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Saints Training Camp 2021: Transcript of Coach Sean Payton from Tuesday, Aug. 10

Payton on Patrick Robinson: 'This was something he felt deep down inside he had to do'

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton

2021 Training Camp presented by SeatGeek

Post practice press conference with local media

Tuesday, Aug.10, 2021

Opening Statement:

"Just one transaction, really two to announce. Patrick Robinson (CB) went to the reserved list. He has retired. We signed Brett Maher (K) after a workout yesterday. Our roster is still at 90 players."

Did you foresee Patrick Robinson retiring?

"No. Normally you do not. He has played in this league for a long time. He and I spoke for about a half-hour. He's had a great career and been smart with his money. This was something he felt deep down inside he had to do. It is not unusual in training camp. It's happened several times. With a large group of players practicing, it's hard to ever see how somebody is feeling. With someone who's played as long as he has, he felt comfortable with his decision, and we respect that. He'll move on to the next chapter of his life and we'll move forward from here."

Was Patrick Robinson in good spirits?

"No, I don't know if that's how I'd describe it. He didn't want to let anyone down, but in his heart, he felt it was the right time to step away. I respect that."

Did Patrick Robinson have an injury or a setback in earlier practices that led to his retirement?

"No. He was healthy."

You called the cornerback a "must" position to add depth. How do you feel about this room now after the retirement of Patrick Robinson?

"It's still a "must" position to add. We'll keep working the rosters and there will be a cutdown. In the meantime, we will keep developing the guys here."

Have you seen encouraging signs from the corners currently on the roster?

"Yes. Absolutely. It's still an area, though, we'll pay close attention to."

How did you feel the two-minute drill practice went today?

"There's going to be a ton of things to coach up. I saw the ball rolling around on the ground when the time is moving. The emphasis is to get out of bounds. We had a penalty in extended drill. There's a number of coaching points like you'd expect on the first day. Some good stuff, some bad stuff. Fortunately, we have a lot of time to clean that stuff up."

What did you see from Brett Maher to sign him?

"He's pretty consistent. We had two guys in here, but he did a better job of being more consistent. He's got good leg strength and he can kick off as well. We've seen him before from his time in Dallas. Those are the things that led to us signing him."

Can you talk about the play design on the completion today from Taysom Hill to Juwan Johnson?

"It was a cover-2 look. It was a good location. Juwan got down the middle and did a nice job of turning his body. He's had a good camp. It's the type of play you need in that situation with that coverage so you can attack that area of the field. Obviously, it was a big play in that drill."

Is that type of play the best use for a player like Juwan Johnson?

"He's developing. He's made a transition inside to tight end. He's a willing blocker, he's tough, he's mature with his preparation. I'm encouraged with what he's done so far. We're going to keep working with him. Certainly, he's comfortable inside and in those traffic areas."

What are you looking for specifically from Juwan Johnson converting him from wide receiver to tight end?

"We are just trying to find a fit for him on the roster. Of course, we did it with Dan (Arnold). I've done it two or three different times, it's not unusual. We find out where they fit, what their growth potential is, how they can make the roster, and what the vision is for the player. I think it's been done a handful of times. Juwan is someone who has really good growth potential. He's strong and someone who is embracing the position change (from WR to TE). It's hard if someone is not embracing the position change. I go back to my time with the Cowboys, and we had a receiver out of Wyoming, who went on to have a nice career after moving inside to tight end. It's about creating the right vision for the player."

Are you comfortable with only three preseason games playing all four quarterbacks?

"Look, they're not asking if we're comfortable with it. We're doing it. We'll meet tonight and tomorrow night about the rotation on how we're going to play them (quarterbacks). It might be one of them does not play much the first week but then plays more the second week. That includes our down the line players. That's why all of this (practice) matters too."

How would you describe Ken Crawley's road since he left and came back?

"He's always been someone who's been able to run. I think he has real good length, so his radius to defend the pass helps him. He stepped in during the London game and started the rest of the year for us in 2017 and had a nice year. Obviously, he's been in this league a long time. He understands the challenges, his strengths, and weaknesses. You keep working on the things he wants to get better at. He's always been willing and is a good worker."

It sounds like you're hopeful about him (Ken Crawley), is he in the mix to start at the other corner spot opposite Marshon Lattimore?

"Yes. Absolutely."

Are you still looking to add more cornerbacks to the roster?

"Yes. I think I just said we were."

Can you address some of the practice absences today with some of the injured guys?

"We had a few of the guys nicked up and did not practice. I'll keep you posted."

It looks like Marquez Callaway has stepped up as a leader in the wide receiver room some. Can you talk about how he's grown as a leader?

"I think I saw a little bit of that last year, quietly. It was a little under the radar, but his confidence really grew when he started playing in the middle of the season. We saw it week in and week out with how he played. He's a willing blocker and tough. We're going to keep developing him. He did enough things for us to see last year to feel confident that he's going to help us."

With all the roster turnover, does it make it harder on you in practice as opposed to practicing a more veteran team?

"Well, it is what it is. We've had turnover year in and year out. There are new guys that come in and guys that leave. We can't control the amount preseason games, but we can create the same competitive environments here in practice. I think you'll see us treat the preseason games like weeks 1, 2, and 3 as opposed to treating them like weeks 2, 3, and 4 because when we get to the third preseason game, there's another weekend prior to the start of the regular season. So, we'll use them the best way we can to help us build the roster."

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