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Q&A: Sean Payton's Wednesday Conference Call

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

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Tuesday, November 9, 2016

What do you see out of the Denver defense?
"A couple things, the first thing just from a structure standpoint they play a lot of man coverage even in their two high safety looks there is someone covering you. It's not a game where you are sitting down in soft zones and catching checkdowns. Guys are on the move pushing up, pushing under. There is a good chance if you are catching a ball when you're moving east and west or north and south you're not sitting in a zone coverage, now that complements what they are able to do so well in their rush, because typically in man coverage you have to wait a second longer and their four and five-man rush patterns are outstanding. The thing that hits you first on film is their four and five-man rush and their ability to play man and contest throws and make the quarterback just wait one tick longer and then get the hurry or the sack."

What are your thoughts on Von Miller?
"He's elite and you would say clearly I think the best pass rusher in our game right now. He wins with speed, he wins with power, his get off is outstanding. If you sit there with the same cadence you know at the breadth of hut he's going to be one step past your tackle and those are all things he does so well. He plays with leverage so he can convert speed and all of a sudden be underneath and pushing you back into the pocket. He plays the run well, he's a fantastic player."

What do you see in the value of having that sixth offensive lineman in the game?
"I don't think you go into the game with the idea that if you want another heavy handed player at the tight end position, whether maybe you only have two tight ends like us or you want another heavy handed player to be able to schemewise match up with an end, you think of it initially in terms of the running game and play action pass. In other words we can't always just put jumbo out there and run the ball, so you'd say, well we need some play action passes so it's not just run and then periodically within the framework of your protection you might want that extra player, just again to put them over in the D gap instead of the C gap, b clearly you need to have a plan for Von (Miller) and the bigger problem now is DeMarcus Ware is healthy and you see him getting his legs back and getting the pressure. Look it's what made these guys so good a year ago and we need to have a plan and be ready for how they rush and then be ready to get rid of it on time."

What do you lose with James Laurinaitis going on IR?
"Hopefully we never lose his leadership because he's been amazing. He'll be rehabbing and doing all of those things. I think he's been outstanding in the room, he's very smart. I'd say he'd be able to coach this game if he wanted to day one, but I think his presence in that room and the building is an important one."

What about the signing of Sam Barrington, what do you hope to get out of him?
"We signed three players, tight end John Phillips, Shiloh Keo safety and Sam Barrington. All three can contribute to our special teams, obviously the tight end first with just two tight ends there is a lot of stress on a guy like Josh Hill who's been a core player to play more snaps at tight end and so we pay close attention in the last five or six weeks looking at the wire to see if the right player at that position, maybe was available. John fits that description from what we're looking for. When it comes to Sam (Barrington) we think he is someone that is athletic that can play on (special) teams who's smart, so his workout was good and then Shiloh Keo is another player that's smart with good instincts can play safety, can play dime at the linebacker position and someone that we think can help in the kicking game as well. The challenge I alluded to the other day was when (Nate) Stupar's playing as many snaps as he is and Craig's (Robertson) playing as many snaps as he is (and) you have some guys nicked up, all of a sudden Erik Harris (is out for the year and that hurts the unit). Your core special teams group at the start of the season has changed and we have to pay close attention to that so it doesn't cost us a game."

When you script your opening drive is that more to see the defenses reaction or more about the offense getting into a rhythm?
"All of the above, I mean there are weeks where I don't think, take this week for example, I don't think going into the first 10-15 plays of this game it's going to be to try and figure out how they defend this and this team is like Seattle most recently, you know this is what they are going to do certain things defensively and then it becomes putting plays into a sequence that best helps you move the football."

How did James Laurinaitis perform compared to your expectations?
"I think the challenge with James was just when he got nicked up and so it's hard to make a proper evaluation for instance in (the) Atlanta (game) when he's hurt and he's not (at) full strength. That's the thing I'm sure is most frustrating."

What did you guys see from Sheldon Rankins on film?
"(I) Thought he played well first game back, I mean I thought as the game went on he kind of got a little bit more comfortable and I'm sure there is a process there, but he got some push. I think he's going to help us a lot."

Can you talk about the decision to cut John Jenkins?
"It really came down to numbers and production. We were at that point in our defensive line where it was going to be hard to get him active and then back to addressing special teams the spot has to come from somewhere and I am a big fan of his and he has worked hard. We've just really never received at the end of it all the production we would've liked."

What do you think of Gary Kubiak as a Head Coach and why did you used to hold joint practices with him often when he was with the Houston Texans?
"Twofold. I think initially logistically Houston and New Orleans just made sense just because we were preseason game (opponents) an hour flight (from each other) and so logistically it is something that is fairly easy. Gary got hired there within the same month I got hired here and I would say I have always had a good relationship with Gary and I think the world of him as a coach and his teams have always had certain traits you look for. I mean they play good defense, they've been able to run the football and watched him all (the time) basically since what was it now, 2006 to where we are today, just followed him as a head coach. We trained probably I want to say three or four different times at Houston or in New Orleans and then he's just one of those guys I would say that I was real excited to see the success he had in Denver right away and I consider him a friend and I think he's a real good football coach."

Does him having success with back to back young quarterbacks in Brock Osweiler and now Trevor Siemian make sense to you?
"I think, listen he's a former quarterback and it's a position if you go all the way back to Denver with John Elway and (Mike) Shanahan. There is a group of coaches that are still with them, but man they've developed quarterbacks and developed a running game and play good defense. I think it's not a secret it's followed him from when he was in Baltimore as the coordinator, when they were outstanding offensively."

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