What do you remember about your first meeting with the Saints?
“Number one, the quarterback (Drew Brees) is a great player and he willed that game to happen the way that it did. That’s number one. Number two is defense. I thought (they) rose up against us and made plays in critical situations that afforded them the victory. We have our hands full. (On) special teams I think they have some dynamic players that we have to be aware of, some individual guys in the punt rush that we have to be aware of that can cause havoc if they choose to. Definitely with that going into the dome (Mercedes-Benz Superdome), we certainly have our hands full.”
Didn’t you guys get on a good run after that game? Did it light a fire? Even with a three game losing streak you were playing better. Do you feel like your team has turned the corner?
“No, whenever you are in the three game losing streak, if we’re getting to where we want to be than we have issues. We’re playing well at times. Our biggest issue is consistency right now. We’ll shoot ourselves in the foot and I don’t know if that’s accurate. The other team might be the reason we’re doing that. We’ll get a holding penalty or do something that we’re not trained to do and all of a sudden we’re behind the eight ball. (It’s) the same thing coaching. We have to coach better. We have to do a better job of all the little things that allow you to win.”
Were you doing those things well in the winning streak after the Saints loss?
“We really were doing it pretty well. As you know when you do certain things really, really well, sometimes there are other things you are maybe not quite on top of. So, when you are phenomenal at something, not just good, then the other things rear their head and now they matter in the final score more than they did. We need consistency, that’s what we need to do. We need it in all three phases. (This is) a tough outfit to get it against, but that’s what we have.”
Can you talk a little about getting Ronde Barber back, the position switch for him and what he means to the team?
“Ronde’s been incredible. I mean that from a team standpoint, but also mean it myself as a first-time (NFL) head coach. He’s been a huge help, a guy that I confide in and get some advice (from). He has such great experience. He’s one of the finest players to ever play the game and is one of those guys. When you ask him a question, it’s an accumulation of his experience that you getting in the answer. That’s been helpful. He’s played well on the field. He’s been a great role model for our younger guys. I’m just happy that he decided to come back and do it again in 2012.”
He seems like a guy that’s taken care of himself. Do you think he can play a couple more years if he wants to?
“I think it’s totally up to him. There’s two parts to this game. There’s the physical part and the mental part or the emotional, nonphysical part. As he did this year, he’s going to have to sit back and think it through and I’ll visit with him and help him. But I think that’s a decision that only he can make.”
Are you willing to help him make that decision a lot?
“I’ll just let him do it (laughter).”
Even if he retires, is there a place for him in the organization?
“I don’t know. I haven’t even gone down that road, because I’ve been so engulfed in the season. I haven’t even thought about it. The service that he’s done to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tampa Bay community has been second to none. I think when his playing days are finally over, it’s going to be a matter of what I (he) want to do now, not what do I do now?”
You had a lot of injuries and problems in the secondary giving up a lot of passing yards, but have been very good against the run. Does that tell you something about your defense?
“I’m not sure exactly what you’re asking, but I think I get it that it’s a little disproportionate in being so effective in stopping the run and so ineffective in stopping the pass. Consistency is the thing, because there are times we do a good job in stopping the pass. When we don’t, we’ve given up big plays. That rings up the register pretty quickly when you’re giving up big shots. It got us in the first New Orleans game. It was shots, about five or six plays in that game, where they had some big plays. Either they scored on those plays or it led to scores. At the end of the day, that’s what football’s about. There are going to be a half dozen to ten plays a game that decide the game.
Source: New Orleans Saints Media