Opening Statement: “Today, wide receiver Adrian Arrington with his right knee and tackle Marcel Jones with his left knee, did not practice. Marques Colston with his foot and cornerback Jabari Greer with his groin were limited. David Hawthorne with his left knee and Curtis Lofton with his right ankle, fully participated. We worked on third down today. Typically on Thursday, (we) take as much time with two minute and third down as we can do and (we) talked all day about converting being a big statistic for us in the past. We were number one in the league offensively (in 2011), so we want to continue that. We worked on that all day today, it was a good day.”

 

What is it about playing at home that allows you to average 41 points per game? Is that something that can be replicated this season?

“What has happened here, the last couple of years, with Drew Brees and our offense is the defense has got us the ball at home. The crowd is so loud in the dome that it is hard for opposing offenses to have success. The defense causes turnovers, maybe by an offensive lineman being late off (the ball) or a blitz pickup not being communicated because of the noise. You can’t underestimate how loud it is in there, in the dome, and how crazy our fans are. It is really an asset to the team. So, they get the ball back for us, we get it one or two more times at a home game because of it and it allows us one more chances to score.”

 

Do you have a sense of how comfortable Turk McBride is in his role?

“He sure looks comfortable in practice. Turk McBride is doing a nice job. He has had an opportunity now to fill in all of those reps with Will (Smith) gone and he sure looks good to me.”

 

Do you think it will help him that he served in a similar role last year?

“No question. Just being here, being comfortable, (although it) was a little bit different defense as far as calls and names.

Let’s be honest, you are doing pretty much the same thing in both defenses.”

 

Where has this team improved from last year?

“I think our pass rush up front is better on defense. The plan that Bill Johnson, Travis Jones and this d-line with Steve Spagnuolo coaching this defense, they’ve done a great job in pass rush in practice just having a plan on who is rushing where. The techniques are fitting together when the guys are next to each other. I think we will see a vast difference in a four-man rush then we did last year when we four-man rushed.”

 

How important is the turnover differential?

“We preach every week that the number one stat in football is turnovers and the number two is third-down conversions and we worked on both of those today. We constantly work on trying to get the ball out and also making sure that we secure it on offense. You watch early season football games, you are going to see turnovers are going to determine games a lot more then as the season goes on. Guys aren’t used to getting hit as hard or playing as fast coming off the preseason as they are getting in to this first game. We really talk a lot about ball security for the early season.”

 

Are there some parts of turnovers more than others that you can’t control?

“We try to make sure that we understand as a football team that turnovers are just the guy who caught the ball, it might be a blocker who didn’t block well enough that caused the guy to get hit in a certain way that he wasn’t expecting. It could be the quarterback was rushed so he didn’t throw the ball like he normally would. There are a lot of factors in turnovers, so we try to put it on the team, rather than just the guy who the ball came out of.”