Is it difficult to prepare for the Saints defense knowing that they’ve played two different style offenses than what your team runs?

“There’s no doubt.  Watching the first two games of the season, it’s hard to get a feel for exactly how they would play a more conventional offense, which I’d say that we definitely are, especially considering that you had two very dynamic players in the backfield running the read-option and running a bunch of different stuff that for the most part is fairly new in the NFL.  When you watch them, you have to understand their personnel.  They’ve got great personnel.  I also think when you watch them in preseason and just watch some of (Steve) Spagnuolo’s stuff from the past, you can see how dynamic they are on defense and (with) the pressures, the secondary pressure they bring, the blitzing and everything else.  You just have to be ready for such a combination of different things and different looks from their defense.”

 

With the Saints defense facing the different styles of offense they’ve faced in the first two regular season games, how tough is it for them to face this style of offense?

“You’ve got two quarterbacks that basically can run the ball like running backs.  They’re fast and they’re explosive.  The run lanes that they create are much different than a normal offense just because you have to always account for that 11th guy on the field, which a lot of times with the quarterback position you don’t have to do.”

 

How frustrating has the start of your season been for you?

“The start of the season is definitely frustrating.  We’re not where we want to be.  Obviously, starting 0-2 is not what any of us anticipated, but at the same time it is what it is.  We’ve got to try to get this thing going in the right direction.  I think really it just starts collectively putting a game together in which all phases play together.  Offensively, I think speaking for our side of the ball, we just have to do a better job of taking care of the football on a consistent basis, taking our shots and making sure we get good opportunities down the field.”

 

It seemed like you guys were about even with the Falcons for most of the game before they ran away with it.  Is that part of the consistency you’re talking about?

“There’s no doubt.  We scored 17 points in the first half.  We start the second half with a great drive, a ten-play drive to go down and set up a field goal.  We miss the field goal and then from there it went downhill quickly in the third quarter.  We had a strip sack, a tipped interception, and at that point, especially against a team like the Falcons who were operating on all cylinders in terms of their offensive side of the ball, you didn’t have any room for error and that’s what we did.  Before you blink your eye, you’re down by 20 points and that’s not what we can do.  Last week, I just think there was inconsistency.  We had an opportunity again to put some points on the board before the half and make it a two-score game, and we failed to do that again with another turnover in the red zone.  Again, it’s about us taking care of the ball, just being more consistent and getting ahead on first and second down as well, keeping ourselves out of third-and-long situations.”

 

Can either team afford to start 0-3?

“You really don’t want to.  Both of us I think are very eager to get our first win of the season.”

 

Is it a must-win game this weekend?

“You just don’t want to keep digging that hole because in the NFL, every team is great each and every week.  As you get late in the season, you want to be able to have the ability to either win or lose a game when it starts to count every single week in which you have to be perfect by the end of the season.  If you continue to dig yourself too much of a hole, it becomes a little bit more difficult.”

 

The NFL has placed so much emphasis on player safety.  Are you concerned about player safety with these replacement officials?

“I don’t really think much about it to be completely honest.  As a player, I go out and try to do my job to the best of my ability.  Whatever they call, we have to deal with.  For me to put a lot of energy and focus on that, it just takes away from doing your job to the best of your ability.”