I’ve got a little treat for you this weekend with an interview I just conducted with Saints’ young defensive tackle Mitch King. You’ll remember King as a player that exploded in preseason last year for the Saints lining up huge performances which forced the Saints’ hand to keep him on the opening day 53 man roster, even though most projected him as a camp body. King led the Saints in preseason with 15 tackles and also registered a sack, quickly making the Saints’ staff and fans realize he could play very well. King bounced from the active roster to the practice squad for most of last year but remained on the team for the duration, and he did play in 3 regular season games registering 3 tackles in limited play time. Many thanks to him for taking the time to talk to us. I hope you enjoy and good luck to Mitch this upcoming season, Who Dat nation will be pulling for him!
I promise it gets better after the first question 🙂
Saints Nation: Mitch, OK, so you knew I was going to ask you about bounty gate so let’s get that one out of the way. Feel free to just share what you’re comfortable with, I know it’s a sensitive topic and I don’t want to get you in trouble with your coaches or the league. What are you comments about the whole situation? Did you have any first hand experience with the pay for performance system?
Mitch King: Well, while the league and commish are still investigating I would rather stay clear of that topic. Sorry to disappoint.
SN: Losing Sean Payton we already know is a huge deal for the offense, but I’m curious how much that affects the defense. As a defensive player, how much will not having Sean Payton around matter?
Mitch King: Well first off, coach Payton is an awesome coach, he brings a GREAT atmosphere to and around the team. He’s very aggressive as a coach and that rubs off on all players, not just offensive. He has been my favorite coach to play for in the NFL so far.
SN: Let’s talk about Mitch King the player. You’ve been in the league 3 years and you’ve already played for 4 teams. How tough has it been not having the security of guaranteed roster spot?
MK: Well, obviously it isn’t fun. And i hate to be the guy that gives “reasons and excuses” of why it didn’t work out or why I didn’t stick to a roster. But i can tell you in my opinion, I wasn’t out played by anyone that took my spot. It has always without fail been injuries around the team with roster moves that seem to get me, hahaha.
SN: You were able to win the Saints fans and organization over last preseason with your unreal hustle and motor. My favorite part of what I saw from you was how you’d make tackles 20 yards downfield as a defensive tackle. It became very clear to me that you were one of those guys that never gives up on plays and plays to the whistle. Is that accurate? Tell us more about your game.
MK: Well you hit it on the head, I won’t give up on a play and I won’t quit. As a lot of people see when they see me walk in a room or look at my attributes on paper, I don’t blow people away, because I am 6’2 and i’m 290 pounds. When you think of a DT you think of 6’4 and 320… but I make that up with my relentless play and effort. I am a quick learner and I will always give a 100%.
SN: The few times you played in the regular season you struggled to make an impact like you did in preseason. Do you feel like the reason for that was a lack of enough reps to get in a rhythm? Or was the competition during the regular season just that much better than what you saw in preseason?
MK: Well in the preseason you are right I was able to get A LOT more reps and string them together in a series a lot more than in the regular season. In the season I played mostly passing situations and blitz packages. Playing one or two plays in a row is very tough to get a feel and get the rhythm of the game or the offensive line. I don’t think the competition was much different, because even though I did play later in the games during the preseason I did play right along side with the starters early in the first quarter and felt like did pretty well.
SN: Have you had a chance to meet Steve Spagnuolo yet? Any comments on Gregg Williams leaving and the addition of coach Spags?
MK: Well I did meet coach Spagnuolo in St. Louis, seems like a great motivator and smart defensive mind. And as far as coach Williams, I really enjoyed playing for him. He made it fun and energetic. That makes a good feeling coming to work everyday.
SN: What are your goals for the 2012 season? Obviously Tom Johnson, Sed Ellis and now Brodrick Bunkley are in the mix, but we also know Rodgers and Franklin are unlikely to come back. How do you feel about your chances at the 53 man roster again this year?
MK: My goal is to show everyone what i can really do with an honest shot.. I look forward to the competition and hard work ahead of me. I love playing in the dome and for the great fans that come every game so one of my goals is to play as much as a I can while I can in that dome… I would like to see what I could do with a full season under my belt and see how much of an impact I could make with that chance.
SN: How has your experience been in New Orleans? Who is your best friend on the team and what is your favorite restaurant in NOLA?
MK: My experience in Nola has been awesome. I can’t say a time i have been out on the town or at a festival where I haven’t had fun. Mardi Gras was amazing. I am really looking forward to Jazzfest. My favorite restaurant down there would have to be a small hole in the wall place where I went for all you can eat blue crab and crawfish. I can’t really remember the name but it was great and I can’t wait to go again right when I get back and i’ll let you know the name after that… plus you can beat Rock – n – Sake. Haha.
SN: Since you’ve been on 4 teams now you’ve experienced a number of fan bases. Are Saints fans really that different/special? What sets them apart?
MK: Well let me say I was BLOWN away with my first experience in the Dome. Just how loud it was and the electricity the fans bring every down is awesome… being out on the town and seeing how die hard they talk about the team with such passion is pretty neat.
Thanks again Mitch!!!