"This morning's practice went really well. It's great when you have a chance to see a different team. Certainly it breaks up the routine of training camp. Defensively, you get new formations, new play designs and offensively you get a different defense. Just in visiting with Bill (Belichick) afterwards, I thought everything went very smooth. I thought the teams got a lot out of the morning practice. We're trying to give the players a number of situations. This afternoon will be much like this morning and then we'll go again in the a.m. A lot of guys are getting a lot of reps. I think when you're preparing to play a preseason game, we can't replicate the actual looks. You can try to run scout team looks, but coming here to work with a team like the Patriots certainly benefits both teams involved. We were pleased with the morning work. The weather was great. It was good to get out of the heat in New Orleans and everything's gone very well."
Is this the first time since you met with Bill since your book came out, which included the chapter of you imitating his mannerisms?
"No, I see him at events like the combines, owner's meetings. When I was with the Giants and he was the head coach here, preparing for the 2001 season, we came here to Bryant College to practice with the Patriots and that year they ended up going on and winning the Super Bowl. He's a guy that certainly I respect and when we got to New Orleans in '06, we payed close attention to who was winning in our league and clearly we patterned our organization after what New England was trying to accomplish. My grandmother used to say I think imitation is the greatest form of flattery. He's someone who's done a great job. They've created a great environment here that we tried to create in New Orleans. He's real talented. We were together at the Pro Bowl after the 2006 season and the loss to the Bears and they lost to the Colts. We had a chance to get to know each other then. He's someone we have a lot of respect for."
Has he read the book?
"I didn't even ask him about the book. I knew you guys were going to ask me about it."
Are you going to give him a copy?
"I'll give him a copy. I think that whenever you do something like this there are players that played in college together. There are players on our team that were with the Patriots, Heath Evans, Randall Gay, David Thomas and I think the change of scenery also helps. This second phase of training camp is always more challenging. When you're able to go against another team, you kind of get the adrenaline going a little bit more. The effort was good."
What did you think of having Jon Bon Jovi out at practice instead of Kenny Chesney?
"I told him a story that the night I was in Dallas and got offered the Saints job, Mickey Loomis called me on a Monday night. My wife and I were at Bon Jovi's concert. I had to step out into the hallway, so I could hear Mickey offer me the job. I remember coming back in and my wife asked me if we were going. I said, yes, we're going. It was right in the middle of his concert. He's another great musician."
What did you make of the fans who you signed autographs for?
"They're awesome. They're great football fans up there and I think that they really appreciate good football. They've had a lot of success and a lot to root for. That's a good thing."
Will Jon Bon Jovi get a tryout at wide receiver like Kenny Chesney?
"I don't know. He has a hamstring injury right now he said, so he's rehabbing. He pulled his calf muscle he said in one of his shows. I don't know if he could pass the physical today."
Based on the final score against the Patriots last November, even though this is a preseason game, do you think they take any of that in and might be looking for revenge Thursday?
"I don't think so. At this time of camp, our most important job is to find the final 53 players. The teams are different, much different and I think that all the players and coaches involved are working at trying to get better. This morning was an opportunity to do that. I think the regular season, the divisional rivalries, all those other things, I think take more precedence. It's a chance to get into some competitive drills and individually work on improvement, knowing that all of this is going to be on tape. Now you have another team looking at it. It's another opportunity for the players."
There's certain benchmarks in a season. Was your victory over the Patriots last year, considering how well you played a benchmark?
"I don't know if it was a benchmark. Our players have certainly heard me talk a lot about New England and what they've done and the formula. That was dating back to '06, '07 and '08. You have a chance to play that team you've tried to pattern yourself after and you just want to play well. Certainly it was an important win for us and certainly, it represented one win. You have those games like the New York Giant game or maybe a game where we had to fight back. They all feed off of each other, giving you some confidence. It's certainly an organization we have a lot of respect for."
Have you consulted Bill Belichick about the rigors of trying to repeat?
"I haven't had a chance to visit with him specifically about that, but we have a couple of days. He won his first Super Bowl in the '01 season and then '02 they did not, but won it again in '03 and repeated in '04. He's really the only coach in a long time to do that. To win three Super Bowls in that timeframe is unbelievable."
Do you think these fields out here have Coach Parcells' mark a little too?
"Yes, there's probably a little bit of Bill's stamp on it. It was funny we faxed each other the practice schedules. Those are set up much the same way that Bill had set them up when we were assistants with them. There are some similarities and we got to tell some stories last night."
People talk about Bill Walsh's coaching tree and it will always stand but doesn't Parcells' tree with you, Bill Belichick and Tony Sparano seem to be growing too?
"Those are two Hall of Fame head coaches. Usually when you have staffs that win and have success, generally the assistants that are a part of that have a chance to get their opportunities. I was fortunate to have worked with someone like Bill, young in my career to help shape what I became as a head coach."
Can you talk about Terry Malone?
"I hired Terry in '06 when I got the job. I knew him. We were at Maryland briefly together. He's a guy that is clearly a team player. He has experience coaching a bunch of different positions. He has the tight ends for us and does a very good job with it. He's a guy that is a good staff guy, very loyal and hard working."