New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Media Availability
Thursday, July 31, 2014
Opening Statement: "We are kind of back to our A schedule routine after yesterday. "
Can you talk about the energy at practice today?
"I thought it went well. I thought it was up and down. Coming off a day off, a lot of times it'll be a little rusty. I thought the latter part of practice defensively we did some good things early on and some of the passing periods early offensively. It was pretty positive. We will look at the tape. The officials were here and they will meet with our players and kind of go through the new rule changes. I think they will have a chance to meet with you guys at some point and then we will have them for tomorrow's practice and also Saturday's scrimmage. We will spend some time on the points of emphasis this year and have them kind of make calls out here and communicate with the players. It is a pretty good time of the year, we will be in the meeting rooms and the players can ask them questions as to how they see certain plays."
With nine days to go before the first preseason game, is this the part of camp that picks up intensity?
"I don't know that there is any focus on the first preseason game. I think there's always a little bit of up and down with training camp and it's our job as coaches to try and make sure we're up more than we are down. You fight a handful of battles. I think the players are getting plenty of rest. The temperatures have been fantastic. There are some challenges that you have with the heat that you don't have as much here obviously with the breaks we take don't have to be as long. I think the players are hydrated and yet there still has to be that element where we're pushing. We are kind of right there."
Cam Jordan said he made an effort to bring the intensity up a level.
"Absolutely, we get X number of days with pads on, not as many as we used to and so it is important that we learn to play as best we can in a game mode and create the competition necessary each day. That's something that we can't be afraid of.
Are you going to monitor Marques Colston's snaps this preseason?
"Yes and we have paid attention to how much he has gone. We have some younger receivers that are receiving a lot of reps. I think with guys like Marques and Champ (Bailey), there are handful of veteran players that you really have to pay attention to. What they are doing daily and making sure it is not too much but still making sure it's enough where they are not rusty."
How is Marques Colston looking?
"I think he is doing well. His weight is down for this training camp and I think that helps him."
What have you seen from Stanley Jean-Baptiste?
"He is big, long levered and he plays bump and run well. He's still learning the defense and there are some nuances to playing corner and understanding coverages and adjustments especially with our defense. It would be the adjustments; the technique and those would probably be the same things that most young players are working on. Specifically for him at corner, it's making sure that he hears the adjustments, the communication and then his technique when he is up in press and then when he is not, how he is handling off coverage."
Can you talk about how Marques Colston is a leader with the wide receivers but not very talkative?
"I think guys can lead different ways. I think that the one thing we always look for is players we don't want their personalities to change. He is someone that has always been fairly quiet. He does a lot of talking on the field. He is very productive, but you do have, any time you start new with a new season, new training camp, you have leaders emerge just as leaders left the building. We have had some very good leaders, Roman Harper, Malcolm Jenkins, Will Smith, these guys have all been captains. Jon Vilma was the captain on our Super Bowl team. It creates a vacuum if you will for leadership. That begins to emerge in the spring and right now."
Can you talk about any reason why Marques Colston's production slipped last year?
"I don't know that there is any one specific reason. I think that towards the end of the year and in the playoffs he was operating at a high level. It may just strictly be the amount of receivers getting work. I mentioned this before, it was hard to get Nick Toon up and active and involved. I think you see someone now when you watch him in practice, he clearly has shown himself and improved. He is having a fantastic camp just early on with just the first week."
Is there a reason why Ben Grubbs hasn't been practicing?
"We are just resting him. I think we are going to see him in the next day or two. Right now he's working through a few things. It is something that we will get him out on the field soon."
Can you talk about how you have been having success in the run game this training camp?
"It's kind of a battle for both sides. You're trying to get an edge defensively and set an edge and then offensively you're trying to work on an aiming point. It is a little bit more challenging to get a real perspective when you are nine on seven because often times the fours is going to be a safety or a corner. When you're an inside on a nine on seven drill like it will be tomorrow, that ball might go outside, the defense might have done their job exactly right and the offense might have done their job exactly right. What is missing is how well the receiver blocked (the) safety or corner. But to your point, there are some snaps where I'm sure when we watch the film defensively we are going to want to be a little bit more stout. There are some snaps offensively where that tight end tackle combination block maybe was or wasn't as good. That is one of those things that you're each trying to accomplish the same task and generally the result of the run with tell you who won."
Was Terron Armstead the reason why you had such a good run game late in the year?
"I would say he wasn't part of the problem. I think in a short period of time, Carolina and then on to the next week (Tampa Bay), you saw a rookie player begin to emerge and by the time we were into the postseason, you began to see a player that was playing with confidence and now clearly you are seeing that. He knows what to do. He is very athletic and to his credit, has made the adjustment and done a great job competing. That has been a great sign."
Terron Armstead looks like he could be really special at his position.
"We are not ready to put him in Canton yet, but he is very athletic and I would agree, he has a lot of the traits you look for."
Can you talk about how Joseph Morgan is fighting in his rehabilitation from injury and for a spot of the team?
"I think right now one thing I would say with Joseph, we are seeing someone who is healthy. It is just a matter of getting back into football shape because you were removed from it for as long as he has been but he is running well. I think you will see in the next week or so. I think you will see the speed that we got used to seeing when he was playing at a high level."
Is it about trust for him?
"I think he trusts where he is at physically now. You can ask him. I think it is more of the technique, the releases and some of those things when you are removed from really, you have to get back up to speed."
Jonathan Goodwin said this is the best group of young guys he's been with.
"It is hard to say. It would be early to say right now. I think that just in evaluating them, there have been some guys (who) stand out. But I think closer to the 75 cut down or the 53 cut down, we will begin to look at (that). Last year we had six (undrafted) free agents make the roster. I think as we get closer and into the preseason game, I think we will have a better handle on this class. The class in 2006 was very good when you look at young players. At that time we had a number of them that became very important players for our team and our rebuild. We will see."
How does Stanley Jean-Baptiste figure out where he fits in?
"I think right now it's making the improvement day-to-day, but to your point about a role, we talked about it the very first team meeting. No one is going to be given a role for the season, but by the time you get to the opening game, there's going to be a role for each player. The willingness and the ability for everyone to except and then really buy into their role for that game, I think that is important. I use this analogy a few years back, I was on a trip up to Snowshoe Mountain (near) here and if you go out of the airport to the right you lose cell phone service pretty quickly. So I lost cell phone service, got a flat tire and was finally able to get someone on the phone to come out. This big ol' boy came from a shop and he had his truck and asked me to back the car up and then I backed up the wrong way and he yelled at me. Then he said he wanted you to hold the light here, no, no over here. And so for the next 20 minutes my role was to help him fix this flat tire so I could get up the hill. It wasn't a permanent role, it was just for that 20 minutes. I think the same thing exists for a little bit for players in this league. It is not a yearly role. It is a week-to-week role of what we need to do to win that game. With regards to a rookie corner, that might mean special teams, that might mean playing (the) dime. But that hasn't been established yet, that hasn't been determined yet, we are trying to get every opportunity to see where these guys can fit and then the end game is to win that week. And the end game was to get to the top of the hill with a fixed tire."
How do the rookie wide receivers look?
"They are looking well. They are receiving a ton of work. We have been talking about a few of them. Some of the younger free agent players, (and) Brandin Cooks,, they are all doing well. They have things to work on. Andy Tanner made some plays today and it was impressive. We've seen that before from him. I know Kenny (Stills) is working through his quad. I think sooner than later we'll have the ability to get him back on the field. There is a lot of competition at that position."
Can you talk about Andy Tanner and how he has been to many training camps and been playing well?
"He sure has. I think to his credit, you don't know when that time is. And to his credit, he has come back every bit as in shape and mentally ready to perform. I referenced today, at some point, there is a point where you are no longer practice squad eligible first. More importantly for him, it's making the roster and staying on the roster. I completely understand. I am sure that is his goal this year and to be someone that we can count on in a role. With Lance (Moore) no longer being here, Devery (Henderson) a few years ago, there are some younger guys here competing for those receiver spots."
What did your conversations with Tanner prior to the start of camp entail?
"He is someone that you don't ever take for granted. He is a guy you don't bet against. He is a grinder. He is tough. He knows what to do. Shoot, he has a lot of traits that endear himself to the team. He has the respect of his teammates and they have seen him work. And they have seen him be successful. Defensively, guys will talk about who is tough to cover. Our defense saw him for a year last year, every work Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Those defenders would be guys that would really have good insight. They'll tell you who is difficult just within the framework of practice. I think he'd be one of those guys they would bring up."
Jonathan Goodwin said he is okay with being a backup. When a veteran player has that attitude, how much easier does it make your job?
"I know (with) Jonathan, the key is laying it all out there for him. I don't expect him to expect to be the backup. Certainly in his mind he feels like he is good enough to start. I just know we felt like we had a proven commodity with someone that had been here before, someone who's a fantastic teammate and then a young player like (Tim) Lelito. When you get that competition, it kind of sorts itself out. You don't pay attention to it daily, but you pay attention to it every few days. How's this position doing? But those guys have handled the snaps well."
What have you seen from Jonathan Goodwin that is going to make it hard for Tim Lelito to get the job?
"He is consistent and he obviously knows exactly where to go. He will go six, seven weeks without a mental error. That is the type of player he is. And I think he is also helping Tim with the position, the nuances of playing center and with all the protections, that's a challenge in our league, getting the protections right with what we do is not easy."
Will you take that battle till the end of the preseason if you have too?
"I think we can take that battle for a while. We will see how they are handling the reps and I think in the preseason games we will receive a chance to see them get plenty of work."
Is it tough recommending a player that is not going to make the roster?
"It's easy because truly you want to best for a player. Andy (Tanner) is not the example, but that has periodically come up where you make a phone call and you are deep at a certain position. The first phone call is probably seeing if you can make a trade, but that comes up quite a bit."