Curtis Lofton, Jabari Greer and Jahri Evans

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New Orleans Saints Linebacker Curtis Lofton

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 

Has Jonathan Vilma helped you out in your transition to the Saints?

Vilma’s been doing this for a while, but I’ve also been doing it four years. I have a few questions for him, I’ll bounce it off of him, and you know I told him, if you see anything you need help with (I’ll reciprocate), and he’s been helping me along the way, making me a better complete player.”

 

How interchangeable are the strong and weakside positions?

“Well each position is different, but at the same time, in order to be a linebacker, the next man up, you need to learn all three positions, so our guys have been doing that.”

 

Are you practicing at different linebacker positions?

“No, I’ve been staying pretty much in the middle, but I’ve also been learning, when I’m not getting my reps. I also look at what the other linebackers are doing.”

 

Are you guys learning from each other with such a talented linebacker group?

“Yes. You don’t do everything perfect, so the next guy, you look at him, and he’ll teach you, and you pick up little traits from each guy. We’re pushing each other to be great.”

 

Coach Vitt said that you have some familiarity with this defensive system from your time in Atlanta?

I give as much advice as I can, but at the same time, I’m learning it too. It’s similar but it’s different. We’re all learning it together. We all help each other out. That’s what being a good teammate is.”

 

What are your thoughts on coach Vitt speaking of you in such high regard?

“It means a lot, but it what it is. It’s still early. I’m still growing as a player, being a middle linebacker in this defense, getting everybody lined up, getting them in the right position.”

 

What’s your best aspect as a linebacker?

“(Laughing) Everything. I would say first and foremost in my mind, I think I’m very intelligent. It helps put me in better situations, but I have some God-given ability that helps me out too.”

 

New Orleans Saints Cornerback Jabari Greer

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 

What are the biggest differences between the defense you played in the last three years and the scheme being installed now?

“It is a different mentality. Some of the things that we are being asked to do, it is a shift in mentality. The one thing that stays the same is the speed and aggressiveness that we play with as a team. We put more emphasis on turnovers and making sure that we are held accountable for our technique. There are a lot of things that are different but I think the core values remain the same: making sure we are running to the ball, creating turnovers, and holding each other accountable.”

 

How different is the defensive back meeting room now?

“It is a lot different. Being a professional in this league for a while, you realize that is how it is every year. There are going to be some changes and some new faces. You have to establish your own identity in that room and I think that we are slowly getting there. Some guys are asked to take on new or different roles and I think that we are embracing it. We are keeping some things that we are good at with the dynamic of the guys in the room but also letting some new guys come in and take on some new roles and new challenges.”

 

How wide-open is the competition?

“Nothing is given at all. I have been in this league long enough to realize that nothing is given. We are fortunate to be able to go to work every day and have an opportunity. We realize that there are some guys that we are going to be counting on to show up in our (meeting) room and on the field. These guys, they are really working. We are working hard.  God hasn’t made it easy on us with this weather, it has become hot early. We are really being put in a position to step up and create a new identity for ourselves in the room.”

 

Are you anxious to watch the battle for the nickel spot?

“Yes. I am anxious to see who is going to make plays. That’s the business we are in. These guys are working hard, and they understand the defense. Nobody knows how difficult it is to play that position. It is one of the most unique and most difficult positions on the field. It’s easy to sit back and say, ‘who is it going to be?’ but the things that they have to grasp and the things they are being asked to do, it is pretty tough. The person that rises to the top and that you see making plays, you have to be ready to realize that these guys are putting the effort forward in the playbook as well as the field to be on our defense.”

 

Are you working on your hands?

“We are doing drills to make sure that we capitalize on those opportunities. That is what we are judged by. We are judged by our turnovers and the balls that we get in our hands. We know that is a big must for our team.”

 

Can Chase Daniel compare to Drew Brees in practice?

“Chase is Chase. He is doing good things that are pretty impressive out there. To continue to compare him to Drew or anybody, you can’t do that. You have to realize that we are fortunate to have a player like Drew on our team but, ultimately, our team does not revolve around one player. No matter who it is, you have to step up and play. Chase has shown that he is prepared to play. I am really encouraged by the strides he is making. I believe everybody else is encouraged by the strides he is making. We are judging Chase off of Chase, not Chase off of Drew.”

 

New Orleans Saints Guard Jahri Evans

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 

Is it weird to have somebody different than Drew Brees throwing balls at practice?

“It is definitely weird. It is the first time we have ever had somebody other than number nine back there. That is alright, it is part of the business. Everybody knows the nature of this game. Everybody wants him here from the roof to the basements. Sooner or later.”

 

What do you think about the Hornets pick in the upcoming NBA Draft?

“That is awesome. They got number one and number 10, right? That was awesome. I am happy for those guys. I am looking forward to going to some games, those guys putting some wins on the board and having a good season.”

 

What do you think about Anthony Davis?

“The guy from Kentucky? He has some good talent. Hopefully he continues to grow in the game and helps New Orleans out to become that elite team they were when they came back from Oklahoma.”

 

How is your health?

“I am feeling good. Went out there and practiced and had a good day today. I felt great.”

 

Does it hurt to remember that this game really is a business during the team’s negotiations with Drew Brees this spring?

“It doesn’t sting. We know what we are getting in to. We love to play this game of football and that is why we are playing this game. Other than that, the owners have a business to run. We know what we have to do and the owners know what they have to do. It is about both sides compromising and coming to a decision.”

 

How much work can you get done without Drew Brees here?

“We are still working. We are out there working. We are doing our job, we are taking our steps, we are getting our reads. We are out there doing everything we would be doing if Drew was here. I am pretty sure that Drew is out there doing everything that he would do while he is here as well.”

 

How confident are you that Drew will be here?

“Very confident. Everybody wants Drew here. That’s our general. He is the guy on the field that makes us go.”

 

Do you keep the fact that the Super Bowl is going to be in New Orleans in your mind?

“Being a professional football player, the Super Bowl is the pinnacle. That is where you want to be. We think about that all the time. We think year after year. We know that it is a building process and nothing happens overnight. Everybody is here working hard from the rookies to the veterans. We are out here honing our skills and trying to get better every day.”

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