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tiggerpolice 08-16-2005 02:08 PM

N.O. duo concentrates on special teams
N.O. duo concentrates on special teams
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
Mike Triplett

The Times-Picayune will be visiting with Saints players Alfred Fincher, a rookie, and Fred McAfee, a 15-year veteran, each week to get their thoughts on training camp.

Fincher is a linebacker who was drafted in the third round out of Connecticut. He is projected as the second-string middle linebacker.

On his preseason debut against the Seattle Seahawks on Friday night at the Superdome:

-- I feel like I played like a rookie. There's nothing else you can really say. I did how I was going to do the first game. I didn't play that well. I did some good things; I did some bad things. Overall, it was just a rookie performance. . . .

-- It got better. The highlight was just my first block. We went out there on kickoff return first, and, of course, I had the biggest dude in the lineup. I had to block him. The first time, the dude kind of just pushed me back a little bit. The second time, he pushed me back a little bit. Then the third time, I was like, 'All right, I got him.' I was all excited because I used the right technique and everything. . . .

-- I came in early Sunday morning and watched the tape, and I saw what I've got to get better at. You know, of course, the coaches are on me because I'm young. I'm a rookie, and they want to see me do better. They were really on me. You've just got to get better every day. . . .

-- I'm getting yelled at a lot now, but I'm used to getting yelled at. It kind of puts you down a little bit. But you've just got to understand that it's for a good reason. And you've kind of got to get yourself out of it and get better from it. I've already watched the Patriots tape. I'm excited to get out there for my second game and see if I can get better.

On his postgame routine:

-- I got home from the game and just relaxed. My girlfriend came down with her family, so I went over to their hotel and got a chance to just wind down a little bit and chill with them and get away from everything. Saturday was just a day off. I woke up about the same time, but I got a chance to relax. I went over to my home and checked it out, and I moved some stuff in there a little bit. We haven't closed (on the house) yet, but, when we close, my girlfriend will move in there.

McAfee spent his first three years with the Saints, then played in Arizona, Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay before returning to New Orleans in 2000. He has played 102 games with the Saints, more than any other current player and tied for 30th in team history.

On his two special-teams tackles against Seattle, one of them a solid lick:

-- That's what I do. Over the years, my role has kind of evolved. I came in as a running back exclusively. And then I became a running back who could play special teams. And then I became a special teamer who could play running back. And now I'm just like mostly a special-teams player. But hey, you've got to know your role. And if my role is to go down and tackle people and block for Michael (Lewis), then everyone will see my best. . . .

-- When you're on special teams, you've got to be prideful in it. You've got to be prideful about everything you do. You've got to take it very serious. You know, I like to joke, I like to have fun and that kind of stuff. But everybody knows when I get in the game, it's all business.

On preseason games:

-- You get a lot out of it. You get to see where you're at physically as well as mentally, where your game stands, what you need to improve on. It's kind of just getting you ready for what the real onslaught's going to be later in the year. It's a feeling-out process; that's what preseason is.

On his postgame routine:

-- It's intense. It's a high when you're at the game. And then after the game, it's kind of like a low. So you just want to chill out and not do too much. I went to sleep all day Saturday. I crashed at my brother's house. I stayed in bed the whole day. After the game, I was done. I was tired, very tired. . . .

-- My routine has pretty much been the same for 15 years. I just like to lay down; sometimes I'll watch SportsCenter. You see the NFL show after the game. I do that a lot of times. I'll get something to eat after the game, and then that's it.

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