Head Coach Jay Gruden
"[Jason] Hatcher was limited. Keenan Robinson was limited. Chris Culliver was limited. Dashon Goldson was limited. DeAngelo Hall was limited. Andre Roberts, limited. Full were [Bashaud] Breeland, [Ryan] Kerrigan, [Terrance] Knighton, [Josh] LeRibeus and [Chris] Thompson."
On everyone participating in practice for the first time this season:
"I had to re-read that a couple times… It's good. It's good to get everybody at practice and have a full group. You can practice a little longer, which is good. You're not stressing out the guys who are healthy where they have to take a lot of reps, so it's good to get some guys some rest but also get a lot of work in. That's been a big benefit this week."
On if he is pleased with the production from LB Trent Murphy and LB Preston Smith and if he can get more production from them:
"Well, we're always going to challenge our guys to do more. I'm not going to say I'm displeased; I'm not going to say I'm pleased. It's a work in progress and we're working with them. Both of them are young football players and they're striving to be the best they can be and we're working with them. They can always do better, yes. I'm happy with some of the things that they've done and I'm happy with their progress, but they have a ways to go before they get the production that they expect and that we expect."
On if he wants to keep DB Kyshoen Jarrett in the lineup:
"No question. Kyshoen has proved to be a very good football player for this team. When you get [Bashaud] Breeland healthy and you get [Chris] Culliver healthy and D-Hall starts to come up and you see the way [Will] Blackmon has been playing, there has got to be a spot for him somewhere, we feel like. He came in as a safety, the problem is he hasn't played safety since all the injuries. He's been a nickel. We've got to get him the reps back at safety. That's where his home is, so eventually, I think that transition will be good for him."
On if LB Junior Galette rehabs on-site:
"Yeah, I talked to him the other day. He's rehabbing his butt off. Man, he's doing a great job. He obviously wants this one but he's doing good."
On how much injuries to TE Niles Paul and TE Logan Paulsen hurt the running game:
"A lot. Those two guys are great run blockers. Both of them are excellent in the core. They both were developing as run blockers, point-of-attack guys, back-side guys. That hurt us quite a bit. That had an impact, but Jordan [Reed] had to step up, and then he had an injury. We got Derek [Carrier] off the streets obviously. [Anthony] McCoy got here really late. That position is crucial to the running game. We've tried to put [Tom] Compton out at tight end a little bit. It's just been tough getting these guys ready. They're doing better. Carrier is doing a lot better and obviously Jordan is doing better and those guys have got to step up. That loss of those two guys hurt."
On if FB Darrel Young can help in lieu of the missing tight ends:
"Yeah, you still need a tight end. You can run with three receivers, one back and one fullback if you want to, which is a possibility, but we like… You know, if you line up with DY in a game, you usually have one tight end, sometimes two in there, so either way. The fact of the matter is usually when we put DY in the game and we're playing against some of these teams in regular and some of those personnel groupings and they're stacking the box. We just haven't been doing a very good job with that personnel group – not saying DY hasn't been, it's just that group in general. That's something we're going to explore these next coming weeks with that personnel group and hopefully we'll get better at the running game in those groups."
On balancing fixing the running game with trying some new things:
"Yeah, I think there's — each game plan is specific obviously. There are some teams, quite frankly, you feel like you have a better chance with the running game than others. Not going to say this is one of them, but you know, they're game-plan specific. Some of our pass games are extensions of our running game with the bubble screens and the quick passing — get the ball out of quarterback's hands, get us in second and makeable — and then your playbook is wide open still. But, you know, I think balance is still the key for this football team, whether it is the run mixed with the pass or the quick-passing game mixed with the play-actions. We'll keep them off-balance and we'll attack accordingly."
On C Brian de la Puente:
"Yeah, he's doing OK. Yesterday was first time he's practiced in a while, so he's a little bit gassed, so to speak. He did a good job but I think the big thing is coming in here, learning all the words — what everything means. [Offensive Line] Coach [Bill] Callahan — you know, he's got a lot of — he's got a vocabulary now. It's like coming in here, trying to learn Spanish in a day. Very difficult, but he's getting there, man. He's a smart kid, played a lot of football. We've just got to try to get him ready if we can, but we feel good about Josh [LeRibeus] playing center and de la Puente being a backup, what have you. We just need another true center in the building with Kory's [C Kory Lichtensteiger's] injury."
On how much pressure it puts on the secondary if the team stops producing takeaways:
"Well, we're counting on turnovers. We've preached turnovers since the first day we walked in the building defensively and we're banking on it. We're banking on people stripping the football and getting the hands in the passing lane and defensive backs making plays. If you don't get them, obviously, it puts a lot of stress on the defense and offense. You know, we've got to do a better job of when we do get them, capitalizing on them as an offense. I think they go hand in hand. We can't go into a game and say, 'What if we don't get turnovers?' We're expecting to get turnovers. We're expecting to fly around to the football and make things happen in a positive way on defense."
On if the statistics match with what they have seen from New Orleans' defense on film:
"You know, not really. They've given up some plays. I know their rankings are what they are. They've given up a few points and big plays from time to time, but I look at key spots. Third-down conversion rate, they're near the top of the league. They do some good things on defense. Rob Ryan is an excellent defensive coordinator and he'll have a specific plan for us — a blitz plan, whatever it is, a coverage plan. They're working through some different people, too. They've had some injuries. They have got a rookie middle linebacker playing and they're trying to mesh together. You can see them getting better and better as the weeks progress with his defense. There's no reason to think that we can think we can take advantage of them just because they're 31st. They're going to play their butts off, as we are. It'll be a great game."
Defensive Coordinator Joe Barry
On his assessment of the defense's performance against the Patriots:
"I think those [takeaways and holding the Patriots below their scoring average] were positives, but we go into every game obviously wanting to compete to win. I don't care what the scoreboard says at the end; we didn't win and I think we definitely had opportunities to make plays. As I mentioned last Thursday, when you play – really against any team in the NFL – but when you play against the Tom Bradys and when you play this week against Drew Breeses, your margin for error is not minimal, it's zero. When you don't make the plays that you're supposed to make when you have an opportunity to get off the field on third down, you've got to cash in on those. I think we've had chances and we didn't cash in on them. That proved for a long day to start. We played 30 snaps in the first quarter. I think we had 41 or 42 snaps the first half. But the guys I think saw that on film when we came in on Tuesday. We've moved forward and had a great day of practice yesterday, had a great day of practice today. So, it doesn't get any easier. We're on to Drew Brees now."
On the importance of the pass rush and the difference in the Saints' sack totals in wins and losses:
"Actually, it's 15 sacks [allowed] in their losses and six sacks in their wins. Again, with any great quarterback, when you can affect the quarterback – and the great ones are hard to effect just because they're so smart, they get their pre-snap keys, they do a great job with protection – but, absolutely, every single week we put a premium on getting after the quarterback, no matter who the quarterback is. When you're playing against a guy like Drew, absolutely. Getting him off the spot, pressuring him and getting him uncomfortable, absolutely it's a premium, no question."
On if the recent struggles in the running game are more confusing because of the team's strong performance in that regard early in the season:
"Yeah, it is. I think for the first four games, I know Atlanta got some yards but we had a plan; we were understanding that that was going to happen. But we always look at the season in four quarters, and we just finished the second quarter of the season. We played very well for the first quarter of the season. We made some uncharacteristic mistakes in that second quarter of season. But, yeah, that's why practice and that's why we work. It's a long season. We've moved into the third quarter of the season now, but tackling again showed up. They had 37 rushing attempts. They had half of their yards on six runs. The other 31 runs… They had 160 yards. They had 80 on six runs. So, again, defensive football, the name of the game is playing physical, getting off blocks and making tackles. Like I said, the guys came out and had a good physical practice yesterday and they're working. So, we'll be ready on Sunday."
On evaluating LB Trent Murphy and LB Preston Smith:
"I think, with everybody, I think we've had some good, some bad. They've played at high level at some times. My big message to the team today, ironically, was consistency. Consistency — a great quote — 'Consistency is the truest measure of performance,' and you can't be, in this league, one day up, one day down. I think that's the hardest thing for young players. Trent being a second-year player, Preston, a first-year player, and… it's everybody. Coaching as well. We're always striving to be consistent. Like I've said, we've had too many ups and downs and I think it starts with us as coaches. Coaches, players, we're always striving for consistency and have that consistent level. I think that would be everybody, but you asked those two, absolutely, striving for consistency, every single day."
On how much he thinks LB Junior Galette could have helped:
"I think I've said this with you guys before… I'm not a guy who… I look through the windshield not through the rearview mirror. I'm always, constantly looking ahead, trying to improve, but Junior, specifically, absolutely – great player, impact player. It would have been great to have him. Unfortunately, he got injured so we've got to move on. But no question, any time you lose an impact player, any time in the season — whether it's the beginning, the middle, the end — it's hard. No question, that was hard losing him."
On if regulating DE Jason Hatcher's workload in practice has helped keep him fresh for games:
"I think so. For example, yesterday, he didn't do anything. Today, he came out and he practiced like gangbusters. I think any time that you get a player that has as many reps that he's accumulated on his legs and in his body, you've got to be smart with the guy. He always fights it. He wants to practice every day, but definitely the second half of the season, it's probably going to be a common theme. We'll give him the day off on Wednesday and we'll crank it up on Thursday. He did that today. He got after it today, but you've definitely got to have a plan with a guy like that, no question."
On the evolution of the Saints' offense and the personnel they've lost in the past few years:
"Well, one guy that they haven't lost unfortunately is No. 9 [Brees]. I think he is very similar. I used the phrase last week, Drew is the guy that stirs the drink – he really is – for them. He's so good when you look at… Every week you start the week and look at their main targets, you look at their guys. If you look at just their receptions, they have I think it's seven guys that have 25 catches or more. They have four guys that have 40 catches or more. He doesn't care. No. 83 [Willie Snead], kind of an obscure guy that came in. He's playing out of his mind right now. He's got 41 catches. I think Drew does such a great job, the great quarterbacks do. They don't' let you get a bead on any one guy. He's going to spray the ball. 'You take this guy away, I'm going here. You take this guy and this guy away, I'm going here.' He does a wonderful job. The screen question, they're still a very good screen team.. I think whether it's No. 22 [Mark Ingram] or No. 28 [C.J. Spiller], they're very good screen backs. They do a good job of mixing in the screens out on the perimeter even with No. 10 [Brandin Cooks]. Every offense evolves, no question. I don't think just because they've lost some great players over the years… They've replaced them with some really good players. I don't think Drew and Coach Payton are ever going to get away from their system."
On how LB Ryan Kerrigan's hand held up last week:
"I asked him, you all know Ryan, he has the common answer, 'I'm fine, I'm good.' I think he worked through some things. It's obviously going to be better this week. Every week it's going to be better. The guy had surgery 10 days previous. He fought his butt off and battled in there. I think it was a process that he had to work through, playing that first game after breaking the hand after having surgery. Hopefully every week he'll just get better."
On if he wants to find a way to keep DB Kyshoen Jarrett in the lineup:
"Oh yeah, absolutely. I think it was good to have Cully [Chris Culliver] and Bree [Bashaud Breeland] back last week. They couldn't play a lot, being out the extended amount of time that they were. They got in there and it's just good to have that group have a nice complement together. No question, Kyshoen, you look at what he's done for a late-round rookie, the things that we've asked him to do and the things that he's really had to do for us, he's done a great job. He'll continue to be on the field, no doubt."
On if he plans for S Jeron Johnson to see more time in place of S Trenton Robinson:
"Yeah, we're going to. We rolled some different guys in there. I tip to my hat to Jeron. [He] came in, competed his butt off. I don't think things went the way he wanted to, but he kept working. He kept battling. He kept grinding. We made the switch. He actually played about 47 snaps on Sunday against New England — did a good job. He's earned the right to play and he'll continue to play, no doubt."
On if he thinks the struggles in the run defense are related to players struggling with run-pass keys:
"I really don't. I think New England, system-wise, does a great job. Not to discredit anything that they did, but I think, again, tackling, leverage. It has nothing to do with effort. I think our guys playing their butts off. I don't think it has anything to do with… we're not busting things. Again, a little bit, it has to do with you have to defend 37 runs. That's going to take its toll, but bottom line in the National Football League, when the ball is handed off, you've got to get off blocks and you've got to make tackles. Last week, they had a big, physical back. He broke some tackles but we've got to have a tackling plan when we play against a guy like that and we've got to get the guy down. No different this week. Mark Ingram is a heck of a back, physical runner. We've got to whip blocks, play physical and tackle, bottom line."
On the toughest part of game planning against the Saints' offense:
"Number one, as I mentioned before, the quarterback does a great job of not allowing you just to take one element away. I think Sean's a great play caller in the sense that they mix it up and they are never going to let you get a bead on them, run or pass. But, then again, like I mentioned before, if you take player X away or take player Z away, Sean has options. And he's good enough, if you take one and two options away, he's going to be able to go to the third option. I think that's the most difficult thing. You've got the perfect call. You've got it wired to take away the primary, and then the quarterback is good enough to go the secondary or even the third read. So, that's the challenge that you face anytime that you play a great offense with a great quarterback."
On if LB Will Compton could play more snaps this week:
"Yeah, and Keenan [Robinson] didn't practice yesterday, so Will got all of the work yesterday. Same thing today, [but] Keenan practiced in a limited fashion. Will got a lot of work and I foresee him getting a lot of work on Sunday. But, it was good to see Keenan out there practicing today. No doubt about it."