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Sean Payton: "I thought defensively they played with real good energy."

Posted Aug 13, 2014

Sean Payton met with the media post-practice on Wednesday, August 13, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Media Availability

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Opening Statement: “Tight end Richard Quinn was moved to reserve/retired and we signed tight end Travis Beckum to keep our numbers at the same roster count (maximum of 90)

Have you made any decision on Drew Brees for Friday night?

“Not yet.”

Were you happy with the passion of today’s goal line drill?

“It was another period that was live and it’s kind of hard to walk thru goal line. It’s a segment that gets maybe 10 to 15 snaps a year. Our normal installation’s normally about that second or third week (of training camp) that we put it in. We did get a number of good looks. We’ll look at the tape and may have an opportunity to have one more of those drills. Overall it was pretty good.”

What did you think about that period?

“It was good. I liked the intensity. I thought it was very good. You get a chance when you see the tape to look at the specifics, but I thought it was competitive, obviously there was some disagreement in regards to the one play. That’s pretty significant. I think we have to look at the film. Overall, I was pleased with the tempo and the way the guys handled it.”

Only one clearly got in the end zone. Do you consider that a defensive win today?

“We had two segments battling, so you had the first segment battling and you had the second segment battling. The second segment was crystal clear. The first segment, it all gets back to that one play where typically you start a series in goal line inside the three. We’ll look at the film. I thought defensively they played with real good energy.”

Are you interested to learn what Ryan Griffin would do as a starter and if he could handle that situation if there were an injury that would make Drew Brees unavailable for a regular season game at some point?

“One of the challenges you have with the quarterbacks is getting them reps in games because like a lot of positions, there’s just one player, but both Ryan and Luke (McCown) have had a lot of work with the ones this past week and a half and so I think that’s helpful. Most importantly, when you are evaluating the quarterback in a preseason game, you want to make sure he’s getting protection. Sometimes in the second half, there might be a breakdown in protection and then it really blurs the evaluation of the player because he wasn’t able to set his feet. So, who’s around him, no different than in our starting lineup, is important.”

Is it good to have that backup receive the experience in a starting role?

“Obviously yes. That’s why we’ve been rotating them out here at practice. Now whether he (Griffin) receives work with the ones in this game is to be determined.”

Do you have a secret as to why it never rained much in Jackson when you had training camp there without an indoor facility and now the same here?

“No, I don’t. It was twice. Our plan was to practice if it was raining. If it was lightning, we would delay it. This (artificial) surface gives us flexibility a lot. We could have gone up on the grass fields today, but I think we would have torn them up because they were still a little soggy, but this was kind of the plan. When this (artificial surface field) was installed this was part of the plan. It’s lightning that keeps you from practicing.”

Looking at the kicking competition, it seems up and down. Is it going to go down to the wire as it has seemed that both of them have had their days and their highs and their lows?

“Relative to the decision of who is our kicker is very early. What we’ve tried to do is create some competitive situations in practice and assign some more work to the kicker who doesn’t win. Shayne (Graham) won today. We’ll keep doing that. It’s kind of hard to simulate pressure. We’ll put them under the spotlight a little bit and hopefully we can get enough of those snaps in the games as well.”

Do you feel that you accomplished all you wanted to accomplish up here?

“We’re still in the middle of training camp. It will continue when we get back. We’re still making progress. Are we where we want to be right now? It’s hard to tell. We want to see improvement going into this game. I thought the last two days have been pretty good practices.”

Will you be back here next year?

“Absolutely, the next two years and I think honestly with the experience we’ve had and the way we’ve set the schedule, I think that it’s written for the next two years. We would like to be back here for a lot longer than that. The setup is outstanding and the ability to stay in an enclosed environment, I think the people here have been great. We start putting down notes about changes for next year and it’s been less than a page (long). There isn’t a whole lot”

Is an indoor facility something you would want here?

“No, I think we can work around the lightning and that’s the only thing we’re talking about. Our schedule is flexible. Certainly with today’s training camp rules, our practice schedule is very flexible, because you are looking to get the one padded practice in and a walk through.”

This is your ninth year with Drew Brees. Can you talk about that and if you think there’s another quarterback in the league you could have built this relationship with?

“I can’t speak on behalf of the second question, but the continuity of having someone like Drew and having him as our quarterback has been significant, not only as a player, but as a leader, as someone that each week is ready to go and just last night we were sitting after the rookie show and discussing the various years leading up to now. It does go by quick. It doesn’t seem like nine. I know that. But, I don’t think in our game as coaches and players, you take any season for granted or any practice, because I don’t want to use the word fragile, but it’s a profession that’s fleeting. He’s been a huge part of us building the success we’ve been able to enjoy and hopefully look forward to.”

What are your thoughts on the popular ice bucket challenge for ALS and the participation of Drew, Joe Vitt and Rob Ryan yesterday?

“I just got challenged. I’m kind of aware of it. I’m scheduled to do it this afternoon.”

Who challenged you?

“Two people challenged me and they both came in yesterday. It’s close to home for us with Steve (Gleason). I think (it’s great) for anything to raise awareness. I don’t think any individual has raised as much awareness as Steve Gleason with regards to this. I just have to figure out the logistics and who I’m challenging, but that’s going to happen this afternoon.”

Did you see Gleason’s latest video?

“I’ve seen his most recent one. He’s issued a new challenge I guess with a fleur de lis or a fig leaf if you will. All eyes are on Drew (Brees) now with that challenge. I will have clothes on for mine.”

No slip and slide for you?

“No slip and slide. That was pretty clever.”

Richard Quinn just retired?

“Yes, he came and saw me and just felt like it was time that he didn’t want to play. It was a little bit of a surprise, but that happens sometimes. It’s been five years and he just didn’t want to play anymore.”

Has that happened to you a couple of times?

“That would not be unusual at training camp. To compete and to play this game, there’s a physical element, but just as importantly there’s a mental element. If your heart’s not in it, it’s awfully hard to do this job.”

How would you evaluate the center competition right now?

“You have two completely different players with Jonathan (Goodwin) being the veteran and Tim (Lelito the young player). They are handling it well. I think it’s early. I think the next couple of weeks will be real important, but both of them are doing a good job. I like the flexibility they each have. Both of them have played guard. Ultimately when it comes down to who the starter is and then who else is suiting up, it is important to have some flexibility.”

How important is to you to be able to play a home game on Friday and then have several practices in front of your fans?

“I think our players are real excited. This is a time away for a lot of them that have families and children. For all of us to maybe get back there and get into a little bit more of a normal routine. I think the challenge from maybe 62 to 92 degrees will be significant but I think it’s that time where guys are anxious to get back and get back into their routines at home.”

Are you surprised that they are still excited to go back despite the heat? Some of them say they are ready to go back and get that extra toughness.

“We’ll see. I think part of playing is playing in the rain, playing in the heat, playing in cold weather. It’s hard to simulate those things. Today wasn’t cold by any stretch. For the most part, you would say the weather has been unseasonably cool even for up here I think. I think that will be a transition going back and I think they’ll handle it.”

What did you like about your new tight end when you were scouting him and were you surprised he wasn’t on a roster?

“Ryan (Pace) and those guys do a great job. We actually worked out a few guys and then signed him (Travis Beckum). He’s someone from my standpoint that I don’t know a whole lot about, but he’ll have opportunities. I don’t know if we’ll be able to play him. There were a couple guys (Tobais Harris and Greg Jones) we signed last week that we kept from playing in the game. Those guys I think will play in this game.”

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