New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean PaytonMedia Availability Wednesday October 7, 2015
Adding Brandon Fields to the roster, does that suggest that this is a temporary deal until Morstead is better?
"Yeah, absolutely. I think with Thomas's injury, I think it's much sooner than later, and yet at the same time we have to be prepared in case we don't have him for this weekend. So we had some roster flexibility, but yes."
Are you guys going to look at some kickers today, and is there a possibility for change?
"Look, we will see how it unfolds. I think this, and I said this in the morning meeting, the snap hold kick process, all three parts need to be better and so that emphasis this week is going to be pretty strong and, obviously, when you get into a position like we did the other night we have to be able to make that type of field goal, and if not, then someone else will have a chance to."
Do you ever pay attention to what Zach Strief says since he is the unofficial spokesman for the players in a lot of ways, and do you appreciate it?
"Absolutely I appreciate him. You know, every season, every week, every game he epitomizes what we're looking for. More recently, I haven't seen specifically any comments. He truly is one of our leaders, and he's tough, he's smart, and I think does a great job in carrying the message."
How much have you seen from Hau'oli Kikaha in the first four games and how much growth have you seen as a pass rusher?
"Well we've seen production now as a pass rusher. I think he's at three sacks with a handful more hurries and hits on the quarterback, and that began Week One. I do think there are elements to the game with regards to just formations and getting aligned that have slowed down some and helped him to play faster. In college he was primarily a rusher. With us we feel like that's his strength, and at times there are exceptions. I think, really, it's important for us to highlight the things that we think he does well, but I think that a lot of these younger players are benefiting from the time on task."
When Kikaha goes up against Tyron Smith and he's able to break through him, how much does he use a combination of speed and power because he is not the size of a Cameron Jordan?
"No, but he can flex and get into these positions. Generally pressure players are guys that vary in size but are able to get on the edge of a defender and play with a little leverage, they're explosive enough to torque their body and rip or speed past somebody. The other thing is there is an effort and a want-to element in how he plays."
Andrus Peat was in for a few snaps the other night. How much have you seen progress since training camp, and now that you have a third tight end does he continue in that role?
"Yeah, I mean he is someone that we feel like has made quite a bit of progress, the snaps he's played at tight end the other night helped us tremendously down the stretch and then also the snaps he played for a brief period of time at left tackle. Yeah, there will be jumbo packages we'll utilize. I think his natural position, obviously, is outside at the tackle positon and I think the early snaps in the first quarter of the season have been real positive."
How do you think Byrd, Lewis and Ellerbe played in their first game back?
"Yeah, Byrd we thought played well. All of them had a certain role more in the nickel or third down package then in the base. Keenan had balls thrown away from him. I think Ellerbe playing in the weak side linebacker position did a really good job, oftentimes in coverage. We played a lot of man to man, whether his assignment was the back or the tight end he did well. I think from a reps standpoint, all three of those guys handled their first week back, and that transitioning continues."
How do you think the defense as a whole handled the guys coming back in substitutional roles and how do you think that affects the defense as a whole? Is that a process that gets smoother each week?
"Yeah, I mean each week you go through what your core defense or offense is going to be. Some weeks you're in more spread sets, some weeks more conventional, same thing defensively. You deal with health, you deal with who's available, and you begin to build a game plan around your own personnel. Overall I thought the substitutions and all of that went pretty smooth."
Is C.J. Spiller a guy that can help dictate matchups if you move him around a little bit?
"I think so. I think he's got that, well I know he's got that speed, and I think the challenge sometimes is how you handle someone like him when you're into extended sets. The other night was a man to man look with a linebacker moving out to cover him. So a lot depends on who else is on the field with him, I would say that's critical."
When you are making the decision to part with guys such as Malcolm Jenkins, what is the tough part about it with his leadership in the locker room?
"Absolutely, I think he's a fantastic leader, he's tough, he's smart. Every time you'd go down the hallway, anytime you'd pass by the defensive room, he was watching tape. You're watching him now and he's one of the better defenders, if not one of the top defenders, for that team right now. He's playing at a high level. He plays less safety for them and then he comes down in the nickel at times depending on their personnel. I can't say enough good things about him. He epitomized what we were looking for when he came in here, he played nickel that Super Bowl year. He has a lot of positon versatility in that he can play over a slot, he can play back in the half and he can play in the third. Close to the ball he's effective. All in all, he's a really good football player."
As a play caller, is it difficult when you have so many running backs, trying to get them all involved?
"No, we have, really three, two in the base, one in the sub, I think it's pretty clean."