New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Post-practice Media Availability - Wednesday, November 21, 2018
What do you think of the way Dennis Allen has made adjustments to this defense?
"I think he's done a real good job. He and his staff. I think in this last stretch of two, three weeks we're playing better. I think one of the points we made early in the week this week was just in all three phases understanding you're either getting better and if you're not getting better you're probably going the other direction."
How has Tommylee Lewis been progressing since he's been back?
"He's been running around. He's been healthy for a while."
Have you made a decision with him coming back?
How have you seen Keith Kirkwood through the first few games come along?
"He's a smart player. I feel like we know the player. He's been with us this whole time. He has got real good awareness. He's got to feel. He's got flexibility to play different spots and like anything else, as a rookie, it's just getting those playing time reps and I thought he played well last week."
Is there a chance we'll see Brandon Marshall this week?
"We'll see. In a short week, there's a few things to consider. What we're trying to do relative to the game plan. Where's Tre'quan (Smith) at with his toe. Those are all the things we're factoring in and then making a decision come tomorrow as to who's up and who's down. We'll just leave it at that."
How has the communication been coming along in the secondary sense bringing Eli (Apple) in?
"I think good. Marcus (Williams) is back there and Vonn (Bell) is experienced now and certainly Kurt (Coleman). those guys are experienced players. I think it's the technique and the specifics. The details of what we're doing coverage wise, but I think the time on task has helped him realize specifically."
Is there a formula to mastering this week?
"We've tried to. Obviously, you've got to be mindful of their rest and so there's more walk proves than there is full practice. A lot of meetings. Most of the stuff we're doing is a walk through type mode. I feel like we've played a lot good ball Thursday, Sunday (games). We've done it a while and, obviously, it's an advantage to be home. Outside of that, just get them off their feet."
Is it a sign of respect to be playing in this game in primetime on Thanksgiving?
"I don't spend a lot of time thinking about it. I think in the scheduling process there is a point where there's a call. 'Hey you guys have an interest?' This is way back in the spring. I have an interest in playing at home Thursday night game when a lot of them have been on the road so I don't care if it's Thanksgiving. We'll take it. That's the truth."
Did you scroll down the schedule in chronological order and you're like we're finally at home on Thursday and then get to the next week and you're like what?
"I think the next week makes sense. The next week is not a short week. The next week is just a shift of the schedule. You play Thursday, Friday's like a Monday, Saturday's like a Tuesday. Things you really don't control and you just focus on getting your team ready."
How big a roll does Zach Line play in what you guys do run game wise?
"He does a lot. He does a lot in our base. He's a sub protector if we need him. He plays a role in special teams. I think he's a good football player."
Peter King wrote about your excitement for that zero QB formation. Is that one you had actually never seen anywhere?
"We were just messing around on Saturday night. When you see a formation when there is no one behind the center? It was just a way of trying to disguise what quarterback is going back there. So one shifted and it was a little bit different"
Did you see anything interesting on film on how the defense was trying to react and communicate for it?
"This is a credit to Malcolm (Jenkins). He's so smart. We said that when we break the huddle, just watch Malcolm. Three guys are going to turn to him like 'what do we do?' Sure enough. He's someone that settles everyone down. But it was a gain of two."
Is Thomas Morstead still a good value per punt?
"We give me a hard time. I will say this, last week, he hit two that were huge. He punted one 50 gross and then net 52. It was great coverage by Justin (Hardee). There were two big points that change field positions and we felt that was one of the keys last week in that game. That was significant."
On a short week, I imagine you don't have much time to watch Monday Night Football, but was that matchup unique enough that it caught your attention for a while that night?
"Let me give you itinerary. We played Sunday. Players are off Monday. Coaches on Monday night, we went until 2:30, 3:00 a.m. Practice Tuesday, Tuesday night we went until 2:00 a.m. Here we are. You heard about it. You saw highlights or whatever, but it's just to condensed week."
Your last two Thursday games were on the road. How much do you get out of this extra Wednesday practice?
"We practiced Wednesday on the last two as well. The schedule is the same. Because it's a night game, everything was identical. We just get on a plane right now in the evening and got to the city where we were playing. So it was similar. You really condense your game plan into two days and that's what we've done."