New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Media Availability
Monday, August 18, 2014
Opening Statement: “Today’s schedule was much like an in season (practice day) with regards to our timing sequence. Tomorrow will be the same way. We will try to get outside. We hope to get outside. Of course Wednesday will be 7:00 p.m. in Mandeville. Any questions?”
Does it slow you down having to come inside?
“No, actually, typically when you’ve been outside and you come into the field turf, we’ve always found it to kind of quicken the practice, quicken the pace of the drills. Part of it is the surface. It is usually the opposite coming inside.”
What did you think about
“He caught a lot of balls. It was good to see. He’s got good hands. He’s continuing to get stronger, you see that in his lower body and he is not favoring his one knee. I thought he obviously made enough plays out there today. He had four or five different catches and it is encouraging.”
It seems like you are trying to give him every shot...
“If you watch the rotation, those guys are all in. Today was a nickel practice, so every one of those receivers was getting 40 plus snaps. From a reps standpoint, any time you have a big emphasis on the nickel, those guys are going to run more.”
Any word on
“He had a stomach virus and we just kept him from coming out here. He had a little fever. He should be back in the next day or so.”
“Nothing new to report. We are just waiting on feedback and I expect him to be out sooner than later, hopefully tomorrow.”
What do you think about the new rule that defenders can’t grab receivers? Has it affected your play calling?
“It hasn’t yet. I think it is really an emphasis more than anything. Typically, what’s being emphasized really shows up in the preseason. The officials are trying to make a point so you see a lot of contact. You see a lot of penalties with holding or pass interference. I think because that is one of the areas, it is not uncommon to see those flags. That being said though, very quickly we have to get up to speed with how that affects us defensively. It becomes more challenging defensively than it would be offensively.”
Do you think drafting Brandin Cooks and having Joe Morgan back will improve your quick strike plays?
“Hopefully there is improvement in that area because you are talking about two guys (Brandin Cooks and Joe Morgan) that can run. (Robert) Meachem is another one that can run and get down the field. A lot of it is going to be predicated on what we do on the early downs. It goes hand-in-hand when your play action pass is going well, your running game has some teeth to it, so every year it is something that we spend a lot of time on with regards to shot plays and quick strike plays. Hopefully that is something that we are efficient at and improved at.”
Does someone need to be the best blocker to earn the spot at receiver?
“I don’t know. Number one I think we need to be better as a unit overall in blocking. And I say that, it is an area that if we are going to run the ball more effectively and more efficiently that involves blocking the force and typically any team that is running the ball fairly well is handling the force or at least winning the battles. I think as a group we have to do better there. With regards to some of the bigger receivers, be it Nick (Toon) or Robert (Meachem), also Joe (Morgan) that is something that, and it’s not just those three, the other night Brandon (Coleman) had some really big blocks. For receivers in there, part of the job description is when we run the football, block the force the correct way. It is equally important as running, stretching the defense or running the correct route, I would say more, to the group in general (and) is an area we are focused on.”
You obviously chart who catches what and who makes big plays, is that something that has continued to be one of
“Yeah, I think if you said what is something he does well; look, he is a stride route runner. We try to eliminate transition cuts at times and try to stretch the field. Typically within the framework of a pattern we will do that, not just with him, but with guys that have that speed. He’s a guy that you want to get behind the defense or give him opportunities to get him down field to go up and make a play. We have some others as well. They end up really competing for touches more than anything else.”
You said that you anticipate Joe Morgan to be 100 percent. Is he 100 percent, and how is he different from how he was a couple years ago?
“I don’t know if he is 100 percent yet. I mean he is getting close obviously and it is good to see. The type of rehab he went through was pretty significant and yet I’m sure there are still some gains for him physically, but with that being said he is mentally much further along then what he was a couple years ago with regards to what we are doing. He has worked on the other elements of his game, some of the route specific things that he can improve on, his transitions, the intermediate passing game, those are all things I know we spent a lot of time on but I still think these next couple of weeks for him hopefully we’ll continue to see the growth and the rehab and recovery, all the work he has put in we’ll hopefully see it pay off.”
Do you think Drew was a little sharper today than as expected? Coming from missing some time will it just be a process to get back in shape?
“I thought his tempo was good today, that was noticeably different. I thought he was in and out of the huddle, he was really locked in. I thought he threw the ball fairly well and I said yesterday that just in talking to him that he felt pretty good after yesterdays practice and I thought that was important today coming into the training room and feeling like there wasn’t a day after soreness effect.”
You said that rookies make that jump in year two. (Kenny) Stills was such a quick study a year ago, how excited are you to see what he can do in year two?
“Well he was a quick study and it varies for these guys, some of them right away and some of them it takes a little longer. With him just coming of this injury and the snaps he missed in training camp, and right prior to the injury I would say in the minicamp he had been really doing some good things, so I know that he isn’t 100 percent yet but it’s good to have him back on the field and mentally he’s pretty sharp.”
With him coming back to team drills today, is that enough to maybe give him some snaps in the game this weekend?
“We will have to see how tomorrow is and the next day. I want to make sure he, much like Drew (Brees), is recovered. Our plan is to evaluate the week, we’ll discuss the reps here later in the week and discuss the three phases.”
Looking at the center and the quarterback exchange obviously looks like there were no fumbled snaps. Do you take that into consideration, like who is the star that is 100 percent in a game and did not have one bad snap?
“Yeah, it can’t be a liability. I think that is a good way to put it, and I think equally important is the shotgun location. Under center it absolutely has to be 100 percent, but also in the gun the location is critical especially with the run game in the gun. If the quarterback is catching it high then trying to hand it off, it often times can lead to problems. We’ll chart and make sure that we feel like we’re comfortable with whoever is in there starting.”
It seems like some guys have an uncanny ability to make some big plays in a preseason game. How much do you weigh that as opposed to how they look over a number of practices?
“I think it all factors in. I think there are times in games where it leads to confidence. You know Joe’s (Morgan) case, there was a significant injury and for him to be able to execute and make some big plays will help his confidence to come back from that. (Brandon) Coleman today, as you’re studying practices, that certainly was a big practice for him and it’s interesting how those kinds of things can be, not events, but they can be moments that they build on.”
“Yes. He’s just working through rehab.”
You mentioned that tempo with Brees earlier, was that something that was particularly evident in the two-minute drill to end practice?
“Well, we’re hoping to get a couple of these two-minutes (drills) here during the week. It’s an easy way to substitute conditioning and we think one of the most critical phases because you’re usually in it ending a game on defense or offense. There are so many of these games that come down to a final possession, and so being able to function and create scenarios each week and be different, or each day. Today was down five (points) with two minutes left basically or 1:58, two timeouts, and the next one might be you need a field goal. Those things happen all the time. We talk about snaps in two-minute. Typically when a season ends, there could be over 100 plays in two-minute and you might have ten goal line snaps. Each week we find ourselves in that situation, and often times dealing with noise. Being on defense, if we’re home, we’re dealing with noise; on offense, if we’re on the road. So being able to execute, and execute with the crown noise, in a critical situation is really important.”
“Some of that is coincidence. He’s hit some big passes. A lot of it’s what’s scripted when he gets his role of five plays per period. He’s got a good arm down the field and he’s keeping command of the huddle and getting up and getting set quickly. So far he’s doing well handling that.”
Is that more of an issue than just his skill throwing the ball?
“Look he missed a couple locations today. That’s one element with regards to your accuracy. He’s been pretty accurate but there are so many other things that go into it. He’s locked in and I would say he’s having a good camp.”
Have you seen
“Yeah, he’s getting more snaps. He’s a real good receiver naturally, the position he’s played. The key is just working with him on the other areas of playing running back – the protections and some of the things that come up in the run game with regards to what we’re doing. He’s got good ball skills.”