New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Wednesday, December 11, 2014
Opening Statement: "With regards to the roster, we waived wide receiver Joe Morgan and we signed wide receiver Seantavius Jones from our practice squad up to the active roster. That puts our roster at 53. We released Michael Zordich from the practice squad and replaced him with fullback Toben Opurum, number 44 and we added wide receiver Willie Snead, number 83 to the practice squad. The practice squad has two new faces and the active roster is full."
What led to the decision to let Joe go and bring Seantavius up?
"Probably a number of things and ultimately it was a team decision, something we felt was best for us. I'll leave it at that."
What do you like about Seantavius?
"He has been real impressive in practices. His size and his speed are a couple things. He has picked things up very quickly. It is every Wednesday and Thursday you're watching him out here being productive. Typically what happens with a practice squad player and it happens every week, you can't help but notice it."
Where have you seen his biggest growth?
"It's just with the reps and getting familiar with the offense I think. He can run and he has size. I'd also say the way he works and prepares is pretty impressive."
There have been multiple reports about Kenny Vaccaro getting demoted. Can you confirm that or discuss that?
"I'd say this, two things. It's inaccurate. There's one report. It is inaccurate. The role he plays. I'll leave it at that, but I would say it's very inaccurate."
Can you talk about his progress?
"You have a game like we just had, there are a ton of things, not just in his play, but a number of things. We've talked about it and we're focused on Chicago, but we're going to need him to play and play well. He's obviously going to be a huge factor for us in this game. The idea that we're putting him on the bench is a little silly."
Is his role possibly changing?
"Like I said, I'll just leave it at how I answered."
Can you talk about how this week is different than other weeks of the season the way you've taken stock of things?
"From a scheduling standpoint, we're playing Monday, so it's obviously different that way. There's a sense of urgency. We have a lot of things we have to improve on. That was evident from the game the other day. We're at that point. It's crucial we have a good week of practice. Today was sharp. I thought it was fairly physical. Obviously the team meetings and discussion's I've had with players is something that will stay between us. It's important that we do a good job this week in our preparation, coaches and players."
I have no doubt you talk to players all the time, but was it more important this week to sit down with them one on one, maybe with some guys and lay out a few things on them going forward and what you expect?
"First off, our job as coaches is we're in the same bunker, players and coaches alike. Our job is to teach and that's something that we have to look closely at. When a game like that happens, you're not going to be able to point to two villains. There's a lot of people with mud on their hands, starting with me. Outside of that though, any meetings we have would be between me and the player."
When you change things up and have a sense of urgency like this week, how do you balance players becoming too tense or too loose?
"I think that's something we'll have a good handle on. We've always been able to have a balance on that. But it starts with confidence in your assignment. You establish that during the week and when you have that, I think they'll be plenty ready and prepared to play and it's going to be important that we do that, that we play and execute."
Did you take a different approach in personnel review this past week in any way?
"We look closely each week at what we're doing and who we're doing it with. This week, if I said it was no different, obviously that wouldn't be the case, because if you have a game like that, you're approach quickly might be a little different, (and have) a little more sense of urgency. I'll leave it at that."
What was your conversation with your team about Chicago?
"A few things. Number one, obviously we're playing a team with the same record (as us). They have two tough losses, coming off the road Thanksgiving day and last Thursday night to Dallas. We talk about their personnel, their stadium, their scheme, what we feel like they do well, what we can expect possibly in our game. So you dive in with the scouting report and go through in detail their personnel, what we see in the cut ups, their tendencies and you will even get in the conditions, temperatures, wind, playing outside, having the proper footing, wearing the right shoes. That would give you an idea on maybe day one of an opponent."
What do you remember about Chicago in December?
"We're inside (practicing right now, laughter). The early forecast you'd say this time of the year is certainly better than maybe it could be. Yet, we have to make sure we're prepared. The first thing I think of is footing. If you have bad footing, generally you have bad football. It is important we have the right shoes on for that surface. From a temperature standpoint, I'm sure we have played in a lot colder games than what is called for."
Did you work out kickers?
"We took a look at four kickers yesterday."
Is it possible to be unhappy with a guy who is 18-of-20 on field goal attempts?
"Yes, you could be happy off the last performance and I take close attention to his (Shayne Graham's) numbers. We wanted to look at what was available, how they did. It's pretty common that we'll work out players and no one knows. When you have a game where someone's missed two field goals or made one and the other one missed and we work out kickers, it is what it is. Shayne is going to respond no different than these other guys we're challenging. He'll respond. We did not sign any of them, but we had a chance to see four guys and where they were at. A lot of those guys I would say, two or three of them are kind of on the workout circuit, every week, they are in another city and so they toured through our city yesterday."
Were you challenging Graham?
"No, I was just working out four kickers."
Alshon Jeffrey had a breakout game against you guys last year and obviously without Brandon Marshall he'll be a focal point. What have you seen in him?
"One of the things about him is he has a great ability to high point balls and so when you take someone with his size, you are talking about a large catching radius, some of the similar advantages Jimmy (Graham) might have or Marques (Colston). He has real good size. There's a ton of confidence in Jay (Cutler) with him. You can see it and so how much more they lean on him with the injury to Brandon I don't know that. Martellus Bennett is having a good year, (Matt) Forte. There are a number of guys that you have to account for in their offense. But with regards to him and what you see on film, you see a size player, a red zone threat, a guy that makes plays down the field, even in coverage there's a lot of confidence to put one up and when he's coming down with it a high percentage of the time or there's a pass interference call, you can see why."
What do you think of Matt Forte?
"He does a lot of things well. I would expect to see a lot more of him in the running game. Anytime you lose a good receiver (Brandon Marshall) like that (other players have to step up). He has good balance and vision. He's an outstanding receiver as well as runner. When you start putting versatility in the equation and all the things you ask a running back to do, you put a check in all of his boxes. He's smart, he's tough, he's an outstanding talent."
Have you talked or consulted with some of your mentors, like maybe Bill Parcells this week on the season?
"Number one, I have a real good staff we spend a lot of time discussing each week. Obviously I have a number of people that I have worked with that I would speak with on a regular basis."
When you played for Mike Ditka, did he have an influence for you to get into coaching and what was it like playing for him briefly?
"Yes, I think I always wanted to remain in football. As unsuccessful as my playing career was going, I am sure at some point in the back of your mind, you think about what you want to do (following the end of your playing career). I knew coming out of college that if I wasn't going to have a chance to play, I wanted to be involved and in coaching. I'm sure there is a video clip of him saying to me somewhere saying that I better get involved in coaching, because it is not going to be playing. Ironically that last game (I played) was against New Orleans. That was just coincidence."
Can you talk about Aaron Kromer and are you surprised to see his offense struggling?
"Aaron's a great coach. I worked with him in college for two years at Miami University and have been a close friend of his for a long time. We were able to sign him here as a coach. He brought a ton of knowledge and information. He's a great staff guy. Players and coaches get along with him. It wasn't a surprise at all right after 2012 that Marc (Trestman) had interest in hiring him as a coordinator. I think their first year was outstanding, obviously last season. They're going through some tough times right now, no different than us here, but I think he's real detailed, he has an outstanding football mind. He's going to be a head football coach someday. He has that type of ability. I think in our profession, sometimes it is a part of the deal (losing). He will weather this. So will Marc. I know both of them very well."
Can you talk about your relationship with Trestman?
"He and I have known each other for a long time, dating back to when I first got hired in the NFL in 1997. He was something that knew Jon Gruden. When you come in as young assistant in this league, you get to know people. He has a lot of history with the West Coast Offense. We have just had a relationship over the years. He had an opportunity to come here and help us that one season. He would be someone I would talk to regularly, whether at the combine, senior bowl, on the phone. I have a lot of respect for him and what he stands for and his football mind."
Do you see similarities of what Kromer learned from you and what's in their offense?
"It might not be the same as where you are putting on Detroit film and seeing Joe (Lombardi) putting together an offense very similar to what we had here, a system. Aaron's a part of it in both the run and passing game with Marc and I think a lot of it to their credit is who your players are. I think a mistake is saying this is the system and plugging everyone in. I'm sure there are things that he may have taken from here. There are things we took from him here. Both he and Marc have coached a long time in our league in a lot of places