New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Do you feel that teams play you differently when you are in a two-tight end set?
"I think it would be very normal for defenses to run certain things, three-tight end is certainly different. If you are in your heavy, three-tight end (set), offensively I think there are a certain two or three way defenses are going to play you. That would be much different than if you were in a three or four wide look. It's just a matter of what you're trying to accomplish with the tight ends. Are you out there trying to run the ball with some play action or are you in those sets with the mindset of throwing first? But, certainly your personnel, the first thing we look at cutupwise on a team is a personnel formation page to see how they play 11, three by one, two by two, how they play 12, two tight ends, how they play 13, so a lot of it is how they see you and what they feel like you are trying to do with it."
On the subject of tight ends, what separates a guy like Greg Olsen from other tight ends that you've faced over your career?
"Before I even get to his skillset, you can watch him play each week and see passion. I think that there's a toughness element to him. He takes on the task of blocking the D gap or getting down the field on a post or a double move or a seam with the same enthusiasm. He's a very good foot (speed) athlete. He's flexible. I remember him coming out of high school and then coming out of college. He's from New Jersey, of course went to Miami, so the first thing I gave you wasn't even the athleticism, but all those other things you look for at that position I think he possesses. You clearly see the respect of his team and he's a big player and he comes up big for them in moments. He's extremely, extremely talented. You just stack that line up at Miami with tight ends that have been really good."
How does Kelvin Benjamin change them offensively, looking at the impact he made in 2014 and maybe how they missed him in 2015?
"He's a tremendous athlete. He has size. His body type makes it very difficult not only in the field. You start getting in the red area, so he's a target that becomes tough to defend that way in the seams. Obviously there's a strong confidence level the quarterback has in him as well. It's another weapon yu have to account for."
Going back to Greg Olsen, he's had some success over the last year and a half. How do you go about defending a guy like that or do you try to take away all the other weapons?
"I think he's had success against the league, but I think that there's a couple ways you have to look at it. Oftentimes if the cornerback's got time to pass and they're in a second-and-five situation or third-and-two, it becomes that much more difficult because there's so many things you're defending now when all of a sudden it becomes a little bit of an easier task. He does a good job. There's a run-pass conflict with him and their offense that exists that's very good. A thread of (Jonathan) Stewart and Cam (Newton) and how they run the football with those guys and the play action that comes off of it, the screen game, those are the challenges that become problematic. With Greg, it's compounded. He's over to one side, much like we did with Jimmy (Graham) and if you're playing corners over to the receiver, you're going to have him isolated over to the safety or linebacker."
What kind of challenge does it present when Newton's status is up in the air at this point?
"I don't think it presents a challenge, honestly. I think in our case, we're preparing for him. We feel he's going to play and starting with Monday's practice even, I think that's clearly the only way to approach it and yet we understand the strengths and weaknesses of Derek (Anderson) and the other players who may and may not play on their team, but in this case, our plan is to see him and we're planning accordingly."
How do you as a coach treat a team like Carolina that lost three straight, comes in at 1-4 and preach the importance of not taking them lightly? Obviously it's probably easier to do with Carolina, being a division opponent and reigning Super Bowl finalist than other teams in a similar situation.
"I don't think our team's going to take any team lightly. In other words, we're sitting here at 1-3. I think it's a silly question. In other words, I think our team's been in this locker room, players who have been here know that it's a division game. We're coming off a win in San Diego and we know the team we're playing is a championship-level team that has lost some tough, close games. We're going to have to be at our best. I think our players know that."