New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton2017 Training Camp Presented By VerizonFriday, July 28, 2017
How has Corey Fuller grown into this offense?
"He is making strides. It is early still. I think he is someone that can help us, not only offensively, but also in the kicking game. I think we will learn a lot more for a lot of those transitional players over the next couple of weeks. He is smart, and knows what to do."
You did not get a big sample size from P.J. Williams and Delvin Breaux together at corner at last year. Did they pick up where they left off? How much do you look forward to getting them back out there?
"None of those guys are in ink. That'd be a position that is in pencil. I mean that. In other words, we have to be better there. We have good competition. There are a number of players that are going to receive reps with the first and second groups. You will see that moving a little bit. We will see what kind of combination we can get. Of course, we play a lot of three-corner defense, so we are going to need more than just two to play well."
Would you say that the heat has had any effect on the first couple of days?
"Yes. The noticeable difference is that you have to take a few more breaks—and they might be longer, too—to hydrate and cool their core body temperatures down. So, it is different. It just forces you to break a little bit more often and cool them off."
Is it different problematically, or is it just different?
"No. It's part of training camp. We're training to adjust to any condition, whatever environment (we face). I am sure we will be out here when it is raining. It is just part of getting acclimated to it and then handling it the right way."
What is the thinking behind moving A.J. Klein to Mike in nickel situations?
"First off, we think he is someone that can play Mike. He is one of those guys that we think is really good with the key-and-diagnose part of the game. He has played that quite a bit at Carolina. It will not just be nickel, but that is one of the rotations we are using right now."
At the beginning of practice, you had them start over. Was that due to low energy with the team?
"No, we just had some mental errors. We had one at corner. We had one at guard. We had a receiver offside. I just did not like the start."
The Journal of the American Medical Association, earlier this week, released a report on Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE). Did you get a chance to see it, and if so, what was your reaction?
"I have not. Unfortunately, during training camp, we do not get to read journals, let alone your articles. We are kind of diving into what we are doing. I know this: I know that everyone from a league standpoint, not only at the professional level, but also at the college and youth levels—I have a son that plays football—is very mindful and anxious and paying attention to all the reports and studies, as well as the methods to reduce those types of events."
Would it be fair to say that it has evolved to where the education process for coaches and players is where it should be?
"It is ongoing. It began years ago. Just in the last three years, I feel like we now know a lot more. Yet, I do not think that anyone would be satisfied yet with where we are. I think everyone's intent is to educate and make sure that we are following the right protocol."
What do you need to see from Garrett Grayson this year?
"Ultimately, you are measured on if you can move the team and score. I think he is going to have those opportunities in the preseason. I think it will be an important camp for him."
I know he went back and worked with (Florida Gators Head Coach Jim) McElwain. Have you seen any difference since then?
"I've seen in the last year a lot of progress. Joe Lombardi's spent a lot of time with him. I've seen a marked improvement just in his ability to get in and out of the huddle, up to the line, and make decisions. I think he is someone who is a lot more comfortable with what we are doing. You are starting to see it a little bit from drill to drill."
You guys were familiar with Chase Daniel, obviously, but what do you need to see from him?
"The same. At that position, the first objective's to lead your team to points and protect the football. Those are the things that'll be expected. How he does not only with his group—he'll receive work with the ones—but also how he functions that way (will be important)."
How curious are you to see Adrian Peterson once the pads come on?
"I feel like I have seen a lot of him with pads on. I probably would have him lower on the list than some other guys who I am really anxious to see, those who I am not as familiar with even how they look in pads. It is always interesting—you guys know this—tomorrow when they come out, you all of a sudden—we know what (Willie) Snead looks like in pads, and we know what Drew (Brees) and certain players we have been around (look like). I have been close enough in real life to see what (Peterson) looks like in pads, so I am comfortable with how he is going to carry his pads. Some of these other players, I will be more interested in."
Who is at the top of the list? Is it just rookies?
"All of those young players, the guys we have not had here. You are just anxious to see how they play with their pads."
A few days into camp, how would you say Adrian Peterson is fitting in?
"I think he is a good teammate. Number one: it is not new because he has been with us for a while. I think that process has been smooth, and I've not really paid attention to it. It is unremarkable. There has not been anything that has stood out or been noticeable."
How important is it to improve the return game to get better field position and maybe even a score or two? Where do (Alvin) Kamara and (Ted) Ginn Jr. fit in?
"They'll be guys competing for spots. Overall, our return units have to be better. I have said that before, but there are certain elements (to work on). The punt return: obviously, you can spend more time on that. The kick return: you control a little bit of the philosophical approach when you are playing an opponent. Are they going to kick it into the end zone deep, or are they going to (kick it short)? We have to improve in some of those areas, and that gets back to the field position issue and the complementary game we are trying to play, defensively and offensively."
Is that one of the things you have charged Bradford Banta with since he got here as special teams coordinator?
"If you are the special teams coordinator, you do not have to lay out a job description. It'd just be to play well on special teams. I think that Brad understands that. That is all of our responsibilities, too. In other words, if you are playing on offense or defense, there are a lot of guys helping in that special teams operation. That starts with me as well. We have to improve in those areas."
Can you discuss your interest in Orlando Franklin?
"I think (my thoughts are) twofold. We are three (players) down on the offensive line right now. He is a veteran player that we had high grades on when he was a free agent leaving Denver. We are familiar with him; we played him last year. He's been on a visit. He is 29. He played, I think, at least half the season or part of the season with an injury last year. We gave him a physical. We went through a pretty good workout. We will see how he looks."
What are your first impressions on some of these new drills Banta has them doing in practice?
"It is good. Without the pads, you are trying to do as much as you can that is game-like. It is such an important part of these four preseason games. I have talked about this. When you get to the third or fourth receiver, when you get to the fifth (defensive back), when you get to the fourth safety, all of those components need to demonstrate that they are playing well in those areas."
When you mentioned Orlando Franklin, was there a corresponding roster move to his signing?
"Yes. It just has not been announced yet."
I know it is not your preference, but would that theoretically allow you to move Andrus Peat back to give you more depth at guard?
"No. We are jumping ahead here. (Franklin) has flexibility. He has played tackle; he has played guard. So, Peat is staying where he is right now."
I know you mentioned players in pads. Khiry Robinson, you mentioned a few years ago, was a good example of a player surprising you. Are you still surprised that guys surprise you once they put the pads on?
"He is a great example, yes. You are doing football skill work, but you are not really playing football yet. You are never really surprised because, say you are an outstanding leverage player that can tackle well, up until now, you have not been able to do what you do well. You have shown that you can get to a spot, and you have shown that you can be in position, but you've not been able to do anything else yet. It's no different than if you were a running back that can block. Those things will begin to reveal themselves."
There is a snowball guy here. Do you have a favorite flavor?
"My flavor is always cherry lime, but I think this is Drew (Brees') operation, right? I am going to go get one."