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Sean Payton talks about benefits of joint practices

Transcript of his Tuesday press conference

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post -Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Opening Statement: "Let's get up to speed just with the roster because within the last two days there have been a couple tweaks here.  Two players that came up to the roster from PUP, Justin Drescher and Davis Tull were out there.  We signed these four players, linebacker Chris Young, linebacker Justin Anderson the other day from Louisiana Lafayette, tight end Michael Egnew from Missouri and then defensive tackle Austin Brown from Miami (Ohio).  Those are four new players.  We waived long snapper Chris Highland and wide receiver Kyle Prater and then waived/injured was Lawrence Virgil and then terminated was tight end Alex Smith.  So that keeps us at 90.  I thought the work this morning was pretty good.  We ended up getting some live goal line and then a handful of different situational periods.  This afternoon we'll have a walk thru down on the lower field and then tonight we will meet with the New England staff.  We kind of have all the practice shells kind of put together for tomorrow morning and then Thursday morning."

Is there anything you would do in a normal practice that you wouldn't do in a joint practice?

"With the team we are practicing against, and I said this (before), Bill (Belichick and I) talk, every four years we play a game against each other and if we're playing against each other this year it'd be in the Super Bowl.  Our practices prior have been real good.  There are certain things you try to emphasize when you have 180 players together (from both teams).  You want to get some two-spot team drills so you're getting enough reps. You want to get to some drills that involve the younger players.  And I think ultimately it leads to these younger guys when it comes to the game Saturday night, they have a much better feel for the opponent than maybe they otherwise would if they were just running plays off of cards.  There is kind of an exchange back and forth of some things both of us would like to get accomplished.  But I would say by and large it would be similar to the drills you've seen.  There'll be a seven-on-seven period.  There will be a team period.  There will be a lot of special team periods, some situational periods.  I know there will be two minute each day and so that drill will take place.  Now the situational will vary, down three or down four or five.  But I would say other than the fact that there are twice as many players you will see a lot of the same drills that you see us running now, that they are running now that will just be in a joint form."

Would you prefer to have a joint practice every year?

"I think when you have a team, I mean, I feel this way and our staff does, when you get a team like New England I feel like we have worked so well together in the past, there hasn't been any issues, there hasn't been any fighting or any of that other stuff, it's really been about football and guys getting better.  So when you have that type of success with prior practices it is easy to commit to another one.  But I also think it comes at a time where it livens up (training camp), players are little bit more alert, (and) they are receiving different looks.  There will be some scheme things that are different for both teams and then (with) personnel.  You're getting a chance to really look at 90 other players that you are not as familiar with."

Does it help with the evaluation at all?

"I think so. I'd say, I think it can be a real good aid in playing better on Saturday.  You have a chance to work against a receiver for one of the other teams or work against a corner(back) or a pass rusher.  I think it can be real positive for both teams."

You mentioned Justin Drescher being back, how much are you not concerned about him?

"He missed quite a bit of time and yet the main thing we did was try to make sure he was 100 percent and we felt like we were getting a good look at another player.  But with that being said, I think he takes care of himself. The treatment has gone well.  I think that transition should be fairly smooth."

Just his overall performance…

"He's been steady.  I've said this before, generally, if you're talking about the long snapper it's not good.  If you go four years and not have a conversation about him, that is probably a good sign."

Are you going to ease Davis Tull back in?

"I think with regards to his reps we're going to be smart so that he's coming back and gradually.  He is receiving practice snaps but I think you have to be careful that he doesn't get the full amount.

Looking at pass protection, pass rush and going against a different team, if I can recall looking back when you guys practiced against the Texans I can remember Jermon Bushrod going against Mario Williams where you look at practice and he is beating him in the one-on-one, where in the game the process is totally different.  Is that something you picked up with Mario Williams?

"It's an interesting point, when we talk about the younger players and we talk about that term confidence, I think the young player who has not demonstrated it on the field feels like he can anticipate or hope to be successful but until it happens it is not present.  And I'd say in his case, specifically in his case, that week where Jammal (Brown) was injured and he had a tough matchup all during the week and then in the game, I'd say it is hard to say how much he grew but certainly he came away from that seven days with confidence feeling like he just played against one of the better defensive ends and he was able to do it in a game setting.  Those little growth spurts will come at different times.  I think we saw one the other night from our returner (Marcus Murphy).  We did not have an opportunity to have many punt returns and yet Murphy has a few of these kickoff returns.  We gave him a green light regardless of where it was kicked and I think he came away from that game feeling more confident than not having those opportunities.  I think that happens throughout this preseason with different players and it can happen in a joint practice, but typically it has to be demonstrated at some point on the field."

Do you try to create more competitive situations at a joint practice like this than you would in a typical practice?

"They're typically the same.  They can become more competitive because it is a different opponent.  I think in our third week now our timing of seeing someone else can heighten the awareness or the competition some in a good way."

Brandon Coleman seems to stand out in practice a number of days with some of the catches that he has made but then he was only targeted twice?

"Yes, that was really us. I talked with him afterwards. I think you'll see him. He is healthy and there was no specific rhyme or reason. Obviously there are a lot of guys at that position but he has playing too well and we feel like you'll see him get a lot of work this week with the ones. You'll see in the game Saturday with the ones."

Do you think his route running and technique is refined enough where quarterbacks will start throwing to his height?

"Absolutely. I used the comparison that we saw with Marques (Colston) in that first year of training camp of '06. I think Brandon has made similar strides that way so I am excited about his growth. He is very smart and very detailed. We just need to get him more snaps."

What is your take on participation trophies for kids? Does that do more harm than good?

"Having had that chance to coach sixth graders, I think that there is nothing wrong with the separation of someone who receives a specific award. I think recognition of participation is one thing and that is fine. Yet, identifying maybe someone who has stood above and beyond, that is healthy too. If I am answering the question fairly, I am saying 'look, if you are just saying that all are equal and they all receive the same [award]', I don't know that I am necessarily for that. My concern now at the high school level is decisions kids are making just to specialize in one sport. I think playing them all is a better option. I think that when you're playing basketball, you're helping yourself with football or baseball. Now some sports like gymnastics or figure skating, there are certain sports that start at a very young age that are extremely time consuming – I get that."

Is learning from failure a positive thing?

"I don't know that you're learning from failure if you don't receive a trophy. I know this; if you get one and you recognize that it is uniquely different, that goes a long way. I think when you have parents involved that are active in this discussion, you generally have a pretty good situation. When there has been accomplishment and achievement and it goes unnoticed, then it's difficult. Our experience coaching that sixth grade team was very upbeat and very positive. Teaching them the fundamentals and making sure that they are enjoying that experience. At sixth grade, making sure that they want to come back and play in seventh grade (is important). That was a goal of ours; making sure that every one of these guys wants to play the following year. With regards to the specific hardware of who gets a trophy or not, I think there has probably more discussion about it than needs be."

It sounds like [New England Patriots QB] Tom Brady is going to miss some of these practices. Is it a little disappointing because you want to go against someone like him?

"We haven't discussed it. Whenever you have practices like this, they'll be a handful of players that aren't healthy or aren't available. I haven't had any discussion with Bill Belichick about specifically who the players are. I know that they're getting in later this evening. Hopefully there are as many of their players available as there are our players available. I will check with our trainer now and see how we came out of this practice. I think it is important that most, if all, of the guys that are healthy, can go."

I'd imagine that they are looking at you guys like you guys are looking at them. They would love to have a chance to be able to go against Drew Brees, a top quarterback in the league.

"Just the opportunity to go against another opponent, I look at it, to some degree like we get a chance to see a team who just won the Super Bowl. Back in 2010, it was flipped around. When we went to New England, we'd just come off of a Super Bowl season and we practiced up there for three days. The bigger picture is the vision that both staffs and both organizations have for what you're trying to accomplish. Typically that permeates the teams. I think you guys will have a chance to see that the next few days. The communication, the understanding of the drills and what we're trying to get out of them; not all of the other bs that comes with a joint practice."

When you have this kind of weather, how do you deal with this as teams?

"There is no lightning so plan b would be on that lower field. We'd go into what would be like a preseason pregame where one team is on one end and the other team is on the other end. We'd get our warmups in and then some of the drills that might have been two-spot drills might be one-spot drills out here."

You have given Stephone Anthony a lot of responsibility so far, wearing the headset. How has he handled that?

"Well. Very good. A lot comes with that because you're communicating and you're the signal-caller. I said early in the process that he was someone who was a little further along, maturitywise, than a lot of rookie players. I think that part has gone well."

As a coaching staff, how beneficial are these joint practices? Do you ever pick things up?

"Yes, absolutely. You don't have that time to really change information as much but you really have the ability to see if certain things are being coached. You have a ton of film. When you are looking at a practice where you have two drills going on at a time and you have twice the amount of film basically that we would normally be able to look at. When Bill (Belichick) called me in the spring, my fear was that when he was calling, he didn't realize that the time we were here that he might've thought that we were just in New Orleans. They were still interested and we're excited that they are still coming and have taken the time, the effort and obviously the expense of bringing the team here for three days before going on to New Orleans."

At this point, are you just going to have Benjamin Watson stay up there in New Orleans? Is it easier to do that with the veteran guys?

"No, he gets in today. He'll be here today. He and I spoke and with his situation and from a timing standpoint, everything went well. He'll be in today and he'll be involved in the work. He'll go back with us on Friday."

Back to Anthony – is that a special kind of player that can develop that kind of respect with his teammates where they all look to him in the huddle?

"There are certain positions that once you are going, regardless of whether you are in your first year or eighth year, it does not matter. If you are looking at the signal caller and it is a rookie quarterback, you are paying attention. Same thing would happen with a linebacker calling a defense."

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