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Saints Coach Sean Payton on the offensive line: 'I just think it's critical to everything you're trying to accomplish'

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Post-Practice Media Availability - Tuesday, November 27, 2018

You've spent a lot of resources on the offensive line the past couple of years. I don't know if there's any relation, but did the Cowboys sort of set a blueprint with the way their line developed?
"That blueprint, I think has existed for a long time. I was taught as a young coach in this league that that position group permeates throughout your locker room and your team. You draft to it, you sign to it, and we've been fortunate over the years to have some really good offensive lines. I just think it's critical to everything you're trying to accomplish."

How has Byron Jones looked for them at corner?
"Good. He's long. He has done really well. He is having a good year. He is real comfortable in the press technique. The scheme really fits his skill set. He is instinctive. He has good ball skills. I think he's playing real well."

One of the things that a lot of the players talk about is how position coaches accept feedback from them and kind of take that stuff into consideration. How important is that just as a coaching staff to have that dialogue?
"Relative to just what we're doing?"

Just allowing players to have some input instead of saying just 'this is the way we're doing it'?
"I think it's good. Every once in a while the suggestion box is in the lake (laughs). But I think the object's to win, and be successful, and to constantly be thinking about different ideas and different ways to do things. Yet, there are certain things from a technique standpoint. There's certain things from the fundamental standpoint that end up really being the difference."

When you say the offensive line permeates the locker room, what kind of attitude are you looking for from that unit?
"There's an intelligence and toughness element that I think is real important. Obviously a physical skill set, when you get those five guys playing together for a period of time and they have some of those traits where they are smart, they are tough (that's a positive). They understand what you're doing. Does the scheme fit the strengths of those guys? Those would be a few things."

What has Dan Campbell brought to this team in particular in his role as sort of the assistant head coach anyway?
"He's a fantastic leader. Obviously, (he) played a long time in this league. He is everything you want. Extremely dedicated, hardworking. He's exactly how he was as a player and I had the good fortune to know him both as a player and now as a coach. I tried to hire him a number of times and finally had that opportunity. So, we're fortunate to have him."

Did you see that Chase Daniel got an opportunity to win that game on Thursday against Detroit? He stepped up when needed.
"Just looking at the film, I didn't see much of the game but I thought he played well."

What is it about him (Chase Daniel) that has had so many teams interested in wanting him in that role?
"He is someone that can take the reps to the field right away. One of the challenges if you're not the starter is you don't receive the same amount of reps. Now obviously, he received more of the work that week, but he's smart. He's very competitive and the ball comes out quick. But I thought he played well."

On the offensive line, what has Dan Roushar done so well?
"He is a great teacher. I was with Dan in Illinois. I have coached with him before. He does a great job with those players from a technique standpoint. He develops the whole room. You're not just working with the starters, and he has done a real good job with this group. But he came here initially I think (coaching) running backs and gradually moved (to tight ends then) to that position and he's doing well."

When you can see that group kind of roll through a game, does that change how you call the game in a sense? If the offensive line kind of has something going like you talked about, does it change you as a playcaller a little bit in a sense on how they're going?
"If we're moving offensively and we're having success running the ball and throwing the ball then obviously the call sheet looks big. When you struggle it looks smaller, but they are a big part of that and I think it depends on the opponent. It depends on how that game's going."

When you say games take on different characters and you cannot always judge a performance by the final score, when you look at the defense giving up fewer than 20 (points) a game the last three games, how much of that is indicative of their improvement and how much of it is just the character of the game and other things going on?
"It's probably somewhere in the middle. I think we are improving defensively. I think the team we're getting ready to play, when you look at (what) they're up to the last three weeks and then the last three weeks' statistics are obviously much improved. You have two teams really that are playing good football playing in this game. But a lot of it is that it's hard to say ahead of time how you think a game might unfold and part of it is being able to adjust to what both teams are doing. But I think we're improving defensively and we're not a finished product yet. There's a lot of work. We have work to clean up some things and the same way on offense. You look at the tape and you're never as excited as you think you might be and that's why we're practicing."

When you guys got Demario Davis was the vision for him to be in that more multifaceted role or was it up in the air between playing in the middle?
"We had a vision for him being an every down linebacker and then, relative to Sam or Mike or Will or Mike, we felt like he'd play Will and Mike. That was the vision and we get so much nickel defense now that you're in two-linebacker defense a lot of the time. That was the vision."

You jumped in the dance circle last year with the guys after that Carolina playoff game win. How much do you think everyone enjoys that locker room experience. How would you describe that?
"I think it's important. The time you have after a game before the next game starts is really when your game finishes until you go to sleep. These guys work hard and you put a lot of time into the week. each team takes on a personality with the new season. I think that's the case with this year's team."

Did you see Mike Nolan's moves in the locker room?
"I didn't see."

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