New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 4, 2017
*What’s the schedule for this week playing on Thursday night?
*“We’ll be in tomorrow and Wednesday with two days of practice, really walkthroughs and then we’ll fly out Wednesday night.”
*Going back to the fourth and two situation at the goal line in the first quarter, I think you guys had a fourth and one at Buffalo. This one was on the first drive, that one was in the first quarter a little further along. Are those tone-setting plays? I know that you said you had a play that you liked. Are they tone-setters in terms of building confidence early in a game?
*“There’s a couple things, I think early in the game there’s two thoughts that go into it. Do we feel like the percentages of scoring along with the percentages of what happens with Carolina having the football at the one-one and a half (if you don’t convert) coming out and you start putting those numbers together and what’s the risk assessment? Part of it is setting the tone. It’s not every time we do that. We’ve done it a handful of times. I can think back over the years, Carolina before. I think we had a play versus Baltimore before. Early drive, first drive, fourth and goal at the one and you want to finish the correct way and yet you hope you’re able to score and if not you put them on the one-yard line or two-yard line and you try to take advantage of that field position and the next possession.”
What have you seen from Taysom Hill and do you think he could be the successor to Drew Brees*?
*“What I said was this player is a special teams player who I think is going to do very well and we liked the prospect as a quarterback. I think we saw enough on tape to claim him, to put him on our active roster, but anything we do with regards to where we’re going forward is certainly something that will be won and lost on the field. I think that he’s athletic. I think he did a good job yesterday, especially bringing some juice to the special teams. He can run, he has size. It was refreshing.”
*How important is it to have a quarterback with a dual skillset like him for running the scout team in preparing for quarterbacks such as Cam Newton who can gain yards with their feet as well as through the air?
*“I think it is always helpful and I think there is a personality he has that I think brings a little energy and I felt it in our kicking game yesterday. We had two game-changing plays. The muffed punt that we (recovered) at midfield and then we had the caused fumble and then we have a punt return for a touchdown. Now we’re blocking in the back and that was a good call, but I like it. I like it.”
What have you seen from Garrett Griffin with his development?“We brought him in and gave him a workout and felt like he was going to be further along as a receiver. He ran well. He’s athletic and I think as his time spent here during the camps and padded practices, he was a little further along as a blocker. I think he’s smart and tough. He’s continued to develop. I didn’t know if I was going to be able to have him up yesterday. Some of that was predicated on the health of guys like (Marshon) Lattimore, but it was good we could get him up.”
What does it say about Brandon Coleman, when he’s running downfield with Mark Ingram to block for him on Ingram’s big run?“
I love Brandon Coleman and his passion. When you start running the ball like we have been able to run the ball, I do not care what team you are you have to block the perimeter. There has to be receivers with that mindset and if you don’t have it then you don’t have the same success and Brandon one of the great traits he has is he’ll block, he’ll go run and make a play above his head, he’ll do whatever it takes to win and he’s well-respected for that by our players and certainly respected by me.”
*How are you able to balance the need for practice, rest, recovery?
*“I don’t have the right answer for you because I think it’s difficult. We’ll try and keep them off their feet today, recover, rest, tomorrow we’ll have a walkthrough and Wednesday we’ll have a walkthrough. That’s it really. It’s a simple answer.”
*What stood out to you on the film?
*“I haven’t watched all the film yet.”
*What sticks out about the Falcon’s defense?
*“They can run. I think that’s the one thing on film. They’re fast at all the positions. I think (Keanu) Neal has played extremely well. I think they rush the passer very well and if you get into the third down and a lot of the things that we saw happen in Seattle (under Dan Quinn as defensive coordinator) with the pass rush, with the rotation of guys coming on and off the field. They’re fast and I think the problems come in those longer yardage situations.”
Is the completeness of Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara something that’s unique that’s you’ve never had before?“I think the versatility maybe is something that’s unique and yet as you mention that we are getting ready to see a team that has two runners (Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman) with similar versatility and I mean that. You see them do all the same things very well, but I think most important to me is when I see guys excited genuinely for each other regardless of whether it is their carry or their play or (Brandon) Coleman’s block or someone else. As soon as you start getting that on a team, guys caring more about the win and less about their own (stats), then you begin to have a chance to have something. I think to your point there is some similar versatility that creates less stress one me as a play-caller. Where I’m not ahh I need this (guy in), we are fine. Both of these guys can handle most of what we’re doing.”
*Is that something you think evolved throughout the year?
*“I think it has. Honestly if we would have known what we were going to get as a runner we would not have taken him in the third round we would have earlier. It would not have been good for (Marshon) Lattimore. I mean who knows? I think it was more of the vision. Initially (he) shared carries with the other back at Tennessee. There were certain things we knew, but it’s worked out well.”
*How much has that Falcons offense changed with the new offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkasian from Kyle Shanahan previously?
*“I do not know that I am far enough along to give you a correct or accurate answer, just because of where we are at with the tape study. By and large there’s things that they do that they’ve always done a great job with the play action of the boots. Matt’s (Ryan) been very good with deception with regards to ball handling, very athletic in regards to finding targets on the move to the right or to the left. I don’t know that to the early study eye (I’m far enough along yet). I think there’s an offense in place and I’m sure there are some subtle changes.”
*What kind of test will this be against the Falcons receivers for the cornerbacks?
*“I think it will be an extremely difficult one. When you look at (Muhammad) Sanu and (Taylor) Gabriel and the tight ends there this is a team and it’s just built differently and is very explosive outside and we’re going to have to be on point.”
The Saints celebrated their Week 13 division win over the Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.