New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Have you had your pre-game meeting with the NBC announcers yet?
"They were at practice. The production meeting is scheduled different this week due to the short week, so it will be like a Zoom (meeting)."
Will the pre-game meeting with NBC be different with Drew Brees there as an announcer/color analyst?
"Oh, with Drew? Yeah. I said for all of these years, he had a routine on Saturday that involved dry needling and a lot of different things to get his body ready, so often times the production crew would be waiting (for him). His routine was going to stay the same, so, when I saw him, I said, 'Hey, Trevor Siemian's got a long routine, he might be a while.' Now he's on the other side of it. But I think with the short week they do the pre-game meeting over the phone or by Zoom. But yeah, it's different. It's good seeing him, though."
How has the short week been for game planning this week?
"Look, we've done it with a short schedule. We've done quite a bit (of game planning). With the itinerary, we kind of have an idea (of navigating the short week). The stress is always a lot with having only a couple of days. The evenings, relative to the coaches, are late, because we're putting a lot in and having to double-up (workload) the first and second nights. But overall, I think it's gone well."
Have you kept the players off of their feet for the majority of this week?
"Yeah, look, the big difference is that almost everything is a walk-through. I don't think we were in a helmet the last two days. Everything is mental and you're doing a lot of walk-throughs as opposed to the normal padded practices."
Does playing a Thursday game with so many injuries make it more difficult to gameplan?
"Well, that never makes it any easier. Experienced players understand what the look is going to be like. The younger players obviously need the looks and the experience. But, that's what it is and you're just going through many different looks in the walk-throughs."
Does the long flight home from Philadelphia affect how you gameplan for the short week this week?
"Philadelphia's only like a 2-hour flight instead of an hour (to Atlanta). I didn't think it was unusually long or anything like that. The tough flights back in the day were when you played a Sunday night (game) then had to play again on Thursday. That's a tough schedule, just because of when the players were playing. But I think the travel overall and all of those things worked out well."
How much did the two different injuries Taysom Hill suffered (concussion, foot) influence your vision for him in how much you consider playing him at quarterback?
"Obviously, that was significant (concussion). It took some time (to heal) and then, obviously, he gets the foot injury at Tennessee. He's doing better. How much did it impact him? That's a good question. I think sometime when a decision is made, you're just going with it. Trevor's done a good job and understands what we're doing. Obviously, Taysom's impact, not just in his rushing role, but there's a physicality he brings to our offense and our special teams. It's good to have him getting better now."
Is there anything Taysom Hill can do to earn the starting quarterback job?
"Yeah, look, I'm not going to discuss the quarterback right now. We're trying to win a game now and everyone is trying to do their part, and we'll kind of go from there."
What stands out about Buffalo's secondary?
"First off, Sean McDermott’s done a great job. Leslie Frazier, those guys, I'm going to go way back now. So, we were all cutting our teeth as young coaches. They were with Philadelphia; I was with the N.Y. Giants. Jim Johnson was the Philadelphia defensive coordinator. He was one of the best (coordinators) in our league, really. He was fabulous. That staff was the young Sean McDermott, Ron Rivera, you name it. They had a bunch of good young coaches that went on to be really good head coaches. I ended up here in New Orleans, Sean went to Carolina with Ron to be the defensive coordinator there. I think he's done a fabulous job. They do enough things in the secondary and they're talented. Their technique's good; they're very well coached. So, when you put a good scheme like they have together with good players, (that's tough to play). They're smart at the safety position, they play a lot of nickel defense, and they play it well. The tape study this year is Buffalo, but we even went five years deep into old Carolina gameplans looking into ideas and thoughts. He's (McDermott) something, I think. I think a lot of him. What they've been able to put together in Buffalo, they've put together a really good team."
Did you sleep at all this week looking back at that much film?
"No. You just look at reels. This morning, Kevin (Petry) put together every touchdown run or pass since Sean (McDermott) has been a defensive coordinator. Runs were first, passes were second. It was about 200 plays or whatever. You might come away from that saving 18 plays and then you might look at the 18 plays again and only save 3 of them. Then, you put them in (the gameplan). They do a good job. They mix it up. They give offenses pressure looks that are challenging, they always have. So, you have to have answers for that."
Did you ever try to pursue McDermott to be your defensive coordinator here?
"He was already under contract. I don't recall ever having that opportunity. I'm trying to look back; Jim (Johnson) was alive in 2006 and I'm trying to recall the year he passed away. But I can't recall when Ron (Rivera) went to Carolina if Sean (McDermott) went that first year with him or not. He's (McDermott) very well respected and he's a good guy. A really good guy."
Do you see NFL quarterbacks evolving to be more elusive and mobile?
"Well, if you go back and listen to Bill Walsh's tapes, he had a value in movement skills for quarterbacks back then. Whether it was Joe Montana to some degree or Steve Young. I think we're always asked that question, and I think we're certainly seeing what the college game is bringing us. And yet, on third and eight, you're going to have to make a throw from the pocket. But we're seeing on the touchdown reel every week all of the off-schedule plays. Pick a team, the original design's this play, and it becomes a different play because the quarterback has made it such. This guy (Josh Allen) does that extremely well."
How does game planning for Jalen Hurts last week compare to planning for Josh Allen this week?
"Well, it was different, there was so much zone-read, read-option, that takes on a whole new element. The off-schedule plays down the field are something (Josh Allen) does well."
What do you remember about Josh Allen coming out of college?
"I remember him well. Look, you knew he had big arm talent. We liked him. You felt like he had the size, arm strength, you saw all of those traits. It's always hard when you're seeing the offense he was in (at Wyoming) and it's different than what you're projecting. Shoot, he ended up being a great pick."