How important is special teams to the game overall as a phase?
"It's significant when you look at it and we talk about it all the time. Every snap offensively, defensively and in the kicking game can impact field position and can lead to a score like it did last weekend. I think those are all parts of what makes up the entire game, so it's significant. I think, just as the turnovers are, the field position is critical. I think the kicking game always is important."
"Pete does a great job handling the meetings. Oftentimes, I'm not there preparing the lists. He deals with Drew on a day-to-day basis. H's extremely bright. He's got a great grasp of what we're doing and the changes we might make week to week in regards to what we're seeing defensively. He's invaluable. He's had two opportunities to leave his coordinator elsewhere. Prior to becoming a coordinator here, I think he's been very instrumental in (Drew) Brees' success and I think Drew would tell you the same. He's done a great job."
Along the same lines can you talk about what Joe Lombardi brings to the table on the offensive staff?
"Joe day-to-day, is hands on with a lot of our self-scout. He'll take a peek at ideas maybe that are coming from outside the framework of this game where he might see certain things tendency-wise or certain things around the league. He does a lot of tape study. He's very sharp. He also was involved in the quarterback meetings and is very involved in the pass list with our week-to-week game plan
"I said this a week ago, I'm fortunate as a head coach to have a good supporting cast and a good group of assistant coaches. With the amount of training that goes on in the offseason, training camp and during the regular season, you've got to rely heavily on your coaching these guys being great teachers.
"We've been fortunate. I've been fortunate to have had that here and had a lot of continuity. Some change, but a lot of continuity as well."
As a coach, have you learned anything about budgeting time and avoiding distractions?
"I think our guys understand the distractions and challenges and they handled it well last week and they're handling it well this week. This game itself is most important, remaining focused and putting together, really, a good practice each day, the proper film study, still doing a good job in the weight room. We have a good routine, a good schedule. We pay close attention to not allowing that to be interrupted. I think the leadership in this team has really done a great job in handling that aspect of it.
Can you talk about Jeremy Shockey. First of all, he plays with such emotion. Do you ever try to reel that in or encouraged? Secondly, what does he do to a defense even if he doesn't get six or seven catches a game?
"In regards to his emotion, it's important for a player to be himself. And that is something that I think he's done ever since we had him as a rookie in New York, so we're very comfortable with that. There is a confidence level he brings to the huddle. When you have an inside player, be it a running back or tight end, someone that can challenge linebackers, the safeties there is a presence, the target presence. Generally the reception is made by a tight end closer to the quarterback than the receivers. So there is a lot he brings just in regards to what you're doing throwing the football in the red zone, third down, as well as in the running game.
On special teams, it would be daunting for some to make a debut with some younger kickers and punters. How did they respond?
"No question. I think both those guys are playing at a high level. When you look at the season Thomas has had in his rookie year and the versatility he's given us, not only as a punter, but someone who has kicked off and done a great job of it. Garrett is someone who hit a big field goal for us last week. He's performed consistently. He's got real good leg strength. Those guys are doing very well and handling it really well.
What happened yesterday injury wise with Darren Sharper?
": It was really just us omitting it by accident. So there was nothing more to it than all of a sudden going back through the list and saying, wait a minute. He didn't take place in the reps, so it was just omitting it and adding it."
Is it the same lingering soreness?
"Yes. We've done the same for a few weeks with him now."
Much has been made about the return of Jabari Greer after his absence and how that's helped the team. Could you sort of speak not just about the bodies out there, but how they work together?
1/21/10: Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
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