New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Thursday, September 17, 2015
The Saints were one of the dominant home teams in the NFL for several years. How do you get back to that?
"Well I think look, it probably encompasses really what we saw last season and what we saw last season was, whether it was home or away, we weren't nearly as good or as consistent a football team as the prior years you are referencing with playing well at home. It becomes much more noticeable when you have a handful of years where you don't lose a home game and all of a sudden we couldn't win a home game last season. That was a pretty good indication of the type of team we were a year ago. I think we have to be smart enough to feed off the momentum a crowd can provide. We think we have a great environment and yet we have to create that environment as a team. I am anxious to see how this year's team responds to a regular season home game. It will be a first time for a lot of these guys and we kind of go through the numbers and spend some time on what that can mean to a club throughout the course of the season with eight of these games played at home."
With the new guys on the team, do you have to explain to them what to expect and what to look for?
"I think two things, certainly the noise factor we simulate for the defense, that is one thing that sometimes goes overlooked. The communication isn't as clean, it is challenging defensively but yet obviously there is an advantage to that. The second thing is the history and the pride of playing in front of what we think is a great fan base and creating the advantage it is giving our teams in prior years. It's been tremendous. I think two-fold, both of those things are things that we've discussed with them."
Can you talk about the return of Joe Morgan? Does he have a chance to break into the offensive rotation and play a role on offense?
"Obviously we're real familiar with Joe (Morgan) and the player. It worked out in week one from a numbers standpoint, we went one direction. I think he provides great speed on the outside and that is something that from a game plan standpoint if you are just running (Brandin) Cooks vertical than at some point he gets tired and so I think having Joe (Morgan) there is another element of speed. He is a very physical player and takes pride in blocking. He will have a role in this game. He will play in this game."
What makes Gerald McCoy a good pass rusher and how do you schematically try to stop him without leaving Drew Brees vulnerable in other areas?
"That's a great question, the first thing I think of is he is explosive and he has great get off but he also has that power and stamina. He is a player that if you don't leverage correctly he can get on your quarter, in other words as you step to protect him whether he is coming outside or using power or taking an inside gap, he has a great ability to get to those edges of the guards, then you take the snap count. You watch games and it is like you think this guy is at home with headsets on just listening to the snap count just over and over again because it is available now, everyone's snap count. You really have to be sharp with your snap count. You have to provide help at times with the center. Now that stresses the other guard. These are a handful of issues with regards to him as a pass rusher that you asked that you watch the tape he is clearly one of the best inside pass rushers in our game and that is a small group."
If McCoy lines up on the outside shoulder or guard, what can be done to get a handle on him?
"If you're bringing the center with the guard, then the center can set on that comfortably, with confidence. The guard can set on that. If you and I are working together and he is on your outside shoulder but I'm coming from the inside, that helps you a lot. That happens; you see teams push the center in his direction. Now, that is no different than a wide receiver getting double-teamed. Then, the other defensive tackle has got two-way go on the guard and now he's got to make some hay. If you look at a couple of hurries from last year's game in Tampa, you see just what we're talking about happening. You see the line move in one direction and then the stress come on Ben Grubbs or whoever is at that opposite guard position. Just by turning the protection or bringing the center, that helps tremendously for the guard, who would set a little bit more aggressively to the outside."
Is the process with (C.J.) Spiller now just seeing how he responds to work? Is there any concern about him getting up to speed or do you feel like got enough work during the offseason?
"I felt like when you look at C.J., (Dannell) Ellerbe and a few of these guys, they received minicamp work. He is up to speed. It'll be a little different of a transition when we go through with Jairus (Byrd), compared to Keenan or Spiller, for that matter."
Is that a day-to-day thing (with Spiller)?
"He is doing well. Like all these guys, (we'll) just keep working, keep getting him ready (and) have a plan."
There were two transactions this week involving Tim Hightower. He was re-signed and then released a day later. Because the second one had an injury waiver, is that a sign that it will be the end of the line with him?
"No, I do not think so. He has had the injury waiver from the beginning. It just came down to a decision with another player. (It was about) getting Joe (Morgan) to the roster. Tim and I talk almost every day. All last week our plan was going to be what we did. He's a guy that I thought had a real good training camp. I think he still has more gas left in his tank. Right now, it was just in our best interests to flip that around and sign the receiver. We'll just kind of handle it week-to-week here."
Does that mean Spiller is definitely playing this week?
"No, I didn't say any of that. We'll see how he goes."
I didn't see too many formations where you just used one receiver in that run-heavy formation. I know that is something that Joe Morgan can bring. Did you have (Brandin) Cooks in that route in this first game?
"In the first week, we only had a short yardage package of heavy personnel because we didn't feel like we wanted to be in that package unless they bring play an extra linebacker or they bring in an extra player. There was one short yardage situation where we took the shot to Cooks and got the grabbing (penalty) on (Patrick) Peterson. We featured him for that package. I would say normally we would have a more expansive package or more plays that would feature a couple of different receivers, but still, nonetheless one-receiver heavy packages to run on first, second or short yardage situations. Last week, it was really the short yardage package only."
Fan photos from the New Orleans Saints vs Arizona Cardinals game at University of Phoenix Stadium on Sunday, September 13, 2015. Photos by Michael C. Hebert. (New Orleans Saints photos)