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Quotes from Sean Payton's conference call - September 27, 2018

Head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media on Thursday, Sept. 27

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Post-Practice Media Availability - Thursday, September 27, 2018

What is your though on bringing back Brandon Tate? I assume with the loss of Tommylee Lewis you're looking for some relief in the return game?
"Yeah. We feel like we know the player well from camp. He gives us some flexibility as a punt and kick returner."  

Do you envision him doing both, like say taking Taysom (Hill) off of there, or do you still like him returning kicks?
"We'll see." 

What's been the message to the defensive backs this week? Obviously, I know they're expecting to be challenged.
"I think the first thing is the communication in that we're clearly understanding the coverage we're in. And then secondly, I would say the pressure up front. In other words, this all goes together here. We'll have a good three days and enough walk through time where we'll make sure everyone's on the same page and then understand what we're seeing formationally from this week's team." 

What have you seen from Eli (Manning) this season?
"His third down numbers are real good. The ball's coming out (quickly). He's at 80 percent completion percentage. (Third down) Conversion numbers are high. He hasn't taken a sack on third down, so I think Pat (Shurmur) and those guys on their side of the ball have done a good job. You see where he has outlets. I think he's playing with confidence. I think they're playing better on first down. All of those things." 

What's the key in stopping some of those I guess 'rub routes' by the end zone, those pick routes that every team runs? What's kind of the key to defend against that because it seems like when it's run well, it's difficult to defend?
"I think that's a good question. There's two ways to approach it. 'A', you have to be understanding as to levels. So if you and I were covering two receivers, one of us would have to be mindful of who's pressed and who's not. And then the ability, if we choose to schematically switch, be on the same page. So, how you handle the bunch of the stacks – but the one we got the other day was from whip. So it's going to be hard to see that and yet, can we feel it and switch off? Or do we have to do a better job of playing levels better? But communication and then…These are all the challenges of man-to-man coverage. The tighter splits are easier to say, 'Hey we're going to switch these and play a certain technique.' But when that comes from whip, we have to be smart. It's supposed to be within a yard of the line of scrimmage."

The block, right?
"Yes." 

Is it just a real quandary as a coach to want to limit Alvin Kamara's touches, but then to be in a game like that where every touch is so valuable does that make it tougher like last Sunday?
"Well, certainly as the game progresses and you get into overtime…But, we've got to have other players. I felt like in last week's win, a number of guys stepped up in key roles. We had good production from Zach Line, the tight end position, Cameron Meredith had his first touchdown. Tre'Quan (Smith) is gonna only continue to show up and have his moments. But yeah, it's a little bit of a dilemma, because there's a little less unknown about that next guy. In other words, (Mike) Gillislee or Jonathan (Williams), there's just not enough body (of) work like there was with Mark (Ingram)." 

What did you see out of Cameron Meredith in the game?
"I like what he's doing. He's playing well. It's good to have him up. I think there's a lot of confidence in how he's playing right now. And I think the more time we have together relative to that group, that sub group, the third down group of receivers. I think the more it'll benefit Drew (Brees), but I think he's doing well."

Was Meredith's expansive role the plan going into the game?
"Well part of it is the personnel we were in. But we're expanding his role." 

When it comes to forcing turnovers. Is it just a matter of making that play when you have the opportunity or is there something you guys need to do to create more of those opportunities?
"I think they come different ways. Ball disruption with the interceptions. Pressure on the quarterback. But the thing that we need to improve on is I haven't seen many caused fumbles. And I know that starts with practice, coaching, technique, and attitude. That is something that we can control and that's something that we have to be better at." 

After seeing Efe Obada have success with the Panthers, how has Alex Jenkins, your International practice squad player, been progressing?
"He's doing fine.

How concerned were you with the penalties against the Falcons? Obviously that's something you continue to stress, but how concerned are you about that number?
"I think specifically offensively, one of the things it did for us for a half of the game is really put us behind the eight ball in regards to our third downs. There were two series where, 'Hey, it's third and long again, it's third and long again.' So, if that happens on a continued basis then you're going to be an average offense. You can't go on the road with 11 possessions, or 12 possessions, or however many you get. And then take one or two away when you have a series that backs you up because of a penalty. There's a few in there that we didn't think were fouls. In fact I know aren't fouls. So we don't spend as much time with those. But the ones that we feel like were, we spend time with. And we address them and we make sure we look at them. That's hidden yardage. You take the yardage in regards to the penalties and if you don't agree that 100 yards is worth seven points then you can just do the math."

Wil Lutz is off to a really good start this year. He said some of that is just the comfort of working with the same group of guys. Same holder. Same snapper. How much does that play a part in a kicker's confidence?
"I think that's real important. The mechanics. And I think it is important that the tempo and timing he gets used to. To his credit, I think he's playing well and hitting the ball outstanding."

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