New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Post-Practice Media Availability - Thursday, August 23, 2018
"I thought overall we got, again, a lot of stuff covered. Guys did a good job working with each other."
Was it the plan from the start to go without pads for that long?
"What we talked about was just helmets and shoulder pads. Then after we got finished the one-on-one O-line, D-line pass rush, we were kind of converted into the spider shells. So that was the plan ahead of time. Last year, we didn't even come out in shoulder pads but we wanted to get some individual work done."
What are your thoughts on Marcus Davenport over the last couple of days?
"These reps that he's receiving are obviously real important because he's behind. We will have a chance to watch him again on tape. He's doing some good things and I think it's good that he's getting to see a few different schemes defensively, offensive schemes, different personnel as far as who is going against, but he has a lot of catching up to do. But fortunately he's healthy now."
You had a couple Houston Astro players out here today. Did you speak to them or did they speak to you?
"No. They're staying at our same hotel, so I think five or six of these guys had time (to attend practice as guests). They came out and it's great seeing them. I mean, coming off the year that they had, those guys go on those long road stretches and it's a whole different deal with their travel. But it's good having them out here."
You added some veteran guys in the offseason especially Benjamin Watson and Jermon Bushrod, are you seeing affects yet of their influence on the young core of this team?
"I think so. I think there's a handful of guys (in addition to Benjamin and Jermon), Kurt Coleman, Demario Davis. But Ben's someone who's been here. Jermon obviously has some versatility. So the key with each of those decisions is just what's the vision? What is the plan the role? Defining that. And then getting them up to speed and in shape. All those guys are self-starters that work hard at it. So there's a reason they play a long time. They've been good additions for us."
When you signed them, you wanted that influence for the young team, right?
"Absolutely. There's a calming influence and there's a work ethic. There's a lot of things that go into it. The locker room, (younger players seeing) how to prepare. We say this all the time, we do not need to see it every day but we still need to see it from them as well. But those guys are doing well."
Do you want to see Marcus Davenport do more or do you have to tell him don't try to do too much too fast?
"The first thing you have to do is decide how many snaps he's going to receive. What's the pitch count for that practice? Then what situations do we want to see him in? Maybe a little bit more pass rush mode. So as he transitions back to 100 percent where he can receive the normal amount of reps, you're focusing on the technique, you're focusing on all the individual work that he does. Pass pro(tection drills), pass rush. But it's a transition back and that can only happen when he's healthy. He's cleared now, it's just getting him the snaps and all the nuances that go into playing in a three-point stance, playing over on the right side. He will play in this game. We'll have a certain snap count for him as well."
Besides Drew (Brees) throwing four touchdowns or Cam (Jordan) having four sacks, is there anything you want to see specifically in this game like the rhythm of the offense or the communication on defense?
"Sure there is. As a coach, you want to see your units operating efficiently without a lot of mental errors. Certainly it's not a perfect game, it's an imperfect game, but you want to see guys playing with the energy that's required to win at our level and then we get to that next phase when it comes to the evaluation and there's 11, 14 specific competitions that are going on with guys. Are they in or (are) they off? Those are real important in these next two weeks."
Is it going to be important for you to see a little bit more of Boston Scott running the ball in this game?
"That'll be one of the things. We hope to give him enough touches. Certainly Jonathan (Williams), Shane (Vereen), (giving) those guys enough (touches) where we can continue to just put on tape the things that we feel like they do well."
This summer, Drew Brees just spent time with a young man. What did you tell that young man?
"They live in Temecula. I've been there before. When I started coaching I was at San Diego State and they're big Saints fans. Obviously, when you hear of something like that and a story like that it's always great. When a fan like that can connect with the player and it's more than just coming to practice. It was kind of cool."
Do you have an idea of how long you want your starters to play?
"Into the second quarter and then at that point, a lot of it will depend on how many snaps they've played."
Were you on the competition committee conference call?
"I wasn't yesterday so I haven't been up to speed on that call only because we have this joint practice. I'll talk with Troy (Vincent) and some of the other members and just get a little feedback as to what was discussed specifically and going forward, but I haven't I haven't yet."