team and what we need to get ready. We are looking forward to being a part of it, to be honest with you. Getting a chance to play in games where the crowd is unique and there is a buildup for it, honestly, it is a real honor and a privilege to get to coach and play in games where it is rocking and loud. It is why we love to compete, because you get to be in moments like that.”

What were you doing at that time 10 years ago?

“I can remember that in 2005, I was at the Dolphins. I was at the Dolphins both years. I was part of a team that ended up playing one of the Saints games over at LSU. I remember how different that was. The next year we didn’t play (New Orleans) but I was still at Miami at the time. I think everybody recognized the significance of the reopening and kind of what the team meant to the community. I can’t recall who we played that week ourselves but I think everybody remembers a unique moment like that.”

Your tight end group played very well last week against the Raiders; the development of (Austin) Hooper and Jacob Tamme, how has that gone so far?

“We have been pleased with him (Hooper) thus far. We thought (he) was going to be a real factor for us. He has length, he has got a range and he is a little faster than you would think, in terms of covering him. It’s really that range that when a ball may be thrown up or outside where he can go extend to go get it. We know, like most teams, like the team you guys are covering with New Orleans – when the ball gets spread around, that can make it real challenging. It goes to tight ends, to running backs and to receivers. Having him come through, we were hopeful for that to happen. We knew last year that Jacob (Tamme) was kind of our feature tight end. Now that we have another guy that can be counted on in third downs and down in the red zone, extending drives and has the speed and ball skills to run seam routes down the middle, that’s a weapon. He is certainly learning as he is going. He is a real football junkie guy. He is the type of guy that is in the meeting rooms early and asking questions to the tight ends coach, and really just trying to establish himself as he is getting started. We are pleased with his progress so far, we really are.”

How much flexibility does that give you to be able to play more in the 12-personnel package this year, as opposed to last year?

“It is. It is a significant portion. We like that personnel group. It allows some of the run game, the keepers and the play-action to go and work a little bit different. You can utilize some different formations. We love the speed that he brings and then we added (Mohamed) Sanu in as well. We felt like with some of the matchups in 12 (personnel), Julio (Jones) is the factor to deal with, he is the x-factor but a number of these other guys when their number is called, they are totaling coming through. Some teams will play unique coverage towards Julio (Jones). When those opportunities happen, there could be some looks for some other guys. We are pleased to see that (Austin) Hooper is a guy who can take advantage of a look like that and make a defense pay. That is definitely by design. Not all teams play it that way but a number of them do.”

What is it about this rivalry that has allowed the visiting team to have so much success in the other team’s building?

“I know it has been a fantastic rivalry through the years. The NFC South just has some guys that are going to battle for it. I don’t know if it’s because the area between Louisiana, down through Georgia, up through North Carolina and Florida (is such a football region). You know how big football is and you know how big some of the college rivalries are, maybe that has just carried forward over the last 15 years or so. Atlanta and now Carolina being there and Tampa Bay, where it is just kind of part of our culture down here. You can recognize that too with living in Louisiana and knowing that region. The region that we’re in, I think we’re really fortunate that we live in a state where football is really important. That goes from high school ball, college ball and into our world too. I think that would have to have a factor, kind of the culture that we live that football is way up there on the list.”

Would you have been at the Dolphins facility watching (the return to the Superdome) live or did you just catch highlights of it?

“It was played on a Monday night which is a big gameplan night. You may have it on in the background. Certainly, for the start of it, you want to stop what you are doing and watch. That was a big moment, knowing how hard so many people had to work, the sacrifices that were made, kind of the hardships and people enduring. They showed a lot of grit and toughness and the community they were coming back to. Although I can’t recall the game and the moment from that night from 10 years ago, what I can remember is just the enthusiasm that the community had for the team.”

I guess it may have been meaningful to Nick (Saban) too, given where he had come from just two years earlier?

“Yes, for sure. He’d (spent) significant time at LSU, and then for us to play (the Saints at LSU) when the team was moved out for a year and having to play games at different spots. Playing them at LSU that year prior, it just felt different. That was LSU’s stadium. That’s what the team had to do based on those circumstances. I think we all recognized how unique it was for them to be back exactly where they belonged.”

New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees

Local Media Availability

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Any nostalgia going into this scenario game? I know you have talked about it on specials and stuff. Is there a sense around the building that there is some nostalgia going into the game this week?

“There are a few players that were a part of that. I guess me, (Zach) Strief, and Jahri (Evans) (and Roman Harper). Quite a few coaches (are still here). Here we are ten years later and you still have that number of guys that were present for that and a part of that is pretty unique. I am excited to see how it is all covered. I’m sure ESPN and Monday Night Football have a good something in store. I know NFL Films put a nice piece together and talked to a lot of guys including myself this offseason. I think at the end of the day it’ll highlight a lot of the progress we’ve made over the past ten years in New Orleans. I think that part of it is great for the city and great for the community. It will provide for a really unique atmosphere that night. I say this, the same thing about this game that we did ten years ago is you got to win it. It doesn’t mean as much unless you win. That’s what the fans come to see and that’s what you try to do.”

Is there any curiosity from some of the younger guys in the locker room? I mean they were 12,13,14 years old at the time and probably were not focused on the news. Is there any curiosity of what that was like for the younger guys or do you try to explain it to them?

“Obviously if I was asked I would (talk about it). I’ll be honest it has been very much just down to business. Sean (Payton) always does a great job of setting the stage for what a game is going to be like outside the X’s and O’s. I know at the end of the week that conversation will occur. There will be longer time between timeouts and pregame and at halftime. Obviously these are the festivities that will be taken place and be prepared for that. I think more so I think just to have yourself ready to play the game the best you can.”

Are you going to specifically talk to the younger guys on what the game means and how difficult is it to be the next man up when you keep running out of next men?

“It’s an opportunity. There are times when the injury bug hits you in certain ways and guys are required to step up and fill a role that maybe they haven’t gotten a whole lot of reps at. That is the mentality. The training continues to move forward. You want to be one of the people that’s helping it move forward. Guys know the importance of the game and will be ready to play.”

Seeing that piece last night on the NFL Network, did you see it and saw wow that seems like it was just yesterday? Just personal reflection in anyway. (Referring to the television program The Timeline: Rebirth)

“I haven’t seen it in its entirety. I’ve seen bits and pieces of it. It looked like it was a great piece. And there were some things that I learned in that, just from watching it. I am sure it brings back a lot of memories for people that had to go through that. (Talking about Katrina itself and the aftermath)

Where did you get that hat Drew?

“New Era came out with this to honor the Rebirth and this anniversary. I guess this hat becomes available at the New Era store on Canal Street. All of the proceeds from that hat go to Team Gleason. There you go. Tomorrow at the New Era store on Canal Street this will be available. We all got one in the locker room it was pretty cool and all the proceeds got to team Gleason.”

What do you remember about the exact moment of the block and the Superdome environment after it?

“Well the funny thing is, is that I’m about as far away from it as you can be because I’m sitting there at the receiving end of the punt and the offense is going to take the field. In a lot of cases I’m sitting there getting locked in to what is going to be our opportunity out there/our drive. Maybe it’s a testament of just how loud the sound of that block(ed) punt was. It was like a shotgun blast when Gleason took it off his foot. Then (there is) the eruption of the crowd and for a second you’re just like ‘what happened?’ Then you’re jumping up and down and hugging guys. You can’t be more excited. If you didn’t know it before that moment, then you knew it after that moment that there is no way we can lose this game.”

Was the dome as loud as it was when (Garrett) Hartley made his kick to put the Saints in the Super Bowl?

“For some reason that’s what sticks out even more. There was still a whole game to be played (in the Superdome reopening). At the end of (the) Hartley kick you immediately go to a different place. Those are both pretty spectacular moments.”

When you look at the first two weeks.  If you just say man if we could just get in the middle of both sides of the ball, there you could easily be 2-0. Does that give you confidence?

“It does give us a lot of confidence. Because there are a lot of elements in there that are (parts of) winning football. You still have to find a way to make plays when you have the opportunity and when you are one play away here and there you just feel like we are about to break the seal and when we do we will catch fire and we will get the momentum and gain a lot of confidence and start stacking wins.”

How do you personally not think, it’s only human nature to say we are 0-2, it’s the third year in a row, oh no here we go again. How do you avoid that personally?

“Because I know how good we can be. I have been here a long time. (I have) Been with a lot of different teammates and been on a lot of different teams. When you can catch fire you can catch fire quick. We need that to happen and we would like for it to be this week.”

Do you see it in the same context as talking to the high school in West Virginia and whether this game being on primetime would be meaningful to them or the fire cases in California? Whatever the case may be.

“I think it can be because so many of those people right when it happens you cannot fathom on how to come back from that. How in the world as you look around at the destruction to the not only your own personal life but your community and where you’re at? You’re probably just really overwhelmed at what just happened and how could life ever get back to normal with what just happened. I think New Orleans is a great example and symbol of how it can come back when you have this community that bans together and continues to press on. As you begin to highlight the specifics around New Orleans that have come back even stronger than they were before. I think that is a story to tell and certainly an uplifting story and inspirational story to tell to other people who are going through something very similar. Wondering what it’s going to be like in the future. Will things ever get back to normal and I would say that not only could they get back to normal but they can come back better.”

Where do you feel like things are between you and Coby Fleener?

“We are continuing to get better every day and we get more time together every day. We are able to get more specific every day and that’s the thing in the offseason everything is very general. It is the general form of the offense and the concepts and that kind of thing. It is not till you get into real game-planning do you get down to some of the nitty-gritty and the specifics and so that is just time on task and I am confident. I have had more time with guys like Brandin Cooks, Willie (Snead) and Brandon Coleman and even Michael Thomas at this point because Coby (Fleener) was a little banged up this offseason. The more time we get together, just the more the confidence builds and the more that you really find everyone’s role in all of this. I’m confident that as we progress here, that he is going to be an even bigger part of the offense. It just happens to be the first two weeks, maybe some of the other guys have had more opportunities. His opportunities are going to come.”

How do you recapture homefield advantage in the Superdome and what makes primetime games different?

“I’d say we there was a period of time our record at home was pretty untouchable, regardless of whether it was primetime or not. I think you value the importance of the homefield advantage. What that can mean to a team and teams fight for that in the playoffs. In a lot of cases that becomes the difference. When you look at history as to why some teams continued on and some teams didn’t and so there is a value to that, there really is. I think the more our young guys have a chance to play in that venue and feel that atmosphere you realize that it is unique and we have to harness that.”

Is it easier to have an explosive offense at home?

“There are obviously benefits to homefield advantage, communication being the biggest one offensively. I’ say we just got a late start last week. We are obviously better than that. We did some good things, but it was just too late. We had some opportunities that we kind of squandered that can’t happen and we understand we have to make the most of every opportunity, regardless of whether you’re home or away.”

Beyond third downs, what are some things you want to improve?

“When you have an opportunity to make plays you have to make them and sustain drives, that falls in that third down category, but other than that it’s pretty simple.”

What do you see in this year’s Atlanta Falcons defense?

“It’s Dan Quinn’s second year there and he comes from Seattle and brings that scheme. It seems like there have been a lot of those coaches now that run that scheme, but then again they have their own little twist depending on the type of personnel they have and different things, maybe it’s different pressure packages, maybe it’s just you have certain person within that defense that you want to try to make more of a focal point, whatever it might be, but bottom line I think this is a patient defense. I think this is a defense that typically will sit and wait for an offense to make a mistake or to get greedy or impatient. That is typically the style of this defense, but listen they also have the ability to turn it up, turn up the pass rush (and) get after you a little bit and I think they’ve got a secondary that all fly around. They have good ball skills. I think for us it’s really efficiency and execution.”

How has the rivalry changed throughout your 11 years with the Saints?

“I just know this, especially since 2008, since the Matt Ryan era (started it has been very competitive between the two teams).  I have a lot of respect for him (Ryan) and anytime you play against a quarterback of that caliber you know that it’s an all-day sucker, you can never be up by too much, you just know you have to be at your absolute best and typically these games come down to the last possession because that’s the type of team they are and that’s the type of team we’ve been and that’s the types of games these have been. While the middle part of the game is important and you’re trying to grab momentum and you’re trying to score points and take advantage of opportunities and do certain things, you understand too that the end of the game is the time where more plays are going to be made that are going to win it for you.”

What do you take away from last week’s game?

“I’d say just being more efficient in a lot of areas that are directly related to third down. If you are sitting in a lot of third and long situations, where defenses can sit and tee off on you, those are more difficult than for medium situations. How do you stay out of those? Well you can be better on first and second down. I would say we were poor on first and second down in this past Giants game.  It put us in some tough spots on third down. Again the opportunity to make certain big plays, that will get you a chunk and potentially a score and those are opportunity you want to capitalize on when you can and we didn’t do that in this last game.”

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