The New Orleans Saints are now in the process of moving on from the bounty gate scandal as the NFL’s league office has upheld the decision to suspend Sean Payton, Gregg Williams and Mickey Loomis. Here at SRI we’ve brought you commentary from every angle, including from former players and media members who have been involved with the Saints organization. We have yet, however, to really get a reaction from a current defensive player of the Saints. Now we do. Here’s Malcolm Jenkins take on feeling helpless in not being able to defend his teammates during this process.
Malcolm Jenkins joined WWL in New Orleans to discuss joining his teammates for the team’s offseason program next week, missing Drew Brees at OTA’s, Joe Vitt or Pete Carmichael having the players vote of approval to be the Saints interim head coach, the Saints defensive players being upset they haven’t had the opportunity to defend themselves in the bountygate scandal, and expecting a winning season for the Saints.
Are you excited about the off-season program beginning next week?
“Oh yeah. Definitely. It’s been a long off-season and we are excited to get back around the fellas and start working out.”
How important is it to have Drew Brees at the OTA’s?
“Well I think everybody knows it’s no secret how much Drew means to us as an organization and as a team. Just from a leadership standpoint to have him there is huge for us. I really hope we can get his contract situation settled, but we as players understand the business side of this whole deal and we understand his standpoint, so we’ll have to deal without him until that gets done, but hopefully it’ll all get done in a timely fashion.”
Do the players have confidence in Joe Vitt or Pete Carmichael being the Saints interim head coach?
“I think we go into it with a lot of confidence in them, but knowing there’s going to be a lot of responsibility in us too as players. I think anytime you are faced with somebody that is at the head of your organization and they are either stepping down or being shut down for awhile we always have that next man up mentality. We know that with Coach Payton being out that definitely spreads out a little bit of the responsibility across the organization, so we as players are going to have to help out and do our part and kind of bring ourselves up and really conduct ourselves with the leadership on the team. I think we have the locker room to do that as well as the coaching staff that we already have. I think [Joe] Vitt can step up and everybody knows Coach Payton and what he expects. We really developed a culture over the last few years that I think if we can continue to follow that blue print then we’ll be alright.”
What upsets you the most about everything said about your team in the bountygate scandal?
“I think especially being a defensive player the most upsetting things is just not really being able to have a voice yet. To hear the media and fans and everything that is going on and hear so much stuff being said about our character and what type of people we are and not having an opportunity to tell our side of the story is probably the most frustrating thing and we won’t have that opportunity until all of the punishment and everything is done, but right now we are weathering the storm trying to stay busy and keep our minds off of it. We can’t control anything that is going on right now. All we can do is sit and wait and when that time comes we’ll have the opportunity to speak our minds and really try to save face I guess, but right now all we can do is focus on what we can and that’s being ready for the season and I think guys are excited to start back up next week.”
Would you say the best thing for the team right now is to just go out there and win?
“Oh yes the goal has never changed. I think that is going to be a key thing for us this year especially starting Monday in our first team meeting is to establish that we are not going to use this off-season or everything that has happened as an excuse to say that this is going to be an off year. Our expectations are still to win. Our expectations are still to be great and we won’t accept anything less than that. It’s going to be huge for us to establish that kind of mentality early in this off-season and continue to build off that. Like I said before we have the guys as far as leadership in the locker room and on the coaching staff to really take that attitude and not try not to use this off-season as an excuse.”