New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Conference call with New Orleans media
Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021
Watching the film on New England are J.C. Jackson's ball skills something that stand out?
"The first thing I see is their versatility. They can play a handful of their defenses with several personnel groups. They are extremely smart, extremely well coached. The technique, they do a great job of mixing up man and zone and so relative to Jackson, he obviously has very good ball skills. I think he has really good COD. Clearly they are on the same page relative to what they're playing front and coveragewise. It's a group I think moves well. I think they're pretty stingy in the red zone. When you watch the tape, it's a defense that communicates well. They present a lot of challenges. That's what you kind of grow to expect in one of Bill's (Belichick) and you're seeing how they play. They're one of the better tackling teams you see on defense. This year and last the tape shows you all that when you watch it."
Do they look fundamentally the same on offense despite a quarterback change?
"Yes, they run the ball very effectively. They're going to do a good job of mixing play action, hard sell of play action, second level throws that can challenge your interior hook defenders, guys that have a conflict on a play run or pass. They can get the ball down the field. They'll give you some personnel groupings that are conventional, yet when they break the huddle they aren't necessarily in conventional formations. So it forces you to sort through who your assignments are in man, probably a little bit more stressful than those man situations or how you're going to deploy in zone. I think when you look at team and watch them not just in a two-game study, last year, the years prior, you have to battle all three elements. They're one of the best special teams units in the league, statistically, they're extremely athletic. You have to be able to handle the speed when we are trying to field and return a punt and then in Foxborough, the turnover numbers are going to be important. Under Bill since 2001 at home, they are 108-7 when they win the turnover battle at home. That's your stat of the week."
We've usually talked to you about how you look at other team's play calls on offense and scoring plays, but do you guys do a similar thing with Bill's defensive looks?
"Absolutely. We try to study the better teams. We're not always necessarily right all the time of who we are looking at. Some teams, the film isn't as good. Here's the challenge sometimes, you're watching New England defense Arizona, it might be a little different than how they defend the Saints or the Rams. If you're watching them how they defend Baltimore, it might be different than how they defend (another team). He's always done a good job of having a plan that week. But relative to the study yes, absolutely."
What do you think about Payton Turner and the first game he played last week?
"I was encouraged. It was his first full-go exposure. I like how he's wired. I think it's important to him. He works hard and it's something to build off."
When did you guys identify Ty Montgomery as someone who could help on that gunner position?
"He can run. He's a good football player. He can run. There has to be a little toughness there. I think it's one of the harder jobs in football. One of the harder things to do in football is to beat a double team and so he's one of a handful of a guys that we've worked opposite of J.T. (Gray)."
Given you are on the competition committee, what is your view of these taunting calls being a big talking point around the league?
"I don't. I think it's a little like roughing the passer. I don't think that all 17 crews are on the same page."
Do you have any of your coaches that couldn't return yet back on the field today?
"I'm not going to go through a daily update. I think within the next three or four days. There's a point where you are just out of it because of time. You're no longer contagious. That's going to involve a handful of them by the end of the week. There's no way with the current setup that these guys are going to miss New England because we'll be at the 10-day mark where there's no longer any risk of giving it to anyone. I think we're getting close to getting a few of those people back. Jamie (Meeks) our nutritionist is back. She came off and (we) go from there."
What are your early impressions of Mac Jones and his development as a rookie?
"I think positive, really positive. He was someone that we were really high on. I think he processes information fast. At Alabama if you watch closely his tape, the ball comes out, decisions are made fast. I think he sees the field horizontally as well as vertically well. He has the arm to make the throws that you want. His decision-making and processing are where I felt were really strong suites with him and I think he's handling it well. It's not easy to all of a sudden come in and start week one as a rookie, but he's a smart player."