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Saints Coach Sean Payton talks about signing long snapper Zach Wood

Coach Payton met with the media Saturday afternoon

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability with New Orleans Media
Saturday, September 9, 2017

What did you like about Zach Wood, the long snapper that you signed?
"We had four or five guys in. (We) Treated it like the Voice (laughter), Mickey (Loomis) and I were in a chair, the pro (personnel) department, special teams (coaches) and we just hit the buzzer and turned around. Those guys all worked out, we have seen all of their film. We've graded their tape. There are enough game snaps in the preseason that we saw and of course we had a good grade on him prior and know the folks in Dallas pretty well. A lot of the group was younger and there was one experienced player and I felt like it was a similar decision we made in '07 or '08 when we brought in (Justin) Drescher and some older players. He has played defense and had a good workout."

What was his (Zach Wood's) defensive history?
"He played defensive line, long snapper and then in the offseason cut weight to focus strictly on long snapping."

Is there a chemistry to the kicking game or is the operation pretty standard?
"There's a timing element, but just the details of the operation. It has to be clean. Of course we practiced the other scenario a couple days ago with Josh Hill and some of the guys who would take it in the event something happened in a game, but yes, it's the timing and the location."

Have you decided who the holder will be this year whether it's Chase Daniel or Thomas Morstead?
"Yes we have decided, but we will wait and see."

When is Jon Dorenbos having his surgery?
"I saw him here yesterday and I know that he along with our medical department were reaching out and researching really across the country. I don't want to speak for him, but I think it will be sooner than later and by that (the next) ten days, I'm not sure if it's inside of a week, but I know that he was narrowing the list down of doctors he wanted to visit with."

Have you thought about what wouldn't have if you didn't make that trade and if Dorenbos' health issue wasn't discovered?**

"He and I have had a lot chances to reflect on the last two days. He's an amazing guy and his perspective as you can imagine has been outstanding and he looks at it in a significant way or a way in which you could argue the trade itself saved his life. I said this to you guys on the phone the other day, credit Dr. John Amoss because there are murmurs that were ones that aren't as alarming that players and people play with and John heard that in his exam, but there are two types and without getting into specifics, John felt like he wanted to follow up with more work, just in the event it was the second type and sure enough he was right. I'm thankful that that happened and when I say John there are two John's Dr. (John) Amoss and the player (Jon Dorenbos). I'm sure he is anxious to get on with the procedure and get it going."

Is there a fine line in overpreparing for a Week one opponent?
"Yes, this is the first time (since I became head coach) we've had (a) Week one Monday night (game) because you have that extended time, your game is Thursday and you just played in the preseason, you're getting your roster cut down and you bring the players in and I think it's the first time we've had this game on a Monday night and I do think you have to be mindful of how you handle the week. We used yesterday morning to be in recovery mode and today was back to pads. Hopefully we have handled it the right way, but I do think it's a longer period of time and it's just making sure it doesn't begin to dissipate or drag on."

What goes into the decision to change a guy's position in regards to Justin Hardee who is working on the practice squad at defensive back after playing wide receiver at Illinois?
"When a player gets changed it happens occasionally, it happens more defensive line to offensive line, sometimes it happens from an end to a linebacker. In (Justin) Hardee's case we'd seen a lot of receiver work and a lot of gunner work. He played for Ted Ginn's father (at Glenville High School in Cleveland) and he played both ways. He is long, the one thing we noticed on tape was in the kicking game and his ability to cover. He has good edge speed outside as a gunner and plays a lot special teams and that was the attraction and we're real steep at receiver and knowing that he's played defense, he has a frame for it. We'll have a chance to look at that transition and that will be a little unique, maybe not the norm, but that was the thinking. Researching back to what did he play and what he's competed at and he's tough, he likes to tackle and see how it goes. A lot of times you'll see a safety one way maybe go out or a corner go back, but his special team characteristics are what attracted him to us initially."

When you have a team coming off a Thursday game, do you have anyone start looking ahead?
"Yes, there is a group, the pro department, that will have all the games from a year ago to the game that was just played. I'll probably look at it a little bit here and it will be a short week. We'll get back in at 2:00 in the morning and Wednesday will be more of a walk through, Thursday, Friday and here we go. It is what it is."

Is it tough playing on Monday night facing the Thursday night opponent who will have had 10 days between games on a short week?
"Let's just say there are x amount of hours in the week and when you play "Monday Night Football" those are reduced, but when you play "Monday Night Football" versus someone whose played on Thursday then you have to make sure at least your get your tape work done, but not at the expense of not being familiar and on top of what you're getting ready to do and who you're getting ready to play, but there are a number of people who are working on and getting the preparations made for when we return and I'm sure we'll have tape on the plane when we return and look at them last year and look at the differences beginning of this year."

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