New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Friday, September 15, 2017
What would go into a decision if you guys were to flip (Ryan) Ramczyk to the right side?
"That would involve a lot of moving parts. We have discussed three different scenarios and we're going to do what we think is best for this game. But there are really three potential things. We'll be smart about what we do. Where they line up, we'll wait and see on gameday."
How tough of a decision is that?
"We spend a lot of time talking just in regards to who do we want at right tackle. We have a couple different options and we'll go in with the best plan."
How does he look?
"He hasn't been at right tackle. He's been playing left."
They just put out that they're wearing black jerseys, are you switching things up?
"You have to check with Bum (John Baumgartner) and his (equipment) staff. I am working on about three hours of sleep for the last three nights and you're asking me about black jerseys or white jerseys. As long as we have a jersey on different from that of the New England Patriots (that's all that matters). We have to turn in what we wear in the spring. We check off some boxes and then we go. If you play and it's an outside game we would probably be in white. We've been in white and we've been in black. We've been in gold, we've been in black pants."
When you first got here you did do some things differently?
"We wanted to do everything opposite when we first arrived."
You said you were going on about three hours of sleep, do you go on less sleep planning your offense against this defense?
"It is a unique challenge. We just finished playing an even front. They do a handful of things that are different. So we are really trying to prioritize what the work week entails. What are the main things that have to get accomplished when you see this defensive front? I would say there probably is balance from a tendency standpoint as (much as) any I can recall. There's nine snaps of this, there's nine snaps of this, balance in what they do. They obviously do a good job in what their own self-scout. Same way in the red area so they mix coverages well. They stress your front because of the five man look. Really it's walk through, it's building up." We're going to do a little bit more today for instance, then tomorrow and what we normally do as you try to recover after a Monday night game. It will be a good challenge. They are well-coached, obviously on defense. Both of the corners are playing well. The nickel is playing outstanding and they have smart safeties that when you watch the Chiefs game. They're in dime, they're in nickel. You're trying to keep track. They have a former safety (Jordan Richards) playing outside linebacker for half the game. You begin to look at locations and then quickly in the game you find out where these bodies are. Is (Don'ta) Hightower playing? Is he going to be inside or is he going to be lined up on the left side? The body types can change and yet there are some fundamental things they believe in. Those are the things that are important when you're going through the walkthrough. We'll quickly have to adjust as to who those guys are."
When you're preparing for that, are there any similarities between the way you guys use offensive personnel and you they use defensive personnel?
"But the thing that will take place is you'll play quite a bit of nickel to 12 personnel. Certainly when we broke down the Kansas City game you would have to look long and hard for a true base defense with just four defensive backs on the field. Part of that may be pertaining to the Chiefs game plan and some of it might be based on their personnel. As we're gameplanning, we are thinking about personnel and what we can expect. When we put a play in, we'll talk about hey what do we think we're going to get defensively to this? Then we'll quickly look at the tendencies. We may move from one to the other but that's one of the challenges. I think there's a pretty good mix from what they call and what they do with each personnel group. It's not like, every once in a while we'll play someone and you can kind of anticipate if you do this, they do that. I think they do a good job of avoiding that. That predictability in regards to what you're going to get is very well-planned."
Are there any common threads with some of the coverage breakdowns you guys had on Monday?
"Here's the encouraging thing, there are a lot of good things on that film. There are three or four explosives that can easily be addressed and obviously need to be corrected that ended up hurting us. The two-minute drive, there is a big play coming up then all of a sudden, changes field position. There are a handful of those snaps. The challenge is (on) Tuesday when they are off and then here they are on Wednesday is we are on to New England. We cannot go on to New England without addressing Monday night. There might be a veteran team in Week Eight after a Monday night (where you could bypass film review). You have a short week; you get the tape maybe later. There were a number of things with this team especially that we had to put to bed in regards to corrections before getting to the New England plan and fortunately, we were able to do that."
Among the things that you and Bill Belichick have in common, what do you see from looking at what Bill Parcells did that might be similar?
"Not having worked with Bill Belichick, it'd be hard for me to speak for him. The early exposure to success in New York. When you start looking at the number of Super Bowls when Belichick has been on the sidelines, keep counting. There's two with the Giants. There's eight (as an assistant and head coach in New England). Building a team, thinking about personnel, I think early in your career, and sometimes you don't have control of this, but if you're fortunate enough to be with the right organization and the right head coach that can be huge in regards to what it does for your own career. It's not like as a young assistant you're sitting around and saying I want to work for Bill Walsh and the 49ers. You're trying to find where those jobs come up. You just hope that you receive a good foundation. He's coached special teams. He's coached defense. He has worked with the (offense). I think some of those early lessons I'm sure were invaluable experiences that he's had. Speaking for myself those opportunities as a coordinator for me in New York, then coming to Dallas. I mean I got hired by Bill (Parcells) and I had never met him, he hired me over the phone. I met him at an airport in Long Island and we flew into Dallas together, just the two of us. Those are breaks. Those are like man there's somebody looking after you and then you take advantage of it. I think we're all a little bit of a product of our bloodlines and I've been blessed that way. Even in my first job working with Jon Gruden and Ray Rhodes with the (Philadelphia) Eagles as a young (assistant) coach. You begin to formulate your own thoughts as to what you want to do."
How would you evaluate (Alex) Okafor on Monday?
"I think solid. I think he played more snaps than we liked when you looked at his pitch count relative to what he's been playing. You have to really pay attention to that and make sure he's not playing that many. But overall I think there were some good things."
How is (Trey) Hendrickson doing? We see him in the red jersey.
"He's on the report. We put a red jersey on anybody we don't want a lot of contact with so that's out of that. I'm not going to go into detail with the injuries."
Is playing a game against Malcolm Butler get any easier as you got to know him a little better this spring?
"The thing that you cannot see when you watch him play is the passion. He tackles well. He loves football. Just put the tape on, any tape on and watch him compete. When you start with that, here you have a guy who was undrafted and starting very early in his career. We were all at the Alabama Pro Day. We were all there to look at the safety for the Packers (Ha Ha Clinton-Dix), we were watching his workout, watching the left tackles work out. But there is a line of defensive backs, there are like four. And it is not uncommon to have (players from) smaller schools (in-state) to go to that Pro Day. As the Super Bowl takes place and as Butler makes the interception, I'm driving to work the next day (thinking) who was that, let's see the report. And there he was at the Alabama Pro Day. We were too busy watching the other guy. It's a lesson. They show up to work, pay close attention to it. He's got a little bit of that grit and I would say and I think that served him well."
How much was your visit with him this offseason maybe to get more of that scouting report?
"It wasn't about that. It was really to find out more about the player outside of what we see on tape. His story is interesting. He's from the Gulf South area. It was good to get a chance to meet and visit with a player like that. I have a lot of respect for him."
It's interesting that U2 is playing again before another Saints home opener, almost like a prelude.
"I think the one thing from afar, there is something. There's a social consciousness with that band if you will. It's post-Katrina and here they are opening for that game. I think not having met them, just from hearing Greg (Bensel) and some other guys talk that was kind of meaningful and it was meaningful for everybody else. That's pretty cool."
I know you're heading to London in a few weeks. There was another terrorist attack in London yesterday. Have you guys taken any extra precaution taking that trip over there?
"Yes. We have a team that's planning that. I think that's probably something that Mickey (Loomis) would answer. I'm sure we are and the league is. It seems like it's ways away, that game. I know in the offseason, it was discussed. Any team that was going over there, I think there were some conference calls. There will be a lot that goes into a game like that. Hopefully the experts, I'm sure, are doing their due diligence. That's all I would know though."
Personally, would it make you nervous at all?
"Yes, yet there is that part of you and I was in New York during 9/11. And there's that part of you that the response immediately is man that's not, as best as we can, is not let this affect our (game) or they win. I'm sure they'll take the proper precautions. I wasn't aware that there was another attack yesterday."