I had the tremendous opportunity to meet Isa Abdul-Quddus in person this week and interview him, as you can see pictured here. It was a true honor to hang out for an hour with a quality person and player. Abdul-Quddus came from relative anonymity as an undrafted rookie free agent from Fordham last year to making the Saints’ 53 man roster on opening day. He was able to stay on the roster the entire season and was trusted with more responsibilities on the field as the season wore on. Many thanks to Isa for taking the time, it is much appreciated. I hope you enjoy the interview below!
SN: Coming into the league as an undrafted free agent, how much harder was it to make the
Saints roster than opposed to being drafted?
Isa: It was harder because, you know, I was behind already. First of all, last year we had a lockout so I didn’t report till July 26th, so I missed OTA’s, mini camp, rookie camp, so everything. It was just, the thing I just had to work really really hard to make them notice me and keep making plays and that’s really it.
SN: What are the main differences between Gregg Williams and Spags?
Isa: Well they both have a really aggressive defensive style but Gregg played a lot more man
than I think we are gonna play. So that’s really the big difference, but they definitely (both) like to get after the quarter back.
SN: How do you feel about the allegations going around about the bounty system?
Isa: I think it’s ridiculous because it’s not something that people do. We play physical, you never see us out there trying to hurt somebody. We’re worried about trying to make the play, or get the ball out. We’re never trying to hurt somebody. The allegations are kinda messed up because it’s detrimental to our character as a team.
SN: Did you feel personally affected when you heard Jonathan Vilma would be suspended for
the whole year? Sean Payton? Gregg Williams?
Isa: Yea, definitely Jon Vilma because that’s our leader, ya know. Everyone looked up to
him. He helps us play. He calls checks, he gets us motivated for the plays, for the game and
everything. It kinda hurts to have him leave.
Sean Payton, ya know, that’s our head coach. He brought the system in, in 2006 and made it work. That was rough too because it’s gonna be a lot different with Joe Vitt because they have two different coaching styles. I love Joe Vitt and everything but it’s not gonna be the same as if Sean Payton was there.
Gregg Williams, it was just ridiculous. I don’t get it man. Granted he had an aggressive playing style and the recordings sounded pretty bad but that’s not him. I know what type of coach he is, he’s an aggressive coach. He wants us to play as powerful and as physical as we can. And that’s really it.
SN: Knowing that the Super Bowl is in New Orleans and with bounty gate lingering, do you
feel more pressured than last year to show the world the Saints can make the Super Bowl?
Isa: I feel like that every year there is pressure to make the Super Bowl because that’s the
number one goal. Everybody wants to go to the Super Bowl every year, especially when
you’re a contender. When you have a record breaking offense and a pretty good defense there’s always pressure to get to the Super Bowl. We’re gonna take it this year as having a chip on our shoulders because it’s us against the world.
SN: What are your personal goals for the upcoming season?
Isa: I want to make a bigger impact on the game. I want to play a lot more whether it be on
special teams or on defense, but I just want to make an impact on the season so we can win more games.
SN: As being a perpetrator of a “defenseless receiver” penalty on a hit on Hakeem Nicks,
what can defensive players do to avoid these illegal hits, when this penalty can even be called
when helmet to helmet contact is never made?
Isa: I don’t know what to do because if you let him take a couple steps, he’s gonna catch the ball. It might be a 30 yard gain. That would be more detrimental than him being a defenseless receiver hit. I feel like we just got to keep playing. Eventually they’re gonna let the ball roll our way because there has been hits last season, like Malcolm Jenkins’ against the Packers. He blew the kid up and they didn’t throw the flag. I guess it’s like a 50/50 thing. You just got to keep playing hard and not worrying about the call.
SN: With the lack of cornerbacks on the team, do you expect yourself to play corner more
than usual as Malcolm Jenkins did in 2009?
Isa: No, I don’t think so. We have a lot of confidence in our corners, and I have a lot of
confidence in my corners. I feel like we will be fine at that position.
SN: What is it like when a guy from a rival, like Curtis Lofton from the Falcons, joins a team
like the Saints where the fans show hatred for the Falcons?
Isa: He’s a great player, so it’s better for us to be playing with him than against him. That’s what the consensus is. Everyone embraced him. Its not like “ we don’t like you because you came
from the Falcons.” He came to the Saints for a reason. Its love. We definitely love it.
SN: What is your overall view of Saints fans?
Isa: The greatest fans in the NFL. They give us so much love. At home it’s like having an extra
5 players because they’re so loud. The offenses can’t get their checks right. It’s so ridiculous in that stadium and I love it.
SN: When fans chant “Who Dat”, how does it make you feel?
Isa: It’s just like a rush and I love it. It’s crazy. Something goes through you like through your whole body. I just get so ready to play because I know I have 80,000 people behind me in the stadium, and even more watching at home. I love it.
SN: After a home win, what is your favorite thing to do, or maybe favorite place to go?
Isa: My favorite thing to do is I want to find my teammates and party with them and just
celebrate the win. There’s not really a favorite place but sometimes we go to a couple clubs out there. It’s wherever my teammates go, that’s where I want to be.
SN: If you could say one thing to every Saints fan, what would it be?
Isa: I love you, definitely. Without y’all the tradition wouldn’t be going on right now. They
definitely help us get to where we need to be.