New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean PaytonTraining Camp Presented By VerizonFriday, August 5, 2016
"No roster announcements. We got a handful of periods, obviously, today in practice, with an emphasis on the red zone. I'm sure when we get up and watch the tape, there are going to be some good things on both sides of the ball and, of course, some things that we've got to get cleaned up."
What have you thought about Brandon Coleman's camp so far?
"I'd say he has been solid. He is a steady player. We are working with his yards after the catch. He has good size. That can be a plus for us (on) third down and in the red area. But I'd say, so far, I don't know that it's jumped out at us, necessarily, but I don't know that there have been a bunch of minuses (either). Just his consistency in his second year—I count it as his second year with that first year coming off of an injury—but I think that experience last year's helped him."
Does he have to work on the more technical aspects of the position?
"Yes, I would say that that is accurate. Learning to play with his size and be a little bit more physical in the receiving end, understanding leverage—those are all things that are points of emphasis for him."
I know you can't overrate the ebbs and flows of these daily practices, but it's now three days in a row that the defense has been celebrating. Is this first week of camp doing a lot for the confidence of that unit?
"Well that last period is kind of nebulous. You're trying to assign a point system to plays. Now, after the first group was done, it was 8-3, offense. Second group came in. Defensively, they had some stops. Third group (was) the same way. It ended. We had too many players on the field on one snap. Then it ended in a tie with the last play being the final play. I think more than anything, it's just trying to create the sense of urgency—that all these snaps matter has really been the main thing."
Talk about Marcus Murphy from the running back position.
"I'd say, the last couple of days, Marcus has stood out a little bit. I think we havegood competition there. I think Daniel Lasco is competing. I think Travaris (Cadet) (is doing well). But I would say, in the last couple of days, I would agree with you. He's had a handful of plays where he's hit the hole, and in some of these live contact drills he's done a good job of finishing some of his runs. I like the competition we're seeing there, especially on the back half of the depth chart at that position."
What are you looking for from the kickers to try to handicap that battle?
"It's more of a longer evaluation. I do think this—I said this to our special teams coaches—both these kickers are going to open the season kicking. One's going to be kicking for the Saints, and the other, I believe strongly, is going to be kicking for another team that may not have that same depth right now. But I think it's early. Both of them hit the ball well today. We'll get into the preseason games and split their reps, chart their kickoffs, do all those things and try to make our best informed decision."
How much might it matter that (Kai) Forbath is still perfect?
"All of it matters because we chart everything. So, I think the sum total is important and how they're handling those pressure situations. How do they handle the games?"
P.J. (Williams) said that having to sit last year really helped him become a better football player. You're seeing quite a bit of growth in him this year, aren't you?
"Yes, absolutely. With the injury a year ago—it's tough, when you're a rookie and you get hurt early in the process, to impact that team, especially early in the season. He's a guy that has played at a high level in college. He has adjusted well. He is playing snaps not only outside but also in the nickel inside. So, we just have to continue to work on some of the details. I think you feel his size. He's got a good presence with him in regards to his hands and his length. He had a play in the red zone that was a big play. We just have to keep working on the technique aspect."
Do you understand something more about a person's character when they have to sit out? He said he hadn't sat since he started playing football. (Do you learn from) how they come back from that adversity?
"Yes. I think one of the challenges—we talked about it last night in the team meeting—this is a league that's demanding. There are setbacks, and there are challenges. There are a lot of roadblocks and a lot of reasons to not be successful. I'm encouraged to see him playing well and progressing like he is."
Seeing a bunch of practices with (David) Onyemata in pads, does it change your level of expectation to how quickly he can come along?
"Every third or fourth night in our staff meeting, we'll go through every player on the roster. I feel like the last two-and-a half to three days, for him, have been very good. So we continue to work him at the three technique and some of the sub-rush packages. Again, from a football snap count, he's behind a lot of these guys just from an experience standpoint. The key is that he continues to learn. I think he does pick things up quickly. Hopefully that keeps sliding in the right direction."
I've noticed you watching the offensive line during individual drills. Beyond the first six guys that we all know about, what are you seeing from some of the less experienced guys?
"There are a handful of different guys in that rookie class. Jack Allen's flashed some. I think the pads have helped him. Senio (Kelemete) and Tim (Lelito), they're competing in there and receiving a lot of work with the ones. Both of them have a lot of playing experience. Of course, Andrus (Peat) we've talked about. He's playing both over at the left tackle and guard position. So, I like the competitive periods we're able to have. We've had now a couple of days in a row where we've had a live period. I think it really allows us to evaluate our pad level and how we're coming off the ball and then how we're handling the protections. We got some odd front today, which became a little bit more challenging. We had a couple of guys running free, so we'll have to get that cleaned up."
When you speak about protection and evaluation, it seems the defense is winning 90% of the time when running backs go against linebackers and safeties. How do you judge that?
"Well, it's a technique period so we try to isolate. We take the tight ends in one area, and we get the Sam linebackers and the strong safeties matched up with them. Then we take the running backs and the inside linebackers. Then we take the offensive line and defensive line. We are trying to create some technique work for those players that have to block the blitz. There are times where the back's going to have to fit. It's a little bit more challenging if it's all air, and you are a running back fitting up on a linebacker as opposed to—oftentimes, when you are fitting on a linebacker, you have got these gaps that are filled by linemen that prohibit certain rush patterns. I think the most important element to that drill is the technique of pad-level—where the contact is being made. If you're the running back, (it's) trying to take some of the air out of the rush, so you're not just taking five steps and taking it on. Of course, if you're the tight end, (it is) the same way. You're trying to take some air out of your block, protecting a launch point of about six yards. We've had pretty much everyday a technique period on a specific emphasis. We will come back to that as well, that pass-pro drill, probably in two or three days—maybe before we get over to New England."
What are some of the things Chris Manhertz can do as a player? Have you seen growth from him this camp?
"He's a developmental player, strictly from a standpoint that when we got him, he'd been a basketball player. I've seen progress. I've seen athleticism. Can he play in the kicking game? That'll be the question to answer. So, as long as we continue to see progress and see him flash and do some things, he has a lot more room and a lot of work to do. Yet, he's making that conversion slowly."
Delvin (Breaux) has stood out from his play, but with Keenan (Lewis) out, have you seen a growth with Delvin in leadership?
"I think in year two, his comfort level (has improved). With him, it's more the specific elements of the technique and some of the nuances with the defense. He's well respected. He's a guy that I know the players have a lot of confidence in."
Mark Ingram sat out practice. Any update there?
"We'll see where he's at tomorrow."