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Quotes from Sean Payton's Friday Press Conference

Posted Dec 15, 2017

Sean Payton speaks to the New Orleans media at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Friday, Dec. 15

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Friday, December 15, 2017

The Jets are going to be without (Muhammad) Wilkerson, what do they lose without him?
“He’s one of their starting players. Obviously, it’s no different than when a player gets injured. It’s one of their interior linemen. Obviously, he is a good player, but I’m not really familiar with everything regarding why. We will treat it no different than an injury. 

Why did you guys claim Jonathan Freeny?
“We like the player. We know him. We feel like we’ve followed him as he has gone (through his career). It gives us flexibility in the base. It gives us flexibility with regards to A.J. (Klein) too and we had space to do it.”

Is he a strongside type?
“He’s played strong, he’s played Mike, and he’s played inside.”

Is he a guy that can also contribute on special teams if needed?
“We will see where he is. He has played a lot of base snaps for the Patriots at inside linebacker.”

Zach Wood was saying that Bradford Banta was the one who suggested he start working out with the linebackers to improve his tackling. Have you ever had a deep snapper go out there and drill with the linebackers?
“I don’t think it’s anything unusual. It’s kind of like the sheep are all over here, and the long snapper is in a field over there, and the punter is over there. Every once in a while, you want to bring them to where the sheep are.”

Have you ever thought about using him in an emergency situation because he played defensive end in college?
“No.”

Is (Alvin) Kamara officially cleared to play Sunday?
“Everyday I know it is receiving a ton of hits on your website, but Kamara is playing. He’s been cleared. He was cleared yesterday after practice.”

You mentioned yesterday about the study of play sequencing, can you explain how that helps you guys?
“It’s just the idea of understanding with each opponent, there are a certain series of plays, play-action pass, three-step (drop), run-run. A lot of it has a lot of variables to it. It’s not an exact science, but it is just an order in which plays are run and then probability of success. Factoring in the offenses are different, it’s not this huge mathematical equation. It’s just the study of the sequence of plays. Run-pass, play-action, three-step, empty (backfield), you name it.”

Is that something new or have you guys been doing it for a while?
“We always go into a game with a certain way you want to move the ball on early downs, and yet this is just a little bit more tangible. With a guy like Ryan (Herman), you can say ‘put a pen to that and see what you come up with’. That is really about it.” 

What do you think has been the difference this year in Mark Ingram’s play?
“He’s healthy and he’s in great shape. I thought in this past offseason, he had a really good spring. He’s running hard and I think he’s doing a good job after contact, pad level. Some of the hidden yardage he is getting is impressive. I think those guys up front are doing well. It’s going to be important for us to have him for this stretch run.”

Is it unique for a running back to have his best year to date in his seventh year?
“He had a really good year last year. A really good season.”

Have you been a part of that in the past as a coach? Having a running back this late in his career have his best year?
“I do not feel like it is real late. He was drafted in 2011. He had a couple of injuries early on. That slowed his progress down early, but I think he played really well last year. His numbers last year were outstanding.”

How do you think the heavy defensive personnel has been working? It seems you’ve been going with an extra defensive tackle or putting (Sheldon) Rankins outside since (Alex) Okafor went down.
“There are a handful of different personnel groupings, all with a certain purpose. Some with a heavy front with more of a nickel back end, some with a heavy front with more of a heavy back end. Some of it’s predicated on what we are trying to stop or what we think we’re trying to stop.” 

How do you think the line has been doing since (Alex) Okafor has been out?
“I think well. We miss him, obviously. He was playing well, but I think they have been doing a good job.”

I know you weren’t worried about this when you acquired (Adrian) Peterson, but do you think Mark Ingram handled it like any running back would or do you think he handled it exceptionally well?
“I thought he handled it exceptionally. It happened during free agency, and it was a little bit of replacing Tim Hightower, and there wasn’t three (tailbacks expected to see significant snaps) at that time. It was just Mark (Ingram) and Adrian (Peterson).”