Who Dat Dish was fortunate enough to talk with center Max Unger on Friday, Nov. 3. Unger is a guy that’s always in front of Drew Brees.
Who Dat Dish contributor Dean Mullen got a chance to sit down with Saints center Max Unger following practice on Friday, Nov. 3. Here’s that post-practice Q and A.
The 2017 Saints
Dean Mullen: How would you define this team in 2017 compared to your previous years here?
Max Unger: We are winning close games this year. That’s something that we haven’t done in years past. Also, we’ve been putting ourselves ahead instead of getting behind early. That comes along with success in the NFL. The good teams find a way to do that. Yeah I think we’re on the right track.
DM: What do see as the cause for winning these close games now?
MU: Maturity and younger players developing. Us being able to handle those situations now versus before.
Coming from the Pacific Northwest
DM: I know you’re a west coast guy and went to the University of Oregon. What’s it like over there for someone that’s never been?
MU: I lived in the northwest for 10 plus years. It’s an awesome place to live. I’d like to give a shoutout to the University of Oregon. In particular Coach Steve Gray who’s a coach out there. I had one scholarship coming out of high school. Oregon is the best place to go. And I really do love the Pacific Northwest. It’s just a good environment to be in. I got lucky enough to go to school there.
DM: How tough was it to leave there when you found out you got traded from Seattle?
MU: Anyone that gets traded, well it’s a bit startling to say the least. I wasn’t expecting it and it’s not something you can really prepare for but you kind of roll with it. But it’s the business of the NFL. I landed in a good spot with a great locker room and a coaching staff that’s been here long term. It would’ve been tough to find a better place to be traded to.
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Coming to the NFL
DM: When did the NFL enter your mind?
MU: I didn’t grow up watching football when I was younger. I wasn’t from a big football family. My dad played football in high school. But that’s about it. I did played football in high school for the first time. The NFL really didn’t enter my mind till I hit college. It’s always something that’s in the back of your mind. I started in my redshirt freshman year as left tackle and sorta got my butt kicked. But eventually I found my way. If you’re good enough its something that you can achieve.
A winning culture
DM: You’ve been to two Super Bowls with Seattle. You’ve been on the winning and losing end. What was the challenge the year after each?
MU: Surely, The culture of winning is infectious. We went to that first Super Bowl and after that the standard was set. I think we had a rough start to the second season. Also, there was a lot of turnover from the first year to the second. We were still trying to figure out who we were. We made a run in the playoffs. We went all the way to the NFC Championship Game against the Green Bay Packers where we pulled out a tough game. Obviously, we ended up having a tough loss out in the Super Bowl in Arizona. Regardless, that’s a heck of a stage to be playing on.
Being a mentor
DM: Do you feel more comfortable now mentoring the new guys now being with the Saints a few years now?
MU: Yeah that comes with age. That comes with playing in the league for awhile. But yes definitely. Every year, we get young players coming in, and we try and bring them up to speed the best we can. Leading by example and being vocal in the locker room. And keeping the guys on the straight and narrow is important. Going from college to the NFL is a huge adjustment. It’s our job as leaders to help these guys along.
DM: Ok Max, well thanks for taking the time out with me today.
MU: Sure no problem.