New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Thursday, September 6, 2018
What went into the decision to waive Boston Scott?
"We're kind of moving some roster spots around. I think a lot of it had more to do with the bigger picture with how we want to go into this game. We thought he had a good training camp for us and yet one of the challenges, especially early in the season, is just trying to get all the pieces in place relative to your active roster and practice squad, so that was ultimately the main thing. He's developed and I'm sure is going to continue to."
Would you be comfortable going into this game with two tailbacks?
"We will see. We have never done that before, but that would be hard to do, but it is certainly a possibility."
How much do you weigh the risks when you have a guy who played as well as Boston did maybe in the preseason, risking another team might pick him up?
"We thought he did some good things and yet there's a number of things he has to improve on. For us, we were constantly looking at the vision for the player, what he does well. I think he's further along as a running back and a little bit more behind his returner."
Today obviously a third-down day, what were some of the things you examined in the offseason and in training camp to kind of tweak what you guys were able to do on third down and look to kind of get that percentage up from a year ago?
"We just went through the numbers with our team. It wasn't a great down for either our offense or defense. In certain games we played better, but particularly from a whole season study, I think the intermediate areas, offensively, defensively have to get better. In our games against Tampa last year, in the home game which we won, we were able to win that battle being in the 50 percent offensively and in the 30s defensively. But then in game two, they were on the field 80 some plays offensively and we couldn't get off the field. I think they converted 70-72 percent. Each week it's a significant statistic. You're extending drives or getting off the field. I think this will be our first challenge for this team in improving those areas both on offense and defense."
We know by cutting a couple guys and adding a couple more offensive lineman, should we take that as any indication that's how serious Andrus Peat's injury is?
"No, I wouldn't at all. I think history would tell you the first week to two weeks of rosters constantly are moving around. Andrus is recovering fine, he's doing well. It's just going to be day to day with him and he's had a good offseason. I'm encouraged with his progress. We'll see how he does today and kind of go from there, but we have made moves relative to the roster right now and I'm sure there'll be a few more that we make as we keep going."
With Tre`Quan Smith, was there a moment early or late or in camp where you kind of felt like he's ready for this?
"Well I think it happened in camp maybe a little quicker than it happened. It was a little bit like [Marques] Colston in that in the spring, it was hard to see who's just getting acclimated, but I think he began to come on early in training camp. You see it often when the player begins to know what to do and he can confidently go out and perform a little better and I think that happened with him."
With the offensive line we saw a lot of musical chairs last year. If Andrus Peat weren't to go, hypothetically, this unit seems like there's no problem shifting parts around, they're really accustomed to it, is that the way you see it?
"It's not hypothetically, it's factual relative to if a player in the offensive line can't go then part of being the sixth or seventh or eighth offensive lineman is (having the) kind of flexibility you can bring to the position. It happened quite a bit last year. We played a handful of different lineups, the same this year. Hopefully we can stay as healthy as possible."
I know you referenced the big receivers in the NFC south a lot. Mike Evans, does he have a particularly challenging skillset with so much size. What stands out about him as a receiver?
"I think he has a great (catch) radius. I think he has really good hands. I do think when the ball gets down the field 12 yards or more, 10 yards or more…we did the third-round numbers today in the study and each team has certain targets on third down (you can see the team goes to him in those situations a lot). The receptions he's made on third down for instance, compared to other players…If you go to Cameron Brate, I can tell you the targets he had 33, 22 catches, 17 conversions. (Adam) Humphries had 22 targets, 17 catches, 13 conversions. Evans had 35 targets, 15 receptions and all 15 conversions. He's strong, he's long and he's a tough out. He is a very, very skilled player. He's had a great camp, you could tell he's in shape. Just the size and the skillset with regards to what he's doing and how he's running routes make it difficult."
How much did the flexibility along the offensive line factor into guys like Cameron Tom, Will Clapp and Josh LeRibeus who can play multiple positions making the 53?
"Yes. I think it's important. I think it does matter. I think you have some flexibility. Last year, I would guess we probably took seven linemen into the game more than we took eight and yet we did both. But that's a small amount of numbers relative to what a college game might look like. So they have to hopefully be able to play inside either (guard) position, maybe center or outside (as well)."
What's the dynamic for the Bucs being familiar with Kurt Coleman, but them having to consider how he might fit in the Saints scheme?
"I do not know what the dynamic is for them to try to figure out how he fits in our scheme. He is a strong safety for us. He will start (at) strong safety. There are times where we play in three safety packages. There are times we are in two-safety packages. Certainly, on third down we might get into other personnel groupings but he's someone that is familiar with the division. He has been a great addition for us, a physical player and a smart player."
Have you been able to see much of Teddy Bridgewater in practice?
"Yes. Absolutely, he is doing well. He is picking things up quickly. It is good to have him in the building working on it. He is a quick study. He is smart and he has come in (and) really hit the ground running. He is familiar with pro offenses, being he's been with two now and this is his third."