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Sean Payton reviews team's first home practice

Transcript of his Sunday press conference



New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post -Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 23, 2015

Opening Statement: "Just one note, WR Andy Tanner from injured reserve was waived.  It doesn't really affect the roster.  Any questions?"

How comfortable were you with the coaching setup last night? Dennis Allen was on the sideline as opposed to being in the box.  Joe Vitt was in the box.  How much are you going to tinker with that?

"We started at the beginning of the preseason, you had mentioned that, we wanted to each week look at a few things.  Wesley (McGriff) was up as well. There were probably three or four different things (that we wanted to look at).  We will continue to look at it each week."

How about the thinking with David Hawthorne using the headset, is that something you are going to keep rotating?

"Yeah, it just depends on what we think is going to happen in that game.  One of the challenges is in the preseason, if they gave you, like the quarterbacks you get four, or what you need in the preseason, there is only three you get so a lot of it is structured around how do we think we are going to rotate linebackers.  Certainly David (Hawthorne) is capable in the season being one of those guys to wear one.  Each week a lot of it is predicated on who we see on the field with the first, second and third group."

Do you still anticipate grooming Stephone Anthony for having that role as well?

"Yeah, he will be one of the guys we train.  There will be a handful."

What do you like after watching film?

"I thought we came out ready to play.  I thought that first half was pretty good.  It wasn't perfect, but overall I thought (we had) good focus and I thought we got to the ball well.  I thought we tackled well. Defensively, the first three drives were important getting off the field.  Offensively, we were able to take advantage of that and build some points."

After two preseason games, do you kind of have an idea of what you have here?

"I think it is a process.  It is ongoing.  It is ongoing and it is why we have two more.  You are beginning to gather some information in that process.  You begin to gather something each week as you go through a week of practice.  I'll state the obvious; I thought it was an impressive week by Brandin (Cooks), not just the game but the week of practices against New England and then the game itself.  Something like that goes a long way with the growth of a player and you begin to see that with certain guys and that was encouraging."

Are you getting a good feel for Brandin Cooks' route running and his versatility?

"Yeah, absolutely, with all of these guys there are certain things that they do, their strengths, things he does particularly well.  He is very quick in and out of his cuts and very explosive.  He is a tireless worker and his attention to detail is one of the things that is unique and pretty special."

Can you talk about Jahri Evans' camp?

"I think he played better the other night, last night was probably one of his best, I wouldn't call it a practice, but obviously it was pretty good, pretty impressive.  (He is) Continuing to work on some of the things he has to work on.  I think he is in better shape than he has been in a while and I think he is feeling that way."

You have spoken often about how it was hard to attract assistant coaches here when you first came in 2006 after Katrina. Reflect back, now that it has been 10 years, on how far this organization has come since then.

"We can sit here in 110 degree heat and reflect back. There has been a lot of changes. Obviously, a lot of things have happened. It seems like a long time ago. Forget football for a second, there were a lot of things in question, with regards to schooling and the infrastructure of the city, so you are mindful of those guys that came, the guys that came and were a part of it."

How do you feel like the players handled the heat today, in terms of focusing on what they were supposed to do?

"I think alright. It was a lighter practice because of the game yesterday but I thought that they handled it alright. We got a pretty good lift in, then film study this morning. We worked on a few situations that we wanted to after the game."

When you watch the film, were you pleased with the way the rookies that started the game on defense played?

"As a coach, you're never just pleased, but there were some things that you saw that were encouraging with some of the younger players. What you are hoping to see is a little bit more improvement from the week before. I think we saw that with a lot of them. We'll continue to work on the details. We play a week from today against a real good club so this week will be a real important week. This will be a real important stretch for these guys because we've got a good full-week of practice that we can take advantage of and get ready to play another game."

When you look at the pass rush, was it more of a case of [Tom] Brady or whoever just getting rid of the ball quicker, considering [Jimmy] Garoppolo got sacked seven times the previous week against the Packers?

"There is always that combination of a few things. Number one, Tom [Brady] is real sharp. He is a guy that understands that if you're going to try to pressure him at all, he just such a good job with his cadence that he's not going to be surprised at the least with it. The tempo of the clock in his head is going to be quick. There were some snaps where we did affect the passer which was encouraging. We'll keep working on that, especially in the nickel and in the third down situations. I thought coverage was real good, especially early on."

What about Andrus Peat, he actually seemed to have a better game in the first week. Is this learning curve kind of normal?

"No, he had a couple of snaps where he overreached on a running play with a stunt inside. He had one miss on a protection. Not because of who he was blocking but he just got beat. That is part of it. He'll continue to work on the core fundamentals for playing that position."

How pressing is it for some veteran guys like [Dannell] Ellerbe or [Anthony] Spencer to get back and kind of prove something to you?

"I think the good news is that for a handful of these guys, some are returning right now [while] some [will return] maybe within a week. Obviously, with all of our players, you want to have them out here so you can get more snaps to evaluate. We continue to work through the rehab and some treatments scheduled just as we have."

If a veteran doesn't have a lot of preseason time, is that a big negative for you going into the season?

"The question really would be, better served here than two weeks from now. Obviously, with a veteran there is a certain amount of film and experience with a player, whether he has been with you or not. These guys are working to get back and as soon as we can get them back, that helps us get the snaps on film and get them up to speed."

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