New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 25, 2015
Opening Statement: "A couple transaction notes, we signed TE Chris Manhertz yesterday and waived TE Michael Egnew. Two players, DT Austin Brown and DT Lawrence Virgil were put on injured reserve. (We) Probably (did) a little bit more third down work today, we will get some more redzone (work done) as the week progresses, but we have four pretty good days here. I thought obviously the weather cooperated and we got some good competitive team work. Any questions?"
Chris Manhertz has a weird background and didn't play football until recently. How did you find out about him?
"Well he is a guy that Buffalo had released. He is athletic, he is big, and so we brought him in either yesterday or the day before for a workout. (He is) Real athletic. When you see his size and stature, obviously he has a lot of things he has to learn, but the workout was pretty impressive."
With roster cuts coming in a few days, how much of your roster is set?
"Well we have a week before we start the first cut down. The message, you guys hear me say this all the time, the message to these guys and it is important that they don't get caught up into trying to count the numbers or look at their depth chart. The week we had versus New England last week was a great example because 31 other teams are looking at this group of players and we are looking at 31 other teams. So you are constantly competing, if it's a running back, with the other running backs in the league not just the ones on this roster. But I would say it is not like Mickey (Loomis) and I sat down and said alright, these are givens. We certainly go through scenarios and begin to put together rough lists but there is a lot that is undecided right now. There is a lot that is undecided and it is important, this week is important and this weekend's game is important for a lot of these players."
How often would you move a player off the roster and then get to the third preseason game and they have a good performance and then move them back on?
"We are not sitting in there where they are off. Periodically I might say to Mickey (Loomis), hey, today give me six receivers or he might say the same thing. It is not set where we are moving magnets. It is too early. It really is right now. This whole week is important, the game coming up is important. That begins to take place next week when we have to make decisions."
Have you seen the consistency you are looking for from Joe Morgan?
"I would say the last couple of weeks we have seen his speed which is encouraging. I thought at the Greenbrier we saw, he had a handful of practices where he seemed like he was running real well. So it is putting it on the field and part of it is getting those opportunities, those touch opportunities as a receiver, that sometimes you can go in a game and maybe not get as many. I think he's doing well. He is competing hard. There is a group of those guys at that receiver position that are all fighting for spots."
How do you coach the wheel route? Everyone runs a pick type play to not get called like interference. When you see the tight man coverage and you want to get that rub, is it a case and point where there is a technique where you look back at the quarterback?
"The first thing you do is get a yard so the outside receiver can come flat and technically block that player inside a yard. More often than not that player is not at a yard when you are running that route because the inside receiver he is covering. So we try to drive hard and really just try and plant our foot like you would be rebounding and then the number two receiver has to set that up. I think the body mechanics of number one, the outside receiver, is important. If it looks like you are trying to, you will probably get called. but if you can kind of set your feet first you can kind of go in there then you have a better chance of getting away with it."
Just like the one that Mark Ingram, where Brandin Cooks…
"I thought it was pretty clean."
Do you have certain standards on this first cut, such as giving veterans the benefit of the doubt? Since you play your regulars on Sunday about three quarters, is there anything a guy can do in the fourth quarter to get on or off the team?
"Number one, to your first question, there aren't any general rules of thumb that we try to follow with regards to experience or no experience. We really try to trust our gut with where we see the roster, the players and the depth chart. [As for] how long we play the first group, the old rules of preseason would be you come back in the second half. I don't know that we'll do that. We'll see. To your last question, I would say yes. Any time in the game, and I saw it happen in the last game, there will be a guy that comes out and does some things that are really good. Making a roster doesn't just happen in the preseason's first or second game. It happens in the third and fourth game. That evaluation, obviously, has to keep going for us. We have to keep paying attention. We would sit in a meeting and say 'hey, we need to see more of these two players earlier in this game'. We can gather more information. That would be a conversation that we would have. We need to see these three guys play more early so that we can clear up that position group."
How much of an emphasis is there going to be on getting a better pass rush the rest of the preseason? Where do you see that being right now?
"That is a work in progress but certainly it is a point of emphasis. Whether you are getting it from your four-man rush or whether you have to get it from pressure, it is something that we are working on."
Along the lines of what you were just saying, did that have something to do with Pierre Warren? We saw him with the first team for maybe the first time all camp. Does he need some of those prominent looks?
"There is real good competition at safety so there are certain players there, both at strong and free, that we need to give work and get a chance to sort through some decisions there. The same thing would apply with the receiver position. It would apply some to the defensive line. There is a handful of positions groups where you make look at it and say it's stacked up or there is a log jam. We have to get those guys more playing time."
Is that something that [Pierre Warren] earned in particular? I know that he had the interception in the New England game.
"It is really in regards to back what I am saying here. In order to get a better feel of where Pierre is at or where Kenny (Vacarro) is at, where Jamarca Sanford is at or where Vinnie (Sunseri) is at, it would behoove us then to get them more work earlier in the game so we could get more film to evaluate."
I know that you talk tempo a lot. Do you want to make the defense uncomfortable and maximize the clock or just get into a flow? What are you looking for with that?
"The reason that we talk tempo is to keep the defense off-balance and certainly to have the ability at the line of scrimmage, with time, to change plays. That has kind of been a strength of ours; (getting) in and out of the huddle, Up and down, and kind of stressing a defense and forcing them to get lined up. That way, Drew (Brees) has a better chance to probably change (the play) or maybe identify someone in protection."
Do you want him to get in and out of the huddle in a certain time?
"I would say that when we are operating pretty well, it is north of 11-to-12 seconds when he is breaking the huddle. I would say that it is probably more in the 15-to-17 seconds range. Just as important are the substitutions. I just don't like it when we are kind meandering up to the line of scrimmage and the clock is bleeding down at eight. Now you are kind of stuck if you're the quarterback. We have always tried to be a lot quicker than that."
Do you think that your team has adjusted to the New Orleans conditions?
"There are still boxes in there. Guys are unpacking. I thought that the weather today was pretty good, all things considered."
You have had a lot of guys (in the secondary) get a lot more reps. Second or third string guys are getting a lot more reps with the guys injured. What are you seeing from them?
"The whole process a week ago was helpful. When you look at the secondary when we were practicing with New England, you're seeing Stanley (Jean-Baptiste) get more work and you're seeing (Damian) Swann get more work. A lot of those guys that are competing for playing time are getting the reps. All of a sudden, Keenan [Lewis] is back and there will be a handful of these guys that are gradually working their way back into the lineup, which is good. It happened to us a couple of years ago at receiver where, all of a sudden, [Kenny] Stills and [Nick] Toon that one preseason were getting an inordinate amount of work because of some injuries to veteran players. The same thing (is happening this year) in the secondary and I think that it has benefited some of those guys."
When you see no sacks after two preseason games, is that an accurate reflection of what has been going on or have there been some positives that you have seen?
"In practice there have been certain things that we have seen. We have had some hurries and some quarterback pressures but nonetheless, statistically, there still haven't been any. That is something that you have to pay attention to. Now the good news is that we are halfway through the preseason and it something that we can continue to work on."