New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
During your initial evaluations did you get a feel like rookies Marshon Lattimore, Ryan Ramczyk, Alex Anzalone and Marcus Williams would be game one starters?
"I think it varies. There's always that optimism the draft weekend and through the process and then in the spring and yet you recognize some of them come in like Ramczyk who wasn't fully available because of the injury until training camp, but at some point during training camp you have to see it and see it consistently enough. To credit those guys, you mentioned we were able to, but that can vary sometimes. But I think probably a couple weeks into training camp you might know. You then go to the preseason games (and) it's a little bit harder during the spring now with the practice schedules and the no-contact (policy)."
What has Justin Hardee added on that unit?
"He brings some juice and some energy. We saw him with Houston during the preseason, practicing with them. Fortunately, we were able to put him on our roster. He's played both receiver and corner in high school and then went and played receiver at Illinois and we actually have him working with the DBs, but he's one of those guys that comes to work and gives you great effort. A play like that the other day was significant because it wasn't a designed block, it was actually more of a return (block) and it's one guy really working his technique and it's a huge play in a game like that."
What do you think about the job Dan Roushar has done thus far?
"Dan is doing well. He's a guy that I'm real familiar with. I've known (him) for a long time, coached with him in college and I think especially with some of the changes and the flexibility of how we've had to adapt (the line has done a good job). The other day (Andrus) Peat went back outside (to left tackle) and (Josh) LeRibeus came inside, I think that consistency even though the lineup hasn't been consistent has been a big plus for our depth and our development. I think Dan has been a huge part of that."
Was Drew Brees' decline in passing attempts per game designed to go down this season or just because the success of the running game?
"Probably a little of both, part of it is when you're playing in games and you have maybe a two-score lead maybe your rushing numbers go up or attempts. I always like when (people) say hey if you just attempt to rush the ball 30 times you win, but there is a method and sometimes that's a result of what you've done earlier, but I think that balance of what we need each week to win can vary and what we need defensively from the offense and vice versa and I think that is what's most important."
Was there an emphasis to run the ball more before the season started, since you are calling the highest amount of run plays in the first half in your tenure? Is that something you went into the year wanting to do; matchups or how the running backs are playing?
"I think compared to last season I would completely agree. I think that idea of just kind of coming out and opening it up, again it's game by game and how we want to play a game, but we felt we would be improved rushing the football this year though and certainly we made a concerted effort and it was a point of emphasis and we have to continue to do that."
Has Alvin Kamara's role continued to expand as the season goes on as far as the kinds of routes he can run?
"No, from a route tree (standpoint) he has a pretty wide variety and we spent a lot of time on that during training camps and OTAs. I don't know if his role's expanded. We do a lot with both those running backs and they're pretty adaptable."
Has Alvin Kamara's presence changed the way you do things at all?
"Certainly, we spend time on things that we think he does well (and) plays we feel he can handle and do well, so anytime you have a new piece of your equation I think it's important that you look closely at what their strengths are and, then try to build on them."
What makes LeSean McCoy such a dangerous threat?
"He is very elusive and you don't see a lot of hard contact hits on him and I think he is someone that can quickly get to top speed, his acceleration, his burst. He has very good instincts and I think with him there's that dimension of flexibility where in the passing –game he can hurt you, in the running game he can hurt you. He's had a fantastic career and you put on the film and you see the same player we saw way back in Philadelphia the last time we played him, he's dynamic."
Is Tyrod Taylor as mobile as the quarterbacks you've faced thus far?
"Compared to who we've seen to date he would be ahead of that group. He can beat you throwing it and if you're not careful he'll scramble for a 38-yard gain and I don't know that we've seen that."
What have you seen on tape from Tre'Davious White?
"He has good instincts and has had a good start to his season. The defense there is doing a very good job, he'll play press, very quickly he's acclimated himself to this league and fit in with Sean (McDermott's) scheme. I think Sean and the defensive coaches there have done a real good job getting that defense prepped for the season and having the success they've had. The one thing that jumps out is the amount of takeaways that they have at this juncture of the season, I think it's 17, but Tre'Davious is someone we liked a lot in the draft and I think they drafted a real good player. He is very comfortable though up in press coverage and I think he understands exactly what they are doing scheme wise."
How closely does this Bills defense resemble what you've seen in Carolina when McDermott was there?
"Yes, the front and some coverage principles, but like anything else there are some things that are different, but are some similarities a lot of it is predicated on the personnel he has there now."
How would you describe the contributions of the first and second-year pros on the Saints roster-relative to your prior experience in the league?
"I think that this appears to be a group of young guys that we drafted this year that have acclimated quickly, I'm encouraged by that. I think we made some changes that were necessary in our draft process and evaluation process, all of that. (The) scouting (department) was completely revamped. I think Jeff Ireland has done an outstanding job and how we look at players, all of that was overhauled and I think that the results are paying off fortunately for us."
Can you give us any details on how that was transformed and exactly when was that overhauled?
"Starting with who's in charge and starting with the organization and scouts, where are they going to be, who are the scouts, there were changes made there, prototypes, all those things that were necessary that are put in place now and like I said getting Jeff (Ireland) was huge for us."