Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo
October 29, 2015
Q: What have you seen from Jason?
A: I remember the Jason Sehornís playoff game here, he picked that ball off. Can I go down that road? That was a great play, though. It was right at the end of the half. What year would that have been? 2000? What a great play that was.
Alright, the other Jason weíre taking about, right? Itís hard to tell anything right now. Weíre just obviously all really happy heís back in the fold here. I donít know him as well as everybody else here, all the other coaches. Iíve admired him from afar, obviously, and know heís a really good football player. But look, itís up to the medical team, Coach Coughlin, Jerry, to make all the decisions on that, Iím just glad heís back.
Q: Have you guys had conversations along the lines of how to use him as he progresses?
A: Today was really the first day he kind of did anything. I know he ran around yesterday, so I havenít really had a chance to watch the film. Itís going to take a little while, itís really early now. We want to be optimistic, and I know he is, too, but I think we want to be smart about it. Weíll just see where it goes.
Q: Given that itís so early, are you surprised to see him out there doing those drills with scout team already?
A: I donít know that. Iím not lying when I say this, Iíve had the blinders on for seven weeks on each game and now itís the New Orleans Saints. When somebody gets hurt, you move on to the next guy, you focus on that. Iíll reiterate it by saying Iím just glad heís back. All the questions youíre asking me weíve got to figure out, but itís a good thing to try and figure out. Probably the best way to look at it.
Q: Do you get to a point where you have to gauge how many plays he can maybe be effective for before you bring him out?
A: Yeah, probably. I think sometimes whether youíre coming back from an injury, whateverócoming off a suspension, PUP, whatever it isósometimes itís not the injury you have youíre worried about, itís something else. I think weíve got to be careful of that.
Q: Heís obviously going to be situationally used anyway to start?
A: You would think. Itís hard to throw a guy out there and play 65 plays when you havenít done anything for a long period of time. Weíll see.
Q: Does New Orleans mean anything to you, you had the one year there. Iím assuming you havenít been back since, have you?
A: I went back last year when I was with Baltimore, we went down there. There are good people that Iíve met down there, friends. But other than that, itís another game.
Q: How much did you learn from that year? You only had one year there.
A: Iíve said this before, and itís quite evident now, you learn more in adversity than you do sometimes when it goes real well. There are things I pulled away from that I think have been helpful and hopefully will be helpful.
Q: Anything tangible or specific?
A: No, not really. No, not really.
Q: How adverse was it there for you? You had a lot of bad things said about you when you left.
A: It was adverse. Yeah, well, itís in the rearview mirror.
Q: With JPP returning and Robert Ayers, I assume, getting healthierÖwhat do you envision from your pass rush moving forward?
A: Both those guys obviously can do that very well. Weíre just glad we got Robert back, itís been a while. To come back off of three or four weeks, whatever it was, and go back out there, youíve got to knock the rust off. DK, Devon Kennard, had to knock the rust off a little bit, too. So hopefully Robert is one more week advanced there, and Iím sure JPP is going to go through the same thing. Keep everybody healthy and try to mix and match and keep guys fresh. Hopefully that part of it will improve.
Q: How difficult is it for you when youíre implementing a new system in your first go-round here with this group and youíve got all these guys shuffling out?
A: Iíll tell you this, it is tough, itís tough for the coaches, itís tough for the players. But our guys have really handled it pretty well. I have to complement the guys on that. And weíve tried to be smart about what we do and what we change or not change because of that. And yet, in the league, that happens. Everybody is going through the same thing. Every team around the league has to fight it and thatís where you hope you have guys in the room that have taken over for somebody that got hurt. Theyíve been in tune to it and theyíre ready to step in and take advantage of their opportunity.
Q: As you get healthier at defensive end, will it be hard to find playing time for Damontre Moore?
A: Youíve got a number of guys over there, so weíll have to figure that out. But itís not a bad problem to have. Itís not a bad problem to have guys that you think can go in there and play. I donít know if you can ever have too many. You just find a way to even it out. The one thing about that, it creates great competition.
Q: You were here in 2007 when you guys went to New Orleans, right?
A: I donít know if we played them in í07, I donít think we did.
Q: Well, you know what can happen.
A: Oh God, yeah. Itís a challenging place to play and itís a good football team. Fans make it tough because theyíre into it. Iíve always thought you embrace that and go down and enjoy it, thatís what makes the NFL so exciting. But it is one of those places thatís tough to win.
Q: Drew Breesí numbers are not prolific like theyíve been in the past. Questions about his shoulder and things like that. What do you look at?
A: I donít see that. I just see him throw touchdown passes. I was just in there watching, he had a nice little playóthey went for it on 4th and two in the Atlanta game, he pops it in there for a touchdown. Iíve got a great deal of respect for Drew. I enjoyed my time with him. We had many a conversation when I was down there. Not only is he a great character guy, but heís a really smart football player. He would see things and itís always good to see the other side of it. I enjoyed that. Iíve got a great deal of respect for him. Great competitor, great competitor. And I donít really see a tremendous drop off. With the system that they run and how quick he gets it out, heís so effective that way. Itís going to make it a challenge.
Q: Back to Damontre, how has he held up the last two weeks in your estimation? It hasnít been an easy two weeks for him.
A: From an emotional standpoint? Heís been great. Thereís ups and downs in the league, especially early in your tenure as a player. It wasnít easy for him to be deactivated last week, but he fought through it and he came out here and heís practiced pretty well.
Q: Did you have to talk to him about that? Did you have a conversation?
A: I talk to him all the time. One thing about Damontreówhen he was back at Texas A& M doing his schoolwork, we had a conversation over the phone and instantly kind of connected. Weíve kind of had that all the way through and weíve talked through this situation, too.
Q: With JPP, does he have to fit into the defense you have now or youíre sitting there saying, ďIím a kid with a new toy?Ē
A: I think he fits right in. Football is football and I donít think weíve changed all that much from the standpoint of the position he plays. The terminology will be different, but Robert Nunn has been in there visiting with him time after time, so hopefully that learning curve wonít be too steep.
Q: You have calls in your defense that require him to just go get the quarterback, I guess?
A: Weíve got a lot of calls where everybody should be going after the quarterback. Especially early on, you try to limit the thinking.
Q: Coaches get fired every place, but when you go through a year like you had there in New Orleans, is there a worry like, ďIs my reputation going to be damaged,Ē or that kind of thing?
A: I let the Good Lord take care of that. I donít have any control over that.
Q: With the guys going in and out at linebacker, obviously Jonathan Casillas has been in and out. Do you feel like this is kind of a spot where right now heís starting to find his groove?
A: Jonathan? Yeah, when weíve put him in thereóand Jim (Herrmann) has done a great job with him. And Jonathan was with us in New Orleans, and thatís where I kind of learned about his talent. And he practiced really well today. I agree with what youíre sayingóhe can fit into that, heís a football player, he can run around, heís skilled in the pass game and thatís why he finds himself in those situations. Heís a good football player and heís been great on special teams for Tom Quinn. Iím glad we got him.