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Saints Training Camp 2021: Transcript of Coach Sean Payton from Monday, Aug. 9

' I thought it was a pretty good practice. The guys were competing well'

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton

2021 Training Camp presented by SeatGeek

Post practice press conference with local media

Monday, Aug. 9, 2021

Opening Statement:

"Today we picked back up on practicing in the red zone. I thought it was a pretty good practice. The guys were competing well."

Despite Ian Book's interception in 7-on-7 drills, his accuracy has stood out and he's made a lot of good throws in camp. Would you agree with that assessment?

"I think he's doing well. There's a lot being thrown at him. He's processing the information well and getting the offense in and out of the huddle quickly. I've been encouraged with what he's been able to take in and apply (information). Usually with all the different terminology it's a lot, but he's handling the installations. We'll keep working on his development. He's made some plays each day and today was no different."

Did Ian Book's accuracy stick out to you in the draft process?

"You saw it. He was comfortable in and out of the pocket and he knew how to win."

What progress did you see today on offense with the second day of the red zone installation?

"The second time through there were fewer mental errors. I thought you saw better execution than the first day and I thought we played with better speed."

Wil Lutz announced today he needs core muscle surgery. Is this the reason he started on the NFI list?

"It started out as a muscle strain and last week it progressed some. Rather than wait on it (to heal) we're going to handle it right away. I don't have a time frame, but that's where we're at with him."

Realistically, do you think you'll have to sign another kicker with Wil Lutz out?

"At some point, yes. At least for the preseason games."

When you talk about accuracy, it seems that completing deep balls to guys like Ty Montgomery has been a struggle. What are your thoughts on that?

"Here's the thing that can happen sometimes: you're in this flash, full-speed mode. Sometimes there's pressure in the pocket in your face when you can't follow through. That's generally where you see underthrown balls. When you look at the end zone film, you see when guys can't finish on their throws. I think he (Montgomery) along with some others can handle the vertical part of the game. We get to see in film break down if there was a clean or collapsing pocket to throw. Obviously, you want to air it out and let a guy go run and make a play. We've had a couple deep balls go inside when they were supposed to be thrown outside or fall short, one specifically today."

Has this offseason been more difficult than some of the past ones with the impeding absences of David Onyemata, Marshon Lattimore, Deonte Harris, and now Wil Lutz?

"No. I'll be honest, every year there's the saying "it's always something". Every year, when you deal with a 90-man roster, there's going to be incidents that come up. It's no different than the middle of the season, the same things take place. You have to program yourself to deal with those situations and quickly find solutions."

You've commented in the past on how good the communication has been in this organization from top to bottom. With Michael Thomas's tweet today, do you worry about the potential fracture in communication with the organization and how it will negatively affect the team?

"Look, we're focused on our guys. We're focused on Mike getting healthy. Outside of that, there's never been an issue."

Can you address what Michael Thomas insinuated in his tweet today?


Do you anticipate playing your starting offense more this preseason to get a more thorough evaluation?

"We'll have a list of guys that we play more. What we do every year is, we have a meeting to go through every player on the roster to see how many snaps we want them to receive. It won't be the whole unit. There'll be some short outings from some and they will be some guys we need more reps from. We are working in three segments right now. We'll have that meeting in the middle of the week this week to prepare for this game (Baltimore). I don't anticipate that process being any different."

As far as evaluating the quarterbacks, will Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill play more than they typically would?

"Those two will have chances to play. We'll decide on the snaps in our meeting."

Does losing an extra preseason game with the change to a 17-game regular season change how many snaps you play some guys?

"It removes snaps from a lot of the down the line players. That's the first thing I think of. When you're playing in that fourth game you have a lot of guys playing for roster spots. That has to happen in three games now rather than four.

What have your impressions been of Christian Ringo been so far in camp?

"Pretty good. There's been some good snaps on tape. Those preseason games will be important snaps for him. As a coach, you're anxious to see how these guys compete against an opponent and how they handle game situations. So far it's been positive."

In practice last year with no preseason games, you made practices a lot more competitive than normal. Do you have to make practices more competitive in nature due to losing the extra preseason game?

"We're going to have X number of opportunities that are scheduled. Some days will be more physical practices than others. All of it is factored in. You can't control losing the extra preseason game. We'll know what areas we need to work on and most importantly, who we need to see more of."

What is the possibility of using more than roster spot on a kicker rather than just choosing one from a tryout for competition purposes?

"I do not think we'll use more than one spot on a kicker. We'll work a couple guys out and work out more than a couple if we need to. We'll have a short-term plan and a long-term plan. Relative to Wil's (Lutz) surgery, I don't think it's an extended process based on the history with that type of injury. But each one's a little different."

There was a period in team drills where you were talking to the team. What situation did you put in there?

"There were two situations we went through today. The first was the two-point conversion rules and the PAT rules. We made sure they knew the difference with the two-yard line and the fifteen-yard line and what penalties do to impact that. You might be kicking a field goal and the defense jumps offsides, which might prompt us to go for two on the one-yard line. The defense can block a PAT and score two points. If they have an interception or fumble recovery, they can also score. We're just making sure they're aware of all the different scenarios and not taking anything for granted. Later, at midfield, we had a period devoted to slot, base, and sub packages. We were trying to be thorough on what the emphasis was in that period."

Was that installed in the team meeting too and then transferred out to the field?

"Yes. We install it in the team meetings and the coaches all have the script. We will go through that thoroughly with everyone, so they understand. Defensively, we'll go through how we can score. Offensively, there's situations, for example, like receiving an unsportsmanlike penalty at the end of the game. Now you are kicking from the 30-yard line (on a PAT). God forbid, you have to go for two, now you're attempting it from the 17-yard line. It's just explaining to them the potential ramifications for certain situations."

Did you watch the Hall of Fame last night? What did you think of their speeches?

"I did not. I taped it. I usually watch all of them. I've heard about several of them but didn't have a chance to see them last night. I look forward to listening to them (Hall of Famers speeches)."

Are you going to put Wil Lutz on the Injured Reserve list or keep him on the 90-man roster?

"I don't know yet. My initial thought is that we're going to leave him on the 90-man roster, but we will see where we're at."

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