COURTESY OF NEW ORLEANS SAINTS MEDIA RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
I know you are kind of secretive about your preparation for when you get into a season, but do you add things year to year or really stick with what you do? "I pretty much stick to what I've done and what's made me successful, correcting my weaknesses to catch those up the things I'm really good at. Pretty much at the end of the day, it goes back to playing football, playing the game you have since you were a kid, using your experience to enhance your weaknesses."
Mentally have you had to prepare yourself for the fact that this training camp is going to be different than any you have ever had before? "No, I feel like if you love the game and care about the game you have to know when to lock in and how to handle your business regardless of the situations you are put in and that you can't control. You control the things you can control and go from there. Everyone's in the same boat."
How much did you miss working out with the team this offseason? "I miss it a lot, that's for sure, but we're going to get some time here together real soon, get caught back up just take advantage and put more emphasis in the work you do get in and maximize those. It becomes like muscle memory. Once you get in a rhythm it stays there as long as possible."
We don't know what the NFL is going to do as far as fans but how different will that be if fans aren't allowed at games? "As long as we are keeping score it won't be too difficult. As long as we are keeping score of winner and loser it won't be too difficult, as long as we're keeping score of a winner and loser it won't be too difficult. You just adjust and focus on what we have to focus on, getting the wins, getting to where we want to go and I think we'll give ourselves a chance to do things."
Sean Payton said that happened in the offseason was in the offseason. Drew Brees said that he has spoken to Malcolm Jenkins and considers him a friend. Do you think that because you are going on year five with Drew, do you think you guys were able to talk things out, get on common ground and make sure you can focus on football because you guys have strong relationships. Based on how it all unfolded can you walk us through how things got to where they are now? "We're men, we just handle it as men. People are always going to have opinions and not believe in the same thing but you sit down and talk it out as men and don't let it affect the team. We know we're playing for a Super Bowl, to win a Super Bowl, that's been the goal since I got here and still the goal. Sometimes you might bump heads, but we're family and have to be able to influence the younger generation that looks up to us and watches us. It's not like this is some type of reality television show. The goal is to focus on doing whatever it takes to win a championship, focusing on a championship and accomplishing our goals."
The team signed Emmanuel Sanders. How excited are you to continue to be working with good talent in that wide receiver room? "Anytime you have the chance to play with another veteran guy who has played a lot of football, has played in championship games, won a lot of games, gets you excited. You always, being a receiver want to free up the coverage and force the defense to go man or something. You have to just figure out what they are going to do. Anytime you can have another weapon at the other side, it makes it more exciting for the other things the offense can accomplish. We have a lot of weapons and the more weapons we add the more exciting it gets. That's just simple math."
You mentioned the weapons particularly on offense, you have a talented secondary. Knowing that you have those guys will it be beneficial to get you ready for the regular season without preseason games? "Yes, we just have to keep each other honest, maximize opportunity for the window that we have. It's the same thing the other 31 teams have. Whoever is doing the right things and preparing the right way, taking advantage of the time that they're given, taking care of one another in terms of things like social distancing, wearing a mask, keeping your hands clean, teams that take care of one another, I think those are the teams that are going to be competing for a championship at the end of the day. It's definitely going to be fun going up against those guys, but we also have to keep them honest given that the window is smaller."
What are your thoughts on what the league has implemented in place to keep players safe from COVID? "I think it's something where we just have to figure out and learn. We're learning new information about it every day. But I feel like the core things about it, the things we've been told as far as wearing a mask, you know, keeping social distancing and washing your hands and all that type of stuff, making sure you get tested daily. We are tested every day. So if someone has it will know right away. So as long as we take care of others, that's going to be the main thing just to be able to take care of one another and hopefully this goes away eventually, but right now it's what we're dealing with."
Terron Armstead said its Super Bowl or bust for this team on his conference call on Thursday, do you agree with that statement? "Yeah, it has been Super Bowl or bust since I got here. If you cannot tell we just have to, like I said, correct those mistakes, those little mistakes that end up costing us big and make sure we take advantage of the opportunities. We have all the talent on paper we have the people that see us where they see us and people may see it somewhere else. But at the end of the day we just have to make some noise. And for me, at least it's always been Super Bowl or bust. I have been trying to get to the Super Bowl since I got here. So I feel like Terron (Armstead) is one of those guys that has it (mentality) and we overemphasize that more and more to the younger guys. And then guys that may have not understood what it was and then to see how far we take."
Did you have any time this offseason where you look back on last season and just reflect on the records you set and broke? "It's just what I do. At my position I set real high goals and I'm try to accomplish them along with winning football games and helping out the people around me. It is kind of just like something that keeps you (motivated), you know, we have goals at the beginning of the season and you kind of just chase them all year and just kind of, I do not know. I feel like in my head I was going to get it eventually because I don't really drop too many passes. When it comes to that I just had to just stay consistent and be more consistent and take advantage of my opportunities and it just added up faster."
Do you think you can break it again? "Yeah, I think I can break it again."
What does Marshon Lattimore need to do to become one of the top corners in the National Football League? "He has that dog mentality, you know, you're not going to come in and just bully Marshon or go out there and just do what you want to do with him. He's going to make sure you earn it. One thing to work on and is just being more consistent. I feel like that's the only thing that's stopping him from getting his respect, is just being more consistent because when he goes up against a big matchup, he makes them. He does more than make them, he makes sure they make no plays on him. He handles his business. If he just treats every game like that and doesn't under estimate anyone, just as far as just falling asleep on the season, then I feel like there's no way you won't be able to say he is top one if not, for sure top two corner, if not, number one. There is no way you can deny him. So just working on his consistency, which I'm excited to see him this year because I know how much he's been working. You're not going to just do what you want to do with him and that's what you have to respect about him because he makes you earn it and understands how to play bully ball too."
How confident are you that the NFL will be able to complete this season? "I can't control that. I don't know, you hear the stuff of course with baseball and then you hear some of the teams that don't have any issues. So clearly it's just how strict the guidelines are and the people that are getting their information out of it and I feel like that's how you have success. The NBA, no things yet, of course they are in the bubble. They've been strict on their guidelines so they're able to have a season. So if the NFL is not strict on their guidelines and how they handle their business there's consequences that come with that."
Will you have to be more disciplined with your routine with COVID-19 guidelines? "No I always know to do that. There are germs out there you got to wash your hands and have to shower. I feel like I kind of already (participate in) social distancing, I don't like really big crowds like that and all type of stuff like that. So pretty much you just have to take care of yourself and have some self-discipline and self-respect for yourself and I feel like people taking care of themselves aren't getting the virus."
How much encouragement do you get from Ronald Curry and Curtis Johnson to keep getting better? "I feel like it starts at practice. Just how consistent they are on me. How they push me in practice and how much C.J. challenges me and it just makes you want to make him proud and make him right when you get to Sunday. So it kind of comes with the territory when you handle your business. So great ones, they break records. So you just got to keep handling your business and trust in how we handle our business at the Saints and trust in the process and be accountable. Also, be in the building and I feel like I could break records and or be at least where the top guys are."