Great insight on OTA's so far from Vitt
Here's some good nuggets:
"But it was clear he, too, welcomes the focus on football, rather than off-field distractions. Vitt is also the team's linebackers coach, and he spoke glowingly of some of the free agents the Saints brought to his unit in the offseason.
"I think that (Curtis) Lofton and (David) Hawthorne are going to be everything that we thought they were," Vitt said, before turning to some other new faces on the defense, such as defensive tackle Brodrick Bunkley and, notably, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo.
"Bunkley's had great practices. Spags is doing a great job of integrating his defense," Vitt said. "Spags is a players' coach. He's a great teacher, he's a great communicator. And our guys, we ask great questions. We've got a veteran group. This is really the third system for some of the guys (after Gary Gibbs and Gregg Williams), so they understand what it's like to be in a new system and to learn a new system. So it's been very positive."
Spagnuolo has a track record in the NFL of bringing out the best in defensive linemen, and Vitt said one of the keys there is the freedom of action built into the schemes.
"I think he lets them play," Vitt said. "There's not a lot of reading. It's get off the ball, penetrate, change the line of scrimmage, be aggressive, have a good pad level and be confident.
"Spags has got a unique personality: he does not harp on mistakes. He emphasizes the positives, and he gets guys to play hard for him."
When Spagnuolo spoke after the Saints' rookie minicamp, he said he wants his safeties making tackles as close to the line of scrimmage as possible. That's just a common-sense approach for any defensive player, but it could signal a real schematic change for New Orleans, especially given how deep free safety Malcolm Jenkins lined up the past two years.
"I think this: I think our safeties can be interchangeable," he said. "They can be strong safety and free safety, they can be left safety they can be right safety, they can be open safety or strongside close safety. So there is a versatility in this system that's going to allow those guys to do that."
"The Saints' top pick in the draft, third-round choice Akiem Hicks, a defensive tackle, said Spagnuolo has impressed him from the start.
"Oh, man, he's fierce," Hicks said. "He makes you learn, I like that a lot about him. He makes you stay involved, and he makes sure you're on your Qs and that your mind is in it. He makes you a better player. He definitely dives into your whole mentality, and he figures out what works for you and how's he's going to make you better. We're only in the beginning now, we've got a long road ahead, but I'm excited."
Hicks said the scheme is different from any he has ever played.
"Everything that I learn, every day that I come in there, it's a challenge, and I welcome that," he said.
"Toon was singled out for praise by the coaches after the rookie camp, but he now finds himself running routes and catching passes for the first time with NFL veterans.
"I feel good," he said. "Obviously, I'm still learning, so I'm going to make mistakes, but that's part of the learning curve. You try to be as perfect as possible. That's what everyone does, but I'm just going to continue to learn and continue to go out there and compete."
Like the other rookies, Toon said he was impressed with the way quarterback Chase Daniel, propelled to the top of the depth chart with Drew Brees still tangled in contract negotiations, has handled himself at practice and in the locker room.
"He looked good," Toon said. "Obviously, we all wish (Brees) could be here, but he'll get here when he gets here, and we'll move forward. But it's been fun, and (Daniel) looked good out there today."
New Orleans Saints' interim coach Joe Vitt glad to have focus back on football - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
One positive I get is Chase is getting more reps and doing good. Obviously we want Brees but it's a long season. If we are knocking on the playoff door and Brees gets hurt all those extra reps are going to have an effect on his confidence and ability.
I like the qoute that Spags brings the best out in D-Linemen.
Uh.... can I get a "hell yeah" from the rest of you on that.
Getting very excited about the D!
Why, oh why, must it be so long until the start of the season? :-(
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