New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Friday, November 12, 2021
Is Payton Turner out for the season?
"No, he can come back. Good question. It's three games, really."
How do you feel about statistics on wide receiver separation?
"Well, the first question I always ask is who's the source. Is it PFF (Pro Football Focus)? Then, I don't have a strong feeling for it. There's some PFF stats I think are valuable but there's others that I think are not valuable. There are two ways to separate: there is speed from running fast and there is stopping fast. The last element would be within a formation, like a tight bunch, where that can open up separation. Running fast can help a guy separate and stopping fast can help a guy transition. If they do not run fast but they can stop fast, that is a tremendous asset. Then, there is formation variation. I wouldn't look at those numbers a lot if it were from PFF."
Are you now off of the competition committee because you were under a term limit?
"Yeah, I think it was. It was the right time. I'll leave it at that, without getting myself fined."
Does a player like Ken Crawley who went on the Reserve/COVID-19 list while on the Reserve/Injured list alter their timeline to return?
"Look, there's a protocol and then they become eligible. Obviously, you have to go through the testing protocols, but he's someone that can be brought up (to the active roster). Any positive COVID test, you're not playing. I don't think a positive test pauses the 21-day (Reserve/Injured list) timeline. You don't get on the COVID list and then sit another 21-days on the Reserve/Injured list. Now, if you knew ahead of time, it makes complete sense, then."
Does it affect anything seeing the opponent's list of inactive participants in a Friday practice?
"Here's what we do. We look at the injury report, which I have right here, they get ours, and we study it. Obviously, we see the film and we get a past history of injury reports, and they get ours, and we see it's pretty common, for instance, that a few of their guys that don't practice on Wednesday and Thursday and then they're 100% on Sunday. So, we look a lot at the history of the injury reports. Michael (Parenton) gave me a long list of players that have previously missed two days of practice before and then played that Sunday. So, it's pretty standard and you get used to maybe looking at a pattern, so that's how we look at this. Even at gametime, we're still looking to validate some of those injuries."
Will there be any extraneous circumstances with field conditions in Nashville on Sunday?
"I would say this, it'll be in the mid-50s with 10 mph winds. It should be good weather. It's a field where there's a lot of footing issues. So, this is one of those weeks where we had a meeting this morning on the footing. There's tons of clips of guys slipping, even in a 'got-to-have-it' fourth-and-one quarterback sneak."
With those conditions in mind, how do you prepare for the turf issues? Do the players wear different cleats?
"We have them all, but we'll be in more screw-in cleats rather than molded. The molded cleats are more comfortable but with the re-sodding of a certain portion of the field, this is a grass field where there's a ton of guys on film slipping with molded cleats on. A ton."
Did you show the team footage of guys slipping in Nissan Stadium?
"Yes. We go through the film. It is not optional for them, we tell them this is what they are wearing."
Do you ever take note of how many Saints fans travel during road games?
"I feel like we've been traveling well. The only thing I thought about when you said that we had the infamous whistle monster with the whistle that blew during the snap. The play stopped but it didn't and that was my theory, that the whistle monster was at the game. But yeah, you can tell when you have a contingent. Obviously, Nashville would be a great trip. I think we travel well in a lot of games. Washington was exceptional."
Are there any guys you want to let us know about early that won't be playing this week?
"No. Soon (injury report)."
How have you felt about Brian Johnson's performance so far this season?
"Yeah. Listen, I think he's been outstanding. I love what I'm seeing in practice. There's a calmness to him. Yeah, absolutely."
Has Mark Ingram II been what you expected in his return to New Orleans?
"Yes. He is doing well. It is a little harder to bring someone in to play who maybe has not been playing. But he's been playing during training camp, games, etc. With football, sometimes you're bringing in someone who hasn't played. He's played a lot of football and he's smart, so he's doing well."
Marshon Lattimore said the sky is the limit for him now and thought he left a lot of plays on the field with his cast being on. Would you agree with that?
"Yeah, he would know. Obviously, if you're at a skill position where he's at, that can be tough. So, I know he was excited to have it taken off. Also, at the line of scrimmage, it's undervalued when you're putting your hands on receivers for confidence to strike."
How important is it to have Mark Ingram now back considering the healthy uncertainty with Alvin Kamara this week?
"Yeah, the season he's been having has been unbelievable. We followed (Houston's) game tape on a few games. It's just impressive to watch. That's the way this league goes. You've seen it already with a number of different players. We'll see how it is with Alvin. To answer your question, I think it's been very important. Having someone like we had Latavius Murray a couple of years ago help carry that load is instrumental. So yeah, absolutely."
What happened with Alvin Kamara?
"It's a knee injury he's rehabbing. Towards the latter part of the game last week there was soreness, and there's a play or two where you can tell."
With a guy nursing a knee injury, would the field ever factor in to deciding to hold a player out of a game?
"No, the field would never dictate if a player played or not. Obviously, it's more challenging on an artificial surface with more traction. More traction leads to more stress. We're 28% more injury data (occurrence) on an artificial surface than a grass field. That's over 5 years, 8 years. The grass is always safer. It would never be a field decision."