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Quotes from Sean Payton's training camp media availability - Friday, August 10

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media following practice on Friday, August 10

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - 2018 Training Camp Presented By Verizon - Friday, August 10, 2018

Opening Statement
"Today was a little bit more of a C schedule, a shorter practice. We went through the tape this morning, lifted, then made a lot of the corrections out here." 

What was your impressions of Taysom Hill's performance on Thursday night after looking at the tape?
"He did some good things. He played well in the kicking game. He moved the ball offensively. There's a few plays where he took a sack, got caught with the pressure, and he had a chance to get the ball out. Overall, I thought he did a good job."

When you have a quarterback who plays that much with special teams, does it make you think differently about the roster?
"Yes. For instance, if you are playing in the preseason, we're going to be smart when he is playing a lot of snaps on offense. We are going to monitor what he's doing in the kicking game. As far as the regular season, it's an additional thing that he does and takes pride in and does well. We don't pencil in 'hey we're going to do this with this.' We really are paying attention to all those guys and how are they performing. Do we feel like they're performing to an NFL standard, to a winning performance or level at our league? I think there is this idea that the competition is between he and Tom (Savage), yet they're really competing within themselves to see if they're good enough and the rest of it will sort itself out and I mean that. It's unique that he played quite a bit last year and we feel like he's a core contributor, a real team player. He's athletic and he can run. So, all of that factors in." 

What are some of the things you want to see cleaned up and what are some of the things you liked?
"We struggled to get off the field defensively for the most part in the first half. Offensively, our alignment in and out of the huddle. Our tempo, I thought was poor. Too many times we're coming out of huddle and there's some question as to where we're aligning, so we have to clean all that up. In the kicking game, we had a physical night. We did a good job. We had the one return that gave us good field position. Typically, you come away from the game with a list on your notepad and a lot of things to go through and hopefully we began doing that today, and covering some of the things that need to be cleaned up - third down defense, contesting throws, we dropped a cover one time on a bunch formation, we left the shallow cross free - those types of things." 

What are some of the common traits you see amongst some of the top quarterbacks in the league?
"Not having worked with the others, I think there obviously is a skillset. Physical athleticism, accurate arm, smart player, and when you combine that with work ethic, that grit if you will. These guys are trained differently, maybe than 20 years ago. They do such a good job in their offseason, their diets, and their sleeping. In all areas, they are clearly that competitive and what's most important is winning. Those are some of the traits or some of the things that you look at when you look across the league as opposed to just in your own team."

Did you notice any difference with the kickoff rule?
"It was good to get on film because right away you can begin to see certain things that are going to happen. You end up with a lot of one-on-one blocking. There's a lot less space for the collision, which I know is one of the goals. Overall, I thought it was a good night to get some really good film work on returns that went both ways and understanding it's different. You're working back. There's a lot more players closer to the ball, and it was good to get a full night's live look at those reps."

With Tre'Quan Smith, is it a matter of his knowledge and his understanding catching up to the ability that he's flashing out here?
"There is so much to learn. To his credit, he is working hard at it. He is making plays. It is cleaning up all the details and nuances of playing receiver at this league and learning the system. He has made real good strides."

Did Sheldon Rankins stand out after watching the film?
"He was solid. I would say it wasn't like there was something specifically that stood out in his performance. I thought (he was) overall doing a good job.  

What about the performance of some of the other defensive linemen like (Devaroe) Lawrence or Taylor Stallworth?
"I thought we rushed the passer better in the second half of that game. We had a couple sacks, we had a sack fumble. We got behind the quarterback too many times which is not where you want to be. We haveto clean up some of the coverage elements to what we're doing, but I thought in the second half there were some things that were encouraging."

Jayrone Elliott looked like he was on a lot of your starting special teams units on Thursday night. Was that part of his resumé or something he's impressed you with?
It's something he's done well before. When you're looking at a player who's maybe going to play a certain role or a certain number of snaps defensively and he's going to be active in the game, he's someone who's demonstrated he can play in the kicking game. I think that's going to be real important for him." 

Is that his B skill or an A skill like a Chris Banjo?
I think it's a good skill. We haven't put any letter grade with him yet. I think the one thing he does well is rush the passer. He's playing Sam (linebacker), so he's a situational rusher who can play in the kicking game and then the question is how well." 

Steve and Michelle Gleason having another baby, your impressions and what did you think when you heard that?
"It's great news. I probably saw it when you guys did. I'm excited and happy for them. Obviously, they're very close to our organization and fabulous parents." 

Some of the guys mentioned they want to continue to clean up the third down defense from last year. How do you improve situationally?
"You practice it. We'll have a stretch here now where we'll go Saturday, Sunday, Monday before a break and then begin to pick up again, but you practice it in the practice and you practice it at seven on seven, team drills, all of that. You have to spend time with the scripts and in the film."

Is it just a matter of situational awareness or where you are on the field?
You have to know that you have to. You can't not know if it's third and three. You can't think it's just another down. Everyone should know that. You have to know the down and distance and certainly the game plan is predicated around down and distance you're defending third and 10, your thoughts are different than if it's third and three. It's actually working on those situations, but more specifically the front and coverage you're playing to defend him." 

Have you gotten a chance to listen to any of Zach Strief's calls yet?
I haven't. We got in around I don't know how late it was. It was probably like 486 on my list of things to do was to replay it, but I'm sure we'll have a chance to hear it. Hopefully he's doing well."

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