New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
2021 Training Camp presented by SeatGeek
Post practice press conference with local media
Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021
"Just one transaction to announce. We've waived Bryce Thompson (DB) due to injury. With the schedule the way it was, today we went back to our 'A' schedule. We got a lot of situation work done. We ran through run/play action drills, third down situations, and two different red zone periods. Tomorrow we'll shift our focus to Arizona.
Do you still plan to treat it like a traditional third preseason game?
"Yeah. We're going to meet today as a staff. There are some positions I'd still like to do that with and there's some positions with where we're at health or depth-wise that we have to be somewhat flexible with. We'll go through the roles in our meeting tonight to determine how we're going to handle the (Arizona) game. We'll make our decisions and work on it tomorrow."
How do you plan to rotate the quarterbacks on Saturday?
"We're going to discuss it tonight. I have a few thoughts, but don't want to be early with what I'm thinking."
What is it like having Mike Martz watching practice?
"Yeah, I have known him forever. I have never had the chance to work with him, but he was a part of so many really good offenses. Last week I called him and he's going to spend a few days with us here watching practices. There are a few principles I want him to work with us on. He will be sitting in on offensive meetings and be able to look at tape. There's a bunch of us who can learn by having him here for a few days. He is one of the best offensive coaches our league has ever seen. It was good to have him out here today."
How did the idea of having Mike Martz watch practice come together?
"I just picked up the phone and reached out. I texted him and asked if that was still his cell phone number. He's living in San Diego, and I told him I have a couple ideas and want to see what you think. I told our staff hopefully, when I'm his age, someone will pick up the phone and ask me to come to camp to spend a few days. Obviously, Brian Young played for him. I was in New York (Giants) and there was a stretch where it felt like we played the Rams every year for three consecutive years. Part of it was just coincidental with the scheduling. Everyone was studying their offensive film. Obviously, they set a number of records offensively. Whether it is how they used (Marshall) Faulk in certain situations and seeing if there is something we can do with Alvin (Kamara) that we are not currently doing. Seeing if we can add to our play-action. If there are one or two ideas that we can apply to our team for this season that fits us it's worth it (having Martz at practice). He's exceptionally smart. Just having him at practice and making observations has been super impressive."
Has the depth at a couple positions like tight end and defensive back gotten particularly challenging?
"Yeah. Hopefully we'll have a better feel by tomorrow with some of those (injured) guys. But yeah, I think so. We had a couple guys the other night that had to play 40 snaps. We're a little thin at corner. The defensive backs were gassed by the end of that game. That's always the challenge in preseason. You have a full roster but you're trying to hold certain players, and someone has to pick up those snaps.
How do you feel about the depth at cornerback, especially with Ken Crawley not practicing the last couple days?
"It was tough the other night, but we were sitting a few guys. We're constantly monitoring it. With the 53-man roster deadline next Tuesday, I think you'll see a number of teams involved like they are every year. We'll pay close attention to it. That's the message we're always talking to players about. If you're just looking at your position group and counting the numbers, you can be somewhat short-sighted. You are looking at every at that position across the league. In some cases, if you are making it as a special teams player as a defensive back or wide receiver, you may be competing against a linebacker. It's always hard to do the math internally. Having a good handle on the other teams and what might become available will be important also."
How do you weigh the players that have been here all summer against guys that you really like from another team?
"That is a good question. I keep bringing up the 2006 example, we went into the fourth preseason game, and we made a trade for (Scott) Shanle (LB the week before) and Mark Simoneau came after the last preseason game. We had guys that started that season that did not play in training camp. It will be a challenge in weeks one and two but you have to trust your gut that over a period of time they will be a better option. Sometimes that happens. You guys see it all the time, sometimes a player will come in on a Monday or Tuesday because of an injury, and suddenly, he is playing that week. If it's a player that's been here that's an easier transition, but sometimes it's a player that hasn't been here that's playing. I think you have to factor that in by weighing the talent, intelligence, and availability of those guys."
With the injury to Jalen Dalton, what are your thoughts on Albert Huggins?
"It's one option. That's a position (DT) where it's an alert position for us. We have to look at all of those guys. That's a tough preseason injury for us because Jalen was doing some good things."
When you guys make roster decisions, how much more do you weigh on game performance vs. practice performance?
"I think your games give you more information because you're in a game environment against unknown competition. It's all factored in, but I think games carry a significant amount of importance because of that setting. Usually, when you see something show up in a game you've probably seen it in practice. We've seen Marquez (Callaway). I saw that (growth) a year ago, but we've seen his growth right in front of our eyes. Last week was a lot of people's first exposure, but if you were looking closely it (growth) had already begun to happen, it just wasn't as noticeable. Over the years, I've seen that happen with so many different position groups and players. It's always been interesting to see. That game, though, is usually what's needed for that confidence. Some guys in practice can excel but sometimes they have a hard time going across the street and performing in the stadium. He (Callaway) doesn't have a hard time doing that. You want to see that constant growth for a lot of different players."
Have you guys discussed possible contingency plans for the upcoming Hurricane Ida?
"No. In fact, this is the first I've heard of it. We've dealt with that before. We do a good job of that. It's that time of the year (hurricane season). Obviously, we'll monitor it."