New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton 2017 Training Camp Presented By Verizon Saturday, August 5, 2017
"Our two-minute drill installation began today. I thought we had some decent work at the end of practice on it. Obviously, that is something that we will need to continue to drill and work on."
What was your evaluation of the two-minute drill?
"I thought it was alright. Guys were fighting through some of the heat. The point we made last night (in meetings) was if you pay close attention to our games at the end of each half and at the end of the game, if you get the red zone channel, all of the games end with you either defending or being in a two-minute situation. It's a critical part of our game right now. It is something that we have to be better at on both sides of the ball. You could point to last season when there were a handful of games during which we were in that situation. Today was a good start to it, but again, there is a lot that we have to work on."
Did you think that the heat affected players more today than before?
"Maybe a little bit more. We had a few more guys cramping. Overall, I think that is what you are looking for in training camp. You are pushing them. Overall, I thought that the periods went back-and-forth. There were a few that were sluggish."
You are not going to scrimmage this year. Any thoughts?
"We're getting more scrimmage situations in these periods. We went live on team runs today. We will get in more good work tomorrow night at Tulane. But, there is no official intrasquad scrimmage."
Does practicing on Sunday night change the Monday schedule at all?
"Yes, it does. We'll announce it. It will push Monday's practice back to 11:50, if you will. We're going to be inside Monday. Because we're finishing late, we'll meet in the morning. Monday would be more like an in-season schedule."
You will still be off Tuesday?
"On Tuesday, we will be off."
Can you talk about trying to create different situations? Is changing the time of practice part of that?
"Part of it is about recovery. You have to be able to adjust. If we are going to practice at Tulane at nighttime—which was a decision I made—then we have to look at our Monday schedule and be willing to adjust it as well. By the time they are getting back to the hotel, it will be closer to 11 o'clock. So, we will push Monday back, more like an in-season schedule."
On the live run drill—I know you still need to watch film—what did you see with the naked eye?
"I thought our first team defense did a good job. We're working on a lot of our stretch plays. We'll watch the tape and be able to see why a play had success or didn't. (Without the live period,) you can get a false sense of where a ball might be stopped. When you tackle, which is part of football, you get an idea of exactly where the ball was stopped. That is part of it."
Can you say what it means to the organization for Morten Andersen to get into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
"I think it is fantastic for the Saints. Morten Andersen went to Indianapolis' Ben Davis High School. He came over from Europe to play soccer (as an exchange student). He ended up kicking for Ben Davis. I saw him play at Michigan State when I was a high school senior. It was 1982. I believe he and Ali Haji-Sheikh were playing. It was at Michigan State, MSU vs. Michigan. Then from afar, I followed his career. He is the all-time leading scorer in the history of our league. (His induction) is much deserved, and we are happy for him. Obviously, at any of the stops he made—including here and also Atlanta—he has had an impact on those teams. We are proud of him."
You are not going to his induction, are you?
"No, not with our schedule here."
What have you seen from Michael Hoomanawanui as he comes back from injury?
"He's a guy we have a pretty good feel for. He's strong. He has heavy hands. I paused when I heard you pronounce his last name because we call him Hoo-Man. He's a veteran player. The one thing that I like about the player's that you know exactly what you're getting—his strengths, his weaknesses. He's a pretty good blocker for a tight end. It is good to see him healthy."
What have you seen from Alex Jenkins?
"He has flashed a few times. Obviously, he is behind a bit. Yet, I like his length. I think his attitude and his work ethic have been good."
Knowing that you have him for a year, how might that alter the approach of involving him in practice?
"He is a bonus practice squad player, so he is a bonus roster spot. We are at 91 players, really. That would be the only thing that affects how we approach things. He is in the rotation. He is playing. Obviously, he has a lot of work to do. He is with the developmental group. It gives you an extra body, which is important when you get into the season."
How is Cameron Jordan's role different this year than in years past, more relating to his locker room influence on guys?
"That is a good question. I think one of the things we look for is who those leaders are going to be, defensively. That is something that we talk about a lot more than you might think. Which of these guys is going to step up and lead this defense? He is certainly one of the candidates. I thought we saw some good finishing plays from him during that drill. He is a consistent performer. There are areas that he is working on improving, and I think it will be important for that defense to improve so that we get better leadership. Hopefully, that will evolve here in the preseason."
Is Willie Snead IV dealing with anything serious?
How challenging has it been to evaluate where Adrian Peterson is with the absence of tackles to the ground?
"I feel pretty comfortable with where I think he is. I have seen the drills where we have cranked it up with him in. Periodically, we will hold him back. Right now, that is further down on the list of my concerns because I feel like I have seen a few series with him. We tell some of these veteran players, 'We do not have to see it every day, but we have to see it.' I have seen it. He's been in some drills. They may not involve tackling to the ground, but our practice inside the other day had some pretty impressive film for him."
Cameron Jordan has mentioned that it is hard for him when he has to take a couple of plays off. Do you think that that is a form of leadership in and of itself?
"Absolutely. One of his traits that's exceptional is that he has some staying power. He is in good shape. He's always been a player that can play more snaps than his peers. It is hard to play on the defensive front on every snap. He is one of those guys that will play a high snap total each week."
You mentioned that the punt returns would be difficult in Cleveland with the fans wearing brown. Do you get excited about having a matchup like that, having so many factors to deal with?
"Absolutely. When you go there, it could be hot and humid. We could have rain. We are going to play unless there's lightning. Taking a young team somewhere different (helps). I always like playing some outdoor road games when they come up. You get to learn a bit about your team."
Photos of the Saints' scrimmage at Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on August 5, 2017.