New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, November 16, 2017
What went into the hiring of Mike Westhoff?
"Number one, I knew he was available. A number of teams have reached out in the past to try to get him to come in and work. I felt like we needed help and I felt like he can bring a level of expertise to our groups. I think sometimes what can happen during success is you can lose track of where you are needing to improve and I think Brad (Banta) and Kevin (O'Dea) along with Deuce (Schwartz) will work well with him. I just think the opportunity to bring someone in with his credentials to our team's one that made so much sense and fortunately we were able to recruit him off of his boat down in Florida."
What group or groups in special teams will he work with?
"He will work with all four core (special teams groups). This is a guy that has coached 38 years, 30 years in the NFL and my best memories (of him) and it's not like he hasn't coached too long ago, we (played against) Mike while he was with the Jets. I did not work with him, but clearly in our league his reputation is of being an outstanding teacher, as well as someone that has good thoughts. I think it is going to benefit our group and I think it'll benefit Brad and Kevin as well, just having a chance to work with a guy like this."
Will he be the overall special teams coordinator?
"He'll oversee it and ultimately we come together as a group with Dennis (Allen), myself, Pete (Carmichael), the coaching staff. He'll oversee that aspect of it, but Brad (Banta) and Kevin (O'Dea) will work closely with him in the transition where we are at now, who the players are, whose been playing in these (special teams) roles. I just think it's a unique opportunity and it was something that I felt would help us."
What was the recruiting pitch that worked for you guys?
"There's elements to it, with regards to how's his health, his energy. He sounded great on the phone. I didn't know him that well prior and then (I) began to kind of outline where we are at as a team and I think he follows the games closely and he's seen the success we've had and I think ultimately the opportunity to win and that itch probably never goes away and it's not something that comes with, oh you're here for a full year (and) you're away from your family. I know he's had job opportunities every year and I think there is a point maybe without speaking for him, where the totality of it all may not be exactly what you're wanting and yet you can come in and help a team like this in the situation we are at midseason. I hope those calls come for me someday."
What is your evaluation of the Washington defense?
"Number one, they have hit the quarterback a lot on third down. You see it in their rush pattern. They do a good job inside with some pick stunts. That combined with some tight man-to-man coverage, that is our point of emphasis today, but that is one of the challenging parts to what they are doing. They have confidence in the corners. (D.J.) Swearinger's playing extremely well. You have (Ryan) Kerrigan. They have a good rotation of guys that can rush. They present that kind of okie under defense in the base and then in the nickel a more conventional look. There are challenges that you have to work closely on and you go through their schedule and they have played some real good teams. Kansas City, you watch that game, you watch the Philadelphia game. It kind of bounces around (the performances). Some teams have hit some chuck plays at times against them, but (Josh) Norman's playing over to our right, kind of where we used to see him at Carolina, yet the scheme might be a little different. They're a challenge."
How important has that cohesion been for the offensive line?
"I think it's been vital in two ways, it's been vital in regards to our regular starters in there, but just as vital the depth and when you say you've gone through an (Terron) Armstead injury, a (Zach) Strief injury, you've had Senio (Kelemete) playing inside and outside, you've had these combinations of players that have stepped in and (Larry) Warford's been up, but he was nicked a little bit and he was down. I just think it speaks a lot for that room. I think it's a room that pays close attention to detail and there is a certain fit there they have. Max (Unger) has been fantastic. I think Andrus (Peat) is playing real well. There is a lot that goes into that position (group) and it's probably I don't want to say one of the more complex rooms, but I would say certainly one of the most significant rooms because it can permeate your team and I think that room has done that for us."
What have you seen out of Manti Te'o this season?
"Quite a bit, he's playing in all the base and played in some of the sub (especially this past Sunday). He has a great energy about him (on) gameday and during the week. He's certainly one of those guys that is upbeat, positive. When you're around him he never has a bad day and that is infectious and important because there can be that part of this profession that can be monotonous or somewhat routine and he always seems to do a good job of breaking that up. I think he's smart and I think he's someone that has good athleticism and by the end of the week he digests the gameplanning and he'll play inside in the base and then certainly can do the same in sub."
What's it like now seeing Junior Galette on film after he missed the last two seasons in Washington?
"He's one of those guys with great edge presence and he moves well and he's always had a great instinct, even in an initial rush and generally he's one of those guys that can get out of trouble and that's a good trait. He's high on the passer and then back under to make a play or on the backside it's a rundown and make a play and so his ability to torque, turn and bend are unique and special and I think that's served him well through his career and you can watch the film. Without looking at the numbers just because I've with Junior long enough (where) you can kind of say that's got to be Junior, his stance and his get off. He's a real good football player."