New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, September 26, 2018
What do you think has been key for the run defense improvement in the first three games of the season from last year?
"Last week was one of our better efforts. I thought the (defensive) front played well. It is an offensive line that's really going to stretch your edges and I thought we had a good week of practice. I think one of the things that comes up early in the season is these numbers and rankings and obviously if after two weeks you're ranked 15th that really doesn't tell you a lot, you follow me. That's two weeks of 16 tests, so the numbers can quickly shift, but I was pleased with how we played the run the other day."
What unique challenges does Saquon Barkley present this week?
"He has great balance, he's strong. You have to populate the ball (to tackle him. He is not one of those backs that easily goes down with just one player. He has tremendous leverage, vision, he can run (and) he's fast. He's something else."
Would you say that they use him in a similar way to how you use Alvin Kamara?
"I'm not going to say he's like anyone. He's his own back. He's strong, he's built real strong, he's exceptionally fast and he can catch the football well. He does it all for them. He's on the field first, second and third down. He has tremendous balance and change of direction and he's unique."
What's the unique challenge that Odell Beckham Jr. presents?
"He has real good suddenness. He's very quick in space. He can separate (and) transition exceptionally well. (He) Catches the ball well. Both of these players are outstanding after the ball's in their hands. They're very good run after the catch players."
How difficult is it to replace someone with Patrick Robinson's skillset who was brought in for his unique skillset at the nickel positon?
"I think it's always a challenge and we'll look closely at our different lineup options and then handle it week to week."
Do you have any transactions to announce this morning?
"None to announce this morning."
What are your thoughts on the on the roughing the passer situation? Do you think you'll need to tweak that league wide?
"No, I think the point of emphasis in the offseason was very simple and that was avoiding the player intentionally placing all the weight on the quarterback. Have we seen some that have been flagged that should not have been? Absolutely. I think it is more about the consistency from crew to crew and the message from crew to crew to get that on the same page. That is with any new rules, but I think that is the biggest challenge."
On Drew's (Brees) completion percentage, is it also too early maybe to read too much into that, but what are the other various factors you see contributing to it?
"I think this past week we were able to spread the ball around a little bit more and different players ended up making key plays for us. A lot of it depends on the team you're playing, but he worked tremendously hard at understanding the plan. When you play as zone team like Atlanta, not that they don't play man to man, but you're going to want to be able to catch the ball underneath the coverage and advance and we were able to do that. We'll get a little bit more man to man this week in New York.
Did the offense get any particular enjoyment of reviewing the film of his (Drew Brees') rushing touchdowns, especially the first one?
"I'm sure. It seems like a week ago. It was on Monday I think. Today's Wednesday."
(Jay) Bromley had four tackles in the game last week, what did you use from him in his first game back?
"It was important that we carried the four defensive tackles with a team like that that we were playing. He was good laterally. He stayed on his feet, that was that was important. That was something that was preached all week long. So it was good to see."
I know we talk about Taysom Hill a lot, but the package that you all have for you, I mean when you get a unique talent like that did you all sit down you, Pete (Carmichael), or Joe (Lombardi). How do you come up with this? I assume that was not part of your offensive package going into the season when you get a unique talent like him.
"Yes. Each week when we started, yesterday, Tuesday is a big game plan day. You spend a lot of time on Tuesday working on your first and second down plan maybe some third down. Tonight after practice we will spend 4, 5, 6 hours on third down. You begin to look at ways to complement what you're doing offensively. you put in some tags, BYU 21 personnel, BYU 11. He enters the field on offense, he can be an F. He could be the Q. He does a lot of things pretty well. So you do not want it to be just one thing."
That also will stress a defense, right?
"Yes. Hopefully you are just creating indecision. Hopefully, when you have a guy that can hand the ball (off) or keep it and run the way he can, that is their stress unto itself. But the very next play, he's in and he can be playing at the line of scrimmage. I think that helps you."
With you calling the BYU stuff, are you looking back at Taysom Hill's college tape?
"No. No, no, no. We'll find out a player's alma mater. 'Cougar' – we've had 'Bengal' for Josh Hill Idaho State. We'll just have some tags that would put a guy in a mindset of not only this is the personnel, but before you even step into the huddle, I kind of know the package were in. If that makes any sense. So the personnel might be 11 personnel and if we add a tag to it, 'Volunteer 11' back in the day with Robert Meachem. Then the receivers – the group of people knew, not only was it 11 but they knew maybe what type of package it was in 11."
After the game Sunday, you talked about the half-man leverage. Do you lose that leverage at all when you have Brees lined up as a receiver?
"Absolutely. Now, understand this. When the quarterback takes the snap and the quarterback is handing the ball off it's 10 versus 11. Does that make sense? When the quarterback takes the snap and is handing it or keeping it, it's back to 11. So what you can do, you can literally not block a defensive end and let the quarterback just decide. Well, I don't want to do that with Drew. So that leverage gets regained if the actual quarterback himself is someone that's part of the run rate.
Did you ever imagine a situation where you would be lining up Drew at receiver more than once in a game?
"I think it's week to week. Things that we do to move the football. So I think it only presents itself based on the talent we have."