New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 25, 2017
What jumps out about Chicago’s defense? It’s not often that a team is able to win a game by completing four passes.
“When you look at them in the last couple of years, they’ve made improvements in the secondary, the front has gotten stronger. (Defensive Coordinator) Vic (Fangio) has done a great job wherever he has been; in San Francisco, with those defenses that we saw back when they made their Super Bowl run. And, you can see his blueprint on what they’re doing now. I think they’re playing hard and confident as a unit, I think they’re hard to rush the ball against. They’re real strong inside, they’ve got the ability to really pressure the passer. And I think they’ve gotten better in the secondary. I just know they’re playing with a lot of confidence, you can see that on film.”
Akiem Hicks is a player that you guys are familiar with. How is he doing for them?
“He’s doing extremely well. He’s very disruptive, you can see the amount of pressures that he has per game and often times, he’s displacing the pocket and really forcing the quarterback to make poor decisions or hurrying the quarterback. He’s having a Pro Bowl season.”
A lot of the guys on the defensive line talk about how smart Sheldon Rankins is. In what ways has that been an asset for you guys?
“If you’re around him long enough, he’s just one of those guys that not always says a lot, but he is definitely someone that understands the whole scheme. Rarely is he missing assignments. Some guys pick things up quickly and he’s one of them. He has a good feel for his gap but also his responsibility as it pertains to run or pass. He was one of those rookies that came in with kind of the understanding or savviness, that some players in year three or four might have.”
What has Michael Hoomanawanui provided for you guys this season so far?
“He’s one of our base tight ends. He does a lot of the run blocking, a lot of the “D” gap stuff that we need. He’s been a big part of our run, play-action pass (and) he’s out into routes at times. He’s a valuable member of what we do.”
You have a lot of versatility along the offensive line. Is Senio Kelemete the most versatile offensive lineman that you guys have?
“He’s someone that has been able to plug (himself) into different spots. Since I’ve been here he’s been a center, he’s been a guard, he’s played left tackle, he’s played snaps at right tackle. That’s unusual for an offensive lineman.”
How prepared are you to deal with Larry Warford’s potential absence?
“We’ll see how the week progresses.”
What are your general thoughts on Bears quarterback Mitch Trubisky?
“He is someone we liked coming out (of North Carolina). You see the athleticism, he does a great job of throwing on the run. There is a play he makes against Baltimore two weeks ago on third down – they are in overtime, he climbs the pocket, kind of steps to his right and throws one of these crossing routes. It is pretty impressive. I think he has that moxie. You can see that the team has got confidence in him. I think he’s only going to get better. I think he’s one of the rising stars, younger players that we’re going to see a lot of good things from. You can kind of see that. He’s very athletic and I think they’re doing a good job with some of the bootlegs and the schemes they’re putting him in.”
Has cornerback Marshon Lattimore gotten up to speed quicker than maybe you guys would have even thought he would? Rookies usually take a little time to settle in and it seems like he settled in very quickly?
“You’re always hoping, with a handful of players, they pick it up and play right away. Sometimes it takes more time to develop. Certainly, we’re pleased with his start and his early development. I think that he is smart, he’s very competitive and I think he’s doing a good job. I’m sure there’s a handful of things that we’ll continue to work on with him, but he’s healthy, he’s competing. Part of it is that drive as to what you want to be, and I think he has that.”
There’s that third-and-one screen to (Green Bay wide receiver Davante) Adams that Lattimore exploded through to get there. What have you seen out of him instinctually and how important are his instincts?
“I think he has very good instincts. I think he’s a tackler, I think he competes. You saw that on his college tape, you just didn’t have as much evidence because of the amount snaps he played. But I like his length. I think he can run and mirror. The things that you look for in a corner – honestly, you grade your first part of the draft, I don’t think that any of us felt that there was a good chance that he might be there when we picked (at No. 11) and fortunately, he was.”