New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Presented By Verizon
Monday, July 29, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability
"Just the one roster move today. We signed offensive lineman Patrick Omameh and then we waived wide receiver Cam Meredith. It keeps our numbers at 90."
Why the release of (Cameron) Meredith?
"The injury he had set him back and then some of these younger guys now have just been doing a good enough job and it's hard with the numbers. It's unfortunate because he's someone that has worked hard, he's worked his tail off and it was going to be hard for him to catch this group of younger guys that are competing."
Did he have any more swelling or soreness?
"Well there was always that up and down, but he cleared and was back full go and it was still a matter of really us looking at the roster fit."
His injury happened nearly two years ago, but any regrets signing a guy who had health issues?
"It's part of the deal."
When you look at going into the draft and the plans for when you got a guy like Saquan Hampton and the vision you have for him and then C.J. Gardner (Johnson), even though you describe them as safeties, it seems like they're two totally different players. What are your expectations?
"The versatility I think is important. Chauncey gives you that ability to play over the nickel. I know he's a safety and yet we see him more inside than outside and Hampton, clearly, we see as a safety. I think the versatility (is evident) in their ability to learn and play several spots. (For) Chauncey, we saw a nickel vision."
As you're seeing more and more out of these guys at center in the rotations, what are some of the things you're seeing that you like and some of the things you want to see them clean up on?
"Just the overall consistency. (We have) two new players. The under-center snaps for (Erik) McCoy may be a little bit more frequent than he's used to. It's early though. It is just the second day in the pads. I thought we got good work in today. We hit a stretch in the middle of practice where it kind of lagged and I thought we picked it back up a little bit better."
What intrigued you about bringing in Patrick Omameh and signing him?
"We worked him out prior and at that time he was not ready to sign. We worked him out again. We were aware of where he was at and we liked the athlete."
Given your relationship with Doug Marrone and knowing that (Patrick) Omameh played for him twice, how much did that (influence) your decision (to sign him)?
"It didn't, but certainly he was a player that was on the radar for us. He had been here earlier for a workout."
You were talking about Alvin Kamara's usage the other day. There's obviously a lot of backs in this league. Christian McCaffrey comes to mind. Saquon Barkley. They were playing a lot more like 90 plus percent of the snaps. What do you like about not putting that kind of workload on Alvin?
"Some games take place and the numbers might be higher. I don't really look at the other comparisons. I look really more on how we're doing and so I think based on the game we're in, we're not afraid to play him more snaps or get more touches in. And yet when you get into the length of the season, we think he does a lot of things exceptionally well. The versatility that he's playing with now and the level of which he's playing with, I'm pleased with."
The way you used Mark Ingram when he was here did that figure in to your thinking about some of the other guys that a little less is actually more to be able to keep them fresh?
"Mark hit a stretch where he played some of his best football the last three years and he was healthy. Certainly finding that combination of players (is important). We're looking for good football players and we're going to try to have our best guys out there. We are evaluating that and when we get into the preseason games here, the scrimmage settings, we're going to pay attention to what we see with the runners. Mark was a real good player for us, exceptional player for us. Our job is to mix the personnel groupings that we think fit (and that is) what we're trying to do. The versatility he had or Alvin has is that they can block the pressure. They understand the protections well. They are effective in the passing game. These other guys we're evaluating.
Austin Carr was back returning punts today. What have you seen from him?
"To me it's a little blurry right this minute. I think it'll slowly begin to clear itself up once we start playing some games. He's just one of the candidates. There are a handful of guys back there. I would say in that regards there is no name etched in stone at the top. We will be able to go kind of by what we see in this preseason and if it's not good enough then that player might not be in the building yet. We have to look closely at it."
The on-field confidence between (Jared) Cook and (Drew) Brees seems to be getting there. How encouraged are you to see that?
"I think one thing you see with Cook is his stature. A lot of times you'll talk about a big target and there is a confidence level when you throw it to someone who's that tall and who's got really good hands, so they've been able to make some good plays. He is smart and he picked things up to his credit in the spring and now you're starting to see some of the plays that take place. That's encouraging."
Buck Allen has not been out here on the field the last four days. Do you have an update on him?
With Marcus Williams, he wasn't out here today either, but big picture – even as some of his numbers like interceptions and tackles slipped last season, what were some of the things he did that maybe numbers don't show?
"He made some big plays for us too. Looking at some of these fourth quarter wins that we had and close games, he's got the interception against Cleveland that all of a sudden flips the field for us. He's real smart. He's been someone that we continue to see the arrow go (up on) and he's got that ability. We're excited for him, especially going into his third year."
What have you seen from Deonte Harris?
"Look, it's two days in. With a lot of these guys you're just starting to get familiar with what they look like with pads on, how they carry their pads. I think it's still early."
The fullback position obviously has changed in the past few years. Do you believe you have one of the better fullbacks in the league in Zach Line?
"He's done a really good job. He's a guy that can play snaps in the kicking game. He's, actually played some snaps at halfback. We were a little light today at running back. He was a running back. He's smart and it's been a good fit for us."
Speaking of running backs with Dwayne Washington and his versatility, returning kickoffs, how important is that for him to ingratiate himself with the team?
"I would say his versatility more so in the kicking game as a cover player, as a four core player, more than a kick returner."
Is he making strides with the team?
"Yeah. That's something that helped him a year ago with us that he was going to the games (active), he was someone that could play at the running back position, but when he wasn't, he was getting snaps on all the units."
How difficult is it to sustain what you guys had been able to do last couple of years? It's a pretty high bar.
"I think it's high each year. Our expectations in what we want to achieve from the season hopefully are high. Winning in our league is difficult and getting to that consistency (is difficult). I've got a tape I just put together, there's five or six games a year ago that were inside of touchdown. What's the difference in an 8-8 or a 7-9 season to a 12- and 13-win season is probably that you're going to play five or six of those games that are within a score and you've got to find a way to win more of those than you don't."
In your opinion, what wins those games?
"The details. The little things. It's not just one side of the ball. It might be the fake punt against Philadelphia. It might've been the interception against Cleveland. It might've been your run efficiency. In each game there's a handful of little things that you could look back on. It's hard to point to just one thing. We want to, we like to, but usually a series of little things that ended up being something big."
Do you think a veteran club kind of understands that more than maybe a younger club?
"A veteran club understands more period than a younger club."
How hard was the gameplan for Ed Reed?
"Really hard. He had that great ability to be in spots, study formations. He was exceptionally smart, exceptionally smart. And then when you put his athleticism with his intelligence, you'd count on him being in one spot, he'd see a formation, you'd see a combination and all of a sudden either be breaking up a play or intercepting a ball in a spot foreign to you traditionally coverage wise. He had fantastic instincts. Very smart and very gifted. He's a great guy too. Just when you get around him you realize all the attributes he has. It's a pretty good combination."
P.J. (Williams) was saying yesterday that you talked to the team about cleaning up their lockers and all the things like that which Ed Reed would do off the field.
"It was something that we picked up on a tape (television interview). That is what makes a winning team. The little things. It starts with picking up your towel and putting it in the laundry room."
Check out the action from New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on July 29, 2019.