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Sean Payton on Monday's training camp practice

Coach Payton met with media following Monday's training camp practice in Metairie

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp 2016 Presented by Verizon Media Availability
Monday, August 22, 2016

How do you gauge the extent to which having too much youth in cornerbacks, with reserve safeties is a liability or not?

"There is a balance, obviously sometimes you are more experienced, look Delvin Breaux has played a lot of football, so I don't look at him maybe as a second(year) player with the experience he had. In a good way, we have some young free agents and I think each day they are making improvements and making strides. The looks that they are getting verse the last two opponents that we have practiced with and then played with have been good. PJ (Williams) is in his second year, be it first year playing and (Damian) Swann obviously the same way. I like the fact that we are young, but I like the fact that we are improving and getting better."

Would you have more comfort with youth because of (Dennis) Allen?

"I don't think that has anything to do with it. What we try to do is evaluate what we see on a daily basis and that is the production. How they perform in the 1 on 1 and how they are doing with the team 7 on 7s and constantly grading that type of film."

You wanted to see wins and competiveness this preseason, minus the wins are you seeing the competiveness that you wanted to see?

"Yes, I think at times. I think the practice tempo's been good, obviously there are a handful of things we need to clean up, but I think the effort and focus has been good. We have to find a way this week to play a better game. There are certain elements that really put you behind in the game and to start the game the way we did, with a good three and out defensively and to have good field position and you know that is a big point of emphasis and to turn the ball over right away that is something in the regular season that shifts the momentum, especially on the road. At some point this week, we will transition into Pittsburgh, maybe a little earlier. We don't have the lead in practice that we normally have the last two opponents, so the transition into the game will be a little different. In the afternoon we will begin on the scouting report and then Wednesday practice and we will have some Pittsburgh and Thursday the same way."

What were some of the pluses and minuses that you saw, after watching the film?

"I thought we had good play at some of the cornerback position. I felt PJ (Williams) bounced back and obviously made a big play (like) (Kasim) Edebali and Cam (Jordan). I thought in the kicking game (Daniel) Lasco showed up and made a big play in coverage. I thought that he ran pretty well. I thought (CJ) Spiller had a little juice. I would say in the last two weeks we have seen some really good signs with his speed and quickness. I thought (Luke) McCown handled things well. Those are some early impressions. I thought (Nick) Fairley played well in a role, obviously with an injury to (Sheldon) Rankins. I thought he stood out. I thought (James) Laurinaitis was better this week than the week prior."

How has Coby (Fleener) adjusted to the offense?

"I'd say it's an ongoing progression. I think, man there are some plays that are really good and then there are plays where we have to be a little more detailed and that's something that I know he (Coby Fleener) has to work on. The job for the tight end is obviously, along with the blocking and along with being able to pass protect when it comes to the passing game and the alignment and the exact assignment. Painting the picture, if you will, falls on not just the tight end, but the receivers, the runners and anyone who's out in the pattern. I would say it's still a work in progress and yet there have been some good signs and some things that just jump out at you that we need to clean up."

Do you think Andrus Peat playing guard has hindered his ability to play tackle?

"I think a little bit. It's one of the things we talked about this morning. Guard (to) tackle is one thing, but when it's left side of the ball, right side of the ball then your stance changes. We have to begin to settle in and I didn't want to play (Terron) Armstead more snaps than he should have in his first week coming back. Hopefully we will be able to keep (Andrus) Peat on the right side and receive a lot of reps with that one group."

What did you see out of your return guys today?

"I thought in Week One the return game was a real bright spot. We did a really good job setting up really good field position. It was the turnover that started the game. That became really a seven-point swing and with that field position it might be a 10-point swing, if you're able to get in field goal range. I'm anxious to see how we respond. Kickoff's one thing, but a punt return. We saw some signs a week ago and then when you turn the ball over you do not give yourself a chance."

How do you think the new chop block rule will help the DT?

"It's a good question. Just so we are on the same page; the chop block involves two people, one working high, the other (working low). I don't know (if that will) come up often, obviously it will take a little pressure off the defensive line, but those combinations to the second level, as long as the hands are clear by the guard and or center. I think it's a good rule. I think most everyone in the meetings felt the same way. I think the key to it is how do we put language to it so that it is clear. It is not a cut block, but it's really someone engaged and then someone while that's happening going low and I think it's a good improvement."

Traveling from West Virginia to New England and then to Houston, is it good to be home?

"I think we are all creatures of habit. So these guys in the next two days are all getting settled in to their routine here. Absolutely. Weather was good today. We had a good turnout and the fields have been in great shape. We are still in the training camp mode and I think that is the mindset that we're taking."

When you're looking at utilizing big receivers, obviously with Michael Thomas, but what is your take on Jordan Williams-Lambert and then (Jared) Dangerfield? They are pretty much the same size as Michael Thomas. How is their progression?

"I'd say (Jordan Williams-) Lambert's a little bit bigger. He can get to 235 or 240 (pounds) really pretty quickly. I have seen some encouraging signs in the kicking game. He has played pretty physical. I am not so sure that he doesn't become that kind of F candidate (at the) slot. He has done some things. Obviously, (Jared) Dangerfield is young and picking things up and really hasn't received the reps. (Jordan Williams-Lambert) has done a few things where you take notice in the kicking game, either as a gunner or a cover guy. He has shown some toughness so finding that niche where he might fit is important."

You mentioned (Kasim) Edabli and (Nick) Fairley, but what about those other guys on the defensive line? (David) Onyemata got a lot of snaps in the last preseason game.

"He's progressing. The more playing time that (David) Onyemata's receiving, the better. He is athletic (and) he is beginning to pick things up. It is just recognizing pass and run, or how to play off some of these combination blocks and how to play the fit correctly. Tyeler Davison is another guy who we sat a couple practices last week. He has really shown improvement at the nose (tackle position). Overall, there has been some real positive signs in that defensive front. We just have to keep working at it. We are going to see another really good team coming in here on Friday. We'll get challenged, I am sure, in that area."

What is it that you have liked in what you've seen in Nick Fairley?

"He is athletic. When he wins, he usually wins in the first second of the play. He is pretty quick. I'd say that he has a pretty good football IQ. In other words, he is experienced and he is able to recognize schemes, as to if it is run, what type of run it is. He had some good production in that last game."

With a young ballclub, how important is it just to get a win?

"I think it is important. We've talked about going into these games, that there is a rotation. There are going to be guys that we decide not to play. The object is obviously to finish at the end of the game. Last week, regardless of where we were in that second half, we were looking at playing that game out just as we would a regular season game. I think it'll be important for a lot of these guys. This will be the first time they play in Louisiana or at the Superdome. I am looking for us to play well on Friday. I think that these guys expect to as well."

How to separate typical preseason mistakes versus a valid concern as a coach?

"I think it is important to trust what you are seeing. The best predictor of what is to come is what you've been seeing. Past performance is a good judge of that. There are some things that we can see and watch the tape and say alright, this is not going to happen in the regular season. But there are some other things that need to be cleaned up."

How about the run game in that regard?

"I would say that that is one of those areas. (Also) the turnovers. We need to finish better than 2.2 or 2.4 (yards per carry) and avoid the minus runs. Part of that is applying a game plan, as opposed to just your training camp offense. I think that that is a work in progress. It has got to be better."

You have two veteran safeties here obviously but what can Vonn Bell do to maybe earn some playing time?

"I think he has shown some really good signs on tape. He is really quick and explosive. I think he is a pressure player, so when he rushes I think he can really get to QB pretty quickly. He has a good burst. He has done a really good job. He has opened some eyes. I think he can play in the kicking game and I think we will find a way to get him into packages. Now there are still a handful of things that he has be a little quicker on, but I'm pleased with the camp he is having so far."

With P.J. Williams and the interception he had, is there any type of adjustment you so compared to the touchdown earlier?

"It was a tight red zone. Kind of a different play than the touchdown earlier, was further out and a deeper throw although it wasn't long. The one down there was a back shoulder and he recognized it and he did a good job with his eyes and he did a good job coming up with the play. A lot of times, you know down there in tight quarters you might come up with a break up that was a big turnover that was a 4th down play if I'm not mistaken.  It was good to see him respond he has been very competitive."

When you look over all at the film it seems like you definitely see the progression with the defense as far as their confidence and how they play against the run specifically. I know you're focusing on the offense, but it seems like the defense is definitively trending in the right direction

"Yes, they handled some short fields when you look at where we gave them the ball. Early in that game the second possession across the 50, here we go and there is another series where midfield here we go. You know what, I think that two-minute drive at the end of the half we gave up a field goal and I'm sure when we look at that tape there are a couple of corrections that we can make to clean that up, but there has been improvement. I think that, look part of it is in order to have confidence you have to have some evidence or performance and I think that they have carried that over to the practice field of as you watch it. That is all encouraging."

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