New Orleans coaches and staff prepare for the Saints-Texans preseason matchup.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2017 Training Camp Presented By Verizon
Monday, August 28, 2017
"One roster move, Clay Harbor went to reserve/injured and we signed LB Audie Cole. We're still at that number (91, including Alex Jenkins) right now."
What is it about Audie Cole that you wanted to bring him in?
"He's someone that's been in the league and at NC State and we're constantly paying attention to guys that can help us in the kicking game. So we will have a short time to see that. We only have three days and a game on Thursday."
We just talked to Thomas (Morstead) and Chris (Banjo), any others that may have been affected by the hurricane?
"Good question. I don't know offhand. There's always that second layer for everyone, including us. I know that Mr. Benson and the Saints, we've reached out. We'll do whatever we can to help them. I don't know directly, specifically if players have had to possibly (ask) to go back. I haven't been approached by anyone. Our thoughts go out to the city there and in that whole region because I know they've got a ton of flooding."
You've changed plans twice and have had to evacuate, have you learned anything about the best way to handle?
"Honestly, I was asked this question last night, I think when we went to Indianapolis I think it was the week prior to the season. I believe we opened at home versus Tampa Bay and the facility was available there. We quickly got into routine. I think the larger challenge is not necessarily your own immediate circle or team, it's their family and all the things that go along with that, whether you're renting a property or you own a place that has damage. I think they had about a day. We gave the players a 24-hour period that kind of worked to get everything else settled and we flew to Indianapolis. Cincy I think we just moved up schedule wise and went earlier. But in each case I think it's easier to handle, I mean this group can travel and we can quickly get operational as long as there is a place to practice and meet, it's the extended families that become more challenging."
With the way the league has evolved does having more outside linebackers benefit the defense?
"I think it is a game that is being played more and more in space because of the passing game. So I would say yes, I think a lot of it depends on the scheme you're looking for. What you're playing, how much man you're playing versus zone. Everyone's got a prototype of what they're specifically wanting from the Mike or from the weakside linebacker, but it depends on what you're doing defensively. But we are seeing a lot more open sets if you will, which requires guys to play more in space."
Is that something you keyed in on? Has it gotten faster at that position?
"I don't know that in 2016. I think that it is something that has progressed over a period of time. But again, it would be really defined by the position, specific. What's the vision for them, if he's a Sam then what are we getting from the younger players, in regards to the kicking game. I think that's real important too."
A couple of weeks before the start of the regular season. How's the search for the doctors going?
"I think we'll announce something, but good. I'm sure at some point Mickey (Loomis) and the club will announce who we'll be working with."
Do you think things like getting 16 sacks will manifest into the regular season?
"I hope so. We always use that term confidence. It comes from demonstrated ability. It comes from doing something correctly and effectively. Hopefully, we can build on that and we can clean up the things that we feel like we are not doing as well. We spend a lot of time of what we are wanting to do defensively. Each week is another challenge. Once you get started in the regular season of course all of it counts. But hopefully we can build on it."
Does the fact that the first team offense did not get into the end zone, does that factor into how you might use Drew (for this game) or any of the other starters?
"I think it is difficult. We had a set amount of plays we were going to play last week. I think we did a great job of really achieving our goals with regards to playing time. Obviously we would have liked to have scored. But I don't know if that will impact what we do here in this week Four."
Have you made any decisions (on playing the veterans in week four)?
The benefits of 90-53 in this game, in other words having 90 players on the roster prior to cutting down to 53 on Saturday?
"This will be the first year we are operating at 90 instead of 75. I think the additional 15 players, whether it is in your kicking game or your offense and defense, I think there is a benefit. I think the challenge to some degree at 75, you have to play guys. I think when you have more guys it gives you a little bit more flexibility."
With the new roster cut deadline, does it make it a little bit harder to evaluate maybe the rest of league?
"Yes, because you don't get a segmented wire. You get one. You'll get it Friday and maybe Saturday. I bet there's a good chance we won't be at 90 come Thursday. We will be down in the 80s. But it is different with regards to prior (years) you had that week to look at the first 15 players released from each team. That won't happen this year, it'll be a little different."
If you don't keep three quarterbacks on the active roster, would you definitely want one on the practice squad?
"I think we've always had that. If we haven't had three we've had three and one. I think most teams (do). We did this, the equation of three versus two. I think almost every team last year had three in the building. It's just a question of whether the other one was on the roster."
Has Garrett Grayson shown growth and development here overall?
"I think so. I think we've seen progress. I would say probably more so this year than we have seen in those early two years. So yes, we'll keep working with him. I'm sure he'll get to play a bunch Thursday."
Did the Texans ask you for any advice on your experiences dealing with the hurricane while they were here?
"No, I think during Friday's practice we mentioned to them that our facilities are available and the (Mercedes-Benz Superdome) Dome is open. I think they were already in the midst of planning to go to Dallas. I know they practiced there today. They will probably pay close attention to what they'll do for the game. I think there's a handful of games that were supposed to be played in Houston. You guys would probably know before me if anything has changed or altered yet. They were quickly on top of it and I think they appreciated the help or offer."
Going into the final preseason game, do you have a pretty good mental fix on how many roster spots there might be available and have you been able to convey to these guys that there are still jobs to be had?
"Yes, we've probably done five different scenarios, above and below the line. We went earlier in training camp. We're a little bit more looking forward, that's why we're playing these games and practicing. We're getting a chance to look and I bet there are eight or nine double(-digit) players, guys that we're discussing a lot of. You can pencil, like most teams would be able to, a certain number and then still look this week and this game to make final decisions. You talk about it all the time. It's not just in-house competition, it's competition taking place with other people at their position on other rosters."
Is it a coincidence that you signed three or four veteran experienced core special team players? Or are you looking for a void to fill there?
"No, we think that that's going to be important. Now how many can you keep, that will be a better question. We are going to be in some close tough games, and that's an area that we have to be better at."