Sean Payton spoke with Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio on Monday at the NFL Annual Meeting. Below are some highlights from the interview:
On what the team has been looking to get out of this offseason:
"In the offseason you are preparing for the draft, you are going to lose a few players in free agency to other teams, you may sign a player or two. That's been our history. What's unique this year is there has been a few trades. Of course, it's a significant trade when you are trading a guy like Jimmy Graham who is a Pro Bowl player. It's looking at 'where are our areas that we need to improve? Where are those 'must' areas and where are the assets we can do that?' Mickey (Loomis) and I discussed this trade for a week leading up to it. We really felt strongly it was going to require, a player like Max Unger for instance, but also a first round pick.
"You don't go in skeptical with something like that because typically there aren't a lot of trades with players like that. And yet, with Seattle, it was able to work out. We have to look at how do we improve our defense and certain weaknesses of our team. You never want to lose a player like Jimmy and yet we feel like this gives us an opportunity to do that."
On what Drew Brees' reaction was to the Jimmy Graham trade:
"I think it's tough. For nine years now he has played with a lot of different receivers and tight ends. What's lost a little bit is there's an energy required when you are the quarterback - you are watching film with these players and working on routes. It's difficult, but from a big-picture standpoint you are wanting to play better defense and reduce the amount of points you may need to win a game. Losing players like that through trade, waivers or cuts will impact the quarterback, especially when it's a tight end like Jimmy Graham. It's our job as coaches to find additional targets. We feel like we got one in C.J. Spiller. A completely different position, but nonetheless a playmaker when the ball is in his hands."
On his plan for using Mark Ingram and C.J. Spiller:
"Mark Ingram had his best season last year. (He is) Certainly an every down player. He's smart. He's someone that stayed healthy and did a great job for us. We also realize the attrition and challenges of playing that position for 16 weeks. To some degree, we have always had complimentary players at running back. A guy like Reggie Bush in the early years, Darren Sproles and Khiry Robinson is a player that I think gives us a physical presence as well. Spiller's (skillset) is a unique one. I think one of things that helped us sign C.J. was the versatility that we look to have when he is in the game. We will look at packages to put him out wide and packages where he is in the backfield with another running back. The key with him when you watch him on tape is finding a way to get him the ball in space because he's so explosive."
Payton spoke with Fox Sports' Chris Myers about Drew Brees, stating "He's going to be a part of our next championship."