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Q&A: Sean Payton's Thursday Conference Call

Audio and quotes from Sean Payton's Thursday conference call with local media

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, November 10, 2016

How pleased are you with Sterling Moore's play and impact?
"I think it was a significant sign for us. We tried to acquire him the year before and when he left Dallas, he ended up going to Tampa (Bay), not because we did not try and get him here. He took advantage of an opportunity down there with Lovie (Smith) and played and played well. When he became available in light of our situation it made sense and certainly our evaluation was correct."

What would you say Sterling Moore's biggest strength is, the slot receiver or is he stronger outside?
"I think he has played outside and I think he has the instincts and awareness to play the inside. I think there is a perception that when you play inside it's a stature-related decision and I would tell you it's more of a mental (decision). Because when you say you're going to play inside then you have to be able to learn coverages much like the weakside linebacker or potentially like a weakside linebacker and some players just mentally can't make that transition and I think in his case he picks things up quick."

How would you describe Sterling Moore's leadership attributes?
"I think good, he is respected, I think he is a guy that knows what to do and I think the players certainly appreciate his skillset."

How close are you guys to being able to play the kind of defense you want to play since Delvin Breaux and Sterling Moore are back?
"You're constantly adjusting a little with whose available, we've featured some three-safety looks a little bit more based on the linebackers' health, but when you can get corners back and you get healthy at that position it allows you to obviously have a little bit more flexibility and I think the thing I'm encouraged with is the time on task the others have had and the depth that we've been able to create there at that position, hopefully down the road as well."

What have you seen from Zach Strief so far this year?
"I think he's been real steady. All the things that he has done well throughout his career, he quietly each week goes about his business. He understands leverage extremely well, he understands what we're doing in the run game, the passing game and I think he's having a real good season."

How important have the wide receivers been during this good running game stretch?
"I think it goes hand in hand, you have to be able to block the force in our league. You can't just give the receiver a corner and expect to run the ball well. I think Seattle was a good challenge with their eight-man front or down safety deep defense. This week will present itself another tough challenge because when you watch the film on Denver they play a lot of single safety man to man coverage. T.J. Ward is a real good strong safety that fits the run well and you have to change up the formations, but if you just keep the receivers on the corners then the safeties make the play for a two-yard gain, a good safety like him (Ward)."

How difficult it that for receivers to get upfield to block that safety?
"I think there are a lot of nuances that you have to do with formations, with splits, with motions to put them in a position if they split out wide they're never going to have a proper angle to get the safety (blocked). I think you've seen it from (Willie) Snead, you've seen it from (Brandon) Coleman, (Brandin) Cooks even, all of those guys. It is part of the job description and if it's not for that player than it's going to be hard to run the ball when he's in the game and then you become predictable."

Is there one specific wide receiver that really embraces that blocking role?
"I think you're going to see (Willie) Snead and (Brandon) Coleman are bigger fit guys, obviously depending on the run scheme and what direction it's going, but I think all of them embrace it and understand the importance of it."

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