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Q&A: Sean Payton's Wednesday Conference Call

Audio and quotes from Sean Payton's Wednesday conference call

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Can you discuss the reason for releasing C.J. Spiller, what went into that and why maybe it was not done sooner?

"Well two things, number one we probably spent the better part of the last couple weeks here going through not only our depth at running back, but a couple of different scenarios. It didn't have to be done by the first game of the season. His salary was guaranteed. This was more about (the question of) is there a potential trade partner? Obviously, the urgency changed with the injury of Delvin Breaux. This guy's a phenomenal guy/teammate. We spent about a half hour just he and I talking yesterday. I think he's going to have an opportunity sooner (rather) than later with another club and yet the window in this building or this club's not definitely closed. Obviously, last season was frustrating because he dealt with the injury in training camp. I think he is ahead of where he was a year ago and gotten better than he was a year ago and yet it just became a challenge for us when we were looking at actives and roles and that was really it."

What didn't fit in the offense? Was it any routes or playbook?

"No, he learned a lot, it was just how much further (along and) where he is at relative to his health prior to any of his injuries. He is healthy now, but there are still some areas of transitions that will improve, but ultimately it was just studying who's up and who's receiving the special team snaps. I still see him as a kick return threat, but that would be it."

Can you talk about the overall frustration that the two guys that spent the most time in free agency last year, Brandon Browner and C.J. Spiller now are not with the team, does that really set the team back?

"Anytime you bring in someone in free agency, you are hoping to find the fit and the niche for the team. You are hoping to improve your team. Obviously, when you are unable to do that it sets you back because you are planning on, but yet you have to understand when you go that route there is a chance that you have to be real careful. He's (Spiller) is a guy that from a makeup standpoint, (has) all those things. It's hard to predict him having another scope in training camp. He's as good of a teammate as you can find and as good of a guy as you can find. We have to get on to the next step with it. That's part of the deal. We have to be better in those areas, but yet some of the things that take place with an injury like his, you can't predict."

What are some of the advantages you guys get with that three-man front you used last week on defense?

"You would start with some disguise. The ability to pressure strong, weak and inside."

Changing gear to the Giants here. When you look at their offense now compared to last season when you faced them. How much more balance is it now compared to 2015?

"We are one game into 16, so I think some of the things that Eli (Manning) does and the coaching staff does is they kind of get an early read on what you are in defensively and then they try and attack it appropriately. There are some sequences when they come up/huddle up and get to the line of scrimmage and run a play they want to run and then there are some sequences obviously, that happen at the line with no huddle, be it through a shift or a motion, they use some keys to try to understand man or zone and how they want to play that play. We have got to be good with the disguise. We have to be good holding our looks. Certainly, we have to be able to fit the run and understand what comes off of it."

When you think about the Giants passing attack, obviously we think about Odell Beckham Jr., but with Victor Cruz healthy now and obviously their second round draft pick Sterling Shepard, what kind of dynamic does that add to their passing attack?

"They're all smart with good hands and hips. These guys are sudden route runners. Victor Cruz is obviously coming back off of a season away and he is a very smart savvy player. Beckham is very fluid and someone that is extremely explosive and obviously the young player out of Oklahoma everyone felt coming in he was going to be a real good player, especially in the slot."

We have already mentioned Beckham, but when you look at Brandin Cooks, you've looked at two of the most successful guys from that 2014 receiver draft class. How fortunate do you feel that you guys didn't miss the boat and you got one of the good ones because there are a number of good ones within that group?

"It was a strong class. It's still early in the total evaluation of it all. I think you are seeing guys at the college level exposed to passing games that feature their skill sets. I think they are catching the ball better. I think the route running is better. I think by in large you are seeing receivers further along in some offenses. Now in others, it is a little bit more limited based on what the schemes are asking them to do. When you get a player like Beckham for instance. New York targeted him early in the first round or we get a player like Cooks you are hoping they are able to make some plays and change games for you."

The Giants have changed a lot in that defensive front this offseason, what did you see from that group in Week One?

"It is a different defense, (Olivier) Vernon has added a big dimension to them. (Jason) Pierre-Paul is back and is playing a little bit more over on our right side now. He (Pierre-Paul) was not available when we played him last.  It is an entirely different groups not just the front, you can go outside at the cornerback position, and they have had changes. I think overall, in last week's games both defenses played well. It was a low scoring game and I think the tackling is what stood out."

What does B.W. Webb bring to the defense?

"He is experienced, he has real good sudden movement skills. He can run, he's fluid. We worked him out last week and we think he is someone that has played in this league and we think he is someone who can help us."

Is (B.W.) Webb a guy that can contribute immediately?

"Yes, we'll see."

How much are you involved in defensive game-planning with the defensive coaching staff and has that changed over the years?

"I think it's changed over the years, from the standpoint of us in a staff meeting, how do we want to attack this team in all three phases and then what are our thoughts defensively? Dennis (Allen) does a great job of communicating the early first and second downs for instance last night and then most importantly, who are we asking to do this, another words who's on the field? When we grade the tape, as a staff, we come in and meet. Coaches will go through their grades. I won't sit in that end for the gameplan itself, when it's being put together and yet DA will go through (and say) here's what we are thinking and then we'll talk personnel, in regards to, who's doing it."

Is who's on the field a bigger part of it than the gameplan itself?

"If you're not paying attention to that, I think that's is extremely important. What are we asking them to do and what so they do well?"

What are the things you want your young cornerbacks to do better from week one to week two and what are the things you liked that you saw in week one?

"We have to tackle better and recognize formationally what we're getting ready to see. Oakland gave us down the stretch the same running play about three or four different times. Our ability to see and recognize (is important) and again through experience though I think that's the first thing (you have to look at). Then we have to avoid the explosive plays and stay on top of the coverage when we're supposed to and it's not just (on) the young players. It is in general and I think that's something our eyes have to be spotted on."

Do you a lot of similarities between these two teams, with the explosive receiving core?

"I don't know that I draw (that). They are different. We are going to play teams with good receivers all year, but this is a different type of offense than the one we just faced."

How is the Giants offense different from the Raiders offense?

"The offense we are getting ready to see is no huddle, with the tight end shift out of the backfield back to the line a scrimmage, with a back going from queen to king and back to queen, with a receiver coming across in slot getting set, with the quarterback up changing the play back to the line (of) scrimmage. The schemes we are going to see are predominantly zone schemes with a few guard pulls. The team we just played is a bigger offensive line, little bit more static in how they attack. They're just different offenses. "

When it comes to play-calling, how would you say your philosophy has evolved, in regards to, when you call plays and when you delegate play-calling to Pete (Carmichael)?

"When you're talking about a play every 10 seconds, every 10 seconds, you can't pattern or be exactly the same. Pete's done a magnificent job, shoot back in 2011 he did a great job when I got injured and then of course all of 2012. He's been with us now with me now for going on 11 years. He has a great feel for what we're looking to do and the area of the field we're looking at. I can whistle into his ear and just say hey let's think about this right here this next series. It is something that works and each week we'll pay attention to, but he's really on top of what we are doing offensively."

When you suggest calls to Pete is that the call normally or does he ever say I was thinking about this or do you not even have enough time to do that?

"No, that's when you're sitting down playing Madden. It's happening (in) eight seconds. If (I say) Pete let's look at this, we'll run it, but it's eight seconds, seven seconds. It's just real quick, sometimes what you are wanting to do or what you're thinking of doing happens while the defense is on the field and you're talking about coming back with (a play), you can't just banter all the time in the ear, it has to be quiet and I think we do a good job as a staff that way and certainly, Pete (Carmichael) is able to collect his thoughts and it works."

Any benefits delegating play-calling to (Pete Carmichael)?

"As you are managing a game and you have someone like Pete (Carmichael) there are a number of benefits. It allows me that freedom to pay attention to the other facets a little bit clearer and look it's not a big earth scattering (deal). We'll switch throughout the year and it's not like we are going to come out and make an announcement to you guys that we are doing it. Pete is in with the quarterbacks on every meeting and we just have been together long enough where we feel comfortable with it."

What has been the most impressive thing about (Brandin Cooks) his first couple years in the league?

"I think he (Brandin Cooks) is fluid and he has exceptional hips and what I mean by that is when he catches the football, number one his feet are on the ground, he's not in the air. When you look at the yards after the catch, those receivers that jump to catch balls in their belly, basically stop while everything else moves around. He's has his feet on the ground, thumbs together plucking footballs and because of his flexibility and his speed if you don't take the right angle a short play becomes a big play completion."

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