New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, August 30, 2016
Can you talk about Chris McCain and Khalif Barnes, what roles you expect them to play and compete for and why you wanted to acquire those guys?
"We had a chance with a week left here to take a look at these players. Khalif Barnes obviously, is experienced, he has played guard and tackle and he is someone who I think has good size and power. We'll have a chance to look at him. We'll be smart as to how many snaps (we will give him) and what our expectation level is in a short week and then with McCain, he's a guy that we have spent some time studying. It's a conditional pick so again it gives us a chance to look at this player. He (also) does some things in special teams. I think you will see a player that maybe is built a little bit like Obum Gwacham. He has had some production as a rusher. I think that would be the initial vision. I think our expectation is we can play him and get (him) some snaps Thursday, again to take a peak and kind of see where he is at. I think from a timing standpoint anytime you're going from 90 to 75 that's one cut, but the next one with acquiring players becomes a little more challenging."
What do you see from Paul Kruger now three years after your team was interested in him?
"He still affects the passer, you see a pressure player. He rushes with power. I think you see a high motor and a guy that plays extremely strong. We will see, he's coming in today and we look forward to having a chance to visit with him."
How much more do you change your strategy looking for players throughout the different stages of cuts?
"You're constantly paying attention to the grades you have and then the updated grades you have on players with other teams. The point I'm making is the 75 (roster cut) it's easy if there is a player you might have an interest in looking at, you have basically a week to do so. When you are putting a player on your 53, on that final cut down then it becomes a little more challenging. Now that being said, we met on this yesterday and throughout this week we'll be paying close attention to the other teams and we say this all the time. The player in the building, if he's not careful (and) he starts looking just at his position group (then) there's a bigger picture and these guys on special teams are competing with everyone around the league, not only at that position, but at other positions that feature special teams player. We will pay close attention to that. It was a way (like that) for us a year ago to acquire Mike Mauti and Obum Gwacham. I think that process is kind of ongoing."
There is a report out there from this morning that Damian Swann is in Philadelphia, can you confirm that report?
"Is that a source, was there a source that said (Damian) Swann was in Philly? Yes, he is in Philadelphia. He is having an exam and I'll keep you guys posted on it."
Is it fair to say C.J. Spiller's burst is back now?
"I think he is healthier now and I think it's fair to say we're seeing a handful of the things (that we want to see) the last week and a half, the last two games we're seeing a much healthier and stronger player. Now it's hard to compare that in 16' to 2013. I don't know that any of us go back three years and would say we we're exactly where we were at that point, but I would say that last two weeks have been real important for him and for us because we're having a chance to see (C.J.'s abilities). This guy has worked extremely hard in the offseason getting strength around the knee and we have seen him now on a kickoff to start the game, on a pass out wide, we've seen him basically run around and then also make a guy miss and keep his feet free. I have been encouraged for him. I know it was a long season a year ago for him."
How does a guy like Kenny Vaccaro's skillset help a defense in terms of being able to disguise?
"I think he can play closer to the ball and he has the flexibility to play back. I would say he played nickel for us when he first got here. I think he runs very well for a strong safety and I think the way he's playing now and the experience he has there's just a greater comfort level with his assignment and when that's the case then you're able to see a player play with a little bit more anticipation and a little bit more speed, but he can play down in the box and he is someone that we'll utilize in that manner and I think he is also a pressure player. When he rushes I think there are somethings that he can do very well that can be disruptive."
How has Darryl Tapp looked this summer?
"So far he is doing well, he's experienced and we'll keep giving him those reps."
How difficult is this time of year for you with the juggling of the roster, coaching, game planning and so many balls in the air?
"Number one, Mickey (Loomis), Jeff (Ireland) and Terry Fontenot, a lot of us will spend a ton of time on our own roster and then potential outside players. I think the most important part of this time of the year is finding the right 53. It's the most important thing we are doing right now. Then also paying attention to this current team and how we can improve each day. How we can improve going into the games that we're playing. I think this process is something that we have done a long time together and I think that when the door closes we spend a lot of time bouncing thoughts off each other and guys and guys speak their minds and we recognize how important that is."
Is it fair to say the Garret Grayson, you talked about players competing with others around the league for a spot. Is he sort of trying to leave a lasting impression to leave you with next offseason when you are trying to decide if you are going to move on with a different young uarterback?
"I think anytime, especially at the quarterback position, the challenge there's a little different. It seems like (it's) a lot easier to get receivers, offensive lineman and defensive lineman (snaps). It's a lot easier to get those guys x amount of snaps and it's just a little bit more challenging to do at quarterback. Obviously, you are just playing one and I think anytime you are out there, the rule of thumb is you're putting your tape out, not only for the Saints but for every other team that is paying attention. Which 31 other teams are. I think you are constantly mindful of that, your work. Your body of work and I think that I know he is excited, I'm sure he is excited to get back out there to work, receive some playing time this Thursday and improve on some of the things which he can."
Does he get a real extended amount of time in this game?
"He will get some good work; he will have a half of work."
Have you guys solidified a move of Andrus (Peat) to left guard, and does that mean Tim (Lelito) and Senio (Kelemente) get some snaps Thursday, I guess more than usual for them to get a little bit more game action.
"Yes, I think we're going to play a lot of our guys early on in this game. I think it's important that those guys get the work at those positons and our plan early in the first quarter is to play our starters and then make a transition at some point. A handful of players will receive more snaps too and he would be a candidate along with the right guard position will just be dependent on the numbers and where we're at in the second quarter."
Will you play other guys like Drew Brees and other starters that wouldn't normally play in a fourth preseason game?
"Our plan in this game is to start the game playing our guys. That's our plan.
On Garret Grayson, you mentioned that he didn't look so great after the game. You wanted to evaluate the film. How did he look?
"Well he had some good and obviously some plays that weren't so good."
Was that a fair assessment of the entire summer?
"No, I'm just talking about the game"