Here are some highlights from today’s New Orleans Saints media press conference. You can follow the link for more detailed information. Nose tackle John Jenkins, cornerback Keenan Lewis, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, tackle Zach Strief, and head coach Sean Payton are just a few of the names included. John Jenkins has been out of training camp due to a torn pectoral muscle suffered in the offseason.
Can you discuss your return to practice?
“I’m easing my way back in and trying to make things happen.”
In this system, you play in a system where stats can be misleading. You did not have a sack until the postseason. Everybody thought you had a strong rookie season. Can you talk about your role in this defense and what for you means you’ve played really well?
“My role in this defense is to free the linebackers up, take on as many blockers as I can (and) crush the pocket. You’re right. A lot of the things I do are taken for granted. People don’t understand the job I have to do. But at the end of the day as long as I’m doing the job I’m supposed to do and the stats as far as rushing yards and pressures against the quarterback show up, I’m happy.”
How is Ronald Powell doing?
“He’s a young guy that’s got a lot of growing to do. That linebacker position is tough. There’s a lot to it as a rookie, but we’re happy with his progress.”
You have to be more impressed with today’s performance than yesterday’s.
“I think definitely on both sides of the ball. It wasn’t the short yardage anybody’s used to (yesterday in terms of results out there). This was much more like it; we liked the hitting there. Obviously third and one (situational football) is a big part of football and if you’re good in that situation it’s huge for you. You get off the field, and that’s a big deal.”
Can you describe what kind of influence Champ Bailey has been on the team?
“He’s been to 12 Pro Bowls and so number one, it is hard to do if you are not smart and so he really has good football intelligence and IQ. I think when you have someone like that in the room, it helps everyone that’s in the meeting, the rookies, other players, and he’s been able to, when he’s not on the field, take on that role. He is a little bit of a leader too. I would say it’s definitely been a plus for us.”
Having some veterans sit out, how much has that helped some younger guys develop?
“Each year it happens in training camp. A year ago we saw Kenny Stills and Nick Toon receiving a lot of work because the receivers were nicked up. And so you don’t know what position group it is going to be, but it’s somewhat typical of training camp. It is important for the next guy up know what to do and take advantage of the opportunity.”
Can you talk about your race with Brandin Cooks yesterday?
“Let’s get the truth out because I’ve been hearing about this. The guy’s a real fast guy, but I said we could do a charity event (with a race) and get a whole lot of people come out.”
Talk to us about your nickname Westbank?
“For the Westbank, I always have to pull the Westbank down. That’s where I’m from. I take pride in that. I let my whole team know. Whenever they want to go look at some good high school football, they can come to the Westbank.”