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Sean Payton on Sunday's Saints training camp practice

Transcript of Coach Payton's session with the media

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Presented by Verizon Media Availability
Sunday, July 31, 2016

Opening Statement:

"We got our second day in pads in. I thought there were some good periods. Again we'll have a chance to look at the film and kind of get back to (our) meeting schedule."

Did you throw some new things in with your drills? I saw things that looked maybe (different)...

"Yeah. Any year from year to year there might be some changes with regards to what to position coach is doing. We've had two good run days really. Team nine on seven periods. I would say physical practices, but with regards to the individual drills, that can vary sometimes depending on what needs to get done."

Can you talk about P.J. Williams' day?

"I think he is a lot further along now. He had the injury last year and it is hard to kind of keep up with the speed of the install (when you are hurt). His offseason has been good, he's healthy, and I think he's out there competing at a really high level. I have been impressed just two days in with pads, but clearly there's a difference with (what) he knows defensively and his ability to pick things up and then when that happens you play a little bit faster."

I saw you run over and congratulate him on a play. A guy coming off an injury like that is it almost more important, the mental side of that, get him feeling good?

"I think most importantly he's healthy and he's able to not only sit in the meeting room but he's also able to transition it to the field and receive the reps. Until you're out there, it's impossible to make the gains that you're looking to make."

I know that you were asked about developing young talent, kind of finding diamonds in the rough. (Jordan Williams) Lambert made a couple of good catches today. Just what was the process of him trying out, that you may have seen something to keep him around?

"One trait that he has is that he can run fast, I think he's got pretty good transition and burst. There's a lot of offense going in and so part of his challenge has been just picking the system up and learning it. He does run well, he's got good speed, I think he sinks his hips well and so those were a couple of things that stand out in his workout."

How has Mike Thomas handled some of the blocking stuff you guys have done and how is that for him and key is that for him being the key guy on the outside?

"I think it's important for all of those guys. Someone asked yesterday where we were at, I think he is someone that is certainly capable of being a good blocker on the perimeter for our running game and so far they understand who they're blocking because they can change whether it's the corner or the safety depending on the look they get, but I expect him to be good in that area."

What have you seen from some of the new linebackers Craig Robertson, (and Nate) Stupar?

"Craig (Robertson) has made a few plays, (Nate) Stupar the same way. We helped ourselves in the offseason with a few of these guys and we really haven't even talked about special teams, but I think a number of these guys understand they are competing for spots on the roster and oftentimes that's the quickest way to make it. I'm encouraged with some of the depth there and those guys have played in this league. Not just sparingly, they've played games so I think that will help us."

Do they seem to have a toughness as a group that maybe was lacking at that position?

"I'm (not) comparing it to positions past, I'm just going by what we've seen so far. I think they're guys that just like playing football and to excel in the kicking game, you have to enjoy it, you have to play with a certain toughness."

You guys talked about bringing in a fourth quarterback. Peyton Manning's visit to practice today has nothing to do with that does it?

"No. He had a two day speaking engagement here with an outside food group and it happened to line up with our camp and he shot me a text a few weeks back and it was good having him out here. Just a chance to be around our guys and someone with the success he's had, it was good to see him."

Anything he shared with you guys?

"I think one of his great traits is that he loves being around players and this type of teaching environment and again it was limited time because his commitments were really across the street, but I'm sure it was a good break for (him) and it was for us."

So he didn't talk to the team or anything?

"No. Nothing official."

I know it's only two days but what you've seen from your run defense in pads, any encouragement that it might be a little bit better?

"Too early to tell, I think we'll have a better feel as we put a few practices together, I think it would be too early to tell. There are some periods, there's some groups, the first group, we can make a few plays. Overall the key is keeping the pad level down, getting the pad level and the fundamentals squared away with the contact and all the things that come with putting the pads on with the first couple of days."

How pleased have been with (Coby) Fleener and just his ability to catch the ball?

"I thought the last couple of days he's practiced better than his first day, he had a couple drops, a couple mental mistakes, but I think the last couple of days he's really made some plays down the field, he can run."

Speaking of making plays, Jimmy Pruitt two days in a row comes up with an interception. Is that something that you acknowledge as coaches like catching the coaches eye in the meeting room?

"Yeah, absolutely. You tend to see guys with ball skills and there's some guys the ball comes to or travels to, they have good instincts and that definitely shows up. It's charted, all the numbers like that would appear and we would discuss."

It looked like (Obum) Gwacham had a few sacks today, what signs have you seen from him that's encouraging?

"You know what, there's a handful of those guys working over there at that weakside end position and when we see the film, we had some competitive periods and he did definitely get to the quarterback a few times. I think the key with some of those guys is how well they perform the other element, how he handles the running game, point of attack, some of the things that will be a challenge, it will be a little more new."

As far as Dannell (Ellerbe), is the key with him just keeping him healthy?

"Yeah and you know what, he's 100 percent full, he had a good offseason, certainly he brings an athleticism to the position, he's got really good experience and so far he's stood out so that's for sure."

Tim (Lelito) mentioned yesterday that the defense is making a lot fewer mistakes because of the changes they've made to simplify it and how that's helped the entire team get more reps, have you seen that?

"Look, obviously, you don't want to repeat plays. I said this the other day, I think half the battle is getting your call, getting your alignment, getting up, knowing the call, and playing the defense. I think that's obviously been an influence for us not only as a defense but as a team, I think the same thing applies on offense, the first thing that prohibits a guy from competing to play is that he doesn't know what to do and you have to to give yourself a chance. To compete you have to know the assignment, you have to be mentally on top of the game."

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