Saints DE Alex Okafor

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Saints DE Okafor: "There's no point in lingering" on 0-2 start

Mark Menard
September 21, 2017 - 11:46 pm

Saints defensive end Alex Okafor joined Deke Bellavia for Thursday night's Saints Players Show at Hooters in Metairie, and right from the start, he addressed the elephant in the room: a Saints defense that ranks among the NFL's worst again this season.

"Right now, you've just got to keep it moving," Okafor said. "You learn from your mistakes, but there's no point on lingering on the past. As of now, we're just looking towards Carolina and how we beat them."

Okafor joined the Saints as a free agent this past offseason, and the former Arizona Cardinal believes the beleaguered unit is headed in the right direction as the season rolls on.

 "I think we've taken some steps as a defense," Okafor said. "I think [defensive coordinator Dennis Allen] has put a good plan in place for us defensively. I think we'll be able to play free and turn it up a little bit."

Okafor said sharp practices are a key piece of the puzzle, and the team has made the most of its practice time this week.

"It starts off like this," Okafor said. "If you don't get it done in practice, you're not gonna get it done in a game. So that's our mentality right now. We're just making sure we're damn near perfect at practice because we know we don't have no room for error."

Okafor also discussed this week's opponent, the run-heavy Carolina Panthers.

"In a passing league," Okafor said of Carolina, "they're one of the few teams that comes at you and makes no bones about it. They're gonna run the ball, and as a defense, you've just got to embrace that challenge."

And the pass rushing specialist talked about the unique challenges Panthers quarterback Cam Newton poses under center.

"You've got to be next to him to feel how big he is," Okafor said. "He's about as big as me. You don't realize that until you walk right up on him. You've got to bring everything you've got in you.

"You might blow on most quarterbacks and they drop. Cam Newton, you've got to bring your hard hat after you beat the tackle just to bring him down."

Okafor and the Saints clash with the Carolina Panthers in Charlotte on Sunday at noon. Our coverage on WWL starts that morning at 8. You can hear the full audio of Okafor's appearance on the Saints Players Show by clicking the podcast link.

Saints Players Show - Alex Okafor

Saints defensive end Alex Okafor joins Deke for the Saints Players Show.

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