New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 14, 2017
After looking at Monday night and Coby Fleener and how he performed, would you say it was one of his better games?
"I was encouraged because he made a few big plays for us. It seemed that they came down the stretch. Considering the time he missed in training camp, I think finally he's getting his legs under him and a little bit better football shape. It was solid. I think there's still a lot more that he can do and that we can do. I just finished talking about this game with the team. We have to be better on third down offensively. We talked about the red area but when you don't have those conversion numbers, you don't get to so many (of) your plays and what you want to be able to run. But overall, he made some plays for us when we needed them."
What are the challenges in preparing for a team that has two cornerbacks?
"Well they do a handful of things coverage wise. They play quite a bit of man coverage. There is a lot of confidence in them to handle the outside receivers and then they can give you some looks inside the triangle, the middle portions of the field can become somewhat problematic. You're going to have to win at some point in time outside. I think the transition for Gilmore and obviously Butler, I think that's gone pretty smoothly."
Do you think you can use Fleener in different ways to make up for the loss of Willie (Snead)?
"Ultimately it gets spread out. But yes, when we sit on third down and we go through our list we say who is the primary? Who is getting the football? How are we getting Mike (Thomas) the ball? How are we getting these various people the ball? Is there enough up there that does that? He is someone that we look at closely to have a matchup to him. I'm sure that they will have a good plan in regards to their man coverage. They saw a good tight end last night from Kansas City that's all over the field in regards to what the Chiefs are doing."
How did you evaluate (Ryan) Ramczyk's performance on Monday?
"I thought pretty good. I would say I felt the younger players overall (did well). Obviously it's his first start and he's going against a good football player but, I was encouraged."
On your experience as a new member of the NFL Competition Committee, do you feel the NFL should explore taking steps to emulate what the CFL did in regards to eliminating padded practices?
Why is that?
"I think in order to play our game, which is a little bit different from the CFL game, I think the restrictions and what we've implemented is necessary. I think you're more at risk if you don't practice some of the things you need to than not at risk. This is not a concussion or head and neck injury topic. This topic is just simply do we want to have pads on during the week or not during the week. I think I would not recommend that."
You're allowed to have 14 padded practices during the season, teams don't have to use all of them. Is it safe to say that the Saints do incorporate all 14 practices?
"That would be inaccurate to say. But not since the new CBA used all of our 14 in any one of the years. It would be unsafe. It would be unsafe to say."
How much did Senio (Kelemete) work at tackle this offseason?
"He's a guy primarily working at guard and center. Yet, he's started games for us in the past at tackle. You kind of go through what your plan is. You try to minimize the moves. I'm confident in his ability. We're smart with what we do and how we do it. He's played reps there. He's played games there."
How impressive was it with how he played with limited recent reps?
"That's part of the deal. It's one of the challenges with 46 on game day. If you bring seven linemen to the game, you have to be able to do a few things. But he's been that way and he's been consistent. Like I said, we've played him outside a handful of times."
Is New England doing anything different with (Brandin) Cooks than you guys did?
"I was asked (a similar question) yesterday. I think we've seen one game and some preseason exposure. He's playing the X position a little bit more and we played him at the Z but the outside. I think they're getting the ball down the field to him. He's drawing some interference calls. I see, I don't know the terminology but you see him. You see his speed and you see him working the deep post. Then the intermediate stuff, I see him outside."
How do you prepare for a guy like (Rob) Gronkowski?
"I think the challenge with a guy like him, he does the two things that are most important. He's definitely a valuable and explosive receiver. He's also just as talented as the blocker. When he's on the field it's not like it's a red flag, it's a pass. He plays with a physical nature. I think he's a target problem in that he can position himself away from the squeeze of the defender. He and Tom (Brady) have a good rapport in regards to location throws. I think you have to change up the looks and I think you do have to disrupt him at times off the line of scrimmage. But they do a good job of moving him around and putting him in different spots."