Metairie, La. - The Saints don't have any time to mourn their loss to the 49ers, they've got a quick turnaround this week as they travel to Atlanta for a Thursday night game against the Falcons. Interim coach Joe Vitt addressed the media day and the following is the conversation, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Opening Statement: "I really have nothing to add to (from) what I said after the game last night. It was a tough loss for our team to swallow and a tough loss for our coaching staff to swallow. The reality of it is this – we have a 24-hour rule around here and that rule has been cut to 12 hours. At 7 o'clock this morning we put (49ers game) behind us and we are on to our next game.
"I feel no differently about our football team right now than I did yesterday morning when we woke up and (had) won five of our previous six games. This team works hard. This team is together. This team does not point fingers. We are moving onto the next game. If I do a better job of coaching then we will do a better job of playing. If I do a better job of delivering a proper road map then it's going to give us a better chance to succeed."
Do you have an update on Bryce Harris?
"We are going to update our injury situation around 2:30 this afternoon. He won't be playing this week though."
Are you bringing in some offensive linemen to look at this week?
"Yes, with a quick turnaround we have to. Like I said, Bryce is not going to be playing this week and we will take a look at some guys this afternoon."
Was Zach Strief close to playing this week?
What about this week?
"He is pretty close."
As far as positions to look at during a short week, is it easier to look at offensive linemen compared to other positions?
"It's never easy for any position in the National Football League. If it was easy, we wouldn't have OTAs or training camp. These guys put a lot of time and effort into learning their craft. So when we bring somebody in, it's going to have to be a quick turnaround for them. It's a challenge."
What are the challenges of facing the Atlanta Falcons after facing them just two and a half weeks ago?
"They are a good football team. I take my hat off to them – they are resilient. They play the Arizona Cardinals, throw five interceptions and have another turnover for a total of six and they find a way to win the game. They are very resilient. They are talented. Their record speaks for itself in who they are and what they are."
Drew Brees has had some fourth quarter struggles. Do you see any factors in why that is?
"I don't think the fourth quarter has been good for us as a football team. We are all in this together. We have to get more stops on defense. We have to be able to run the ball better. We have to throw more completions. We need to have better coverage on our coverage units. All those things come into factor in the fourth quarter. It's not just one person. We are all in this together."
Thursday night games are difficult for everybody but does it make it a little easier because it's a familiar opponent?
"Absolutely. It doesn't make it any less challenging but they know us and we know them. We are going to run plays that we have probably all seen run against one another before. We will try to disguise them with different formations and motions, maybe shifting some fronts, maybe stemming some fronts. This is not going to be a game about scheme. This is going to be a game about execution and physicality."
Coming off such a physical game against the 49ers, how much tougher does that make this quick turnaround?
"It's always tough. Every week in the National Football League is physical. Every week in the National Football League, even when you have a six-day turnaround, it's a challenge but both teams are facing the same challenge."
Do you think it would have been different yesterday if you were able to get after their quarterback more?
"I think we affected their quarterback and I think we had some free runners at their quarterback. I think their quarterback did a good job of making us miss. Schematically we did a good job of creating some things to run at the quarterback. I think we were a little surprised at the start of the game with his foot speed and ability to get out on the perimeter. I think in about the middle of the second quarter we kind of took care of that. We had some people (come) at the quarterback, but we have to make the play when we are back there."
Is there anything you take from the Thursday game you played on Thanksgiving at Dallas in 2010?
"Yes, we will have our same schedule and format. It worked well for us with Dallas. Our players are used to it. Our players are all in here right now watching film. We are going to get a lift in today. We will get a run in today. We will have a 9 o'clock meeting tomorrow. We moved it back one hour to give them a little bit of rest. We have done this before."
What are your thoughts on every team having to play a Thursday night game this season?
"My thoughts have nothing to do with making the schedule and have everything to do with showing up and playing the game. We are going to play the hand we are dealt and play the game the way it's supposed to be played."
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