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Sean Payton on the first day of minicamp

Transcript of Coach Payton's press conference on Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2015 Minicamp Presented By Verizon Practice #1 Transcript
Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Opening Statement: "We're basically finishing out the first of our three minicamp practices. The schedule's a little different in regards to our times and the amount of time we're on the field, meeting time."

Can you address the report about the supposed good news Junior Galette received?

"Yes, We'll see. We're optimistic. All along, we were just making sure that all eyes were on him and making sure we do the right thing as we approach this break."

Do you have players trying out in this minicamp?

"Yes, we have a long snapper, a punter and a wide receiver. We're allowed to have as many as we want. Typically these players are in for rookie minicamp tryouts. The one receiver was unable to be at the rookie minicamp and we wanted him back. The other two are specialists, the long snapper we had at the prior camp. "(We're) just taking a peek at these guys."

Can you discuss your thoughts on bringing Kevin Williams in?

"He's a veteran player who is a guy we visited with about a month and a half ago. Most of his career was spent with Minnesota and then the last year in Seattle and someone who's real smart. He's someone who understands football. He's played a lot of it obviously. He got in Sunday night. We just have to be smart about how many snaps he's receiving given (he didn't participate in) the offseason program and where he's at."

You looked at some veteran defensive linemen, did you finally make the move based on some injuries?

"No, he was the one guy we specifically brought in. It wasn't injury-related. It was just reaching an agreement with him and getting him in here. It was not a result of anything that took place previously."

What have you seen from him recently?

"He's versatile. He can play the three (technique). You would think you would get him in the three technique. Obviously he's played inside in sub packages, but I thought he did a good job for them (Seattle). He was available. He provides real good leadership. He was a part of a real good defense."

Is his versatility a matter of being in a four-man front or a three-man front?

"A lot of the time we're working him in as a three technique in the four man fronts. We'll just kind of see where it's going."

How has Dannell Ellerbe looked to you?

"Good. Each week we've kind of taken another step. Today was the first day he received a lot of team snaps. He's progressing well, rehab has gone well. Certainly he's picked things up and we've just been smart about the snaps we're given him."

Do you meet with any of these college coaches out here or pick their brains at all?

"A lot of them are looking to come in for a period of time. There's two things that will happen. There's scouts that will come in. The scouts will visit with them about players that are juniors that are going to be seniors. Anytime you have coaches interacting, there might be questions that come up about the read option and some other topics. This is the time of the year you have a lot of guest coaches, a handful of high school coaches and coaches from all over. We've always tried to be accommodating."

Some of the rookies are receiving a lot of snaps right now. How do you feel about their progression so far?

"So far, it's gone pretty well. The biggest challenge they face is picking up the scheme and getting in the right kind of shape. They're behind a little bit, but we're far enough into it now where some of those guys will receive some extra work when the veterans are off. They'll be here for a week next week when the veterans are gone. It's just trying to get them up to speed as quickly as possible for training camp. We're not in pads yet, so it's hard to evaluate a lot."

Can you talk about the status of Davis Tull?

"The easiest way to say it is that we think based on his progress he'll be ready for training camp. At that point, it will be making sure there is not too much right away. The key for him is keeping aware of the mental (stuff). He seems to be picking things up well. But we anticipate him being ready to go in training camp."

With Andrus Peat here. You talk about what you do to help  guys like that when they aren't here yet.  Can you talk about his progress now?

"He was here last week for the latter part of the OTAs. He's a quick study. With him, just like the rest of those guys, it's physical, getting in shape to practice for over two hours. It's good to have him here working and he's here through the weekend. He has a lot on his plate."

Rewinding to when you had to get under the salary cap in March. How critical was it to work things out with Marques Colston?

"I think it starts with that we'd like to always return veteran players if you can, but of course you need to have a vision. So we sat down at the end of the season and visited again in the winter and talked about the vision for him. He's someone who has been a real steady, consistent performer and an important part of that room. I think we'll monitor the snaps he receives as well as some others who are 10-years plus (in tenure). I was just going through the list out there at the end. John Carney was out at practice. He'll be out there for a couple days with the younger kickers. We were going through year 14, year 13, year 12 and Carney was 21 years. Now granted, he said he was a kicker. Now I think you need to have a plan to make sure you're being smart with their reps and their legs."

When Reggie Bush was here, he did everything. How do you balance what C.J. Spiller can bring on both offense and on special teams?

"He is definitely a return guy that we view, whether it is punts or kickoffs. He has experience at that (both). He's explosive. It's the snaps in a game. We think he's a versatile player. We look to get him the ball in a number of different situations. A returner will certainly be one of those ways, but we have a number of guys competing at that spot, more depth than in a while."

Did you guys ask John Carney to come in and work with the kickers?

"Yes. He's spending three days here, just kind of working with these young guys. He's kind of been close to the program and stayed involved. He has a training facility in San Diego, that keeps him busy. He'll be in for those three days."

Do you have a general feeling for the wide receivers and how they're molding as a group?

"Today we worked a lot of the nickel personnel groups. I think we have a lot of good competition there, just watching practice, there were a handful of guys making plays. Whether it is X or Z and today we were in a lot of three-receiver sets. I think we have pretty good competition with a number of spots."

Do you think there are any lasting ramifications from the 2012 season besides losing two high draft picks?

"I would say those kind of dissipated maybe a year, year and a half after. I didn't really think about it until you asked a question"

Looking at Stephone Anthony how do you think he's progressing? Can he be a leader of the defense?

"He is around the ball. He certainly can be a leader. I think that first by nature an inside linebacker is potentially a guy who would have a headset and have some of those traits. He has really done a good job of getting acclimated to our system quickly. I would say he is pretty mature. When you are around him and visit with him he is ready for the competition and opportunities. He has good size. He's in good shape. Again, we're not in pads yet and we're talking about a linebacker. We're talking about a guy who's picked things up really quickly and we've been encouraged with him."

What did you see in both Tim Hightower and Kenny Phillips to bring them back after both being out of football for a while?

"(They are) both obviously two different players. You start with Hightower, a guy we evaluated. He had the (knee) injury in Washington. Both are guys you'd say had a certain type of career and then got set back by injury. Those were certainly guys worth signing. Looking at Tim he's played in the sub and nickel and is moving around pretty well, Kenny the same way. We worked (them) out had grades and they were pretty healthy."

Is Brandin Cooks being in the slot a lot by design?

"It is by day. Today were more three wide receivers, so you saw him playing that position. Last week on Thursday, you saw him playing some of the sub, a lot of it's the install."

You talk about Delvin Breaux being an outside guy and he played a lot of nickel today. Is that something you envision?

"Yes. The key is to get your best players on the field. If you're in coverage schemes man to man and you might look for matchups based on who you're covering. We put the numbers up a year ago, our league 2014, all the teams, 21 personnel each part of the season and then you get to three wide, 11 personnel and it's almost a little bit more than half (of the snaps). You need to have corners that can line up whether they're playing inside or outside. He's someone that's handled the adjustment. Most of his snaps have been outside before coming here. We'll see and work those combinations."

Do you guys have a lot of option routes in your offense?

"A few. Running back or inside receiver."

What are some of the keys there for a younger player? Is that a challenge to get on the same page?

"A zone sitdown, a breakout or possibly in. A read route would be two of those options, so you are really working off of leverage. Some guys have a really good feel for it and some guys do not. The rule of thumb is to try to run them with guys that have a good feel for it. It is not for everyone."

Can you talk about having the officials here? I know you said you want to play smarter football this year.

"From a penalty standpoint, the numbers were good a year ago. There's a handful of things that we went through. The ball's at the 15-yard line for the PAT, not just a change for the offense, but a change for the defense with a blocked scoop or PAT. There's a few changed nuances like with a field goal for instance. You point out something specifically as a situation. I think the presence of these guys and women working our camp and drawing attentions to the questions our players have sometimes for linemen is a good thing."

Steve Gleason was here today, can you talk about him winning the George Halas Award?

"It is an honor. It is a great achievement and we are proud of him. When you start reading into it, and get past the award, you start reading into the difference that has come up and the changes that have come up based on one individual's fight. I do not want to say it is surprising. But it is truly amazing, the impact he has had, certainly locally here with the ALS house and then on a national basis when they're deciding things on Capitol Hill because of Steve it is pretty impressive."

With some of the new guys like Max Unger and Brandon Browner what stands out to you about what they've been able to bring to this team so far?

"Their personalities are different. Anytime you bring in a veteran player there's something that goes into it. We try to look closely at who those guys are. We like to get guys who are from winning programs and who are used to winning. There is a leadership that comes with it, especially with success. Those two guys are working hard, they're doing a good job of getting acclimated and enjoy football."

You talk about having a vision for certain players. Was it hard to evaluate Dannell Ellerbe since he didn't play much last year or played different positions?

"We saw him as a guy we looked at as a will, certainly he can play mike. He's played the mike. We saw him as a weakside linebacker. He has strong transition, real good feet, good short area quickness. I think the bigger question was where was he at in his rehab? Once he came in and received his physical, talked to his doctors and had a plan through this offseason (and) we put that in place. He has good instincts and you just have to keep getting him up to speed and like I said today was one of the first days he received team work"

Where do you like to use his versatility most?

"That short area quickness, ability to get quickly to a zone, good instincts and tackler, those are the things you need to have success at linebacker."

How do you feel about Nick Toon's progress?

"He's doing well. I've said this before. I think this year will be a good opportunity for him. He is playing the Z position. We saw at times last year in practice even though he's not receiving reps in the games, certainly we've seen his progression. He understands the system well and he's working hard. I think he's doing real well.

Do you envision Junior Galette being able to practice during training camp?

"We'll see, but I think that's the plan."

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