COURTESY OF NEW ORLEANS SAINTS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
Can you tell us what it's like to get Andrus Peat back out? "Obviously we were very encouraged to have him out there today. I thought watching him in individual and the things that he did he's closer to being ready. I thought he had a lot of energy, did a lot of nice things. Obviously each day's going to be an area to improve and make progress in and that will come with every rep he gets, but I like his mindset an awful lot. He's been outstanding in the meetings and you can see his offseason work, the way he committed to himself, you can see that in his body and hopefully that will transfer to his play."
Obviously the big competition in your room is on the interior of the offensive line and how have you seen those guys working? "I think the rotation has been outstanding. These guys are all very bright. There's a lot of flexibility in the room with guys moving in positions. The goal will be to get the best five on the field as we get closer to Tampa in game one. I think when Cesar's (Ruiz) working at center and we move Erik (McCoy) to right guard, that's been outstanding and when we were going with Erik at center and Cesar at right guard, we saw improvement each and every day in Cesar's play, which really encouraged us."
With Andrus Peat, I assume he will be playing with some kind of cast or covering? Is that a big hindrance for what you guys need him to do, assuming he has some kind of cast on that hand? "I think our medical staff and Andrus have worked out something that will be very favorable, just watching him today. He has exposure to all his fingers. That's really going to be big. Anytime you have an injury like that, it makes it even more challenging. He's dealt with these things in the past and I would expect him to each and every week and improve, between now and gameweek we need to see him make improvements each day during practice. He's got experience, he's played with these things before and the one thing I've been most encouraged with is his offseason for him was outstanding. He's so much lighter, he's leaner, he's in the best shape we've seen him in and you could see that prior to the injury and you saw it again today."
If the team decides they want to play Cesar Ruiz at center, are you confident, that he will be mentally ready to do it for the opener or is that in question right now? "I think until you actually play a game, there's always questions. We're not in a situation where we're playing a preseason game to see these guys go against different competition, but everything we've seen in practice, encourages that he will be ready."
Wanted to ask about Andrus Peat, was the improved conditioning something you encouraged him to do or he just sort of took it upon himself to trim down? "We always encourage guys in their offseason to make a total commitment to themselves, not only in gaining strength, but putting their body in position where they will be able to endure a season long of the competition and obviously the power and explosion that comes from that. I think each and every year Andrus has grown. I think this offseason he's really challenged himself to get himself ready and I think it's going to be for the best."
On Cesar Ruiz, would it be easier for someone like him on the road such in Las Vegas coming into a game playing with no fans? "Certainly, when you're on the road, the crowd noise and all the things that come along with it are really challenging. I think just being a rookie in general is going to be a challenge, just each and every week, his growth as he learns how to play in this league, but I think that we won't have the same challenges that we might in Week Two, going out to Las Vegas and obviously we're not going to be in a situation where the noise could be what it might have been. So, I think it's beneficial that way and we'll certainly continue to work and hopefully as this year goes on, we have situations where we have to be conscious of crowds."
How will Peat slimming down be an advantage for him being a little smaller? "When you're leaner, we certainly see a little bit more quickness to him. We felt like early we saw explosion to him prior to that setback and then I think the one thing that will happen is his conditioning levels will stay higher. He'll be able to finish stronger as the game goes on and his endurance will then have improved."