New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Pre-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, August 20, 2015
Opening Statement: "We signed the following two players, DT David Hunter, TE Alex Smith and then we waived/injured DT Austin Brown and TE Kevin Brock. So kind of two for two, it still puts us at 90."
Was it kind of tough to see Austin Brown go down after an hour of practice?
"Absolutely especially considering one of the things we felt about him was he is in shape because he had just come from playing arena football. In fact the night before they had a game and he specifically didn't play because of the workout."
What did you think about yesterday's practice?
"Overall, I thought the tempo was good. It was kind of like we discussed prior to. Watching the tape there are a handful of things that, a lot of things obviously that we as a team have to be better at. I think today there will be some similar drills and yet there will be an emphasis in the punting game in regards to specialist. There will be red zone, third down period, but overall the tempo was good and I think there is a ton of tape off of a practice like that because you have each group going individually. The one-on-one period itself you can spend two and a half hours on."
Do you agree that yesterday was the best practice out here?
"Yes with regards to focus and concentration, with that being said, the practice itself, technique and some of the other things that we are looking to improve on, needs to get better, but I thought it was organized. I thought we got around well, both teams were on the same page and I thought we got a lot done."
Is there anyone in particular that stood out from all the replacement secondary guys?
"I would say just in the one-on-one looks, Stanley (Jean-Baptiste) has made some progress here during this camp. It's still a technique being set. A lot of times half the battle is making sure you're stationary and square and ready before the ball's snapped and you're not just getting set when the ball's snapped. Of course Rafael Bush has seen a lot more snaps exclusively with the ones throughout this camp, but I think overall the younger players that are receiving snaps at corner. We have talked about a few of them coming off the preseason game but P.J. Williams is going to get more work today. I thought (Damian) Swann's done some good things. All of those guys are receiving more snaps and are receiving snaps versus better competition."
With all the decisions you have at receiver, are these practices with seven-on-seven and eleven-on-eleven in particularly instructive on the defense of the Patriots?
"Are they instructive or are they helpful in the process with regards to the decisions we have to make and I think they are very. The preseason games are one thing but you can play a preseason game and a receiver might not get targeted. Maybe you don't get to the fourth third down plays and yet in a drill like today we can pretty much make sure we see a certain player in pass rush. So I think it is helpful especially against other personnel, another team and a different scheme. Yeah, I think it gives us a bigger volume of tape to look at and I think that anytime you have that it helps you arrive at a better decision."
Can you talk about the perfect marriage between the Saints and the Greenbrier? When do you look to the future and say you want to be here for three to five more years?
"I think that's going to happen fairly soon here and yet it's not a focal point right now just because of where we're at. But no, I've said this before and I'll say it again, the setup for us facility-wise it works. The facility setup works but the real reason this whole thing flows so smoothly is because of the people. For us to be able to come up here for these three weeks, we head back to New Orleans here tomorrow and get acclimated obviously to a different climate there but that extension and all those other things is coming sooner than later. But right now our focus is really everything we are doing with New England."
What do you do with the rookies on Sunday to get them ready for the dramatic change in temperature and humidity? Is it a lighter practice on Sunday?
"You step outside. It is an afternoon session. The big thing I find is you take more breaks and maybe those breaks last longer."
I know you are focused on your team but did anybody from New England catch your eye yesterday?
"Sure. One of the benefits of practicing with another team is that you can sit in a room with your personnel department, coaching staff and you pick a drill. We're watching one-on-one pass rush. Obviously, our coaches talk about our player who's up while someone from scouting will talk about the New England player. They'll talk about the bio, how we see him and how we read him. It is a pretty meticulous but interesting process because you are able to see someone a little differently in that type of setting than you would just looking at game film."
Can you talk about the kind of improvement that you'd like to see from this to the second preseason game by your team?
"I think A, you want to clean up the penalties. That's why the officials are out here. That is something that we have to get straightened away. You want to see improvement in the areas from a week ago. You certainly don't want to see mistakes repeated."
Do you see the two practices [with New England] and the game as one complete package, as far as how you plan for the week or are they two separate issues?
"Each day is different. We get together as a staff at night [and] we talk to our trainers. We get an idea of who may be up or who may be down, with regards to that day. We get updated in the morning just to confirm it. Then we just focus on this practice and grading that tape, make the corrections and then, at some point in the evening, it shifts to what we want to tomorrow. We have an idea on an outline with what we're planning on doing. Saturday night, although it seems close, in my mind, is a long ways from now."
You touched on the transition back to New Orleans but with looking at the last three weeks, overall, do you like the approach of this football team? How would you reflect on your time here?
"I think that the work environment and of those things are good. I'm anxious to see us play Saturday. I'm anxious to see how we play in our second game. I'm anxious to see us clean up some of the mistakes. We talked about the penalties and some of the adjustments we're making out here while we're watching the practice film. We will see how this group is doing but I like the makeup of the group. I think they're working hard. It is time for us to see a little bit of the improvement. Not only that but we get a chance to see some players that we weren't able to see last weekend."
Did you do anything that you normally wouldn't have to correct the penalties, either in practice or in meeting rooms? Are you going to adopt the running laps from the Patriots?
"Specifically to penalties, last week, the officials came in right after the game and we had them here. I'm glad that they are all here now. It's something that, for us, is a focal point. Yesterday, Andrus (Peat) was offside twice and before the ball is ever snapped, we're onto a different down and distance. The stress level for everyone becomes more difficult. It is harder to play quarterback when it's first-and-20. It is harder to play tackle. Those are things that we would really like to get cleaned up. Especially, the pre-snap with the linemen. Those are simple mistakes.
Will this be a week where Drew Brees gets some snaps in the game?
Joseph and Josh Morgan both seemed to stand out yesterday. Can you talk about their performance?
"Both of them in the one-on-one drill have had some good reps. I think Brandon Coleman had some good plays. I think all of those guys are getting some good looks so it is encouraging."
Does that make it a little more difficult for you?
"It is early in the process. We've got good competition at receiver. Those guys all bring something a little different to the table. Obviously, with Josh and Joe, those guys have played a little bit longer in the league than some of these other guys. I think all you want is to see guys compete."
What are you impressions of Super Bowl hero Malcom Butler? I guess you picked on him a couple of times yesterday. How about some of the young cornerbacks on their end that are trying to make the team?
"The play that he made was fantastic in the Super Bowl. As you are watching the film and [having] the meetings at night, it is one after the other. You are just kind of watching how your guys stack up and how your guys compete. Those guys are good. They are well-coached and you can see that. They do a good job of getting their hands on you on the line of scrimmage."
Is it realistic that Jairus Byrd could play in a preseason game?
You mentioned watching the film of practice with members of the coaching staff and the scouting staff; I am curious, what is the scouting staff bringing to you?
"While we are talking about our guy, they are reading the player that they are going against. Maybe when you get so excited about how a play looks, that scout says calm down a little bit, or vice versa. We are constantly looking at who the player is going against, how good that player is or how we have that player graded. We would have grades of all of those players on an opposing team in our pro personnel department."