Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Local Media Availability
Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Where does Drew Brees stand right now with his injury situation?
"It will be day to day and we will report it in our weekly injury list."
How difficult is it to game plan when preparing two different quarterbacks?
"The traits that Luke McCown have, in regards to similarities, it's not like we have a zone read package with one and a dropback package with the other. Last night was the first night in game planning and we'll get to work on it today. We'll make sure we're getting the reps at that position and see how he does. From an injury standpoint there is nothing that I will say at all. Other than it will be day to day and will see how he is progressing and will be smart."
Do you have an idea of the percentage of the reps Luke (McCown) will get?
"None of that will be announced either."
Can you talk about the challenges that Carolina presents, more specifically with Cam Newton at quarterback?
"Well, number one they do a very good job of running the football. They have a combination of things that make that happen and they have a very good scheme. Obviously, (they have) a dynamic quarterback and running backs (Jonathan) Stewart and (Mike) Tolbert. They do some misdirection, zone read and really force you to be disciplined defensively. We've played some of our better games and some of our worse games ever against them. It's been an up and down battle, but your eyes have to be good, with regards to defending the run. Also knowing that there will be some shots down the field, I would say it starts with the defense. They're outstanding and have improved each year. You see them play and can start with (Luke) Kuechly, (Thomas) Davis, and Josh Norman. (Norman), he has had a fantastic start to his season. We've seen him grow right before our eyes."
Did you know Hau'oli Kikaha had the ability to strip the ball the way he did Sunday prior to the draft?
"Well there were some snaps in his college film, but it has been great that he has demonstrated it at this level. I think that it's good for our players to see. It's something we're coaching and something that I think's more a part of the game than it's ever been. Actually, it was a factor last week. We had some short field opportunities and obviously the same happened to us."
Back to Luke McCown, could you maybe just reflect on what went into the decision to bring him in the first place? What were the attributes that led to his staying power here, and particularly this year?
"He is a guy that we got first-hand knowledge of with; if you go back to his days in Tampa Bay, he had a win here in the Dome. He is a very good athlete. I think he is sharp so he processes the information quickly. In the 2012 season when I wasn't here, he was in our training camp. He ended up getting cut and then signing with Atlanta for that season, and then we had him back in 2013. It starts with him being a good football player."
With regards to Cam Newton and some of the option stuff that he does, is it a matter of having a spy on him or does it get more complex than that?
"I don't know that you would call it a spy. I think that there just has to be someone handling the inside run, someone handling him, and there's times when you even see the triple where he can pitch it. It just has to be gap discipline and proper eyes. That might mean squeezing a zone scheme with the end, and then the force player being able to react and tackle him. To your question, it wouldn't be one specific guy that is spying him but if the play comes to the weak side, it might be a combination of end and force player. There has to be discipline with regards to how you handle some of that option stuff."
You guys have gone 0-2 before with this team, do you kind of look back at some of the things that maybe didn't work right, as far as message-wise?
"I think the focus is fairly simple in regards to the game. We're getting ready to go on the road and play a division team that won our division a year ago. There were two hard-fought games (last season). They got after us in our last meeting here at the Superdome and beat us real good. We had the win earlier in the year. I don't think that yesterday was a day where I went back to see, well how did I, it was more about what do we have to do to get ourselves ready to play this game and to win this game, and then what are some of the things that need to be cleaned up, and then if we could put these specifics on a film maybe, in a powerpoint, this morning. Typically, on a Wednesday, we would start with an overview and go through some of the details with the opponent. That has kind of been the approach. This is a good football team that we are playing."
The run game, so far this year, is probably something that you will count on, no matter who is the quarterback; do you see signs that the run game is close or are you disappointed with the production that you have gotten so far?
"It's been inconsistent and it hasn't been what we've wanted, but I'd say, in regards to the players, we got to the second half last week and did a much better job. In the first half, there are some things that we have to do as coaches to give ourselves a better chance for success. There were two different halves, with regards to our scheme and the success we had. We knew a week ago at Arizona that there were going to be some tough fronts. It's a defense that obviously defends the front and gives you opportunities in the passing game, in the screen game. We're still working after two games and we feel like we can be better rushing the football. I would say that it was two different halves last week and there were a handful of minus runs last week that we just can't pin on the players."
Photos of Sean Payton vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saitns photos)