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Q&A: Sean Payton's Friday press conference

Video and quotes from Sean Payton's press conference



New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean PaytonPost-Practice Media Availability  Friday, October 30, 2015

Talk about the return of Jo-Lonn Dunbar.

"He is someone, obviously, that we are familiar with. He came off of the Rams roster. Just with our current depth and our situation, it made a lot of sense. He is someone that learns very fast. That is an asset of his."

Is there any chance that he can step in quickly enough to play this week?

"Yes, there is a chance that he can be up. A lot of it will be dependent on where Dannell (Ellerbe) is at. I think in the next 24-48 hours, we'll have a better feel."

Is he still very active on special teams?

"I think that he functions in that role and probably, more recently, hasn't had to play that role as much, and has been more of a first and second down, base linebacker."

Is there a corresponding move for that?

"It would be (T.J.) Graham and that would probably be announced with today's transactions."

How important has Dannell been just with the emergence of the defense and the way that they have played over the last few weeks?

"I think he has been a big part of it. Number one, he is real instinctive. He is smart. He is athletic so he can play in space. I would say that he is very good in coverage. For him, one of the things (that separate him) is that his football IQ is real strong. He understands concepts and what we're trying to do defensively, and then he can play with real good speed. Those are two good combinations. "

Are you starting to see the vision that you talked about in the preseason, with guys coming back? Is that the vision that you had for this defense?

"You have to play each week. Pick a game, and the injuries occur with both teams, and yet as a few guys have gotten back, that has helped us. We understand that, each week, there are going to be situations that come up and you see roster moves. It is pretty commonplace in our league. Quickly, you have to get the guys that maybe haven't played as much, up to speed."

You have talked about the field goal unit several times; has the holding part of the operation been satisfactory?

"Yes. Of course last week the first one was a trick play, but the timing and the sequence (of the operation has been better. It is something that we spend a lot of time on."

How valuable does Delvin (Breaux) become to your team when you have Keenan (Lewis) in and out of the lineup?

"I think the one area that we're better at from a year ago, significantly, is at that corner position. We've got depth and we've got guys that cover. We drafted two players, we've signed a player and then, all of a sudden, a guy like Delvin comes to you in a workout from the CFL. Now (with) the way he is playing, his instincts, his smarts, he can run, he's got exceptional ball skills, it just becomes a big plus. I think that's a positon of strength right now. I don't know that we'd say that a year ago."

You talked yesterday about how quickly Eli Manning was able to get the ball out; is there anything in practice that you do to replicate that?

"You start with trying to replicate the look. Luke McCown or Garrett (Grayson) are trying to simulate the timing, the tempo of the throws and the route design. The key for the defensive linemen is, and this would be the case every week, but there's times when you're going 100 miles an hour and you can't get to (the) passer and yet you've got to go the next time, the next time and the next time, and you don't know that rep where it's going to be a split second longer and you're going to have a chance to affect him. He is very decisive and obviously, experienced. He sees coverages well and knows where he wants to go, within the framework of what they do."

Internally, do you guys have an average time (that you like to get ball out)?

"It would vary based on the play. There are three-step drops where you're going to be underneath two (seconds). As you progressively get deeper in the pocket or down the field, you get a little bit longer in the timing sequence."

With their short passing game, does tackling become more important?

"It's huge in this game because the one thing that they are good at is their yards after the catch. Their yards after the catch are among the tops in the league. They're doing a really good job of creating bigger plays off of an underneath throw. The receivers, tight ends and even running back have all had good production after the catch so our tackling is going to be important. "

Michael Lewis is being inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame; what has he meant to you guys here as an organization?

"I know the story. I was fortunate to have had the chance to coach him when I got here in '06. It is an amazing story. We still see him working and I think that it is a great honor for him. It's well-deserved. It is the stuff you write a movie about. The beer man, all of a sudden, gets a tryout out here – in a pair of blue jeans if you're writing the movie. He runs a great 40 (yard dash) and the next thing you know he is punt returning, and then he's in a Pro Bowl. It is a pretty good script. He is a great guy and obviously, competitive. For someone that has traveled his path, it is unique."

How is Keenan Lewis doing?

"He is doing well. He practiced today so I was encouraged. He'll be a game-time decision. He's doing better."

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