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Transcript of Coach Sean Payton's Monday press conference

Posted Aug 4, 2014

He talked about Drew Brees' situation, first practice after scrimmage

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, August 4, 2014
 
Opening Statement:
“(We had) Just a little different schedule (today) with the morning being spent on scrimmage video and weight room.  Tomorrow we will be back into our two-a-days mode with the 8:50 a.m. practice being padded and then the p.m. practice down on the lower field, which is a little bit, more of a walk through.”
 
Do you have a timetable for Drew Brees to come back?
 
“We’ll make sure it is something that can’t get aggravated again. When you look at what he does on a daily basis with regards to torquing, throwing the football, we have to be smart. It has calmed down so we will see day-to-day.  It is the type of thing though, if you try all of a sudden force it back, you re-aggravate it.  We will treat it day-to-day.”
 
What are you doing with the guys behind Drew Brees?
 
“We will continue to look at both guys that have been taking reps. From a scrimmage standpoint we will continue to rotate guys.  It just means more reps for all three of them.”
 
What have you seen from Senio Kelemente?
 
“He’s had a ton of reps and I would say that he has been pretty impressive.  Because of the injury up front and we are waiting on (Ben) Grubbs to get back.  He knows what to do and I think he’s handled it pretty well.  A lot of times you are worried about a big drop off, but to his credit he has handled himself really well.  He has to continue on work on finishing blocks and some of those things.  I have been encouraged.”
 
Do you like Jonathan Goodwin at guard?
 
“He is someone that gives us versatility and he can play center, that’s (been) his position for the last six years. When we got him back in 2006 he was a guard off the Jets squad.  We made a little switch just to get some work with (Senio) Kelemente at center.  Goodie is one of those guys that is very versatile so I don’t know if that’s something that we are going to tinker with every day.  When you get to game days you have to have an interior guy that can play both and an outside swing tackle.  That was one of the things we worked on today.”
 
Did Senio Kelemente take another step forward today?
 
“Yes, there were some balls on the ground.  He’s done a good job and we will just keep working with him.  When you jump inside to center like he did, that stuff takes a little bit more getting used to.  Overall, he has done a nice job this camp so far.”
 
Do you expect to have a conversation with the Rams’ coaches before the game?
 
“No, two things, A, I don’t expect to have any conversation prior to the game with those guys.  I am sure there are a couple of things that they want to get accomplished.  There are certain things we want to get accomplished.  Most importantly is evaluating these guys and getting them snaps and paying attention to how many snaps they are getting.  I think typically in the first preseason game you work waves, three waves of players and then how many plays they get is really determined in how their early part of the game goes.  I just finished telling them, this game Friday’s a month away.  What we are doing tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday, there are a lot of things that we are trying to work on here that are unrelated to that preseason game.  I think we have to look at it that way.  Obviously it will be our first opportunity to play a game and there will be a good chance for a number of these guys to get reps not only on offense and defense, but in the kicking game.”
 
What do you want to see from Ryan Griffin and Luke McCown?
 
“Just that consistency you look for at the quarterback position.  I thought they handled by and large the scrimmage pretty well and yet there are some things when you look at the tape, whether it is a Mike id, whether it’s the right run, getting in the right play and then also tempo.  The one thing you always worry about a little bit with the change is does it slow your tempo down offensively and when we have been effective we have been going at a fast pace.  Tempo and just the consistency.”
 
With the competition at quarterback does it go down to who will help you at week one or with Ryan Griffin is it growth?
 
“One thing we have always tried to do here is regardless to how a player has been drafted, whether he signed as a free agent, whether he is 35 or 25, we are going to try to play the best players, keep the best players.  We’ve kept free agents and cut draft picks and when that happens it empowers your locker room.  The same thing would apply with that competition.  We are going to get a lot of work with those guys and both of them are handling the reps well.  They are both smart.  They are both quick studies.  Luke (McCown) certainly is more experienced and so it is kind of an ongoing process, but it’s still real early.  We’ve got four preseason games, but we have a full week this week before we get to St. Louis.  We will start really Thursday with the St. Louis preparation.  In my mind right now there is a lot we have to do this week coming off the scrimmage, corrections we have to make, improvement we have to make, but those two would be no different than any other position.”
 
After you looked at the tape from the scrimmage, how did you feel Ryan Griffin played?
 
“I thought he did well.  Both of those guys had good numbers.  They both had graded out well with regards to handling the system.  I thought both of them graded out and handled what we were giving them pretty well.  Overall we were pleased.  There are some things still we have to work on, the clock in their head, if the play is not there, throwing it away is a good thing.”
 
Are you starting to see separation in the kicker competition?
 
“It is hard to simulate sometimes is the game changing play or the game tying kick. It is hard to simulate that.  We tried to.  We tried to a little bit at the end of this practice. But again, without even begun the preseason yet, it is early.”
 
Do you keep a total tally of kicks?
 
“We keep a total tally.  We’d keep a total tally of the kicks.  We’d keep a total tally of the quarterbacks, any statistical number, a receiver’s catches, attempts, balls thrown at.  Corners the same way, safeties, so we would do the same for the kickers.”
 
What role do you see Rufus Johnson playing?
 
“I think the first thing is he is a young player who like (with) a lot of these guys, you are looking for the consistency.  You are looking for them to string together two practices, three practices, and I think with him making sure he knows what to do.  He spent last year on the practice squad.  I think the very same applies to him in regards to assignment, alignment and being consistent.  The role for him would develop as we move forward.  Right now, it’s each day trying to eliminate the mistakes, eliminate the alignment errors or the fit errors.  There were some things he did today where he flashed.”
 
What was in the decision to move him to d-line?
 
“His size and some of the guys we have outside.”
 
How lucky are you to have Thomas Morstead?
 
“It is significant.  He has really been a big part of changing field position.  He is someone who is very athletic.  He is extremely dedicated.  You go all the way back, when you select a punter in the fifth round, Mickey (Loomis) and I argue as to who’s going to come down (to the press conference room) and tell you guys we took a punter.  There’s a value when you get the right one and certainly we got the right one.  There are times where you’re playing a game and it might be a game that’s low scoring and 15 extra yards is significant.  He changes the field position.  He is very consistent and I would say he is always looking for a way to improve.  When you throw on top the ability for him to kickoff with real good leg strength he is certainly one of the better punters, if not the best punter in the league.”
 
Can you talk about Tim Lelito and Jonathan Goodwin’s performance in the scrimmage?
 
“Both of them were solid.  I would say both of them were very solid.  There were a couple of things just with regards to steps and fundamentals.  Obviously they are two entirely different players with one having played the position quite a bit and with Tim just getting his first year under his belt.  I think the competition there is good.”
 
How do you feel like the players handled the off day?
 
“I think really well.  It is pretty self-contained here and most of these guys understand and are smart enough to get off their feet and use that time to try and get some rest, hydrate.  Some of them have been in getting some treatment.  Hopefully if you have the right guys and I think we do, they know how to handle a period like that and handle it the right way.  Certainly it is different when you’re somewhere other than home.  Often times at home can be a little bit more challenging with some other distractions.  I think they handled it well and I was pleased with today’s practice.  A lot of times the first practice after that can be a little sluggish, but so far so good.  I like how it is self-contained.  Their routine is different.  Some of them came and lifted weights and some of them I’m sure slept in and stayed away from the facility.  That’s part of having that day off.  I’d like to have them right after a preseason game, we play Friday then Saturday they would be off, the following week the same way.  We’ve typically always done it after a scrimmage.”
 
Did anyone go into the trenches and learn about the history of the Greenbrier?
 
“I think a number of our players have seen parts of it.  We are eating breakfast and our late night snack there.  Certainly there is a tradition here.  There is a history here with the hotel.  When you get on this side of the street, the new (building), and then the other side of the street, the history of that hotel.  I think more importantly the people working there and the people we’ve interacted with daily that have been so helpful and kind of really welcomed us and made this camp what it is right now.  I’ve said it at the beginning, it is not the facilities, ultimately it is about the people and so far everything has gone very smooth.”
 
Can you talk about Erik Lorig or Victor Butler?
 
“Nothing.”
 
Can you talk about Brandon Coleman?
 
“He was coming off an injury in his last year at Rutgers.  I think he is a little stronger in the lower body.  You see him transitioning a little bit better, in and out of his cuts and he’s not laboring as much as he was in mini camp.  He looks stronger.”
 
At that point, it was still an issue with him?
 
“There were times where just bending the knees and transitioning out a route wasn’t as sharp as he wanted.  You just see him further along now.”
 
What have you seen from Vinnie Sunseri?
 
“One of the comments I made to him during the special teams drill was that I am anxious, we are all anxious to see a handful of these guys in the kicking game.  They are progressing on defense.  Some of those players are on offense, but the reps they get in the kicking game when they are live and in the preseason will be important.”
 
Did you watch the players that performed better in the scrimmage a little closer today?
 
“I think you’re making little mental notes all the time.  You’re just getting impressions I’d say.  That is the easiest way to put it.  They are not permanent impressions but you’re getting an idea of who’s doing well after week one knowing we still have a lot of training camp ahead of us.”