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Rob Ninkovich Conference Call Transcript

Patriots defensive end Rob Ninkovich addresses the New Orleans media during his conference call on Wednesday, October 9, 2013.


I've talked with Sean Payton about draft picks that have got away and he always brings your name up. How much grief have you given him in passing and how crazy is it how things worked out for you?

"At the time when you're a young guy you don't realize necessarily how things work so now looking back on it, it's been a blessing for everything to kind of happen the way it did and give me the chance to come here and play and make a name for myself. It goes back to when I was a rookie, getting hurt didn't help me. It set me back and with the NFL being a business like it is, they're just trying to get the best guys on the field that they can. I have no ill feelings towards the Saints or towards Sean (Payton). I know that its business and I'm happy that I was able to get the opportunity to come here and play football for the New England Patriots. It was a great learning experience for me, not only just in general but in life. It was a life lesson to pursue your goals and go after things that you want. It just kept me motivated, really, and to stay hungry for my long term goals and playing in the NFL."

If you look at the stats right now, Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and running backs have accounted for more yards and touchdowns passing than running. What does that mean for a guy like you?

"I mean their offense, their production speaks for itself. They've done some great things with Drew (Brees) back there. He's just commanding everybody and making all the plays. He knows how to get the ball out quickly. As a linebacker you have to just really make sure to keep those guys as well contained as you can and not let any of them break loose. With as many weapons as the Saints have on offense everyone is dangerous, whoever touches the ball. You just have to make sure that everyone is accounted for."

Do you think that the running backs and the way that Drew Brees uses them is an issue compared to when you play other teams?

"I'd say when we play Buffalo, we have (C.J.) Spiller and (Fred) Jackson, two guys that are very dynamic. They can run and catch the ball and make some plays out of the backfield. So we have some experience with guys that can catch and run. Again, even on our team we have guys that can do that. It's a challenge because they're really good football players, very talented guys. Again, it's just another thing that you have to prepare for and make sure that you are on top of so again those guys aren't cut loose."

Your thoughts on Aqib Talib.

"Yeah, Aqib came in last year in kind of a tough situation to get traded into a team. He came in and has been professional from day one and has been working hard with the team becoming a great teammate. Everyone likes Aqib. He's a great guy and great teammate to have on the team. That's one of the great things of having him on this team. He's able to perform for us and do a great job in whatever responsibilities he has on our defense and then as well off the field he has done a great job for us."

Can you talk a little bit about the traits that Bill Belichick and Sean Payton share?

"I think that would be, playing for both coaches, you can kind of see the similarities and how they want their teams to be mentally tough teams that are smart. Again, in the NFL, more teams lose games than go out and win them so playing smart football and taking care of the football (is very important). Not giving it away on offense and taking it away on defense, (are) the core fundamentals of playing great team football. I think that both coaches really try to hit home on and get every single player in that mindset of playing three phases, taking care of the football on offense and creating turnovers on defense."

Can you compare Tom Brady and Drew Brees?

"Both tremendous quarterbacks, I mean a little bit different as far as Tom (Brady). It's hard to compare the two, really. They are both great quarterbacks but they both have some differences. Drew is a great pocket guy. He has great pocket awareness. He can move pretty well. You see a lot of guys that think he is going to take a sack and then he's able to shrug the guy off with his pocket awareness. He's got really great feet in the pocket. He's a little bit undersized for a quarterback so he really has to stand tall in the pocket and look over his linemen and try to get the ball down the middle. Tom is just a Hall of Fame guy that is just so competitive. It's crazy how competitive the guy is. Every day he is out here trying to get everyone better. It's just a great quarterback to have leading your team."

Is he even more competitive considering he has a lot of unfamiliar targets and the numbers aren't there like we're used to seeing?

"I think that Tom (Brady) is doing a great job trying to get everybody on the same page with him and help them grow as players. It's not easy being a young guy in the NFL. You kind of have to get out there and learn by using those game experiences. I think just from the start of OTAs, minicamp and Training Camp he's done a great job being really a great coach and mentor to these guys coming up as younger guys in the NFL."

What are your impressions of the quarterback and head coach relationship of both teams and how that figures into their success?

"Obviously with Bill (Belichick) and Tom (Brady) they've been doing it for a long time now, same with Drew (Brees) and Sean (Payton). I think there's great a great amount of respect on both sides, respect and trust to know that they are going to go out there and really do everything they can to help their team win. It's going to be a great game come Sunday. I'm excited."

I know you have ties down here. Are you going to have any family up at the game?

"My wife's family is going to come up and stay with us for the game. My wife is from New Orleans. She's front Gretna. She lives up here now. She's not a fan of the cold weather. We get down there in the offseason to see her family. They're going to have some people fly up for this game."

Will they be in Saints or Patriots gear"

"I don't know. They're staying at my house so I don't think they can be in Saints gear."


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