New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 17, 2014
Does Erik Lorig's return mean anything to the offense or add anything?
"We will see where he is at. He has had a good week or preparation. His rehab has gone well. The thing that he brings is he has some size and stature to him. Austin (Johnson) has been playing well. It is just a matter of how we see gameday."
Is there any chance of two fullbacks staying on the roster?
"We will see. They are both on the roster."
What about in the future and how Austin Johnson can contribute to special teams?
"I like how both of those guys can play in the kicking game. We've had two fullbacks before."
Erik Lorig has yet to carry a ball in the NFL. Are you comfortable handing the ball off to him?
"That would not be the reason. We signed him in the offseason with the same statistics. We like what we have in the player. We had a chance to see a lot of him at training camp obviously and (he) carries his pads well."
How would you characterize this week of practice?
"I thought the week has gone well. We've had more prep time than normal because we are coming off the bye. I think we have been able to get a handful of guys healthier without playing last week. I thought by and large practice was good. I think coming off the bye was what made this week a little different."
You've had matchups before where a great pass offense played against a great pass defense. Do you make allowances or is it a situation where you have to do what you do?
"I think right now one of the things that's important for us is the balance. Our rushing numbers are going to be important and they are going to be important in this game. And then how we approach it, we look for balance and I think that's been something that has been good for us."
What have you found to be the best way to negate a good pass rush?
"Ultimately what you see on film is this, when you go watch the cut ups, two nights ago we were going over third down and you have X number of teams in the study. We put on third and two and three first, we look at however many plays there are, four to six, seven to ten and then 11 plus. There was an unusually low number of third and two, three, four to sixes and a very high number of the longer yards of third down situations. If that is the case then that is going to be challenging because now you are having to hold the ball versus some of the coverage looks you are getting and that fits in to obviously any defense that is wanting to apply pressure to the quarterback. I think those early downs are important in regards to the efficiency. What is the down and distance each time we are third down? You guys will get a feel for that if you are keeping track of third down and you are at halftime and every third down has been seven or more yards. That is not a good sign. Those early downs will be important with regards to the efficiency."
Has Tom Crabtree caught up enough that he could contribute to the offense?
"Yes, he is smart. He is a smart player. And I think he is pretty good in the kicking game too."
Did you see the last play of the New York Jets and New England Patriots last night?
"I heard about it but haven't seen it. It wasn't a big deal. They were just shifting in the front. My understanding was though the front was moving anyway. He initially looked at it like holy cow. Teams are smart enough to know. Pre-snap is one thing, post-snap is the other. It is very common for an official to be involved in something like that."
If you were Rex Ryan you wouldn't be furious?
"I saw the highlights of the kick. It looked pretty low so I don't know."
Can you walk us through the decision to part ways with Isa Abdul-Quddus last season?
"He was a real good special teams player for us and someone that played in our defense when we got nicked up a little bit at safety. I think more than anything else it just came down to numbers, in a similar way maybe with Joique Bell who in a different way was on our practice squad. We had some other safeties that we were working and obviously Rafael Bush signed and there was some overlap. When you watch him he is a smart player. He knows what to do. He plays well in the kicking game and then can play snaps in the base. He's played, I'd say, a good half of their reps on base defense when they had some guys injured early in the year."
Because Isa Abdul-Quddus was in and out with an injury, did that limit some of the opportunities he may have had to stay here?
"No I think it was really more depth and where we were at."
Can you talk about how the punt return production has not been what you would have liked?
"Yes, I think that's an area we have to be better at. We feel like we have a guy (Brandin Cooks) that can return them. This bye week, that has been a real point of emphasis."
Has it been a tough adjustment for Brandin Cooks coming from college with the punt returns?
"I don't know that it is the returner though. I think when I look at it and you try to look at it closely, I think the returner is ready. I think the other 10 need to be."
Can you talk about the Lions punter Sam Martin?
"I don't have his specific numbers but I know they're playing real well in the kicking game. They receive the benefits like we do with punting and kicking off inside. Those are important to your numbers. I think that field position in this game, we talk about it every week, that field position in this game is more dictated by the punt teams more than the kickoff teams being that most of the times we play teams that are able to kick the ball deep in the end zone. So where does the advantage come? It really starts falling with the punt return game."
Is the return game one of those things that comes and goes in bunches?
"No, you can put your finger on it. It's like defense or offensive football. It's not just well it'll come. There are things you have to do in regards to staying on your blocks and fitting, understanding the return, the scheme that is being run and then looking closely at hey, the scheme itself is a fit with what we are trying to do, the holdup players, so it is a little bit more concrete than it is just subjective."
Have you been disappointed with the effort in the punt return game?
"I haven't been disappointed with the effort, but the technique and obviously the results and production hasn't been good."