New Orleans Saints Linebacker Alex Anzalone
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, November 12, 2018
How much more a part of this do you feel this year than last year? Not to say that you didn't feel a part of it last year, but you were injured and you weren't able to participate obviously after the bye. Do you feel like you a lot more helpful or responsible for this now?
“Yes, I think so. Obviously, last year I was gone (on Injured Reserve) after week four. So yes, I guess the answer would be yes. I do feel a lot more part of it playing rather than sitting on the sidelines.”
Especially the last few weeks, you’ve made some impact plays. the forced fumble, an interception last week, and a sack this week. How has that been for you?
“It’s good. I just want to do my part. I think coaches do a good job putting us in good positions to make plays. I think that you just have to execute and the plays will come if you’re there. So Just being (in) the right spot at the right time making the right move at the right times really when I created that too.”
Which one of those plays impressed you the most out of those three plays?
“I’d probably say the interception was the one that I would be the most proud of.”
Why is that?
**“**Just because it's something that as linebackers we work on that all the time and the way I was able to get the ball from the position I was in and I took a step to the left and then cut back. I felt like that was what made those, out of those three plays, that's what was most impressive.”
Do you feel like it’s slowed down for some and do you feel like D.A. (Dennis Allen) is able to kind of use you in more variety because of what you learned in this defense so far?
“Yeah for sure. I think I'm playing multiple positions on the defense. Last year I don’t think I would be able to do that just because being a rookie, coming into a new system, coming into the NFL, it's definitely hard to do. But this year I’m able to do that and be used differently in different ways.”
Did you get any feedback from your teammates on just kind of how athletic your interception as?
“Yes, for sure. We have a lot of guys in the locker room that are very supportive and anytime anyone makes a play, we're all encouraging each other (to) have fun and you see our celebration. If someone makes the play the whole team makes a play. It's pretty cool to see.”
What was the film room like today when they saw the sack?
“For me, I went unblocked, so it's hard to say that it was a crazy play but anytime anyone makes a play it's fun and exciting and to that point yesterday that was their going for it on fourth down, so it was a quick turnaround for us for getting ready for the next play.”
What do you feel like is working best with this defense right now?
“Playing fundamentally sound defense. I don’t think we're doing anything too crazy or playbookwise. It's just executing the technique and details of what we're asked to do and playing defense because it's not really what you play in the NFL, it's how you play it. DA preaches what we've been doing these past few weeks that we've been able to have some of our better performances.”
Does the fast impact of your offense affect the opposing offenses and take them out of their gameplan a little bit?
“Some teams want to play catch up and they have to play catch because of our offense. Some teams want to go right to the throwing game and know that they have to have a fast pace, move the ball (on) offense to be able to stay in the game and sometimes that's abandon the run game and just throw the ball, but some teams do not do that. Later in the game or even throughout the game you see teams go for it on fourth down against us, like yesterday they went for it a few times because they know they have to be able to keep (up).”
You guys have given up touchdowns on opening drives the last three games. Is it just a matter of some kind of adjustment after those opening drives, or what’s your assessment of what happens on those first series?
“Like even yesterday there are just a couple – I would not say missteps, but just not being completely technique-sound. Even fundamentally with tackling and everything like that (what’s important) is just getting off to a fast start. The Bengals, they came off of a fast start the past few weeks they have been playing. So I think that just getting in that right mentality for that first drive is big. I know a few times, I forget which game, so we start with a three and out and that is always big for a defense and to get the ball back to our offense. So we just have to continue to focus on doing that. It’s just little details.”
You mentioned feeling more, obviously, for good reason feeling more involved this year than last year after the injury. A year ago after the injury, what was kind of your regular routine? I assume you were doing rehab at the facility but were you still going to meetings, or how closely connected or detached were you to what the team was doing?
“I'd go do rehab in the morning, go to all the meetings, and then get a lift in or whatever during practice last year. But I’d go to all the home games. Away games I wouldn’t travel, but that's pretty much the extent of how much I was involved.”
What are your thoughts on hearing that the Saints are leading the league scoring 37 points a game on offense?
“One, I’m glad we don’t have to play them. I think going against them in practice definitely gives you confidence. Even throughout training camp you know that they’re going to be the best offense in the NFL. It gives you confidence going into the season and just gameplanwise. We do not have to be superheroes. Things aren’t going to always go our way, but we just have to give our offense a chance and we’ve been able to do (that) the past eight games. They’ve been doing a great job of getting points on the board.”