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Sean Payton on Wednesday's Saints training camp practice

Coach Payton met with media members following practice

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Presented By Verizon Media Availability Transcript
Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Opening Statement: "Keenan Lewis returned to practice. He's passed his physical, and he's off PUP (physically unable to perform). We signed these three players: Jamal Golden, safety, number 42; Matt Shaughnessy, defensive end, number 70; and Jordan Walsh, offensive guard—he too is at number 70, but in the white (offensive practice) jersey. We waived Lawrence Virgil, and then these two players were waived/injured: Alden Darby and Kyle Prater. So our numbers are still right at 90."

When you have a competitive period as you did in practice today with that kind of spirit, what does that do for you and your coaching staff?

"Part of the game's that competitiveness. When you're on the field, third down—which we worked on for that period—it is just trying to win the snap, (and) win the down. We add on some conditioning maybe for the group that does not (succeed). I thought the focus was good. We will look at the film. I bet there were some parts of practice that were a little sloppier than others. But, I think it's a good thing. You create those periods and try to make it as game-like as possible."

Where would you say Keenan (Lewis) is right now?

"He has got his first practice in. It would be too early to say. I have not even seen the film. As far as his health, he feels healthy and is really getting out there and working the mechanics and technique. It's been a while since he's actually been on the field. But he knows what's going on, and it's now just getting the pivots, the turns, his pedal, the technique, all those nuances of getting back on the field."

Is he a guy that you'll manage reps with?

"We'll be smart. Anytime we bring a player who is coming off of an injury, we've got to be smart about how many reps they receive in the course of practice and begin to expand that as the weeks go on."

When you see the defense coming off the sideline like that at the end of practice when they were animated, what do you think?

"Listen, you're encouraged because you are trying to evaluate each of these snaps. You are trying to make them as competitive as possible. When there is extra running at stake, obviously, it is important. But, I thought it was good to end on a period like that, regardless of whether it's the defense or the offense (who is successful). It is always, 'How are they going to respond?' And then the next time, we will be in pads tomorrow. Today, we were in helmets and shoulder pads. Tomorrow, we'll be back to full pads."

How much of an early jump in this camp have you seen from (Tyeler) Davison? It seems like he's been getting good penetration?

"He's been doing well. He's been winning the get-off. He's someone that is exceptionally quick, and I think the nature of how he plays—even when we saw him on college film—I think that pad level and that get-off, for him, in this defense has helped him. He's done a few things that have stood out."

Do you think it takes a year for players on the interior to figure this thing out?

"No, it varies. Some players get it earlier than others. Some players, maybe it takes a little longer. You try to look at position groups and answer that same question—are there certain position groups that are more apt to move into the (starting) lineup quicker? I think it is hard to say for certain. I think there have been defensive linemen that have come in early on in their rookie seasons and made that quick jump. Obviously, there are some changes with what we're doing, but I think Tyeler (Davison) has handled it well. I think he has gotten off to a good start the first week of camp."

When you look at the young running backs on this team, the backup guys, is it the little things that will have to set a player apart? I know special teams matters in that, but in terms of those guys making that final cut, what goes into all that?

"Well, the elements of the position—their ability to run, catch. How do they block the blitz? What kind of value do they have on your kicking game? All of those elements contribute to it. Then the exposure—we receive a chance to see that in the preseason games, or the scrimmages, or at practice. But those would be the things that we would look at closely."

Speed often isn't the most important thing for a running back but looking at Daniel Lasco, how important was his all-around work for you guys?

"I think for him it was important because he had an injury his final year so there was a limited amount of tape to evaluate. He had real good combine numbers, I think the thing for us that sparked our interest aside from his measureables, was watching him play kickoff (coverage). You know he was down the field a couple times first making the tackle, and so if you can have a vision for a running back like that who is on the roster who is going play in the kicking game and give you some snaps, that versatility is real important. So the athleticism we saw but the coverage units that we saw him play on, which is little hard to find for a college running back. That stood out."

When you talk about Dennis Allen being organized, what does that mean?

"Just having things on time, detailed, communicator, goes through it all. I think he is someone where everyone will be on the same page as far as the staff. Look up the definition of organization. Those would be traits that he has."

Bobby (Richardson) was just saying that there were shorter calls from the defense, how much of that is just making it easier and just knowing that these college guys might even be just be looking at cards?

"Yes, we're not changing how we call defense based on how the coverages are, but that being said part of the emphasis today was that there's a lot of spontaneous football snaps where the offense is back at the line of scrimmage and how quickly can we get the defense communicated and played. It's half the battle just getting guys lined up and all 11 guys playing the same defense and I think Dennis (Allen) is someone that can streamline that and look to help the communication process, if you will, make it faster, and then demand that it's done just right. I'd say his attention to detail is the strength which is separate from just the organizational skills. The little things do matter in everything that we're doing out here so when you're talking about communicating and the team is up at the line of scrimmage going with an upbeat tempo, you've got to get that called and signaled in and communicated."

(Nick) Fairley returned to practice today?

"He did, the safety (Erik Harris) did, both of those guys."

When you watch him (Nick Fairley) he seems to just add something to that defensive line, just the way he's an animated guy, he just really seems to get those guys hyped up?

"These guys all have different personalities, I would say in his case, he's pretty athletic and he too, I think it's important, for him to win at the snap. He's had some experience, he's played, obviously, in Detroit, St. Louis more recently. The key is just finding the niche, and finding the role, but he's played at the three, he's played at the nose, you've seen him play inside in the sub rush packages. Those would be the things that we're looking to see and see how he does."

How about tight end RaShaun Allen, it seems like everyday, he has two or three catches although he had that one drop today, he appears to be very active?

"These guys are all receiving some good work, I'd say that strength is really that of a blocker and he's working on his ability to separate and get open. He has good size, he's strong, (and) he has strong hands. There's still some stiffness with his routes and some separation but he's been able to come up with a play or two down the field so he too's a young guy trying to really find a spot. There are a handful of guys at that position right now trying to find a spot that I think were receiving really good work there."

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