Interview with Saints WR Willie Snead

This past week I was able to catch up with Willie Snead and ask him a few questions as the Saints head into the 2nd half of their season. He has quickly emerged as one of the Saints most surprising, and dependable, threats on offense.

Snead is currently leading all Saints receivers with 626 and has shown an ability to snag the all important 1st down as he leads receivers with 27.

The interview format will start with my own name, followed by a question, then Snead’s name and his response. A big thank you to Mr. Snead for taking the time to talk to us here at the Big Easy Believer.

Deuce: “What has been the driving force for you early on? You went undrafted, bounced around a couple of practice squads and then got picked up by the Saints. Obviously that’s a difficult road, but you showed a lot of perseverance.”

Snead: “I just really believed that God was testing my faith and I knew He had a plan for my life. I got knocked down a few times but I got right back up and ended up in New Orleans. I knew I could play in this league. All I needed was the opportunity to prove myself and keep proving that I belong with the best! Coach Payton gave me that opportunity and I’ve been taking advantage ever since.”

Deuce: “Not many players get to play with a QB that has the resume’ and plays at the level that Drew Brees does. What’s that like? What’s the biggest takeaway you have from his work ethic, or something he’s said, that’s helped your performance?”

Snead: “Being able to see how consistent he is with his preparation and training to be ready to perform high level is like no other. I’m really grateful to be able to work with a guy like Drew because he does it the right way and he is a heck of a competitor.”

Deuce: “In game one against Arizona you were in on 24% of the team’s offensive snaps. Fast forward to the game against New York and you’re on the field for 87% and 79% here against the Titans. What adjustments have you had to make to your play?”

Snead: “The game has started to slow down for me. Every game I play I learn from mistakes and try to perform better the next game. Coach Payton has trusted me with a lot more responsibility so I have to make sure I know what I’m doing out there on the field. Its all about your preparation for each game and making a play when the opportunity presents itself.”

Deuce: “You’re listed at 5’11 and 195 lbs, but, when watching your tape one area that stands with your route running is your run blocking. You look strong! Coach Payton loves versatile receivers, so when did blocking become such a key element of your game? Have you always focused on it?”

Snead: “Blocking has always been a strong part of my game ever since college. My receiver coach back at Ball State, Keith Gaither, always taught to be aggressive in the run game and finish your man. It also helps the run game get going if I get my guy fast and out the way. I’m just try to do my job the best way I can.”

Oct 15, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints wide receiver Willie Snead (83) is pursued by Atlanta Falcons cornerback Robert Alford (23) during the first half of a game at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Deuce:  “Many fans would say that you’ve already exceeded their expectations for you this season. In an interview you stated you had set 500 yards and were looking to reach 1,000. How much higher are you setting the bar now?”

Snead: “I’m really just amazed how God has allowed me to perform like I have. I didn’t think I would get to 500 yards half way through the season. Now that I have confidence and more knowledge of the game, I’m setting the bar even higher. I really just to finish the season strong for my team, getting 1,000 yards and being considered as a Pro Bowler. That would be a blessing from God.”

Deuce: “You’re having a special season and I hope you only continue to get better with each game. What areas would you point to as targets for improvement? Where can you be better?”

Snead: “I think just making sure I improve my speed and knowledge of the game is going to be important for my training going forward. The more years I play, the better player I will become.”

Deuce: “Many Saints fans are drawing comparisons from your play to the recently departed Lance Moore who will be a part of Saints legend forever for his role on the Super Bowl squad back in 2009 and his play after that. Have you ever watched his play and his style and seen yourself in him?”

Snead: “Lance was a great player. I do remember him playing and he did some amazing things to help his team win a Super Bowl. I have a lot of respect for him. He worked hard to be where he is and he’s made the most of what God has blessed him with.”

Deuce: “Many around the NFL were labeling this wide receiver group as a potential disaster coming into 2015 due to the departure of Kenny Stills and Jimmy Graham. Does this year’s group have a chip on their shoulder and are you playing with something to prove?”

Snead: “We have a lot of really good guys in our receiver room that work hard and want to get better every day. We definitely have a ship on our shoulders and we have a lot to prove. Marques Colston is great teacher and a veteran in our room. We learn a lot from him and Coach John Morton as well.”

Deuce: “You’re becoming one of the more critical pieces of this Saints offense, but like many players throughout the NFL season you’ve gotten nicked up a bit. How’s the knee? Still feeling good and expecting to play?”

Snead: “My knee is good. Just an awkward fall in one of the games. I won’t be sitting out any games.”

Deuce: “No one likes injuries of course, but they are part of the game. When Khiry went down in the Giants game many on the team, including yourself, came to his side to lay hands on him and pray. How important is God in the Saints locker room and on the field?”

Snead: “God is the source for a lot of the men in our locker room. Guys hold Chapels and Bible Studies to bring us closer to God and as brothers in Christ. I’m blessed to work with a bunch of great guys that love Christ just as much as I do.”

Nov 1, 2015; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints players gather around injured running back Khiry Robinson (29) during the second quarter of the game against the New York Giants at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Deuce: “Speaking on faith, you were raised a Christian in a very religious family. How big of an impact was that in your fight to make it on a NFL roster and as a man supporting a family?”

Snead: “My family means everything to me. They give me so much hope and drive because I know they are counting on me and they supported through the good and the bad. My parents always taught me to work hard and be great at what you do. As long as I keep God first in my life, he will guide me to the desires to my heart.”

Deuce: “Lastly, and let me just say thank you for spending time with us at the Big Easy Believer, do you think this team can finish strong and really make a push for a championship? I know every player is almost “required” to say yes, but what in this group makes them special? How can it be ya’ll’s year?”

Snead: “I believe our team can definitely push for a playoff berth and finish the season strong. We just have to keep growing as a team and finish games better. We have the guys to win a championship in our locker room, we just have to put it all together every weekend.”

Once again, a big thank you to Snead for chatting with me. It’s always an honor to talk to members of the team.

Willie Snead just left me very impressed with the type of man he is, what he’s fighting for and his drive to be the best. He’s a hard worker, and you can’t ask for much more than that.

As always, thanks for reading, and I welcome your comments, critiques, and all around banter. God bless and Who Dat!