New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton | 2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon | Monday, August 6, 2018
"Today we had a couple different installs, short yardage, had some situations that we reviewed. These guys are off tomorrow and then we'll come back tomorrow night and start on Jacksonville."
When you look at different personalities, where would you rank all the players you've coached like Demario Davis, is he similar to Johnathon Vilma?
"That's good a question, only having been, not even into a full season, I know he's provided good leadership and he's athletic. You feel his presence on the field both as a player, vocally and I would say the teammates have embraced him in such a way. He has done a really good job there. That's been something we've seen just through these practices and I'm sure some of that will develop as we get into the preseason games and the regular season."
How has the competition been between Tom Savage and Taysom [Hill]?
"They are two different type players, but ultimately you want to see the offense move the ball. Both are picking up things. Of course, Taysom is in his second year, Tom is someone who's played and has had more experience but both them are going to get a lot of work in this preseason. Both are doing well. Ultimately, it's how the team moves with them in there and putting us in positions to score."
How is [Alvin] Kamara handling all the hype surrounding him?
"He's handled all of that stuff well, I haven't seen the video yet, I heard it was pretty good. He's a smart guy, super smart. There can be 'X' amount of noise away from the building, but I think he's real levelheaded and to some degree as he's been around that before with family members that are in the business whether it's entertainment, I think he handles all of that real well."
What are some goals for Thursday?
"You want to see young guys improve, you want to see the personnel and the substitutions all of that to be clean and you want to see guys take the technique that we've been working in practice and take it to the field. I would say the technique alignment assignment and then playing with the game speed that we need to play with, all those things in the kicking game. You want to see the assignments executed, you want to see guys fit where they're supposed to, see how the returners work and overall it's all the fundamentals that you're hoping that can come away from the game feeling like you've tackled well, you blocked well and you limit the MEs [mental errors]."
Is this preseason game important for the guys competing for the running back job?
"Sure it is. Yes, this is important for a lot of players not just one position. You want to put your best foot forward and play well. The good news is you have four of these opportunities. Obviously, the practice factors in, that's equally important. I think the players understand that and it's our job as coaches to really to put them in those positions and hopefully give them those opportunities where they're not having to think from making mental errors. The hardest thing in a preseason game is if the player doesn't know what to do, then it's hard to properly evaluate them because the assignments missed, it starts with what to do and then how to do it."
How much of a steadying force has Max Unger been at center for that whole offensive line group?
"He's been really important. When you have a center with his experience, there's a lot we do with protections, there is a lot we do with calls at the line of scrimmage and he is a quick thinker. He's athletic and I think that it's important to what we want to do offensively."
As far as playing time how do you evaluate someone like Jay Bromley versus the young rookie?
"It's always taken into account what units are in there and when the season opens in the regular season you're going to have a nine-year vet playing against a first-year rookie and all of that's out the window. You're still 11-on-11, doing your job, your assignment and the same thing would apply as we start playing in these preseason games. Obviously, there's the challenge when you get later in the game maybe when one player, a quarterback for instance, is reliant on the protection and if there's a breakdown sometimes the evaluation can become more difficult. We'll go through the roles and have that all laid out tomorrow and understand what we're looking for from a number count for these players, and it'll be pretty thorough in regards to what group isn't playing, whether it's because of injury or just not playing, and then here's our first wave, second wave, third wave and make sure we're keeping track of that during the game."
Looking at Al [Quadin] Muhammed, he had four sacks in the preseason, will he be given opportunities to see if he can do this again?
"Yeah. That kind of thing is discussed, trying to get certain players up in the rotation maybe a little earlier. I think that's important."
You guys haven't had a lot of contact going to the ground in this camp, are you looking forward to seeing how some of these younger guys handle it?
"Yes, you're going to get a chance to really see the final product with tackling and obviously we'll have drills past this game. We'll be in a full mode. We have instruments per se and this will be a good test."
Do you remember any rookies in your past that have had seasons as good as Marshon [Lattimore] and Alvin [Kamara] did last year?
"It's unusual to have two on the same team in a draft class. We went back a long time. Fortunately, they're on our team and I think both see areas that they want to improve. They're both guys that understand how tough it is in this league to have success. I think their competitive nature draws them to wanting to improve and so far, both of those guys have been working hard and doing well. I would rather have that problem than the latter where you are trying to build them up. Both guys are competitive players and they are both smart players."
Is Alvin maybe a better runner than you expected, with Marshon having his multitude of expectations?
"The one thing with Marshon is that you saw all the traits, the only concern being he was unavailable for a lot of snaps because of injury, but knock on wood, he stayed healthy last year. The early part of rookie camp we backed off some of his reps, but he proved to be real durable and played in all those games."
When you play so well as a rookie, how do you as a coach predict the trajectory for those guys?
"You're looking at mistake patterns, you're looking at things maybe that took place last year cut up wise, techniquewise that you want to correct. So, we'll do that, and I think both those guys have had a good camp. I expect that they carry it onto the field again."
You mentioned the other day, how Mike Thomas only has one speed. When a guy is wired that way, do you think that contributes to what we see on Sundays?
"Well for him yeah. Guys prepare differently but you do have to compete. Generally, if a guy has a good week of practice that carries over to the field. It's hard to not compete during the week and not have a good foundation put in before you play a game. Our job is to try and make this as game-like as possible so that when they're put in the game they're comfortable and they feel like they can execute."
He seems like he doesn't want the defense celebrating?
"He's pretty competitive. That's good."
At this point of camp, how much of what the defense is doing well is them knowing a little bit more about the offense. Do you expect that to transfer?
"I think that's always a challenge, when you go against another team you see formations that are different, splits that are different. You see concepts that are different then you quickly have to adjust. When you play or work against each other you get used to the same calls defensively and offensively or there's certain things that you can sit on. So, you get a new opponent now that changes the way you watch film, you're preparing for what you're seeing on tape and you're doing all your homework to get ready for the team you're playing that week. That's what we'll be doing."
Demario Davis is obviously a great run-stuffer, but that play he had with Alvin Kamara he had in the backfield?
"Look, in our week and a half or two weeks here, I feel like he's done a real good job in the man situations coverage wise. You can see him run, he's playing at a linebacker spot where he's going to be in coverage. That's been encouraging."
You feel like he can run well?
"Absolutely he can run, and you've seen that. Hopefully that continues, but he's playing with confidence and you feel that when you watch him play."
Do you believe in the term 'gamer'?
"Let's go the other way, there have been some players in years past that man they can practice well, and you feel like they're going to perform, and then when the lights come on for some reason or another they cannot carry it over to the field on gameday. You work with that and try to overcome that and on the other side of it there are players that have that confidence. Confidence comes from the ability that they've demonstrated before and they see themselves having success. You see it to an extent with a veteran player that may not get the full week of practice and maybe he misses on Wednesday, Thursday but there is a confidence level of achievement and past accomplishments that lead them to be able to perform."
You have to see it in practice to some degree, right? You can't have a guy who does it just in a game.
"Yeah. We tell the young players we need to see it and we tell the veteran players we need to see it. It's important. Now, not every day, but we need to see that they still have it. That applies to a lot of the guys that are here fighting for a roster spot."
Does it take a little bit to get back into the groove as a coach?
"It's different. I mean it changes, because it's the first time in your camp where you begin to focus outside your team on another opponent. We're all routine driven. We're creatures of habit. We've been through preseasons many times before. This is the first preseason game and you understand what you're trying to accomplish in that and certainly the schedule changes."
What have you seen out of Marcus Williams the last few days? Do you think he has any extra fire?
"He played well last year. Obviously, he's a tremendous worker. He's tireless in that area. He's very smart and he has extremely good range. I would say yes to your question, where you have seen him come back in the spring and even now in training camp, just playing at a real high level. He is just continuing to get better. He is a great thinker. He is smart. Rarely on the field does he do something that you don't want. That intelligence, along with his physical skill set, are two great traits to have."
Check out photos of the New Orleans Saints from Day 12 of Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on August 6, 2018.