Sean Payton - Zurich ClassicWednesday, April 26
Payton: "John Kuhn. We finished second. I think we're very comfortable losing to Lexi Thompson and Chris Behrman. Did I say Lexi Thompson and Chris Behrman? There's a pause. Anyway, it's for a great cause. The weather is great. I know everyone is excited just because of the field and the format change. Being here 11 years, there's always that competition to try to draw the best golfers to the tournament. When you look at the calendars that they're trying to put together, but everyone you talk to with regards to the format, they're excited about playing here. I can't think of the last time we've had a field like this, really. So it's a credit to Zurich and I think it'll be a great showcase for our city. Any questions?"
"Sean, how do you guys foresee using Adrian Peterson?"
Payton: "Look, I think the role will be very clear and defined. I think you guys who've covered us long enough know, that it's a tough, long 16-week season. I think that he's someone that certainly will be able to compliment Mark (Ingram). Those guys are different in some ways, and yet we feel like we've added another quality player. It goes without saying, a guy that is eventually going to be in the hall of fame, but I think, we think that he's got more years in his career. So, we're excited for that to happen. I don't know the timing wise we knew if it would happen, prior to the draft. Fortunately, it was able to. We'll have a clear role. He had a visit here about two weeks ago. I thought the process went well and we'll have a chance to see him, I'm sure, shortly for the offseason program.
"What did you sell him on?"
Payton: "He's been in the league long enough and I think it's a fairly small circle. I think a lot of it was the vision, a lot of it was playing behind an offensive line that has experience and obviously a group that we've invested a lot of resources in. Playing with a quarterback like Drew. Not just having to be the guy that generates offense. When he's been in that role a few years back, we played that team in 2009, and if not for the turnovers, from a statistic standpoint we were clearly outgained. So, I think there were a handful of things. He keeps home in Houston. He'll be able to get back and forth. So I'm sure there were a number of factors. I think overall during the visit there were a number of meetings that he had and it went well.
"Sean he's accustomed to being the guy, is he pretty much solid with sharing the load with Mark?"
Payton: "Yea, I think so and I think that I would say this, and this sounds a little cliché, but it's hard to just be the guy that's just getting every handoff. I think that, not only in his case, but also in Mark's case. We were fortunate enough for a few years to have a guy like Tim Hightower, who as his career went on here, had more and more of a role and more carries and I'm not by anyway saying that Adrian's role will be the same as Tim's. But, I think it's important in our game to have a number at that position that can handle the length of the season."
"Sean, when the draft ends Saturday, what do you have hoped to accomplish?"
Payton: "Hopefully we've improved our defense. Look, that's no secret. I think fortunately it's a good defensive draft, we feel like. I feel like it's one of the better defensive drafts that as a head coach that I've seen, probably the deepest. So hopefully that would be the first thing."
"And obviously there's some holes some guys will have a chance to contribute right away. Do you think guys are more prepared now to play as rookies?"
Payton: "I think that varies. I don't think that's changed. There's some guys that come in and become real good NFL players that may not transition in year 1 and I think there's some that transition quicker. I think a lot of it is dependent on the players. There's a handful of players in this year's draft that because of health maybe, I don't want to say a redshirt, but it might not be until '18 that you see them have the success that we envision. But that being said, I think we're constantly trying to predict that. I think that hasn't changed and I think that varies by player."
"If you get it right this week, are you a playoff team this year?"
Payton: "Listen, I think that we'd like to think that we're going to be in that mix and man we're sitting here in April and the focus is getting it right. So, we'll see each step with who we acquire and who select in the draft, and then just as importantly, and you guys know this, on Saturday night who we're able to sign as free agents. All of that will be important. Not just for '17, but also the long term.
"Where do you guys stand with Malcolm Butler?"
Payton: "There's nothing new. Look, he's with New England. I don't think anything's changed and I don't see anything being imminent as well. Thank You.