New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Minicamp Media Availability - Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Has anything stood out with Demario Davis to you yet?
"Obviously, he is one of those guys that (is) experienced. I think when you talk about a front player like him, you get to find so much more when you put shoulder pads on (in training camp). But he's smart, he's picked things up right away, he's got good leadership, he's done well. He's had a good offseason here and he's been a good addition for us. As we get into camp when we put the pads on I think it becomes a little bit easier to evaluate a linebacker."
Is this the deepest you've been on defense in a while?
"Yes. Over the last, I would say two or three years. We are a little deeper in the secondary now, linebacker for sure and we have a little bit of depth on defensive end. So yes, I would say in certainly the last three years we have got a good blend of young guys and veteran guys."
How about defensive tackles? Those are hard to find?
"Yes. Fortunately, we've had Sheldon (Rankins) now for a while, (David) Onyemata, Tyeler (Davison) for a while. We've got some other guys competing in there, but we will just kind of see how that unfolds."
What's the challenge for Alvin Kamara coming off the year he had and the success he had early?
"Yes. I think for anyone it's still finding improvement in your game. Part of the things that make a player unique and talented is their will to compete and their drive to compete. He's been every day out here pushing and going hard. He's very smart, and that's a huge asset. I said that back even when we drafted him. He understands the game, every element to it. So, I mean there are a number of things that I think motivate him."
Does the next level of awareness for Kamara just come with more reps?
"For him, he was a quick study to begin with, so there's nuances within the running game or the passing game that come in year two. But he's a guy that seldomly surprises you when it comes to an assignment. He knows what he's doing, and he has good football awareness."
What is the greatest difference with Patrick Robinson as a player and maybe his mentality now?
"I think there's a level of confidence in the player too now. He has a real good skill set. He's playing (a) position he's real familiar with. I just think you know that along with (that), he's been able to stay healthy. But I think when you come off a season like he had, in the production he had, it's easy to come into a lineup and you certainly feel like you can excel not just belong."
What was the biggest step forward that Andrus (Peat) made last year?
"Oh, it was probably a number of things. You see his explosion. He's in shape. He's at the right weight. Also, I would say he settled in at that guard position and that helped him tremendously."
As far as the punt return game, do you envision it to be won at training camp?
"Absolutely. It's wide open. We have five or six candidates. And once we get into training camp and we get into the preseason games, there'll be a reliability (factor) and then who gives us the best chance back there. But certainly, it's a job that we have a number of guys that are candidates to compete for."
The depth you guys have a wide receiver, will you guys look for more ways to get them on the field at once or will it stay the same?
"We'll see. Each week we would look at that cut up. It just depends on what we're trying to do that week. It limits you in the running game a little bit without a tight end, but it's not to say that we haven't had packages with four guys. Usually we'd attach maybe a running back or a tight end, but it can change week to week."
If Terron (Armstead) were healthy, would it be less limiting in the running game because he's so athletic and can get out there more?
"It really has nothing to do with Terron (Armstead). Defensively, they can deploy in a way where you just lose a number. Certainly, they can do that if you bring a tight end in the game, but there's just certain things you're limited to doing when you just have four receivers and a back."
You have the TB logos at midfield here, I take it that is a tribute to Tom Benson?
Sean, how did those TB logos come to be? Who's idea was that?
"I think somewhere between the OTA's Mickey (Loomis) and I and Mrs. B, (Mrs. Benson) we were just talking about putting something on the field. There will be something I'm sure during the season on the jersey or helmet."
The offensive line often gets overlooked, but I think the same probably applies to blocking tight ends. How much do you think (Josh) Hill and (Michael) Hoomanawanui really had a role in that production last year?
"Very much so, I think that's part of the run unit. Both those guys are versatile. Hooman is a little heavier and Josh (Hill) maybe not so much and yet both those guys are good blockers, and Ben (Watson) provides that as well. So that's important. If you're coming onto the field it's difficult if there's not some element to being able to block. And those guys I think we're really important."
Is that blocking focus tight end being a lost start?
"No, listen I think you can find it I think that you're always looking for the player that can do both pretty well, and then you have some versatility."
The depth you have built at the defensive line, is that out of a necessity or is that looking around the league seeing that guys are doing more rotations now?
"I think it is a hard position to find during the year, it is a hard position in free agency (to find players). Obviously it's a tough position to (of how much to) play during the game. So, hopefully you get in rotation where you can keep guys fresh."
Having some of these referees out here at practice, especially with some of the new rule changes this year how much can they help you be able to grasp the different changes?
"Well they helped me in that last two-minute drill when they threw that flag. Look, they're here to help and train themselves so there's a benefit to us when we have the communication that takes place in the relationships. We see these guys every fourth or fifth Sunday and I think it's good for our players to ask questions and be around them, and certainly there's discussion back and forth with regards to some of the nuances or new rules and that will come up again in training camp."
What are your thoughts on the lowering of the head especially maybe on that play with Josh Hill with the drag route were guys are crashing down?
"I think it's going to be a little bit more clear when a player literally puts the crown of his helmet down and the face to the ground. There'll be a period during preseason where players are getting used to that change, but I don't see 50 more calls. I said that already sitting in on the meetings as it was put together. I think that it's taken that one posture that's not real good for the game and not real safe for the players away from the game."