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Sean Payton on the Houston Texans: 'They are certainly a contending team'

Payton's post-practice media availability from Thursday, August 22

Opening Statement:

"Today's practice was another red zone installation, so almost all of the practice was spent either in the fringe, or in the red or tight red.  We finished with some two-minute work.  We will watch that tape in the p.m. and then kind of shift gears toward Houston and get a practice in tomorrow on the Texans."

What is the status with Chris Chamberlain?

"I excused Chris for a family matter and he should be back Monday."

Can you talk about how encouraging it is to have Marques Colston back out here after a few days?

"Yeah, he is just making sure we don't hurry it back.  It is something that will calm down and will take a little time."

Is there any possibility Colston will play on Sunday?

"We will see. I would probably be more inclined to say no, but I was encouraged with what I saw today."

What can we expect with time for the first stringers?[internal-link-placeholder-0]

"We are going to talk about that this evening. Our goal would be to go a half and then kind of see where we are at with the reps. There may be a group that comes in the third quarter that has gone in the first half that we continue to go with."

What has Rafael Bush done to make his way from special teams to defense?

"He's smart and he is someone that understands a defense. He is a good special teams player and so I've said this, in a lot of these positions, if they are not guys that are starting, how many snaps are they going to play in a given game?  He provides (us with) some versatility. So far he has done well."

Has Bush been more than you expected him to be?

"I don't know if I would say that. I know we thought highly of him, Ryan Pace did, when we signed him and for me, coming here, (it) has been a good surprise not knowing the player and being here when we signed him.  He is handling it well."

Do you feel comfortable using tight ends as backup fullbacks in practice?

"I think we have always done that. We've always done that because of the roster, it's hard to keep (more than one). There has been a season where we had two fullbacks, but that tight end position, we (will) always train a couple at the F position and sometimes in the backfield.  We rested Jed Collins the last couple of days and so all of a sudden when 21 personnel turns into 12 personnel (we use a tight end). (It's the) Same plays, just a different body type doing it."

Obviously, Jimmy Graham wouldn't be one of those tight ends, correct?

"No, he wouldn't fall into that. He might be an F, but he's probably an inline or an outline F rather than in the backfield."

In the third preseason game are you going to be very scripted or do you play more like a reaction to situation?

"I think in the last two games we were playing it like games, now when guys are substituted for, is one thing (that is different from a regular season game. But I don't know, we script our opening segment plays, but I know last week we treated every aspect of it like a game and we will this week as well. The question is just when we are making the substitutions and then certainly because it is preseason and the evaluation process is slowly coming to an end, we may have certain guys on certain coverage units or return units that we have to continue to gather information on. That would be uniquely different than if we were playing a regular game."

How good a test do you think the Texans are?

"I think they are a good team. Their program we are very familiar with in that we played them (nearly) every preseason, we have had joint practices with them. They have done a great job from ownership, Rick Smith, and Gary Kubiak.  There has been a lot of continuity and it goes with the type of organization they have and the type of team that they have. They are certainly a contending team and have a lot of confidence."
How often by this stage of the preseason do you think you get a pretty good hang of what you got?

"With regards to the roster, it is different with regards to the team. I don't know if you can, as a coach…I can recall games…we played in Houston in 2011, (and) took a pretty good whipping in that game so if you would have asked me that question on the flight to Oxnard, California, my answer would have been like eh.  I don't know that you ever know (what you have exactly).  You begin to think about your 53 and hypothetically it might be at 61 or 62 when you are down to nine or 10 players that you are trying to decide on.  You are beginning to see what you think you could be offensively and defensively and (in) the kicking game.  I don't think you ever know for sure.  You come away from games feeling, regardless of the final outcome of a preseason game, you do come away feeling like you did some good things or not.  That's the one good thing, you get to correct it if there are some mistakes made.  I don't think you know what you have.  Coaches are driven by the fear of failure and wanting to be successful and avoiding that line of thinking.  It's dangerous.  It's not healthy."

With Rob Ryan, when you are facing him as an opponent, what has stood out to you over the years as a signature?

"I think a handful of things. He's going to be multiple with the looks you receive. Typically, we will do a good job of trying to take away what he thinks you do well.  Those two things in regards to a number of different looks present a lot of walk-through time, a lot of time in detail in covering and how you handle each defensive look.  And understanding that he's is going to pay attention to who is going to get the ball on third down, where you go in the red zone, what type of runs you want to run, and you just need to self-scout and make sure there are no heavy tendencies."

Is he a kindred spirit in some ways in that he likes to recognize tendencies and exploit matchups?

"I think all of us want to do that. I think that every coach in this league looks for matchups.  I think we are kindred spirits because we are coaches. That's not unusual."

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