The New Orleans Saints take the field on Aug. 18, 2021 for Saints Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
2021 Training Camp presented by SeatGeek
Post practice press conference with local media
Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021
"I have some transactions to announce. We've signed Brian Mills (CB), Kevin White (WR), Natrell Jamerson (CB), Jordan Mills (OT), and Caleb Benenoch (OT). We have waived Adonis Alexander (CB) and Michael Brown (OT) due to injury. We also waived Jake Lampman (WR) and Lawrence Woods (DB). That puts us right at the 85-man limit for the roster."
What made you want to sign Kevin White (WR)?
"His size and speed combination. He's young and someone we'd like to work with. I like the way he runs. You see it (speed) on tape. Obviously, he's a former first round pick, so he's still a younger player."
Is Natrell Jamerson someone you have had your eye on to add to the cornerback position and to evaluate on special teams?
"Yeah. It's trying to have a vision and looking at how we can add to the kicking game."
What was your area of focus in practice today for the wide receivers?
"Today's install was additional heavier personnel on first and second down. So, some of it was odd ball formations. It was a lot of 3 tight-end, 2 tight-end, fullback offense. It still had a first and second down emphasis with some additional pass and run schemes that went in. We got a lot of third down and red zone work (in) also. We also have to keep grinding on the two-minute drills for the end of the half, end of the game situations."
Is the receiver room doing well as far as keeping up with the details in this offense?
"Yes. They're a good group. I thought today was a good day for them."
On the play where Zack Baun defended the bootleg in the opening drive of the Baltimore game, does that play show how much he's grown in year two?
"Definitely. You have to remember that he was an on the ball player at Wisconsin. He was always on the ball as an outside backer and was a rush player. Now, he's playing a stack linebacker, more similar to how a true off-the-ball linebacker plays. It's different than what we knew in college and what he became comfortable with. We brought him up in the coaches meeting, we have seen definite growth in his role. That was the vision when we drafted him."
How would you describe Ken Crawley's growth as far as ball recognition?
"I think so. He can run. He made a play today on a crossing route when he was across the formation. His speed serves him well, and now his experience in this league does as well. He's taking advantages of the snaps he's receiving."
What are some of the ways you get better at ball recognition?
"Well, down the field, sometimes corners defend well but when the ball is thrown down the field, it's about locating it and deciding how to make a play on the ball. It could be for a turnover or sometimes it's just preventing a completion. It's about getting work on those down the field throws."
Do you find yourself coaching more hands on this year compared to previous years with all the roster turnover?
"No. Some days, it might be a day where I want to work with a specific position. I think for all of us (coaches), our job is to teach. We embrace that. There are times where we'll have a tight end working with the O-line and vice versa. There's some cross teaching. As the head coach, you're trying to pay attention to everyone."
You've commented on how well the linebackers have played and how they've had great energy this preseason. What have you seen from Michael Hodges (LB coach) and what has he brought to that group?
"He's done a good job. He's a high energy coach. I like that. He's positive. You hear him at practice, and I think that spills over on to the entire team. You have to play this game with emotion. It's hard to play football without emotion. I like the emotion he brings."
How important is it to see Tony Jones Jr. perform well in the preseason games?
"He's having a good camp. Last year, if you remember before the Carolina game, with all the roster absences due to Covid, in that game we only had Tony and we moved Ty Montgomery back to running back (from receiver). He took an early shot in that game and went out, so we were only down to one running back (Montgomery) . He's having a good camp. Each day, you see some flashes from him in the running game and even in the passing game. We have to keep working on his ball security. Obviously, there were some positives from the other night and that was one (lost fumble) where hopefully he can correct.
We can see him (Jones Jr.) stand out when he has the ball in his hand. How well is he picking up the offense?
"I think so. He is smart. He had a couple good downs of pass protection the other night. I think he's progressing well."