New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton2017 Training Camp Presented By VerizonSaturday, July 29, 2017
Is this about as pleasant of a day as you could hope for?
"They were fortunate. The cloud coverage obviously helped. We got it in. I think we are going to get some rain. All in all, it worked out well. I am sure they (fans) were happy."
With the fans coming out, day one is like an event. How do you feel about it?
"That is training camp. Depending on where you are each year, I think it is great to get a chance to see players that are going to be on the next season's team. We had great attendance today. The first weekend, you are always hopeful that that is the case."
Was there a noticeable difference with the pads on as opposed to the first two days of camp?
"It is different. Prior to this, there are so many elements of the game that you are not really able to apply. Today is the first day that you are able to start talking about pad level and truly playing the game. The evaluation process gets a little bit—I do not want to say easier—but a little bit clearer when you see them in pads, how they carry their pads and what type of physical presence they have based on the position that they play. I am sure there will be a lot to clean up after today."
How did you like Ryan Ramczyk in pads today at left tackle?
"I thought he has handled himself pretty well over there. Of course, that is where he has played in college. We will look at the film though. Overall, I am sure there were some good things and I'm sure we are going to watch some things that we need to clean up."
When you look at Alex Okafor, is that a guy you liked coming out of the draft and monitored any chance to bring him in? What was the genesis of his coming to New Orleans?
"He was one of the players that we felt like, when he's been healthy, has had some really productive snaps. Relative to when he was drafted, we didn't feel like he was too old. With his experience, the key is creating the right vision and role for him."
Alex Anzalone got a lot of snaps today. What do you like from him?
"He is instinctive. The one thing he can do is to see a formation, begin to break it down, and understand what he is going to get—run or pass. I think that has been a pretty good skillset for him, and it has helped him."
With the defensive backs putting pads on, they can be more physical. Did anyone jump out to you today?
"No. I'm sure we'll watch film and have a chance to see a bit more in detail. Early on offensively, we had some big plays. You'd like to shore some of that up defensively. By and large, I thought the tempo was decent."
Brandon Coleman has had a couple of big plays over the past two days. What are your impressions of how far he has come?
"His rookie year was tough, just because he was coming off of an injury. It was more of a redshirt year. He has made progress in each of these seasons. This will be an important season for him, this training camp. His ability to high-point balls and make plays in traffic are the things that he has continued to work on and understand, yet has to improve on."
What is the most competitive thing you have seen Drew Brees ever do?
"It's certainly football-related, playing from behind. He's really good in two-minute situations. I would have to think specifically if you are looking for one event."
What about the spike over the goalposts in Miami in 2009?
"If you go back to the 2009 Super Bowl, there was an 11-play drive where he was really sharp. He kind of approaches everything the same way, which is a strength of his."
You have been doing this for so long. How many other guys have you coached that are to that level of intensity?
"As a coach, you're fortunate when you come across just a handful. I can't recall. In college, Marshall Faulk was like that. I had a chance to coach him his sophomore year, and he was extremely prideful. When you are talking about a player that has played as long as (Brees) has at quarterback, it is pretty exceptional."
How excited were you when you beat him in a quarterback challenge competition like yesterday?
"If you listened closely, I said there was good news and bad news. The good news was that the coaches were in a position to win. The bad news was that the guys we pay a lot of money were not."
When Dennis Allen refers to "the best 11" on defense with either three safeties or three corners, is it not basically the same scheme?
"Generally, with the three corners, it is more of a nickel package. With the three safeties, there is some carryover to the base defense, with the extra safety replacing what was the Sam linebacker. Yet, it is really different than it was 10 or 15 years ago. You have to be able to package these personnel groupings to match what you are going to see offensively. Whether you are playing a base type of scheme-first-and-10 nickel or second-and-10 nickel-that might be entirely different than a third down package with extra DBs in. We are see a lot more substitutions on first and second downs, so what we used to know as base is really 70% subbed. That is the way the game has moved. There are certain things that are still conventional-the depth chart, how you introduce players. If you introduce the starting Sam linebacker, the nickel might play 20 more snaps than the Sam. I think it has moved that direction for a lot of reasons."
When you see a play like when Alex Anzalone diagnosed quickly and came into authority on Adrian Peterson on the screen pass, that looks like a good play by a rookie to us. Does that play make an impression on you?
"Yes, the one thing you notice right away is that he's a guy that's tough to fool. He understands. He has really good vision. I think a great trait for any defensive player, particularly a linebacker, is being able to key-and-diagnose and recognize what they are getting ready to defend."
Was this level of physicality today about what you wanted? "I thought it was okay. I think we're going to have periods and practices that are more physical. Yet, it was the first one. I think we will be smart. It is their first day carrying their pads. You are going to see some practices, probably, with a little bit more hitting."