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Interview: Saints defensive end Will Smith

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Defensive end Will Smith had a huge interception in the Saints' dominant 45-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday. Silencing the analysts who thought both teams would score almost every time they had the ball, the defense played a ...

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:11 PM   #1
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Defensive end Will Smith had a huge interception in the Saints' dominant 45-14 win over the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday. Silencing the analysts who thought both teams would score almost every time they had the ball, the defense played a huge role in the Saints advancing to within a game of the Super Bowl for the second time in four years.

Smith talked about how the Saints turned a high-flying offense led by quarterback Kurt Warner into a frustrated group that scored seven points after the first play of the game.

Could you tell early on that you guys were the fresher team?

“Yeah, definitely. Our tempo of practice was a lot faster than it had been the previous weeks. Just the couple of days we got off, everybody that was injured was able to get back healthy and get their legs back and get ready to go. Now we have a couple more days off, but everybody will be watching film, preparing and getting ready to go back to work.”

How much did it bother the defense that the national perception was whichever team had the ball last would win?

“We took that as a challenge. Any time somebody tells you that they are going to score 30 or 40 points on the defense, that’s really bad. I don’t think any defense in the NFL wants to give up that many points, let alone 14 points. We went out there and tried to do our best to prevent them from scoring.”

How much of a difference was it having a healthy Jabari Greer at cornerback?

“It helped a lot. Jabari and Tracy (Porter), I think between the two of them all season they only gave up one touchdown. It shows what type of corners they are. They played lights out today and they gave us the opportunity to get to Warner. He held the ball, patted it a little bit and we were able to get pressure and affect him.”

After Arizona’s long touchdown run on the first play, how much concern was there defensively?

“I won’t say it was a concern. Everybody wanted to turn their game up a little bit more. There was more of a sense of urgency after that play. We were mad at ourselves that we didn’t fit it the right way. He made a good play, but it shouldn’t have been that big of a play. We picked up the urgency.”

When do you feel like you had that offense under control?

“We felt as if we had a good grip on the offense after the first quarter. We only had eight plays defensively. We knew that whatever we were doing, we had to keep doing it and keep them off balance and keep them turning over the ball and get our offense the ball. Our offense started really fast and played well.”

You guy were more physical on their offense than they were to your offense. Did you notice that?

“Yeah, I noticed that. I think they were a little tired and a little banged up. They were flying around last week and were a little worn down. We were the fresher team today. That played a big part.”

Was the early fumble that Darren Sharper recovered the biggest play of the game?

“Yeah, I think that was the changing point of the game. Once we got it on offense and went down and scored, they got the ball back and went three and out. Then our offense scored again. It went from them being ahead 7-0 to us being ahead 21-7, and it was still the first quarter. We knew that if we continued this pace we would have a good chance of winning.”

How much did you guys take the last three or four weeks personally as people started digging out you and pointing out the reasons you wouldn’t be playing deep into the playoffs?

“We didn’t really worry about that, what all the experts say. We play the game, so we ultimately control what happens on the game. What somebody says on TV doesn’t really mean anything unless it comes true, so it’s almost like casino gambling. They don’t know what’s going to happen, and we don’t know what’s going to happen, but we control it.”

If you had some chips to lay down, would you put it on the Saints next week?

“I wouldn’t say that. I’m not going to even entertain that.”

How much does it mean to be playing the NFC Championship Game at home?

“It means a lot. It’s huge. Just to be able to go to the Super Bowl and be home, it’s huge. I’m glad we got this opportunity to do something that no other Saints team has done before – to play an NFC Championship Game at home.”

Were you worried there would be some repercussions for your early scuffle on special teams (Smith got in a shoving match that drew offsetting personal foul penalties)?

“When you play, you don’t worry about the fines. You don’t worry about any of that. I’m the one that got hit. I don’t know how I got the penalty, but it is what it is. That’s part of the game. You’ve got to live with it.”

Could you sense the Arizona offense getting frustrated as the game went along?

“Yeah, they were getting frustrated. The receivers were getting frustrated, and so was the offensive line because they were used to doing certain things at such a tempo that they couldn’t do it against us. They definitely got frustrated toward the end of the game.”

On two consecutive first-half series, In the first half, Warner checked down to receivers on plays that had no chance to get a first down. Is that when you started feeling you had them?

“Yeah because he doesn’t do that. He was nervous of committing more turnovers because they had committed a couple early. That was our goal going into the game, to make him uncomfortable.”

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Old 01-20-2010, 02:12 PM   #2
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Re: Interview: Saints defensive end Will Smith

Big Willie gonna go off on Bretty..i see a int for him...lol
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Old 01-20-2010, 03:02 PM   #3
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Re: Interview: Saints defensive end Will Smith

I like that projection there, Strato!
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Old 01-20-2010, 06:47 PM   #4
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Re: Interview: Saints defensive end Will Smith

Brett - ARE YOU READY FOR PAIN?? Saints "D" bring it - hard & often!!
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arizona cardinals, guerry smith, jabari greer, kurt warner, new orleans saints, nfc championship game, super bowl, the examiner, will smith

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