New Orleans Saints Quarterback Jameis Winston
Post-Practice Local Media Availability
Wednesday, October 22, 2021
How many times have you played in Seattle?
"This will be my second time."
What are some of the challenges in playing there with the noise? Is it real?
"Yes, it's loud. I think the challenge is that Seattle has a winning tradition like us. Those guys really take pride in their organization, and they like to win. Coach (Pete) Carroll is a winning coach and that's a winning team."
You had a really good day in your previous start there. How much of a positive is that going into Monday night?
"Yeah, you can definitely learn some things. I think they're a little bit different schematically on defense. But I'm definitely excited just to be playing in that atmosphere and really, just get back to playing football. You have an off week, so you get to be back with your boys and head out west to go win a football game."
Coach Payton has had great success coming off of bye weeks. Is there a noticeable difference in handling the bye week from your time in Tampa?
"I don't know any noticeable differences. I just know Coach Payton's sense of urgency is always top notch, but this week his leadership and staying on us with preparation and staying focused has been huge this week."
Does getting some guys back from Injured Reserve help energize the team?
"Definitely. I mean, hopefully we can get these guys out there and play this week, man. I'm very excited for that, but we don't know, it's early in the week. But like I said, it's next man up mentality. Our guys that we've had have played their tails off, being relentless and persevering. So, we're ready regardless."
How does it feel to have so much untapped potential in this team with all of the talent missing to start the season?
"The main thing is to focus on finding a way to win. The stats and big plays, they'll come as we get healthier and more of an identity with this offense. Our key every week is how we can win, and we do our best to achieve that goal."
Have you had more growth in certain areas or are you just focusing on getting better in every area of the game?
"Every year, I try to find something to get better on, but this year I've really just honed in on not focusing on the outcome or result. I'm just focusing on the decision. That's it. Throughout the course of my career, that's been the most significant thing for me. I like throwing touchdowns and I like the outcomes. Sometimes I don't like the result and I've been a player to live off momentum. Now, I might throw a ball away. I might not like the outcome, but it was the right decision. So, I'm just focusing on doing the right thing."
Can you describe the elite red zone efficiency this year?
"Sean (Payton) always comes to me every Thursday and tells me he's got some touchdowns for me, but we just have to get there. That's some situational football that gets him pumped up. Calling plays get him hyped. We hone in on third down and red zone and we like finishing with touchdowns. He always talks about the four-point play, right, what is the four-point play? It's executing third down so we can get seven instead of three.
How nice is it to see some of the Injured Reserve guys back at practice?
"It is awesome. You can see the sigh of relief in their eyes so they can give themselves a chance to play. Obviously, my energy towards them is that I am excited to see them out here. I think just as for a confidence thing, them being out here to get on the practice field and doing their best to get back and play is huge."
Did you get away from football during the bye week? What was your routine?
"Yeah, there's some self-scouting. This was my first bye week where a coach gave us the whole week off. I asked Sean (Payton) what I need to get better at, and he sent me a healthy text message of what I need to get better at, and I focused on those things. I won't share those things with you but I'm consistently getting better at them. I used the bye week to really cherish my wife and spend time with my boys. It's kind of tough getting away from football because we're early in the season with the bye week. I really wanted to be out there, but in terms of us getting healthier and having a breath of fresh air to get locked in is hopefully what this week did for us."
What is something you want to do better?
"Find a way to throw a smooth ball in the underneath game, not firing the ball too hard so those guys can handle it. I want to give nice, accurate balls in the underneath game so we can get more catch and carries. We've had explosive plays, but I just want to be more accurate. I think that's what Drew (Brees) was so good at, just being accurate underneath. Instead of it being a catch and tackle, those guys getting four or five yards after the catch really does matter. It is like an extension of the run game. You want four yards, but if you can throw an accurate ball to get you to seven, you'll take that any day."
So, you're talking about having more touch?
"Absolutely. I mean, obviously, football is all about inches and the details. To certain guys, you have to have a catchable ball in the right place for them to advance."
How is the chemistry level between you and Coach Payton in those Saturday game-plan walk-throughs?
"On Saturday, I'm ready to roll and Sean is too. I embrace those meetings to talk about what we like and talk strategy, how they'll play us and all that stuff. I get amped when that happens because I know tomorrow, we are playing a football game and none of that stuff will matter besides how we execute. So, I get very hyped about that and it is really important to Sean (Payton). It's getting better. We have been on the same page a lot more. But I mean, we both love ball. I'm really off of his page."
Was the pass to Marquez Callaway in the red zone last week a touchdown call?
"Yes. They did not play it like we drew it up, though. We wanted them to in and out. We got man coverage and it was awesome. Great call."
Have you thought about the possibility of it being a rain game?
"I think I throw a good wet football. I'm just excited for football weather. I hear it's supposed to be in the 40s or 50s. That's football weather. If it rains, it rains. If not, great. I know Seattle is beautiful. This time of year, it's always raining in Seattle. So, we're definitely going to be prepared and have a fun football game on Monday night."
Is the physicality of the Saints something you knew before you got here?
"I don't know who says that this is a finesse team. I know since Drew has been here, the offensive line has always been solid. We have some monsters up there. I always say we have the best offensive line in the league. When I was over there in the (Tampa) Bay, we knew the New Orleans Saints were a gritty football team. I was more looking at the defensive guys, but even those guys with Cam (Jordan), Trey Hendrickson back in the day and David Onyemata, we know that we win in the trenches. Coach preaches that, dominating the line of scrimmage. That's how we win each game."
Why do you think the Saints have success when adversity hits?
"Persevere, that's it. That's just this team. That's Coach (Sean) Payton. Coach Payton thrives in those moments where we have adversity. That helps him rise and us because we have his back. Sometimes you just need a little extra push. Ours was mother nature this year (Ida), but you battle injuries every year in the NFL. Having the next man up mentality has to be something that is never taken for granted. Guys have to be ready, no matter how young they are, no matter how new they are. We just have to be ready to play and I think we've done a good job of that. So far, I think we've handled unfortunate events that we've had around us. I go back to the resiliency of this city. We got people in this city going through stuff way worse than us. We have to embrace it and grow closer together as a team and go out and take it out on our opponent."
Do you tune out all the talk around your performances through the first five weeks of the season?
"The thing I get excited for every week's Coach Payton, Coach (Pete) Carmichael, Coach (Jim) Chaney and Coach (Ronald) Curry coming up with a masterpiece every single week. My main goal's that I'm not worried about numbers. I know I can throw for 500 yards and eight touchdowns, but I want to get that W in the win column. We have been fortunate to have more wins than losses so far and have to keep it that way. We've got to stack up some wins. So, that is what I am excited for every single week, finding ways to win the game. Coach tells me the numbers will come and all that good stuff will come with it."
Do you like your efficiency so far this season (12 TD: 3 INT)?
"Yes, but we're working for that every single day. It's a long season and it's the beginning of the year. We are excited to get back playing football on Monday night to go get another win. When the opportunity's there for the big plays, we've got to take advantage."
Do you feel those big plays are cashed in when the defenses hone in too much on the running game?
"Absolutely. Like I said, it starts in the trenches and starts up front. Alvin (Kamara) has done an unbelievable job. He's the best running back in the league and done a great job of carrying the load with the offensive line. Like I said, when the opportunity is there with the big play, it's my job to take advantage of it."
Why does Coach Payton embrace having adversity so much?
"He does. I just think in his years of coaching, he's seen how his mentors have shown him to carry the troops when bad things happen. I think he embraces that. That's why I said when I first got here, I was saying "Drew Brees, Drew Brees, Drew Brees". When I saw Coach Payton coach, I said Drew Brees is a superstar, but this is Sean Payton's team, and this is how he carries himself. He's one of the best leaders I've ever been around, and we follow him."
New Orleans Saints Tight End Adam Trautman
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 22, 2021
How do you think the first couple weeks of the season have gone for you?
"I think it's been good. They've trusted me a lot, especially in the run game right now. But I think it's been going well. I've done everything they've asked me to do. As the season goes on, hopefully my role expands, and all that type of stuff and they trust me with more things. So far, I think it's been good.
Is there any area you want to improve on from the first couple weeks?
"Every game you have those blocks where if you're blocking 35 out of the 50 plays, you're going to mess up a couple times. That's just how it is and how it goes for everybody. So yea, just cleaning up those couple blocks and getting open on certain routes kind of thing. You just want to clean that stuff up. With the bye week, you can go and reflect to see certain cut ups of routes to see how people win on particular routes and how to block a certain technique or watch a certain player in particular. I just go back and reflect the little things where I can get better: hand placement, pad level, first step, second step all that type of stuff."
Were those exact numbers on run blocking stats?
"No, that's just my assumption. I know it's somewhere around there, trust me on that."
How do you feel about run blocking on the majority of your snaps?
"Good. We clearly have a plan in place every single game and we have relied heavily on the run. I mean, I love to run block, so I could care less."
Are you less involved in the passing game than you were at the end of last season?
"Yeah, I'd say the passing game has been down obviously. We've been very run-oriented, and it's worked out well. That's benefited us with being a super physical team. We have the best offensive line in the NFL, no question about that. So, you know, that's just how we play and that's just kind of how the game plans are working out."
Your role hasn't necessarily changed to be more of a blocker?
"Yeah, exactly. That's how we're winning so you're not going to go away from winning just because you want to see this or that from somebody. We're always going to do what we need to do to win and that's ultimately how you stay in your job."
Have you wondered if there's untapped potential for you as a receiver?
"I mean, I definitely feel I can contribute as a receiver. I don't think they question that either at all, but like I said, it all goes back to the game plan and how they plan to use us. It's worked out pretty well so far, we're 3-2. I don't think a lot of people thought we'd be 3-2 right now, and it's more impressive considering we had to evacuate and were locked in a hotel and everything like that. I'm not complaining because it was way worse here (in New Orleans) but we're on the right track and I think everyone in the building feels that way."
What do you think is behind the success of this team when adversity hits?
"Yeah, I think that's one of the most impressive things about the culture here. Two years ago, (the year) before I got here, they went 5-0 without Drew Brees. That's the culture Coach Payton has built here and obviously it's worked out pretty well. Every time someone goes down it's next man up. We always say nobody in the NFL gives a damn who's missing. You show up Sundays and win. The fans don't care, nobody's going to give you an excuse. We understand that and it is always the next man up mentality. We handle it well all the time."
Did the message adapt to the situation with the hurricane this year?
"I mean it's different because we didn't have a hurricane last year. But no, our mentality is always next man up. You have to fix that problem from within every time and he (Sean Payton) is going to put the best people on the field to do that to give us the best chance to win."
How does having Nick Vannett back at practice impact you?
"It's great to have him back in practice. We'll see how that unfolds."
Can you talk about how important Alvin Kamara is to this offense?
"He is vital. We can do so many things with him: Put him at any receiver position, have him in the backfield or the wing. He's the most versatile running back in the NFL. Obviously, we trust him with everything we have got. He has been the cowbell this year too. I don't think he's rushed that many times in a single game in his career (vs. NYG). He's doing great this year and he's one of the best running backs in the NFL."
How much do you appreciate Alvin Kamara's balance?
"The one I'll always remember, but there's a lot of those in games where I will wonder how the heck he does that, but there was one against San Francisco where he caught a smoke screen and bounced off four guys within three yards of the line of scrimmage. There was a holding call on the play and it got called back. That one and the one against Green Bay (2019) were incredible. I definitely appreciate that (aspect of his game).
How would you explain your incredible red zone production right now?
"The coaches put so much time into game planning. We have one of the best offensive minds in the history of the game upstairs and he surrounds himself with terrific coaches as well. Our red zone offense is incredible. We put in a whole new package in for it every week just as I'm sure a lot of other teams do, but I think last year we were good, but this year we've been very, very good there. It's the most important part of the field to get touchdowns. We kind of use the analogy with the '4-point play' on a third down and in the red zone and stuff like that. If your split is even off by half of a yard or a step, he (Payton) is grabbing you and saying where you need to be and you kind of see how it all works. It's amazing, really. I've never seen anything like it honestly. You can visualize why he's moving you and then you run it in the game, and it works. It's incredible."
Were you on the field for Marquez Callaway's red zone touchdown?
"Yes. That's an example of that red zone efficiency. When you know what type of coverage they play percentage wise and that stuff you gameplan it. They were in man, and we ran one of our man-beaters. 45, Garrett Griffin, did a hell of a job getting his man to go underneath the route, so that's why he (Callaway) was so wide open."
How were you able to recognize spacing down in the red zone is so important?
"Just with spacing, you're trying to get a certain defender to sit on something so you can go over the top of him. So, it's all a spacing game. That stuff is important in man, but more so in zone. Just making sure people can't fall off on certain routes and cover 2 guys at once. It's pretty cool stuff."
Did you ever envision liking run blocking so much before moving to tight end?
"No, because I played quarterback and I never got hit before in my life. That was the one thing I didn't like about playing quarterback, being away from the physical part of the game. I ran the ball a lot in high school, but the actual physical part of the game is what I missed. Teams now will run all this spread and it's a lot more of a gunslinger approach, but when it comes down to it, football games will always be won by the more physical team. It's a mindset. When you walk on the field, you give off the 'we're going to kick your butt' kind of thing. It puts the fear of God in people. People don't like lining up against our offensive line. I dare you to find someone that does. Love for the physical part and being able to take another dude and physically displace him and not have him be able to do anything about it is morally defeating them. That's just how it is. We have had games where we have 4 yards a carry but 170 yards rushing, and it doesn't matter. That shows you how much we can wear out teams."
Does this team pride itself on being the more physical team?
"Oh yeah. We preach it. It's not even our side of the ball; our defense is 2nd statistically in run defense in the NFL. So, that's just the nature of how we're built top to bottom at every position."
What's it been like having Juwan Johnson in the tight end room?
"He's been great. He's been very receptive to everything people are teaching him. It's a new position for him so he has a lot to learn, but he learns it fast so that's good. He is got a great personality. He's a super positive guy, which is always good to be around. He's always eager to learn so he's been a terrific addition on and off the field."
Have you tried Juwan Johnson's juggling routine?
"One time I did, and it was really bad. He's jumping around now too and juggling at the same time. I can't do that."
Did you think the Saints were more of a video game offense in terms of some of the big play capability before joining this team?
"Oh absolutely. When you hear about it, Drew (Brees) had all those 5,000 passing yard seasons. The great staffs and organizations play by their personnel and adapt to what they have. Obviously, Coach Payton, his staff, and our players have done a hell of a job with that. That's why we've been successful to this point."
New Orleans Saints Safety Marcus Williams
Post Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 22, 2021
Sean (Payton) has been really good after the bye week and his teams have been really impressed. What is it that he does you think that makes you all really good at that point in the season?
"He just takes care of our bodies. He makes sure we're getting the treatment we need and all the things that we need in there so it benefits a lot coming off the bye week."
What's made you guys so effective in the red zone defensively this year? It's pretty much a flip of last year. What's made you so successful?
"We just continue to do our keys. Like when we're in the film room, when we have practice, we just continue to work at what is going to come so just doing the little things right and we take care of all those plays we probably were getting beat on last year."
(Ken) Crawley's back at practice, Kwon (Alexander) is back at practice, Marcus Davenport is back at practice, but how beneficial is having that bye to get a bunch of people healthy?
"They were back at practice? No, I'm kidding. It's beneficial to at least see guys out there, but we'll see what comes."
What are some of the things that just stand out about the Seahawks pass offense?
"They're explosive. They try to get the ball downfield with 14 (D.K. Metcalf) and 16 (Tyler Lockett) and that's where they try to make their money out there, scrambling and things like that. So you've just got to lock on when they're scrambling and make sure we don't let them get the ball out."
How does it change for you when there's a quarterback that scrambles?
"Just stick to my keys and watch the quarterback. If I know what's coming it'll be easier for me, but when they're scrambling just got to continue to stay deep and let nothing get behind me so we don't let those explosives go."
As a team you guys have navigated injuries really well the last couple years whether it's Drew (Brees) or this year with all the starters being out. What do you think is kind of the key for you guys do that? Is it some sort of message coming from Sean? Is it kind of like a leadership on the team thing?
"I think we just have a next man up mentality. Everybody practices as if they're a starter so if somebody goes down somebody's ready to come back in. Everybody's practicing and getting ready for the game, getting ready for that week so that's why there's not really a big let off."
I've heard you guys say too, even after the hurricane like nobody cares, right? Like nobody was feeling sorry for you guys. Do you think that kind of that attitude helps with that too?
"I mean, nobody ever cares. Nobody cares if you go down, nobody cares if you're up, they just care about the product on the field, they care about you winning. So that's what we have to focus on and that's probably what it is."
When you talk about reading your keys, how much trust is involved with that? I guess basically just trusting that everybody's gonna do the right thing?
"Right, we practice it. We practice and practice, trust that the man can do his job and it makes it easier for me if I trust my guy on my left and my right then I could just do what I have to do in the middle of the field in center field. You can see it on the field, everybody's doing their job, making their plays so I'm just back there roaming."
What do you think of the job Marshon (Lattimore) is doing right now?
"Marshon's a dog. We all know that. Marshon's going to handle his business each and every week. He's going to go out there and ball and you do not expect anything less than that."
Do you like playing in Seattle?
"Shoot, I've only played there one time so if we get another win I'll like it."
Is it as loud as everybody says? Do you remember it being loud?
"I don't remember. Nothing is as loud as the dome."
You took the crowd out of that game early didn't you? I remember you had some big plays on special teams and defense?
"We did. We had a takeaway and we had a big punt return to the house so that probably took out the crowd which is probably why I didn't really hear them."
And you hope you don't hear them again?
Did you ever see the video of Marshawn Lynch's run against the Saints?
"I wasn't here. I didn't watch football."
When did you start watching?
"Once I got to the league. I only watch film and handle what I've got to handle."