News from the black & gold.
AARON KROMER NEWS CONFERENCE
Opening Statement: “We signed Bryce Harris off of the Atlanta Falcons practice squad for Marcel Jones who went on Injured Reserve for us. The other guys, that we adjusted, we are going to work on today as far as replacing or seeing what we are going to do from there.”
Is there an update on Johnny Patrick?
“Johnny Patrick looks to be, hopefully, not as bad it looks. He is still getting looked at by the doctors but we hope to have him back pretty soon.”
What about Scott Shanle and Devery Henderson?
“It looks the same for them as well. (We) hope to have them back soon.”
Other than penalties, what else stuck out to you?
“I am going to say, again, that it was penalties and it was a case of when you get yourself behind the eight-ball like that and it all compounds. So, if it’s first and 20, it is going to end up being third and ten a lot of times. Now, it not only goes from a penalty as a negative but then the next thing happens and your third downs are negative, your percentage of third down conversion becomes much less because it is third and long. Then, you don’t stay on the field as long because you are not converting the third downs and the defense has to play longer. It’s a combination of all of those things put together that just compounds problems. If you eliminate one, the rest of them don’t show up.”
How was the communication process on Sunday in terms of working with the offensive line?
“I thought that was one thing that really went well. It was a case where I talked with Frank (Smith) on the sideline, I’d go back there every once in a while, when I say back there (I mean) over to the bench, and talk to the guys and get a feel for where they were mentally and give them a thought or two that I had, that I was seeing. All in all, when you look at it, the offensive line was pretty productive even though it didn’t show on the stat sheet.”
What did Washington do to pressure Drew Brees so much?
“Washington did a good job of disguising some of their traditional blitzes that we had practiced. They showed up late and we, as a group, decide who we are blocking between the quarterback and the offensive line. We weren’t always going to the guy that we had practiced to go to and, quite honestly, there were a lot of times that we have protections in where they are bringing six and we have five blockers and so we have to get the ball out. That’s when Drew, at times, is Houdini and decides he’s going to make a guy miss in the backfield as you’ve seen him do many a time and still make a play. There were a couple of those yesterday and a couple disguised blitzes that were good. When you throw it 52 times in a game, it is not going to be as clean as you want it to be when it turns into a one-sided game.”
Does playing against a quarterback that is a threat with his legs such as Robert Griffin III help prepare you for Cam Newton on Sunday?
“Absolutely. I would think that for sure. Just that you just experienced (it). Obviously, we would have liked to have more success against it. But, the experience against it that you can’t get, any simulation that we try to do in practice wouldn’t be the same with the talent that RGIII has. It definitely is a benefit.”
Do you take any positives away from having a chance to tie the score at the end of the game?
“That is exactly right. We had a chance to tie with the ball in our hands at the end of the game. For us to play so poorly and execute so poorly, that says something about the talent and the resolve of this team. There are a lot of teams that would have not finished the game the way we did. Us and our players decided, and that’s where you see the character of our guys, even though they weren’t playing and executing well, they weren’t executing well, that they were going to finish the game and we were going to put ourselves in position to have a chance to tie it at the end and it didn’t quite work out that way. But that shows you the resolve of this team.”
Was part of the problem yesterday figuring out and reacting to Robert Griffin III?
“Yes. When you are playing against a guy like RGIII, figuring it out, reacting and actually making the tackle are three different things. I don’t think it was the case yesterday that we had a lot of difficulty figuring it out. If you get a half of a step behind on RGIII, you are not going to make that tackle before he gains some yards and I believe that is what happened yesterday as well as a couple of missed tackles.”
A network show said the Saints defense looked more reactive than proactive like they had in years past, can you talk about that?
“I feel like, and if you ask the players, that we had a scheme. It was a good scheme. As we were playing the scheme, were we that half a step behind sometimes? Yes. Were they gaining some yards because of it? Yes. We trust in Steve Spagnuolo’s scheme. The players trust in his scheme. They have practiced it and felt good about it. It is just a case of there’s some missed tackles, there are a couple missed executions that you have throughout the game and that is when they chunking the yards up against you.”
Do you feel it’s necessary to put your stamp on this team?
“I think we are going to put the New Orleans Saints stamp on this team. I have taken over this team for a total of seven days at this point and this is still Sean Payton’s team. This is still Drew Brees’ team, Joe Vitt’s team, and Mickey Loomis’ team. This is the New Orleans Saints team, there is no stamp. The stamp is that we know how we execute. We know how New Orleans Saints football looks. That wasn’t us yesterday and we are going to get that fixed.”
Even early in the game, the gameplan seemed skewed towards the pass. Was that the plan?
“Obviously, the gameplan, when you have the talent that we have at all positions, is to be balanced. We have a good offensive line. We have a good running back group. We have good receivers and a good quarterback. It is always a plan to be balanced. When you get in a situation like we got in yesterday and you get a couple of scores down, you are trying to keep it as balanced as possible. When it’s first and ten and then you false start and its first and twenty, you’re not going to call a run play. You are looking at a four to five yard gain on a run play and on first and twenty that is not a good call. Second and twenty, that is not a good call. Too early in the game, we got in that situation so we are not going to call a run and then it becomes pass heavy.”
Is Adrian Arrington back with the team?
“We are deciding that today.”
What do you think of people saying that Drew Brees is putting too much on his shoulders because Sean Payton isn’t here?
“One thing I talked to the team about this morning already, as a coaching staff we looked at it and we said there is too much, yesterday, doing someone else’s job and not doing their own job. I am trying to make up for this because Sean (Payton) is not here. I am trying to make up for this because (Jonathan) Vilma is not here. Will Smith wasn’t in practice this week, should I try to… That is not what we do. What we do is do our job, do it the best we can, know that we are prepared, and go into the next game knowing that calmly that we have prepared the right way. (Knowing) that we are all in, because we are, every one of us are in. Every player, every coach, we are all in. We are coming tighter together, we are pulling tighter together. We are going to do our job and not try to make up for someone else. Someone gets knocked of the game and is injured, you are not going to try to do more than you do, more than you should have done, you are going to do your job.”
Did you see the performance coming?
“No, I didn’t see it coming and we didn’t play under the lights yet. When we played under the lights, we realized, looking at it today, that there was some ‘I’m going to try to do more than I normally do to try to make up for something’ and that is not necessary.”
What mood did you feel from the team this morning in the initial meeting?
“I sensed determination. I sensed focus. I sensed a wakeup call. That’s what I sensed.”
How do you think Sean Payton personally reacted yesterday to watching the game from afar and what he saw?
“I’m sure he was disappointed that we didn’t play better than we did and he should have been. We were all disappointed, players, coaches, everyone. If he was reacting in that way, he should have.”
How much man to man coverage did your offense see yesterday?
“We saw a lot of man coverage yesterday. A lot of bump man. A lot of bump man all the way down the field.”
Did that surprise you?
“(I’m) not surprised. On long distances and third down, they played a lot of man. They had not played a lot of man on first and second down, but once again, we got them in positions where they were playing first and second down like third down.”
Do you have to take more shots down the field to loosen it up?
“If you’re asking take more shots. As we looked at it this morning what came up is that there were more dropped balls than we were used to. We did take shots down the middle, down the sideline and we didn’t connect with as many as we normally do.”
Did they try to take your underneath stuff away?
“Yes. Even in man to man schemes there are plenty of other things you can do with crossing routes and that that we’ve had up and called.”
You spoke very highly of Robert Griffin III on Friday. After seeing him live, what about him was more impressive than you may have originally thought?
“Yes, his poise was extra impressive. He had a mature game. He had a game that a quarterback with a couple of years under his belt would have had. And they did a very nice job of balancing their offense to help him get into a groove early with a lot of bubble screens. He didn’t throw the ball past the line of scrimmage very often early in the game to calm him and that made sense.”
One good football team will be 0-2 on Sunday afternoon. Is there added importance to the game at Carolina?
“The added significance is that it is a divisional game. We need to win this game this week. It’s important to our program. It’s important to our psyche. Is it a win or lose this season game? No, it isn’t, there are 16 games. The New York football Giants were 9-7 in the regular season and won the Super Bowl. We need to get to the playoffs and we need to peak at that time. Constant improvement, constant skill development and learning what we are as a team (is important).”
Are you worried or concerned about this team at this point?
“No, Not at all. I would be worried if we had immaturity in the locker room. I would be worried if I had a sense that our guys thought they did well yesterday and they lost. I don’t sense that. I sense our guys determined to make up for what happened yesterday.”
How does it play out where people are trying to possibly do too much?
“That’s when you try to make a play that’s not yours on defense instead of just doing your job and staying within the scheme. That’s when you try to make a pass that isn’t needed at the time, because you’re trying to press to throw a deep ball to get us in the game right now as opposed to two plays from now. That’s when a lineman is trying to help his buddy block a guy by doing something differently. There are plenty of examples within the game. That would come to mind.”
Do you think with this type of questioning of doing too much that players and coaches have too much going on in the absence of Sean Payton?
“No. I am being a football coach right now. I come into work. I evaluate tape. I see what I see. I explain it to you and I go home. That’s what a football coach does. I try to explain it to the guys and we try to find the response and reactions that we need and how we’re going to fix it and we move on. That’s what football coaches do.”
What do you think it will take for people to quit asking what they think Sean Payton would do in a specific instance?
“You can ask me that all year. It doesn’t bother me one bit. This is Sean Payton’s football team. I’m managing it as a group, as we get through these six weeks and I’m excited to do it and the team is excited. We had one bad game. We’re going to turn it around. It’s a good wakeup call for us and we’re ready to go.”
SAINTS DESIGNATE AARON KROMER TO REPLACE JOE VITT
Metairie, La. – Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis has designated Offensive Line/Running Game Coach Aaron Kromer to replace Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt during his absence.
Kromer, entering his fifth season with the Saints, brings 22 years of coaching experience to the coaching staff, the majority of it developing and tutoring offensive linemen. He has also been responsible for coordinating the rushing attack. He will officially take over the duties on Monday, September 3.
“This was a difficult decision because we have several coaches on our staff that would do a great job in this role,” said Loomis. “Ultimately, I wanted to have the least amount of change with both the offensive and defensive staffs, and maintain the most continuity with the program that has been in place for the last six years.”
Loomis was deliberate in making his decision, speaking at length with Vitt as well as other members of the organization.
“Aaron has been with us since 2008, he has coached with Sean both in college and here at the Saints. He is very familiar with our team and with the methods we have been successful with. He will do a great job,” added Loomis.
After initially coaching the Saints running backs in 2008, Kromer has overseen the Saints offensive line the past three seasons. The former college offensive lineman has developed the skills of seven Pro Bowl blockers during his time in the NFL, including three in 2011. Known for his teaching skills and attention to detail, five Saints blockers have been selected to the Pro Bowl under Kromer’s direction. The line has allowed the third-lowest sack total in the past three seasons in the NFL. In both 2009 and 2011, the New Orleans offensive line has been honored with the Madden Most Valuable Protectors Award, awarded annually to the best offensive line in the NFL.
“The job our staff has done during Sean’s absence has been remarkable,” said Vitt. “We have great talent and depth on our coaching staff, but most importantly we have guys on this coaching staff that clearly understand the foundation of success that Sean has built and I feel great that Aaron and the rest of the staff will continue to build on that foundation.”
“I appreciate the confidence that Mr. Benson and Mickey have in me to handle this duty while Coach Vitt and Coach Payton are not with us,” said Kromer. “Coach Payton has laid a successful foundation here and our jobs are to make sure we keep moving in that direction.”
“Aaron knows Sean’s system very well and how he would be expected to operate this team,” said Saints QB Drew Brees. “We have a very strong coaching staff and Aaron is a coach that is very well respected in our locker room.”
After managing an offensive line in which all five players had started 22 consecutive regular season games, Kromer played a vital role in the development of two first-time starters in T Zach Strief and C Brian de la Puente in 2011. The line allowed the second-fewest in the NFL, and played an instrumental role in blocking for an offense that set the league’s single-season yardage record as well as several other NFL marks. A resurgent run game ranked sixth in the league in the club’s most productive season since 1987, grinding out 132.9 yards per game.
BREES FAMILY WELCOMES THIRD SON
Saints quarterback Drew Brees announced on Twitter just before 6:30 tonight that his wife, Brittany, delivered their third child Wednesday evening. Callen Christian Brees joins eldest son Baylen and middle son Bowen on the depth chart.
Brees tweeted the following to his 1.2 million followers and they couldn’t hit the retweet button fast enough.
“Brittany and I are proud to say that Callen Christian Brees was born yesterday evening in New Orleans. Mama and baby boy are happy & healthy.”
Congratulations to the Brees family.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH QB DREW BREES ON FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT
Metairie, LA – The New Orleans Saints announced today that they have agreed to terms with QB Drew Brees to a five-year contract. The announcement was made by Saints’ Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis.
Congratulations are in order for our organization, our city, Drew and Brittany and certainly for Mickey Loomis and his staff for all of the hard work put in to make this possible,” said Owner/Chairman of the Board Tom Benson. “Now we must turn our focus to getting ready for the start of training camp and to keeping with our goal of being the first team in NFL history to host and play in a Super Bowl.”
“What Drew has accomplished in his time with the Saints, he deserves to be the highest paid player in the league,” said Loomis. “We are excited to have this deal done and behind us and look forward to the next five years with Drew as our quarterback.”
Brees, a 6-0, 209-pound product of Purdue, was originally selected by the San Diego Chargers in the first round of the 2001 NFL Draft with the 32nd overall pick. The native of Austin, Texas has started 153 of the 154 games he’s appeared in and completed 3,613-of-5,479 passes (65.9%) for 40,742 yards, 281 touchdown passes and a 94.0 passer rating in 11 NFL seasons. The six-time Pro Bowl selection is the league’s second-most accurate passer all-time, owns the eighth-best passer rating, ranks ninth in completions and touchdown passes and 12th in passing yardage.
After originally signing with the Saints in 2006 as an unrestricted free agent, few players in the era of NFL free agency have rivaled the impact that Brees has made on the Saints since his arrival. Since 2006, he has led the NFL in virtually every passing category, while owning or sharing nearly every club passing record, three which are NFL marks, as he’s completed 2,488-of-3,670 passes (67.8%) for 28,394 yards with 201 touchdown passes and a 98.5 passer rating. In addition to five Pro Bowl selections, Brees has been named the Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year twice. During this period, Brees has started 95 regular season games and eight postseason contests, never missing a contest due to injury.
With Brees as the club’s signal-caller, the Saints have enjoyed unprecedented success on the field. With a 62-33 regular season record in games he’s started, he has the fourth-most wins by NFL quarterbacks since 2006, the most by a Saints signal-caller. In the last six seasons, the Saints have posted five of their six playoff victories, including Super Bowl XLIV, for which he was voted the game’s Most Valuable Player.
Brees will enter 2012 fresh off one of the most prolific seasons in NFL history for a quarterback. In 2011, he completed 468-of-657 passes (71.2%) for an NFL-record 5,476 yards with 46 touchdown passes and a 110.6 passer rating. The 2011 AP NFL Offensive Player of the Year ranked first in the NFL in attempts, completions, passing yardage, third down passer rating (127.4), completion percentage and second in touchdown passes and passer rating. In addition to setting the league’s passing yardage record that had previously stood for 27 years, he also broke the league completion percentage mark he previously owned, as well as setting records for completions and 300-yard passing games (13).