The New Orleans Saints defense has taken its share of criticism the past couple of years, some of it deserved. But credit is due when credit is due, and the past few weeks the Saints run defense has produced against some talented NFL backs. Go inside the numbers and find out why the Saints are getting it done on the ground in this exclusive saintsinsider.com article. Get the scoop by clicking right here.
The New Orleans Saints are just six games into the 2008 season, but it's never too late to start thinking out free agency in 2009. Scout.com's Adam Caplan has confirmed that at least 14 Saints will be restricted or unrestricted free agents in 2009. How will those players fit into the Saints' plans next season and beyond? Saintsinsider.com has already analyzed each potential free agent and their worth to the Saints in 2009. Click right here for the story.
Can you discuss a John Fox defense?
They usually don't give you the same thing twice. It's hard to anticipate what they're doing. They're well-coached, disciplined. They typically give you a lot of looks. That's a John Fox defense.
They have typically had a great defensive line in the past. Is that true again?
Yes. They're solid up front and they're playing very well up front. Their linebacker corps is one of the best I've ever seen. They're pretty solid all the way around.
Does it affect your three step drops and what you typically try to do?
No. We try to mix it up on them as much as they mix it up on us with formations, personnel groups, three steps, five steps, play action, run the ball, inside outside. We try to do everything.
No, they looked good. Every Wednesday with new install and everything else, there's a little hesitation on everybody's part, but I felt like those two guys looked good today. I know they were happy to be back out again.
What will it be like to get those guys back again soon?
It will be great. They bring a lot to the table. It's a great matchup. Marques on Anybody, Shockey on anybody. You just feel like those are some go to guys. I know when they do come back, they will be healthy, spry and ready to go. I'm excited to have him back.
Is it hard to say goodbye to someone like Terrance Copper?
He's never been given anything. He's had to earn everything he's ever gotten, worked extremely hard. In 2006, he started half the season for us when Joe Horn got hurt and he really did a great job. He stepped in whenever he's been asked to at every wide receiver position over the last three years and from a special teams standpoint, he's been one of the best special teams guys. Unfortunately you are at the point in the season where with some injuries it's a numbers game and we're getting some guys back healthy, but it's just kind of one of those tough moves.
How much is there to a quarterback's personal clock to getting rid of the ball?
There's a lot to it. It's important. You just have to realize what sacks do to a drive. A sack is typically at least a five to seven yard loss and you lose the down. That's worse than a holding penalty. At least with a holding penalty you get the ball back. When you understand what sacks do, you have more of a clock in your head about getting rid of the ball. Throwing it away is okay or even a checkdown for one or two yards is better than no gain.
Does the clock work differently for when you're under center or behind shotgun
It's really the same, maybe a little different, because when you're in shotgun you're already back where you're a little bit more relaxed whereas under center you're really trying to drive for depth and then step up. It's similar and according to the play, according to the defense. If they're bringing pressure you might have to get it out a little bit sooner. It all depends.
Are you counting in your head?
Yes. It's subconscious. It's never simple, but you try to make it that way.
Do you adjust the clock when you go against Julius Peppers?
You feel it. There's times when he's on you faster than you anticipate and there's times where we're getting him blocked. You just try to feel those guys, feel where they are. Every play is different. I can't tell you this play I know I'm going to have three or four seconds to throw. You never know. The fact is if you know where you can get rid of the ball, you can keep out of trouble.
Does the clock vary for different teams with different pass rush schemes?
Yes, you just understand that guys have to be extremely crisp in their routes. I have to be getting the ball out of my hands with great anticipation. It's nothing that we don't practice everyday. I always try to throw the ball with anticipation. I always try to be accurate and feel like I know where to get rid of the ball. If my receiver's not open and I don't want to force it in there and the guy's on me, now I'm thinking about taking a sack or throwing the ball away. Where can I throw the ball away? I know my checkdown's right here, so I can throw it to this.
What problems do Carolina represent on defense one, two three?
I don't know, that's hard. They can give you some problems with the pass rush. Their linebackers are fast guys that make a lot of tackles and a lot of plays. Their corners and safeties are very aggressive with good ball skills and all those things. I don't know. I really can't say on, two three, they're all solid.
Do you know what is different from what you saw last year from them?
I think they're playing with a different energy. I think it's a lot of the same guys, but they're 4-2, playing with a lot of confidence. I know coming off that loss at Tampa, they're going to be salty. Coach Fox is a very good coach. Coach Payton knows him very well. They're going to have those guys ready to play. They're coming back home for a divisional game. All those reasons are why they want to win this game are reasons why we want to. We both need a win.
Did you ever think about it that you and Jake Delhomme have a lot of similarities in playing style, character and medical histories?
What I like about Delhomme too is the road that he traveled, being a guy who I know was here. I remember him being here and bouncing around a s a backup. Finally he gets an opportunity and he makes the most of it. He's taken them to a Super Bowl and an NFC Championship game. He's shown that he can play at a very high level. I've had the chance to meet him a few times. I love his attitude and his personality. He's a fun guy to be around. You can tell by the way he interacts with his players that he's a good leader and those guys respond to him. When he's in there, he can make a lot of plays.
Is it interesting that both of you have had comebacks from major arm surgeries?
His was a major surgery too. I don't think a lot of guys are able to come back and play as well as he's played after something like that. When you witness his attitude and his personality, there's no doubt. He's just that kind of guy. I'm happy for him. He's a guy that I root for, except for the fact that he's in our division, we're battling it out and there's good competition.