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Sean Payton's Thursday Review

Posted Oct 10, 2013

Video and quotes form Sean Payton's Thursday press conference

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, October 10, 2013
 
Opening Statement: "Today was a pretty typical third down day, nickel day for us."
 
The NFL owners meetings passed some rules and one of them was regarding HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’ television show where the league could perhaps compel a team to appear on it. What are your thoughts on that?
 
“Honestly, where we’re at in the season…we’re focused on that. I don’t have any comment on that. I certainly understand it, but we’ll leave it at that.”
 
 This team has a sizable advantage in second and third quarter scoring this season. Is there a reason for that?
 
“I don’t know that we every set out each week and say, ‘Hey we’ve got to feature the second and third quarter.’ We do talk about the fourth quarter and finishing. There’s a brief period at half time that you have very quickly to talk about maybe some adjustments you might make, but I don’t know that I could point to one thing in the second and third quarter. Hopefully you’re starting fast and you’re finishing well. I’ve been pleased with the second halves, just in regards to being able to get off the field and the time of possession at times. There’s been a handful of times when we’ve had to finish games and manage the clock the right way. I think we’ve been able to do that. But with regards to just specifically the second and third quarter, I don’t know. Hopefully it can be the fourth quarter here three weeks from now and the same question.”
 
Yesterday to the New England Media you mentioned that the discovery of Jimmy Graham was a credit to good scouting. Why were you confident that he was a guy who could make that transition with such a limited base of experience?
 
“I think just to be fair to the process, I don’t know initially in the process any one of us were that confident or we would’ve selected him in the first round. But I know the area scout, I know after paying attention to the workouts, although his playing time was limited, we felt that there was potential with a player who had a lot of upside. I think it’s just someone who has a passion about a selection or someone who feels strongly. One of the really good attributes a scout can have is a real solid opinion one way or another as opposed to down the middle. When that takes place, then you recognize someone in an area that sees a player a lot more than we do. For instance, currently right now we are out looking at college players. Someone who is more familiar with a player can convey that in a scouting meeting, a series of draft meetings, and like anything else, you begin to pay close attention to guys that have been right on players. Fortunately for us, I’ve said this before, you’re always maybe a little skeptical when a player has only had one year experience and he’s played another sport.”
 
 Do you have somebody scouting college basketball now?
 
“No.”
 
You guys have treated every game like its own season and have had different game plans. Does that take away tendencies or predictability about your football team?
 
“Well I think in some regards it can. I think many good teams have certain tendencies; you just don’t want those to be 90-10. If when we do our own self-scout, those numbers can be closer to 70-30 or 65-35, that’s helpful. There’s some formations we align offensively right now, and the self-scout would say we’re 100% pass. Now, if you’re in passing situations, maybe that’s not as big of a concern. If it’s first and second down, then the opponent is certainly going to be doing their homework and recognize that and be able to get to maybe certain looks. But how the game is played sometimes in that regard can help you.”
 
What are some of the tangible reasons why you guys have been able to get takeaways on the defensive side of the ball? New Orleans Saints
 
“I think oftentime they can come with the quarterback being a little more under duress. It’s tough to be a defensive back if the quarterback has time. Obviously, if he’s hurried, then at times the throw can be a little off, deflected possibly. You’d start with that element. Fumbles caused- we saw last week a team (Chicago) that was outstanding at the technique at separating the ball from a runner or receiver. This team we’re playing in New England has the same mindset. Hopefully that’s something we’re constantly paying attention to because, within the last ten years, takeaways and how they’re being coached have dramatically changed.”
 
Can you talk about how the criteria for what coaches look for in a tight end has changed over the years?
 
“Well, I think tight ends are being used differently than the more conventional ways in the last ten years. There’s still a similar criteria. I think that typically when we look at a tight end, there’s a strong suit maybe and a weak suit and he might be someone who’s outstanding as a blocker, and there’s a value to that. He might be more well-versed in the passing game, and there’s a value to that. It still gets back to having certain prototypes in regards to measurements, measurables, trying to stick to those and there are always exceptions to the rules. If a player is an outstanding route runner and has good speed and is smart, he may not have the exact height that you want, could be an example, but you’re usually, when you’re evaluating a tight end, looking at one or the other and trying to envision what he does in your own offense.”
 
What was your vision for Jimmy Graham?
 
“We certainly felt like he was someone that would excel quicker in the passing game than initially in the running game and now to what degree did we expect those first two years in his development to be what they were.  Again, you would have taken him earlier in the draft if you knew that.  We knew he had good ball skills. He had good size. He had a worth ethic about him.  He could run. Those are some things you saw on tape.”
 
Can you talk about Cameron Jordan’s success?
 
“He played very well last year for us being on a defense that wasn’t having success.  He played extremely well. He’s playing even better this season.  He is in great shape.  One of the positives for him along with his ability is his stamina.  He can play a lot of snaps if he needs to, fortunately we haven’t had the same amount of snaps or the average snaps per game is a little lower right now which is a good thing.  But he can get on the edge, he can the run, he can rush the passer and he is really in good shape.”
 
Can you talk about the development of Bryce Harris?
 
“He plays each week in different spots.  He’s someone that is physical.  He is big.  He knows what we are doing.”
 
Do you have a sense of how guys balance family and football?
 
“I don’t know if there is one tangible thing to point to.  I think for Jabari (Greer) he, like so many players, they do a great job of their schedule, their routine and the challenge for anyone in this industry is always that balance on the field and off the field.  He is someone that has that and is very comfortable with that.”
 
How pleased are you keeping opponents out of the end zone?
 
“I think scoring defense is an important statistic.  The object is to reduce points.  I think that there are a lot of reasons for that.  I think we have been getting on the field on third down so there are less maybe 10 trips to the end zone. The time of possession and being able to possess the ball offensively reduces snaps and we have had some real big stops in the short field, whether we forced teams to kick field goals.  We came up in week 1 versus Atlanta finishing the game with a fourth down stop so it is a combination of players understanding the area of the field is different, how we defend it then becomes different.”
 
Are you definitely going to travel tomorrow?
 
“Yeah, I think I mentioned yesterday that we were going to.  It’s a longer flight so we will plan on going tomorrow out in the afternoon.”
 
 Is any of it based on how you liked the routine of it last week?
 
“No, I think mostly based on the amount of time this flight is going to be and us being on the plane that long.  The schedule will be similar.”
 
 Are you able to get a feel for what kind of player Joe Vellano is since Vince Wilfork got injured a couple weeks ago?
 
“It’s been a limited amount of snaps, but I think this, you see that front play very well.  They are very active.  They do a good job of defending the run even in some fronts that aren’t necessarily run-oriented, some seven and a half man fronts, those guys do a very good job.  They understand the scheme, both in the base and the nickel.  It is coached very well and you see a good team defense will 11 guys, not just one individual playing it very well.”

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