New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
2021 Training Camp presented by SeatGeek
Post practice press conference with local media
Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021
It seems like your have had more indoor practices lately. Does that have to do more with the weather or is it your preference?
"It was more weather related. Part of it is that the schedule has changed as far as how long we can be on the field. That adds a time constraint. To practice outside effectively requires seven or eight breaks (heat). It used to be a 3-hour time slot and now it's shortened down to a 2-and-a-half-hour slot. It's just a weather decision for us."
Do you guys get less work done in the heat?
"Yes. If we had more time, we could take all those breaks. We just knew that during this stretch of training camp we were going to have some really hot weather."
What are Jim Chaney's responsibilities on this staff?
"He's with the offense. He's an idea guy for us. He's someone I've known a long time but never worked with. He'll bring new ideas for third downs and red zone packages each week. He's one of those guys where I felt it was a good opportunity for us and it was a good fit. He's really involved with the passing game and game planning. He has been a really good addition."
Is Jim Chaney's role a newly created one on the staff?
"No. Each year we look at our staff and evaluate. It evolves. I have new titles for guys that I haven't had before. We've had Johnny Morton in that role in the past. It's someone that jumps ahead to an opponent or list of packages we're looking for to put together trends. It's been helpful."
Have you heard anything from the NFL about Marshon Lattimore's possible suspension?
"No. We haven't heard anything. We'll wait on them (NFL)."
Is there a normal timeline for a suspension like that?
"I don't think there's ever a normal timeline for that. A lot of it might depend on their (league) schedule. We're approaching it like he's a full go in practice and ready to play when the season starts. I have not heard anything. I'm sure it has something to do with the state and the city relative to the case in Ohio. We're preparing as if he'll be ready to play in week one."
How much have you seen Ryan Nielsen grow as a coach?
"Quite a bit. We're in the passion business. He has a lot of it. I like that. That's a great trait of his. He's smart and he's a hard worker. He gets a lot out of that room (defensive line) and he's very good at teaching. He's done a real good job."
Do you have an idea of who will fill the role of Justin Hardee on special teams?
"We'll see. We've got a couple of guys competing for that spot that we'll see live in the next two preseason games. I think they'll be two or three candidates and we'll give them plenty of work. Last week they had some, and they'll continue to get more over these next couple weeks of preseason."
New Orleans Saints quarterback Jameis Winston
H*ave you been working to improve your internal clock to get the ball out faster this training camp?*
"I think the most important thing I'm working on is just executing. We're blessed to have a great offensive line. Obviously, that's been communicated to us, so we want to get the ball out our hands and get it to the playmakers."
With Drew Brees doing that well do you think there's more of an emphasis a little more here than you've seen in other place?
"Well, I think Drew just was very familiar with this offense, being in it for 15 years, when you go through certain concepts over and over and over again, you build that time clock in your head and you know it just as a rhythm where to go in certain times. So as we grow in learning the concepts, I'm pretty sure that we will grow, most positively, we'll grow in terms of getting the ball on time."
Are you feeling that rhythm in this offense the way maybe you did in other offenses at times?
"I think I really am and I think anytime that you can catch rhythm, like that's the biggest thing. Rhythm is the most important thing with offensive execution. So we're trying to get that every single time we're out there on the field."
How important is Erik McCoy for what you guys do?
"I think he's amazing. The more you can do, he's so smart. He's so, I say gritty, like the look in his eyes when you step into the huddle, like you want to have a center like that and I'm proud to be behind him."
What were your impressions of Kevin White thus far?
"I always knew that he was an amazing player. I'm happy that we were able to pick him up. He's looking electric out there. We just have to keep continuing to stack them days."
What were your impressions of the Saints program while you were in Tampa and now since you've been here?
"Well we always knew that the Saints were going to come ready to play great football. But since I've got here I think this organization is just elite. Starting from the top with Mrs. B (Gayle Benson), the way that Coach Payton runs things. His ability to be able to communicate with the players, his leadership as a whole. (He) Definitely has great leadership as a head coach and his energy and enthusiasm is amazing, so I'm privileged to be here."
How fired up does Demario Davis pregame speech get you?
"Any time that you can hear the passion coming from a teammates voice and you've seen how much they put into it. It always just triggers with me. I had a guy Florida State, Telvin Smith, man like everything he spoke just brought tears to your eyes and I know how hard Demario works man. So even last year when he and Drew (Brees) used to get in the huddle and speak, man I just know how much those guys have put in so it just gets you fired up every single time."
Do you and Taysom Hill feel like you are making each other better competing each day?
"Absolutely, I think any time that you're you have a high level competitor it's going to make you better naturally."
How would you describe your relationship with him?
"I think we are justgreat teammates. The main thing at the quarterback position, everyone in that quarterback room, our main focus is to win and protect the football. That's the only thing that we really think about. So we're constantly, consistently trying to help each other with that, especially the winning part. So as long as we are they doing our job, like it doesn't matter who's in or who's not. It's about this team more than it is about us individually."
Have you seen many guys Deonte Harris' size that are the vertical threat that he has become?
"I always say size really isn't much of a factor anymore. I think we see people every single day in this league with, Kyler Murray, at quarterback being as dynamic he is. Deonte (Harris) coming from Assumption College, you don't think that you would get that. It's more of a question, have you seen someone from Assumption College come out and make a splash like that. When he steps on that football field it is incredible and I enjoy playing with him and him having that ability to be that deep threat despite his size, like that does not matter, like that he is just a great football player and I enjoy playing with him."
Is Deonte Harris a guy you can count on beating the guy in front of him?
"Oh yeah, he's definitely electric. You know, but the great thing about this league, they pay the guy on the other side too. So we're always competing, we always try to find a way to get better and I'm just happy Deonte is on my side."
New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill
Would you say that the internal clock, just getting the ball out of there, no matter what is one of the things you're working on right now. From watching Drew (Brees)? Is that something that you're focused on a lot?
"Yeah, I think what made Drew so special was his ability to recognize coverage and always get it to the right guy. And I would say that that's the natural progression as a quarterback. And I think that comes with reps. So as I look at this camp, I've been getting a lot more reps, my comfort level of getting through a progression, making the right decision, checking the ball down when it needs to be checked down, all that stuff. It's all part of being a great QB, it's what I was able to see Drew do for so long. And so that's a natural progression."
Is it finding a natural tendency to want to make a play and maybe hold on to the ball too long? Is there any of that involved?
"I think in practice there certainly is because in practice, you're trying to work on timing with receivers, you're trying to, certainly there's some scrambled rule elements that you're trying to practice, but you're really trying to get receivers balls. And so I think you have to consciously take every rep like a game rep or sometimes you get in trouble in a practice setting. I think in a game, everything becomes very natural as you're making the right decisions, you're trying to move the chains and all that stuff, but certainly in a practice setting for sure."
What do you still want to show coaches or implement, personally in the next one or two preseason games?
"I think it's all those things that we've talked about, I think there's some core things that you have to be able to do as a quarterback to play in this league. So that doesn't change, I feel really comfortable, I feel capable of doing all those things that you need to do in this league to play quarterback. And then there's this whole element that I'm capable of doing on Sunday that you don't really get to showcase in a practice setting, as well. And so I think in a game where you might get 15, 18 snaps, or you play a quarter, the opportunity to showcase that is a little limited. So I think you try to do that in practice, maybe there's a few opportunities in the game. But I think just trying to showcase all of that is what I would hope for. But again, those opportunities become limited when you're own playing a few snaps."
You've probably correctly said, we're the ones who keep calling it a competition. But for all of us who keep waiting for like that knockout round that makes it obvious, how do you fight the urge be like, "Man, if I could throw two touchdowns in this game…" How do you resist that the game is that important?
"I don't think it works that way. I think every play call is a little bit different. You guys can look at statistics and you can start to say what you want to say about those statistics. But internally, we know what our concepts are, we know what the play call was. And I know if that was the right decision and the ball went where it needed to go. There's so many things that go into playing this position that outside of this building you're just not aware of."
You brought up just like getting more reps. I imagine this is more reps than you've gotten in a long time. Just having that benefit of those, like in practice, have you been able to pick up on more stuff.
"Yeah, absolutely. I think Drew (Brees) was a rep guy, he's the guy that wanted them, needed them, needed to see it all. And I would say that I'm a visual learner as well. It is just so different. When you get the rep maybe you make a wrong decision, like you learn from that experience in an entirely different way than if you just watch somebody do it. You see a lot of different looks and you like what you did and then you kind of get a grasp for that concept or that coverage. The reps that you get are so valuable. From a couple weeks ago when we started to where I'm at now, I feel like my growth as a quarterback has been the most it's been since I have been here and it has because of the reps."
I wanted to revisit real quick the whole sack avoidance and internal clock thing. On the one hand there's this notion that the offensive line wasn't the only the reason that the Saints were so low in sacks, that it was (Drew) Brees understanding of when he had to get rid of the ball. But on the other hand, you're not physically the same as him, particularly as it pertains to elusiveness, so should you necessarily be trying to be just like he was in that regardless or just be your own?
"No, I mean, yeah, I think we've talked about this where, man, there's so many things that I want to emulate that Drew did. He's a Hall of Fame guy and he's the greatest mentor that I've had in my career, but my game is different than his. So I think for me, it is finding that balance of check it down, or throw it away, or make something happen with my feet. And again, every situation is different and it's finding that balance. There's going to be situations where, man, I wish I would have thrown it away. And there'll be situations where I probably wish that I wouldn't tried to work a scramble drill, and I wish I would have just taken it and done that. But I think that's all part of the learning experience and this evolution of me playing quarterback."
It looks like you and Ty (Montgomery II) connected on a similar crossing route, set up to what went for the interception the other day, just curious what's the process throughout the week when you identify a missed read or just (if) you're not on the same page. What's the process of kind of building that mental trust throughout a game?
"Yeah, well, I think, again, this kind of goes back to what we talked about earlier. When you are in a game, and you have a learning experience like that, you do not forget those experiences. So I think just having that rep in a game setting was enough to where we're going to focus on this. And that was something that Ty and I were both going to collectively work together on. And then we had a drill specifically for that concept, how we read it and we worked in practice to make sure that we're on the same page."