New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - 2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon -Thursday, August 2, 2018
How far along are you at this point are you in the install?
"I would say probably halfway with regards to categories. We've been in the base first, second down, third down, and red zone. We have two-minute, short yardage, and goal line coming. We've got probably five more true install days and I would say we're four installs in. Which we try to dedicate at least two days to each install."
So, a rookie at this point how many times have they done it all the way through?
"This will be the third time. We had this in the spring with the rookies. So, this is kind of the third time we've been in this red zone install and that's the idea of about repeating it. Obviously, you have more practice time now than you have in the spring, so in the spring, today's day four install would be a little reduced, there'd be certain things we just hold on because we don't have enough time in the OTA like we do here. But you get them the base, 75 percent of it."
How did you like the red zone work?
"I thought offensively we were better today, defensively not as good. Tomorrow we'll be on the same installation. We will work more red zone, but I thought each practice goes back and forth that way, but overall offensively there were a lot of good things. Defensively we have to be better."
How is the new cooling area adjacent to the fields?
"That is (from) Boudreaux's sports in Lafayette. I had to put that plug in. It is basically a cool truck. So instead of that tent at 67 degrees that truck is at 25 degrees. So, there are periods of practice, today was not a real hot one but when we can get a position group in there to cool the core body temperature down By far, that is the most efficient unit I have seen. (We) just got it."
How do you arrive at 25 degrees?
"No, that's the temperature if you're an Atlantic salmon. It's just what it is. So, as bodies go in there, it goes to twenty-eight. But it's almost three times colder than a tent."
Is that your idea or did they approach you about it?
"No, LSU and Alabama and a few these colleges are using it. So, Beau (Lowery) had some pictures of it and our guys right down the road here (sell it). It came on, just like you'd expect, an 18-wheeler dropped it off. Then it's fitted inside (with) a little bit of flooring and seats, but it's a really good idea."
I heard one former player describe it as a glorified meat locker?
"We're just trying to get it cold. When you have a short amount of time even post-practice that's good for these guys to get in there. When the temperatures get hot you can't cool them down enough. So, I think coming out of there you feel a little bit more refreshed and you're not just getting through practice. That's the idea of it."
Do you think there's a little bit of an edge by having it or maybe even a bigger edge against the heat?
"I think it's one element of recovery. We are learning, and we understand that, hey we have to be mindful of how long you are out here. You want to have an effective practice. You want to not just be running plays and then you also have an answer if someone is going through a second level heat illness or God forbid something more serious. But, the first thing we want to be able to do is cool the core temperatures down. We've always taken a lot of breaks, so we've handled the heat well, we've had to. But if you went back to Millsaps, even (then) we had a cool tent. This is just much colder.
You only have a couple days of exposure to Brandon Tate, but how has he looked as a returner so far?
"That's the first vision (for him). He is experienced, and his skillset in regard to balance and getting under the ball, all those things (he) does pretty well."
You see any improvement in that today, on punt return?
"It's hard to measure in practice. You get to really see the improvement when you start scrimmaging or playing preseason games."
When you have a player like Josh Huff competing for a roster spot, and you know he's going to be suspended at the beginning of the season, does that work against him or does he have to show a little more for the team to keep him?
"All of that gets factored in. You have to pay attention to how you're starting this season and who you're starting it with."
What effect do you think the new helmet rule and the infractions are going to have on the game this year?
"The officials are here. We'll go through the rule in a meeting tonight. Being a part of the competition committee, I feel like I've got a good handle on what we're saying. I do not think you are going to see 40 players kicked out (over) the course of the season, I think six or seven. You could point to those six or seven plays a year ago and we did. We identified these plays (that) we have to remove from the game and we have to make it safer. So, it's really avoiding that head down position. We've talked about it. We've showed examples of it. Tonight, we'll spend a lot of time on it and I think very quickly that the players will see how the game is being called and I don't think it's going to be all the way over here like some of the media portrayed, it's crazy. The players will adjust."
Are the officials clarifying that to the players?
"Yes, each visit they're here for three days. We'll have a video, we'll watch it and go through it all."
What kind of different dynamic does that bring with the officials?
"It's always important. They come out here in an environment where they can communicate (about penalties). They'll throw a flag, talk to the player, why what they're looking for. I like having them here. I think it's good for them as well. When you talk to them they feel like these guys are all working for a crew in the regular season. We'll have them at Jacksonville. So, they too want to practice and get ready. I think it's really good."
When you have the offense struggle for a couple of days, behind the scenes an offense that's not used to struggling out here, do you see a little extra motivation, little more fired up than usual?
"I think it's pretty common in training camp. It's pretty common for that to go up and down. and I don't think it's anything unusual. I think it's happened in every training camp, where you hope that it's not one unit just every day. You hope there's an ebb and flow to it that goes back and forth. Today (we) kind of went back in their direction."
It almost seems like Drew (Brees) thrives after days where he struggles a little, he comes back even better than before.
"That's the competitive nature. You hope that exists within everyone. Let's make these corrections and let's get ready to go. There is a mindset to a successful practice and there's a lot to learn from one that isn't successful. Part of what we're doing here for a month is fine-tuning, making corrections, and finding solutions. In order to do that, there's going to be not only success, but there's going to be failure."
Can you talk about Mike Westhoff?
"He has been a great addition for us. He went through a significant surgery this past offseason. When you have a surgery and the crew has to clock out 12 hours in and you're still in the surgery, that's a long surgery. It's great to have him here. There's a level of expertise he has and confidence. I think you see it with the players. He, Brad (Banta), Kevin (O'Dea), and the rest of those guys have done a good job and we just finished meeting on it last night. When you score a special teams touchdown, you win 72 percent of your games. That's an area we're spending a lot of time on and he's done a great job."
When you look at (Michael) Floyd's production last year in Minnesota, why would you be comfortable that's not indicative of what he can do?
"We have time to look at him. We have 90 players. We're not sitting here with 53. I want to see him get his weight down. He's too heavy right not. I think I know what he can be. That's the cool thing about coaching is when you can get someone, and you feel like you can make a difference. It's easy to take a veteran that knows how to do everything the right way. I'm excited about his progress. He can be as well. I think he's got a shot to be (a contributor)."
We talked to Terron Armstead yesterday, and he is talking about kind of rag dolling Marcus Davenport a few times in practice. Do you want a young kid to go through that learning process?
"Absolutely. It happens every year in our league. You go from UT San Antonio and now you are rushing against Terron Armstead. You get better when you play up. If you are just playing at a competition level that's equal or below your skill set, then it is hard to sharpen that edge. For a young player like Marcus (Davenport), those are great reps. Terron can talk to him like 'Hey. this does not give me any trouble at all', so that is part of the learning curve. When he can start rushing effectively against Terron (Armstead), then he's probably going to be able to have that confidence each week regardless of who he sees, but I think it's outstanding."
You don't worry about him losing confidence?
"No. We'll work rotation. He's had (bad) plays and good plays. There's no light at the end of the tunnel, but he sees glimpses of it and that's the good thing, so he's learning."
How about the flip side, Terron Armstead didn't see the light at the end of the tunnel for a while with injuries?
"It's good to have him. Look I said it the other day, he's not rehabbing. He was training. The guys that have been injured have not been really on the ground. You can be on a treadmill or a bike, but it's different when you're actually on the ground playing, so it's good to have him. He's not only an important player for us, but also an important leader."
Are you seeing things on film where you haven't even seen him looking like that in a year or two?
"He's always been a really good athlete and he's playing well."
Check out photos of the New Orleans Saints from Day 8 of Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on August 2, 2018.