Okay, so everyone has a copy of the injury report so let's discuss that. William Henderson is the only one that practiced today. Questions?
(Did Blackmon have a setback?)
Yes, he just had a setback - some complications from his foot.
(Any idea when he'll return?)
It's a day-to-day prognosis from Pepper.
(What are Spitz's chances for practicing tomorrow?)
He's hopeful, but we'll see. It's a pretty significant bruise.
(How deep in the week can he not practice and still play?)
He needs to practice Friday if he's going to play.
(Daryn the backup plan there?)
Yes, Daryn took all the reps today at left guard.
(What are your options at fullback?)
William practiced today. We anticipate him going (Sunday).
(There a way for the Saints to isolate Bush on Poppinga?)
It's a match up that, to say it's impossible, nothing is impossible. In the same breath, based on how you dictate your cover schemes, you can take that away. I'm not going to sit here and play chess as far as our scheme, but if you're a man-to-man match team and you know what the principles of the coverage are, you could possibly be put in that position. The most important thing is, if you're put in that situation, that the player has help, and we do have that capability.
(What do you think about the way they've used Bush?)
Well, I think they're doing a good job of getting him the ball and a really good job of complementing him with Deuce. When I had the opportunity to work with Deuce McAllister, I thought he was clearly one of the top three running backs in the NFL. He sustained an injury last year, but they've done a nice job. It's really only been one game, but if you go through the preseason, they've done a nice job of running downhill with Deuce and getting Reggie on the perimeter.
(He the type of player you have to game plan around?)
I don't think so. When you install a system, regardless of whether you're in offense, defense or special teams, you have to have it built into your system to take away feature players, and we have that capability.
(With all the things you have to handle in the locker room with young players, how did you feel when Ted brought up the possibility of Koren Robinson?)
Anytime I deal with situations, I look at them from a professional manner and a personal manner, and Koren's situation is a personal struggle. Everything we do with our football team in the locker room is a vital part of our success. If by any means we thought that would be a distraction or have a negative effect on our locker room, we wouldn't have went that way on any decision, regardless of who the player is. A lot of conversation went on about that. There's a lot of history with Koren and a number of individuals in our organization, and we feel comfortable with our decision.
(Can Brett, with his past problems, be a role model for Koren?)
I'm sure he can give him some insight on his past experiences, yes.
(Did you meet with him? What convinced you it could work?)
I met with him. We talked strictly about his personal background and things like that. I was impressed with him.
(How's he been received in the locker room so far?)
He's been received very well. In the meetings today and in practice, he seems to fit right in.
(What impressed you about him?)
I thought he was sincere. He didn't pull any punches. He was direct. He didn't dodge any questions, and I think his heart is in the right place.
(Start him off on special teams and then work him in at WR?)
We're going to ease him in this week. I don't really want to get into specifics.
(He in good enough shape to go right away?)
Yes, he looks to be in good enough shape.
(Could kick return game use a boost?)
I think when you add a Pro Bowl kick returner, it will definitely help our kick return game.
(Assess the blocking on kickoff return group)
I think the kickoff return group has a number of individuals that could improve in that area. That's an emphasis this week, and we will continue to work on that.
(In this situation with Robinson, how much babysitting needs to be done?)
I don't look at it as babysitting. I think it's like anything – we have a structure in place. We have a network of people to help all of our pro athletes if there is anything in their personal life that they need help with. That is in place here, and something we will obviously educate Koren on, and that's in the process right now.
(Lots of nickel – really no dime – that a matter of waiting for young players?)
It's really the way we've gone the last couple of weeks in training camp. A.J. Hawk is a player we feel that we want to keep on the field. Nickel is something we do more of, but obviously our dime package is ready and willing to go. We do have a lot of reps tied up in that too, so I feel very confident in both the dime and nickel packages.
(Who's the main guy back then?)
We'll get into that as we go – you guys ask a lot of specific questions here.
(Encouraged with the way David Martin blocks that made Leach expendable?)
It was a tough decision. It was a numbers game. I thought Vonta played well in the game, did everything that was asked of him in the time he was here, but we have some numbers throughout our team as far as different positions that are not traditionally in the balance or have gone on in the past. It was more of what's best for our 53 and direction of our football team. It was a tough decision to make, and we feel William is ready to go.
(What do you see from Drew Brees on film?)
I think he does a very good job managing the game, gets the ball out of his hand quickly. They particularly have perimeter players that do a good job with yards after the catch. Most of their explosive gains have come with quick passes and yards after the catch, with shifts in motion. I think he does a really good job of managing the game and getting the ball out of his hand in the passing game. He's not the tallest guy, we know that, but he's had success in the league and I think he's been a nice addition to their team.
(Two years removed from New Orleans yourself, is it a vastly different team?)
A lot of new players, but they still have the core of some very talented players. Some in particular I'm very fond of, and it will be a great challenge for us this Sunday.
(Having spent time down there, do you have a feel for what they went through?)
Absolutely, I have a number of very close friends down there. There are a number of people in that organization that I'm very fond of. I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to live down there for five years and be a part of that organization. It is devastating what the Gulf Coast has been through, but I keep in touch with a number of people down there. Outside of Sunday, it's definitely a group I root for.
(In meetings and practice, are players responding to what happened on Sunday?)
Well, we had very good meetings this morning. I thought the energy level was excellent. I thought the practice was okay, which is sometimes normal where we are as a football team on Wednesday. We had a number of things we had to do over and clean up, but they're definitely into it and focused. Like I said, I thought the energy was excellent, and we're preparing for New Orleans.
(How did Jennings play on Sunday?)
I thought he played okay. He did some things. You know the timing between Greg and Brett was not in synch on a couple of plays, but those are game reps. Those are things he can learn from. I think we're very pleased where Greg is at this point, and we just have to get some more production out of him which will come with more opportunities.
(Does playing Martin at FB take him out of the passing game?)
It depends if the fullback position is going out for a pass. Once again, we're really triple train the tight ends. We train them on the line, off the line and in the backfield. It's a smart way to go. Unfortunately, injuries are a part of our game, and it gives us flexibility in game planning. It really keeps us in track to being a one-back or two-back offense. David is a very flexible, valuable player in our scheme.
(How has Colledge's attitude been after being demoted but still a play away?)
I thought he has worked hard. I think he's definitely improved. He's had the opportunity to move around and play a number of different positions, so this would be a good week for him to anchor down and get ready to play a game. He's a young player that's improving, and I think his mindset and the way he's gone about it, I thought he's handled it properly.