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Sean Payton talks about practice, Bill Belichick

Transcript of Coach Payton's Sunday session with the media

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 16, 2015

Opening Statement:

"We got quite a bit of situational work done towards the end, some more third down and some blitz pick up drills."

Going back to the game, was it ironic that you practiced the volleyball drill and it actually happened?

"It came up.  I don't know that he straddled it exactly but as soon as we turned down the sideline you could see that that was a situation where it was going to put it on the 40, absolutely."

Is what you're doing with Hau'oli Kikaha different from what he did in college and how's he adjusting to the pro game?

"I think he is adjusting well. I would say in college he was primarily a (pass) rusher.  For us our plans are to see him in that sub-rush role and right now he is playing some Sam which involves some area drop based on the coverage you are in.  Sometimes maybe in coverage man-to-man or other times (you will) buzz into the flat.  That would be the big difference."

How comfortable are you having two rookies in there with Hau'oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony competing at linebacker?

"Well we have a lot of them (rookies competing).  They are all competing for playing time.  It is very early in the process.  They're competing with some veterans that played out there before. They are receiving a bunch of reps though.  It is good."

When you look at the concept of the young linebackers and you see quarterbacks attacking the flat, eight, 10 yards, hook route, curl route and you are in a zone concept and the quarterback is trying to manipulate you.  Where if you have that clock in your head as a linebacker to realize who is in your zone then you almost have to turn into man coverage so you can defend that."

"I think often times in the situation you are describing, it falls on these inside linebackers so as you buzz the flat and then the linebacker is getting to the hook to curl area they just have to do a good job of matching up and then playing the quarterback's eyes.  Specifically in your single safeties zone there is a lot of pressures that goes on the two end side hook defend. Two inside backers whether it is Stephone Anthony, David Hawthorne, Dannell Ellerbe, those guys, one thing for the flat defender to take away but the hook defender really has to push and be mindful of the formation you are in."

Just looking at the guys so far and the way they have contributed and the progress they have made, are they on the right path to getting back to 2006?

"I think the makeup of this group specifically the rookie class has been good.  I think that they are picking things up. Obviously there is a lot being thrown at them but I think they are handling it well.  By and large they are good shape.  I think there is a good chance (David) Tull comes off the PUP here this afternoon and we will get some work with him.  He is healthy. We just kind of followed protocol if you will and he is ready to get some snaps.  I would say overall I think it is a smart group and obviously they need a ton of work and a ton of reps."

You guys signed a linebacker. Do you have the other transaction?

"Today we will announce two or three different transactions.  The linebacker played for James Willis at ULL (University Louisiana-Lafayette).  He worked out last night.  There will probably be two or three transactions we give you guys here in about an hour, hour and a half."

Can you describe the last few days for guys like Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Alex Smith talking about the next man up mentality?

"Yeah, it is pretty common in training camp.  Number one, you are going to have some players that get nicked up and so the guy who is running with the twos is going to be up getting reps with the ones.  It has happened already to start with at linebacker, it has happened at a handful of positions.  You come off your first preseason game and with a few guys that are out, it gives more reps to other players and you have to take advantage of those."

Were the returners wearing boxing gloves?

"Yes, we did that in the spring once. It really forces them to really put their bodies in a great position to catch a ball so it is a way of taking their hands per say away and keeping their elbows together and really locating the ball with their feet, getting set."

Last preseason you had Pete Carmichael call some plays in games, are you going to do any of that this preseason?

"Yeah he did last week. We will keep looking at how we do that, but he called all of it last week.  He did a good job."

Can you talk about C.J. Spiller's surgery this weekend?

"Next question."

Is it conceivable that Garrett Grayson could emerge as the backup ahead of Luke McCown or Ryan Griffin and how far would he have to go to do that?

"I think that we have not set in stone for instance this is how our two is.  Obviously Luke's (McCown) competing.  Ryan Griffin, Garrett, those guys are all handling their snaps well and as camp goes on we will get a better feel for what our plans are.  Overall those guys have been handling the reps that they are getting very well.  Certainly you would like experience at that position and yet I wouldn't say it is a prerequisite."

Having the officials out there, does that help the players breaking down the film?  I noticed two screen plays they threw the flags out.

"We said it to these guys, I want to see the flag and then be able to talk about.  We can talk about it when we see the flag on film.  I'll bet there were six penalties, five maybe, specifically one on special teams, a couple on the line, one contact penalty, but it is another reminder without it things go unaddressed or maybe as a point of emphasis I want those guys to be pretty aggressive, the officials."

When you look at the perception, how can you have double-digit penalties, well over 100 yards and then you look last year you were the second least penalized team?

"Well look, it is the emphasis this year after the first preseason game.  The first area is things can get sloppy down the field in the passing game.  A DB can be functioning in his mind cleanly and yet he gets into a game he sees that a couple of these plays are going to be called.  It draws attention to it so that he can get cleaned up before the regular season.  But I know it is something that we need to work on."

The decision to go to the field practice the last couple of practices, does it change the work at all?

"I don't know that it changes what we are doing, the space is a little bit more constricted because you are putting the offense on one end and the defense on the other.  We'll be back up here for some work.  We just wanted to give these fields a couple of days to get some water.  They are holding up great.  So we will be up here for the walk thru and tomorrow's am practice."

With Marcus Murphy, was he supposed to return punts but you didn't force a punt during his time?

"Yes, he would have been the punt returner, I do not think it was until, he got one late in the second half I believe.  Yes, we just didn't get him a punt."

Compared to kickoff returns, do you want to do more to see him get more punt returns?

"Yes, I think so.  We drafted him primarily first for what we saw as a punt and kick returner.  I thought he did some good things the other night in the return game.  So hopefully we can create those situations with New England here at practice and then just as importantly on Saturday night get him some punt returns because it is a little different than a kick return."

Do you see a difference in the defense playing more physical this morning?

"Parts of practice and then there are other parts that weren't as good.  We will look at the film but it is hard to do short yardage if you aren't doing it live.  I kind of held off doing it live this morning.  We will look at the tape and clean up the things we need to get cleaned up."

Do you feel like you are making progress with this team?

"I think it is hard to ever say are we right where we want to be, you have to coach that and the answer is probably no.  We have a lot of work to do.  Fortunately we just started the preseason so each of these opportunities it is important that we getting something accomplished."

What have you seen in Ryan Griffin's development from last year to this year?

"Just the comfort level and getting in the huddle with the play, getting out, understanding where his outlets are, understanding the packages we are putting together and getting us in the best play.  I think his tempo has gotten better.  I think that comes with time."

Any thoughts on the Pelicans having their training camp at the Greenbrier?

"I think it is great. The people here have done a great job of providing all the necessary equipment, certainly housing, food, all of that is first class.  Jim (Justice) and his staff, the crew here have been great.  I think it will be a good chance for another team to see it next week with New England.  I am sure the basketball team will take advantage just like we have."

Have you learned anything from Bill Belichick over the years?

"Yeah, I would say this, I've said this before, back in 2006 in any business you would study closely who is having success and they have been a team we study to see the sustained power they have had year in and year out has been pretty impressive.  Any time we get a chance to work with them, 2010, 2012, again this year, it gives us a great opportunity.  I know this, I know how he is going to handle it with his players and we felt coming off the times we've worked together it has been real positive.  We've already gone through the practice schedule for next week.  We kind of have it all laid out.  We will go in the morning both Wednesday and Thursday.  I think when you can be around a Super Bowl champion, as much as they have won, I think it is a great opportunity for a team like us and certainly for me as a head coach."

Can you give a specific example?

"Shoot, everything from how he acquires personnel.  I think he is very good at identifying what they are looking for.  They have a role for a player when they sign him.  There has been a ton of things just when you watch what they have put together over the years.  They have kind of been the benchmark."

Do you model what you do in practice, the tempo in practice after them?

"Some of it. You do not have that firsthand experience with how he might run a certain practice.  We understand how we run a joint practice.  You try to receive as much information, visit with him when you can while they are here.  Things come up, questions come up and he has always been good to me."

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