New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
Opening Statement: "Today was day one with two more days with the same schedule as today."
What are you looking for from Mark Ingram this year?
"I think he was healthier as the season wore on. Obviously you saw that in the way he ran. He feels good. He's 100 percent. He's doing well. The evaluation on the runners right now is more difficult (because of no-pad workouts). I think you really saw in the last part of the season his play improved."
Is it more of a wait-and-see situation with the receiver group this year since there is less experience with the departure of Lance Moore?
"There's some new players. There will be some good competition here. We've had some veteran guys each year whether its Devery Henderson or Lance Moore, guys that have played an awful lot of snaps that we're going to have to replace and get snaps from somewhere else. We have a lot of good candidates."
What is Junior Galette's role?
"I would say it starts with his ability to rush the passer and come off the edge. He has real good speed and flexibility, which most good pass rushers can do. They can vanish. The key is keeping the right pitch count on snaps. He's steadily improved each season, certainly one of the guys who played well for us a year ago and someone we're counting on to play well this year"
Is Ryan Griffin competing for the backup quarterback job?
"He's doing it right now, both he and Luke (McCown) are competing. Ryan showed enough progress last year. I know that would certainly be a goal of his this year"
Day 1 of 2014 New Orleans Saints Minicamp presented by Verizon on Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Photos by Matthew Sharpe (New Orleans Saints photos)
How important are times like this important in the evaluation for roster spots, especially for younger guys?
"It begins now, yet it's important that we don't make any instant evaluations. We're evaluating how these guys are improving, more of it's on the mental out there, but we are having a chance to teach technique and the fundamentals. I think when we get to training camp, we have a chance to see these players in gear and maybe give them a chance to see in a contact drill or scrimmage. Really the key now is giving them every chance to learn the system so they can execute when we put pads on."
How much were you attracted to Erik Lorig as a player by his size?
"It started with fullback, just in the evaluation. Obviously he's a little bigger than the standard fullback when you look at height as someone that played outside linebacker and was converted in Tampa Bay and I said this before, we were on a stretch of games where we followed Tampa and saw him (on film) on offense. He's physical, does a good job with his pad level, good finisher and he does give you some good flexibility as a guy who can catch the football. For us, his predominant position is as fullback."
How does a guy like Timothy Flanders break into the mix?
"Right now it's learning what to do so that in training camp he can narrow the gap. Part of the challenge is knowing who to block, not just running the football, so typically for the young running backs, first-year running backs, this OTA time is learning the protections, so that we're in pads, so that they're able to identify who they have in each protection. That can be challenging at times, especially when you get into some of the nickel defenses that move around more than the base."
Do you think you've been this young on offense since you've been here?
"I think we're younger on offense than we are on defense. If you looked at just the roster, I don't know that we have a player from '09 and we have five or six on offense. That's part of the transition of our game."
When you look at Travaris Cadet and where he's at, can he run basically the same plays as Darren Sproles?
"I think a year ago, I don't know that I would have been able to tell you that. The focus for him was the running game per se. Even when he came here in 2012, he was with the receivers (some). That element with regards to running routes and catching the football, he would be further ahead, but we saw him last year as a guy who transitioned that we handed the ball to. That's something he's worked hard on. He's a guy with good hands, he's sudden with a good change of direction and I think that is one of the things we'll look for in this upcoming training camp. He's been able to do a lot of the things we've asked Darren to do in the passing game. You just keep building on that. He's a good young talent."
Photos of Saints fans at 2014 Minicamp presented by Verizon. Photos by Samantha McLain. (New Orleans Saints photos.
What are the pros and cons of so many young people on the roster?
"There's five or six (players from 2009) on offense. It's a transition of our game. I think that we feel like we have a good nucleus of players that have experience and the job for us now is to get the younger players ready to play, to get on the field and know what to do. I think that's a challenge every year."
Do you have an inclination of how the backup quarterback situation will play out this year?
"There aren't any early indications. We'll get into training camp. We'll have competition there for that number two position between Luke (McCown) and Ryan (Griffin). We'll have an opportunity to see them receive reps not only with the second group, but we'll see them receiving reps with the first group."
Is it closer than a year ago?
"I would say it from the perspective of Ryan's been here now a full season. I wouldn't grade or put a number on the competition yet, just the idea they are competing."
Did his experience with Curtis Johnson for a year help Griffin?
"In fairness to Ryan, I don't know that if the offense (Tulane) was different, he'd be any further behind. He's someone who picks it up very quickly. He and Luke (McCown) are real quick studies. Does it help in the transition the first year and in some areas where the terminology is similar? I think so. I think in fairness to him he is a quick study and someone who's able to take it into the meeting and into the huddle. A lot of times that's a challenge for the first-year player, getting to the line of scrimmage and getting it identified, he's done it well."
One of the pre-draft criticisms of Ronald Powell was that he wasn't a self-starter and wasn't driven. What gave you the sense that that isn't true?
"All of our research that we try to pay attention to is that he is a guy that pays attention and has a passion for playing. I'm not familiar with the pre-draft stuff from the other people."