WEEI>On Demand>>Hokie Gajan: Saints rallying around adversity

Hokie Gajan: Saints rallying around adversity

Aug 8, 2012|

Former Saints running back and current Saints color commentary joined Mut & Lou on location at Patriots training camp. Hokie discussed how Saints players and coaches have dealt with a tumultuous offseason, how important Drew Brees is to the Saints organization, and what to expect from the Pats-Saints join practices this week in Foxboro.

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It's final -- -- our -- for Gillette Stadium -- illuminati three point seven WEB ER we get an hour until patriots practiced here Gillette Stadium. I just stands are about 80% full -- we're looking at right here to get an hour until practice there be a big day. And on top of that you've got all these fans over here on the hill this is going to be jam packed to get practice -- starting at 2 o'clock the fans on open right now. To come down get yourself down your -- patriots and saints joint practice and because of that we're lucky enough to be joined by. -- joyous couple months ago I hope you guys John include running back then I won't say it's not as the color commentary. On the radio welcome the New England to a penalty Dario thanks a lot weather's much better up here than is itself will minus Suffolk yeah I thought yeah so this is this is a real treat for us to -- -- here -- He -- this in cameo might think it's a fairly warm day for training camp so much data mean. No I'm -- great putting jackets in the back. You guys have already had -- one exhibition game I'm just kind of curious on the on -- the overall feel down there and expectations of this team. Given the sanctions that they've had now is it something you think that this team. Doesn't skip a beat the lives up to expectations as if everybody was here a -- they deal with all the. Well -- tell -- -- -- since they've had so much time -- hatchet over I'm I'm kind of referred to the fans in the media that you know it's kind of like man that's. That's old news now let's get into football. And I think it did the majority of the opinion of both fans and know the media down in north they don't be okay. -- some people who say a -- Sean Payton is maybe work two wins a season but. Drew Brees is probably worth six or seven wins a season so. With having him back in the fold now after that Lou contract dispute that they had -- they can kind of put everybody demanded needs a little bit more -- -- I dare say that if something would happen to coach Belichick appears that everybody would feel quite confident that. We don't Tom Brady offensive coordinator in -- -- -- -- and leadership that you have on this team that thinks it may find immediate. May not be that thirteenth fourteen winter season but certainly something good enough to easily get into the playoffs and I think that's kind of the mindset that the -- people have now. Your Brees had -- comments. There were pretty critical Roger Goodell he backed off those comments afterwards I was curious hokey. Do his comments saying that -- we don't trust Roger Goodell players don't trust Roger Goodell. Is that. What people won awards are saying is there anger about amongst the fan base about the penalty that was handed down -- bounty gate oh absolutely is no doubt about that they felt that it was way too harsh. You know I don't think anybody would really complain had their -- and some suspensions handed down in some other things levied on them but you know an entire season three coach you have the season for the GM which. That I don't really see where that's a very big problem because you GM is not really do and a whole lot during the course of the season because you're not. Big contract negotiations or anything like dead within. You know your assistant head coaching -- video be gone for six games and in some key players in will Smith and Jonathan Vilma so. Yet the people were pretty upset about it at first because they just thought it was way too harsh but. Some people have taken on the mentality that it's us against the world. Other people have said well you know we'll find out just -- functional this team can be we think it's loaded with a lot of talent a lot of leadership we'll find out without. Sean Payton Payton being there so it's everybody's come all over the board on exactly how they feel about it but. By large yet they aggravated with it but they know that they don't have to be aware that that they did -- at least now -- the season kicked off yet DNA -- they just say -- just behind establishes find out what we can do as a football team now. -- of confusion yesterday with the NFL the people say -- maybe they're considering dropping the suspension of -- from 168. Games and eight disputed that said no that's not the case. One I think he wonders at Louisville let's get this case and we think is a very risky for the NFL right if they lose it opens a door for other things but why wouldn't Sean Payton being involved you know why wouldn't. But Mickey Loomis while -- Williams why wouldn't the -- field position be fighting it like a Vilma. Well it's tantamount to standing right now that the you I think everybody's gonna sit back taken a backseat. It's in let's see what happens is that with the Jonathan Vilma thing because he's scanning going on within. And there have been cases in the past quarter of players have gotten their suspension reduced a little bit. They were kind of shown a list of names last night guys that -- you know on steroids or something like that may reduce two from 42 games. But I think it kind of what everybody wants to do they wanna sit back and see exactly how this process works would Jonathan Vilma. And then maybe used that to help there and defense in the case said. It up to that point I just think it would be way too much on the plane that commissioner anybody else that has to look over. Do you have Jonathan Vilma and then we'll Smith and Anthony Hargrove and Scott Fujita and Mickey Loomis in Joseph -- And great Williams had just throw all that and has played a one time -- I think it just and it would just be too overwhelming. MIP over the commissioner and say hey look I've had enough well but you know I'm not cannot. -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- What they need to do right now is kind of just sit back let the president be set to have a Jonathan Vilma and his attorney approach this thing. And then maybe we can move forward and it is almost too except eight games wouldn't have been admission of guilt almost -- and he's basically said it's all or nothing. Because what he -- deal mainly it is integrity. You know his name recognition. Huge future. Feel free endorsements or anything -- might do in the future that. You know I've -- -- clear my name. That's all I wanna do I I don't know if it as you said. They don't. But what's the big deal if you -- if you reduce it from 168 games I mean I want my name cleared to let everybody know that you know I still got some integrity it's not still an upstanding citizens Dan. -- I I guess in a way I applaud that from the standpoint that. They -- -- -- and my name is worth more then eight games. But only other hand in his pocket book NBA game then just tell -- Just sixteen games I should say fear until we're talking a former saints running back Cokie -- -- to catch our sister states and the world wants to and color commentary for the saints. On the radio you mentioned Drew Brees being -- 567 games I wouldn't disagree with that. But what about the contract what took sole line from appeared RC we of the conversation many times. Why the heck given they got this deal Donna what is holding out Benson from giving Drew Brees the money did so without Drew Brees. What do you have a new won't be surprised okay how long that they took to get done yeah I think we all worried first of all it. Let me just say this about mr. bits and I mean that I don't work for him but I did at one point when I was on the scouting staff or anything like it. But mr. Benson and never balked at a contract. He just sits back in he -- the people that he's tired to do these things in the general manager. His salary get -- but that didn't do their job and when they come to me and say. You know. Tom we need to get this thing done right now or when they come and say hey he's asking for way too much money go to -- mr. -- -- -- people do their job. In more detail in his time to sign a check that to what he does so it wasn't him. That was holding up the whole process I just wanna make sure it gets clear. A lot of people were -- I just bought a basketball team for 328 million -- but that's a whole separate sport that doesn't have anything and didn't feel people were mistaken. He can give part of that 328 million Drew Brees it doesn't work that way. But from what I understand a thing that was holding it up so long was just the upfront money that they guaranteed money. These figures were basically saying. But the saints kind of warned of backing and loaded and -- course drew and his agent warned its front end loaded in so they finally came to some common ground in in god and all done. But just like everybody else and I got asked that question every day where that went to the grocery store windows put gas in my car where I was at the bus stop wait no my grandkids. -- they can't get distinct -- -- what's the big hold up knowledge I don't know I can't tell you you know. I'm not in negotiations nobody's asked me a single thing about this you know how much do I think Drew Brees who were so. I say look I stay out of it when they get it signed. It'll be done so trying to get done before training -- -- -- at least things are somewhat back to normal you speak and -- Benson by in the hornet's. Let's Vicki Lewis Lobo basketball and I aren't as bad that's. Yeah -- not a good mr. bits and basically took everybody that I do with there whatever their job that they're doing with the saints. They'll now be doing with the -- -- -- upper level management goes I'm not talking about the you know the equipment managers in the big training staff illustrating -- conditioning coach if he might get the people in the front office didn't allow a few. The united may Mickey Loomis I'm quite sure there's quite a few other people don't know exactly what they are on its role is going to be yet but yet they normally do and some think with the -- so. But it is not as if football's not enough of the year round game now it's it's certainly going to be for some of those people. Not necessarily football but they'll be around the clock -- -- to -- you have to give Joseph a bit right in the head coach here now for the pre season once -- SRC suspended for six games. Who takes over this -- first six games well it's going to be -- three people it is going to be Steve Spagnuolo because you know he's got some head coaching experience and been around the league for awhile. Pete Carmichael the offensive coordinator that last year when Sean Payton went down with that knee injury that he suffered against Tampa I don't know a week 45 something like -- But didn't name has been -- no apparent -- the offensive line coach I think he's been put up. Several times for head coaching job if not in the NFL I know in college. It is so he's got some credentials and kind of the common thought. For everybody is that -- Was new -- still installing these defense and he's got to run the entire defense so let him do that. And Pete Carmichael got to work hand in hand with Drew Brees and he's got into our office. If you let Aaron -- overdo it all -- coaches is the offensive line and again he's he always got some experience. In the league as a coach and players have a tremendous amount of respect foreign. But instead of you know. Have to meet with the media on hand decide O'Neal who's going to be a travel squad this week who's gonna be active and -- they think -- though with enough of the burden that they areas don't have been a coordinator on the inside the ball. They be getting guys just got that one position right there. Might be easier for him take over but to be part of me onto yet. They hadn't tipped their hand one way or the other as to who the likely guy he has I mean it's a three way race for those. I think get one thing we can't say for sure is stormy one of those three guys who which one it is. We don't know see now I'm confused as you -- got Christians that are with you he said you're going to be called some of these oil region lies a lot -- -- the sideline reporter you have to you know you -- -- -- -- I don't I don't agent grave amount of any out there you know I can only do an -- -- there's safety zone -- look at the what's -- there's other quick break we're talking a hokey guys John former saints running back keys air station WWL. In the world as does the color. I -- -- -- thoughts about this team and you see the NFC more than we deal when I finally NFC fascinating this year I want talked -- about that if you wanna jump in. And talk as well fault lines are open for you at 6177790850. Toll free 8885250850. Talk of -- policy its collar guy hokey guys John ninety seconds. -- in -- dial 6177790850. Live here at Gillette Stadium where the stands are filled itself. Pretty much capacity already -- blue not a three point seven. WEEI not the stands in the stadium stands alongside. -- practice fields at Gillette you've got patriots and saints joint practice beginning at 2 o'clock -- guys John. So it's collar guy joining us here talk some football good did talk some football -- That is I wanted to -- want to ask you both as you can see it joint practice here today and you know that comment back when you play discs into really done it now last few years who gives you much before. And how valuable those those practices convict. Well I think -- more so than anything else it is probably the benefits of players more than me things because you you know. You don't get your own guy -- eve already going against an enemy camps in the OT gays in the early part of training camp. This area and they give then don't same story you know you get tired of banging on the same guy. Well I think it's also you get a change of scenery. You get it I mean it. Trust me this is going to be terrific for the saints players if nothing else because of the weather engines. You know and now as you showed me what they are they practicing at one another. Back when I was player that was a -- days and we went somewhere and we scrimmage to any it probably had more contact then. A pre season game does right now because. That was training campus for five weeks long you know you have to have something to break the monotony we'd always go against -- Miami Dolphins. But I think it's a pretty common thing that you see around the league for -- to do this. I mean he gives a guy. Guys a break in the in just the old routine I mean we all know how Monday in training camp in gifts it's the same thing you do the same Grail of the same time every day. Well that has changed a little bit since the CBA you know you can't practice any more than four days you're like yeah come back and I thought I don't know holes so I mean you went seven days away and that's a practice in full -- twice -- day and at some point in time you will have the last scrimmage really short yardage and goal line. -- the coaches might say all right let's go eleven on. Eleven right now -- And I'm just. I wonder how the careers could have been linked into some other players even guys that may be put in 1213 years and only. How much longer there can't their career could have been. Head. The conditions in the same way that they are now where you can only Wear pads to me days is a limited amount of days if you can hit. There you can only practice once a day -- else I -- does it that got toilet museum -- get sixteen years the end yeah I mean who's to know. As you're watching this game of football we see here today -- you played into a different -- obviously and I wonder. Deal like football awaits but I have heard a lot of guys who played during your -- same it's not as physically protect the quarterback you're an offensive player but as you watch. This -- senior watches senator football monitor football. You like to gamble football and yes I got there I take -- game now it is more exciting. You know I think -- so that's a thing that. The people that buy the tickets they they wanna see action. Yeah I I think you're dealing with a different frank and now it's well I am very hopeful day you know people back the end back when I play near yet. The game was built on defense and that's what everybody wanted to see him. Eight it was just a given that games are gonna be seventeen to four. I do think to a certain degree that. That the quarterback is may be protected a little bit too much but he's also the -- franchise he's the guy that. -- speak in his bringing in the fans to come washing gains. The one thing and I don't like is I don't like. The new rules and everything else about hitting defenseless player you know. Then what the hell's that mean. You know that's different a guy goes across the middle you know and it's a free safety you can get our strong safety whatever I mean you've always been taught to break on the ball -- there -- separate to receiver from. The football he may throw a flag on an end. No leading to heart I I don't understand -- All we've done for the last 25 years in this game. Ask guys to get bigger and stronger and faster. In and they do it if you give 260 pound guys moving at a clip of 4540. And he runs into somebody is gonna hurt. -- -- no doubt about death. So -- that's. That to me is a one thing I really don't like about the league -- because there's such a gray area in NAND. Tough they also meet people last year in the east saint 49ers playoff game. Saints get killed -- -- they're -- them -- Drew Brees throws a ball out Pierre Thomas -- him out there and a flattened. All have to get too deep into that just came up in just club Pierre Thomas came right -- had knocked him out that was it -- -- fumbles the ball. And he's done for the ball game. From a little while when that helmet to helmet contact it's exactly where he'd be you know I mean the officials sought anything else well it only applies to some. People -- it doesn't apply to -- -- I mean how do you feel how do you balance this whole thing so. It's I mean I think the game overall is better now. From the standpoint of the excitement for the fans did the guy you've got a bunch out power not pitchers out there. You know people let go and watch. Say maybe the Chicago Bears because video there's still a little bit those killed in the judge just a little bit old school in that they play solid defense. They base everything on their running game in play action pass. And -- I mean they've proven that they can still win but. I think by and large with people wanna see. And kind of maybe like College Baseball -- by -- baseball bat -- was a putting America via everybody went to the game to watch home runs in his he has going game didn't. You know you can always say you know well this team never out of it not what do you aluminum bat nowadays don't mess things down. You know say well appeal don't have as much of an opportunity to come out of the five hole deficit -- in the bottom of the -- the bottom of the ninth did you get a cup two years ago so. I just I guess if there's good and bad new game but they if I was just it just a regular fan I think I'd prefer football now more now than it did. Back in the day when it was all based on the thin. You're talking about this scrimmage how probably the defense. That is doing the patriots probably be happy to get away from this major offensive looks like -- -- -- added pieces to -- but they don't exactly get a break yeah yeah I guess you just because it's that I -- that I don't bank and I want to ask -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- that he wants to play to the age of forty you know we talk about the risk -- you said -- protect the quarterback but a guy like Drew Brees. Who steps back in their pocket and throw more more -- -- that Tom Brady has the last two years. It runs out of the pocket -- better than Tom Brady puts himself for more risk. Can he play at least five year deal takes in the 38 years old you see him as one of those guys 383940. Still play in this lake. Yes I do if only because you know I've seen it well I made. Brett Favre was just kind of and -- anomaly out yeah yeah I mean. I wouldn't say that he's a workout warriors that -- Drew Brees is that I don't know exactly what Tom Brady's work out regime is -- I'll see Brazil go down like the life I thought you were asked how they are some you know -- today it drew is going to be work in -- when he goes out there in the San Diego these kind of guys old trainer out data brought to his old -- with the chargers. I mean you know he's going to be working year round and that more so probably anything else keep yourself in shape so. I can't see it but I also see. A lot of other players said -- -- to see what Terrell -- -- no signs a new contract yesterday he's 38 years old and -- you -- four -- 540. Nassau part of his work out on the NFL network I mean he looks like he's -- 22 year old coming out again and then again with all these new rules and everything else. About the only thing that's -- -- a lot of these guys the ball game is sit. The things of the salary -- make uses that you don't took longer continue that you have in the league the higher and higher that you salary gifts and there's some guys it. Last year for example he'd say like -- Darren Sharper well he had such a big impact on it 2000 -- man's season when the -- on the Super Bowl and it kept often appears -- the secondary dad did and they were say and you know and mono tube who -- Simon got. It's not like he can come in say I'll take a cut in pay. -- his base salary is somewhere in just his minimum base our for a guy that's been in the league as long as he -- Is like. One point 11 point two million dollars I'm not exactly sure what that figure is but you know. -- just -- and I can't afford to pay that for -- you know plus 3839. Year old safety -- we're only gonna use in certain situations south. But yeah a guy like. Drew Brees or Tom Brady I mean I think did that forty is certainly. Within the possibility now because they're protected there. Flood of reason they teach themselves a much better shape then. I think they still just got the desire to want. Didn't do it we gotta drive practiced here at 2 o'clock Cokie guy -- -- color commentary on the radio for the saints he's talking for all of us. What about that offensive line -- for an oral once I made this is save a lot we talk about New England -- Brady's gonna play we think -- -- a little story here dudes what he says it wants to do. The offensive line takes a lot of responsibility. -- a couple of changes on one big change up front this year for the -- -- they look on Sunday night and are they grew -- traditional group that's under. Scrutiny something you guys are watching heading into the year -- the offensive line is intact. Sarsgaard is filled with the exception of Carl -- but they brought in Ben Grubbs from the ravens who also made a Pro Bowl last year. I guess by all accounts Carl Nicks is considered to be the best guards in the league. Will be in -- is not that far behind it but everybody else is intact. Then you got -- -- was shot to left tackle you got Brad del Puente a San you get Jahri Evans at the right guard. And he got Zach -- -- to right tackle so it's gonna be the same offensive line with the exception of bin grubs but. Pakistan I think it's much easier if you were easier to replace an interior offensive lineman. Then it is that guy on the out sad day baby everybody knows it has left tackle. You're right any quarterback Jimmy he's a -- on the island he has to be your best player and typically speaking when you look at all the not all but the majority of the tackles they're in the hall of fame if we just have to be there this past week in. Amazing thing there -- -- -- tackles you have to that's so that's so I'm not really all that worried about the offensive line because I mean a good solid group then. They had we lost two or three different guys at free agency that would be something different but it's C same offensive line in the honestly when it. But Ben -- out there and not size wise and everything else if you put the same Jersey number that -- nick said he would know it was a different lines. The only drug -- -- NC Aaron Hernandez neither Rob Gronkowski but it wasn't for grown up really near he had. Funny everybody be talking about Jimmy Graham and they war here and rightfully so we know what the ground touchdowns eighteen and he sort of took off especially up here. What what what what Jimmy Graham only what's the ceiling with this guys he is he a lot like daisy a combination of a guy like -- is who can run. They can move around in the size of Rob Gronkowski. It's. At the amazing thing about Jimmy Graham is that he's only really going into his third year football but he played basketball player at the University of Miami his first three years and somehow or another somebody tells him in the coming out for football could call this yes. Yeah yeah and I think I think the only head to something like eight or two interceptions his senior year but five -- more for touchdowns -- When the saints took him in the third round in -- -- and who is that I mean who the hell is Jimmy -- As they comes out there you know and I mean he's got the basketball frame. They could easily see that name they're always gonna put on some weight but he doesn't know anything about football but he was definitely quick learner. And he got the confidence of Drew Brees early on and even in his rookie year in the intended -- on comedy -- give me just be ready to them come take. Anything about those guys are also big. And I can say they all run so well that did not just blockers anymore. And because of their size and their long arms and everything else. Maybe -- -- quarterback puts him on the -- it's just certain position. -- I mean there's you can covering but you can't defending because you can't reach up there you know. Eleven feet in the -- you -- like these guys can mean. I watched Jimmy Graham after he scores a touchdown he doubts about Vizio moguls over the the cross bar it's it's amazing how big these guys are any quarterback sit there and Drew Brees and Tom Brady. Especially. They're so accurate that they can put the ball in a spot is that this is where I'm gonna throw it so we expect that right there and I don't care how good defense to backyard there's no way you can get up there industry and that ball it just. Either he catches it or nobody catches. I want -- outside opinion this Patriots offense a last year that put up big numbers pretty much. Miller field guys and -- and Welker and gronkowski now you had guys like Brandon Lloyd and the outside the numbers which she really didn't have that presence last year. To go along with a veteran like -- British but Gaffney Stallworth. Gonna be a nightmare for defense according and we keep tickets sort of unstoppable they could protect Brady how how do you how do you view this office at. As I said a minute ago I mean watching the saints practice I'm quite sure that when I watch the patriots go day I'm gonna see that the same type of practices. Who you gonna cover -- you know eat you just gotta hope that your linebackers have some coverage skills to help you out a little bit because. Even with the -- immediately you mentioned Marcus Colston Devery Henderson Jimmy Graham is Lance Moore. Ed almost and now you got Darren Sproles coming up back field. The same way would it make it to meet you just you just gotta get lucky and hope that you get to the quarterback soon enough. There may be making her your growth are maybe just not let him go through his full progression and find that number five guy. And make a bad throw to emerge just not have -- given the opportunity you have enough time. Who still -- it to them because. I really don't know I mean if by the defense of coordinator initially got me it would just drive you nuts so. I think more than anything else right now you've got to have some good cover linebackers because they've got to take some pressure off the off the defensive backfield position is no way. But the talent of the receivers that we both just made that you could sit there and run with those guys for very long because. With the timing and rhythm and flow precision passing of both. Drew and Tom. They pressured -- we -- every you've got you've got no chance. Some of -- the NFL -- guy -- hanging -- pleasure talking to avoid the okay thank you so I just have any patriots make it to the world -- we're calling for some restaurant recommendations well you know they don't let that light -- tell me city go to north side of town ECB can't go bad with a restaurant hit it here in New Orleans is pretty well the same way for us it just depends on what you like -- seafood and steak or whatever they got some war in great places down there -- sounds good run it up now. It would be nice to to CNET dam in New Orleans in this dream match up right here -- -- him from the get go the pre season -- the final game this okay thank you managers got anyway that's retire absolute pleasure hope you guys John former saint running back to catcher on the New Orleans Saints radio network our sister station WWL. In New Orleans on the color commentary will come back we'll talk to you guys and we talked about the replacement -- yesterday. Come on NFL players ripping the NFL replacement refs that's part of the conversation keep it here. Sox baseball right here can still Red Sox.

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