How important is this camp for you personally with the new defense, (with the team) drafting a new safety and being in the last year of your contract? How important is this for you this season?
"Personally, it’s a big season for all the reasons you just named. It’s a contract year and this is a city that I love playing for and that I want to play for in the future. With that in mind I’m definitely motivated. Just the opportunity that we have this year with the type of players we’ve acquired this offseason and having Sean Payton back. I really think that we have the tools to take this team far. That’s enough motivation for me, so I’m coming into training camp pretty motivated."
How important is it to have that sense of normalcy back to the organization?
"It’s cool. This whole offseason we’ve been able to focus solely on football and that’s refreshing. Especially to have Sean (Payton) back and just to not have any distractions in the offseason (is important). When Sean came back he established that he wanted (us) to work out (a little differently) in the weight room and (he) really changed some things up. So the pace has been changed and guys have been focused. Guys have been here and holding each other accountable. We showed up in shape today. We’re looking forward to the momentum that we have going into the season."
Having Sean back for a little while now, have you found him to be more intense or the same guy?
"Probably the same guy. He’s a leader and he picks something to improve on every year. He focuses on that and we follow his lead. It’s definitely nice to have him back but it’s the same old Sean that we know. He’s competitive, he wants to win, he’s going to have a plan to win and now we’re just trying to follow that plan."
You’ve gone through minicamp and OTA’s so is this a non-story now with not having distractions?
"Yeah this is the first normal offseason that I’ve had since I've been with the Saints. We had the Super Bowl and then the lockout and then something else, I don’t know. Every year it’s something. This has been a pretty uneventful offseason, which has been nice. Like I said we can focus on football, this new defense we’re installing and competition and guys are having fun and we’re excited."
Do you think more is being made with the switch to the 3-4 defense? Are we making more out of it then there really is?
"I think you have a reason for it. It is a big switch schematically and in theory, but in execution its really not. I think the good thing is it fits our personnel really well. We have a lot of players that are very versatile and can play different positions. When you have that 3-4 scheme and you can add those types of players, I think that’s when it becomes dangerous. There is a little bit to learn from a verbiage standpoint and from an alignment (standpoint) because you have a couple guys switching positions. Its really more similar to what we did when Gregg (Williams)was here so a lot of guys are familiar with most of it already. I don’t think it will be a big transition for us."
Scheme wise, how close is this to what you were running with Gregg Williams?
"I think it’s similar in the fact that it’s very versatile so you have a bunch of different packages and a lot of people moving around. The goal is to get to the quarterback and get some pressure. We’ll use the talent in our secondary with our corners to play man-to-man and change it up and play some zone. It’s not a cookie cutter defense, it’ll be different people moving around in different spots all in an attempt to get to the quarterback."