New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 18
Can you just talk in general about, I think Latavius Murray's touches going up each week, what you like and what you've seen from him?
"Last week a little bit unfolded with Alvin (Kamara's) injury. Look, he's a real good football player and we knew when we signed him there was a vision and a role. He runs the zone schemes well, he's smart, he knows how to block the pressure, and handle some of the third down situations. He's done well."
When you look at how successful this team has been over the pass four weeks, does that factor into how you maybe evaluate injuries?
"I truly think, and I'm asked this a lot, we take the medical, the science relative to the player being ready to play or not and we don't factor in, well we have a bye. Is the playerhealthy to play and if he is, then we'll play him and if he's not, then we won't. I think the exceptions to that might be when you get into the postseason, but I think we really try to pay attention to where the player is relative to his recovery and his injury and being smart."
What did you like about Zach Zenner?
"He's someone we knew a little bit on film. Joe Lombardi was with him in Detroit. He's smart. I think in a short week,he's someone that can pick things up. He's played a lot of good football snaps when you watch his film. So the vision was pretty clear."
Would you say you've enjoyed the challenges offensively, just from a creative standpoint so far this season how maybe you've been challenged a little bit?
"I think it's part of coaching. I think that we're always kind of in a little bit of a flux. Monday's come and there are certain injuries that you have to talk about it and it certainly can impact and oftentimes does impact the next week's game plan. I think the unique thing about our league is a player like Zach Zenner all of a sudden who you've worked out and signed will be up and playing in a game. I think that happens for every team on Monday. You don't know what position it happens to, but guys get injured and it's a physical game Very quickly, you've got to figure out what direction you're going from a personnel standpoint and then how does that affect what you want to do and your game plan. Obviously when there's an injury like Drew(Brees), it's much more significant relative to what your planning. I don't know that you ever get used to it Monday's news, but you understand that's part of the deal."
Have you felt would you say more challenged this year or is it all just sort of the same?
"I think there's always that challenge of putting the right plan together, right? I don't want to say pressure, but you're always wanting to make sure that you've seen everything (and) you've thought through everything. As a teacher, your job is to communicate and install and come up with answers. I think that there's always that sense of urgency when that's happening. Yes, sure. When all of a sudden there's an injury, like at the quarterback position,there might be longer meetings and you're looking at everything. Shoot that week in Seattle, I think we went back and watched every one of Teddy Bridgewater's throws in 2015, what are the specific things that we feel like he's comfortable and does well. We've seen those, but not in their entirety all at once so that's our job."
Is that somehow more gratifying maybe when you put that much work into sort of reinventing something and then have success?
"Winning is gratifying because, look every week there's a test and you hope you do well and you're really measured by if you win or lose so that that never gets old. That feeling of the long hours, the preparation, and then the success on the weekend. That's something that is part of the motivation."
Another premier pass rusher of this week. What kind of challenges does Khalil Mack present?
"He's one of the best. He presents a lot of challenges. He's physical. He's real flexible. He can get on an edge. We've got to pay attention to where he is on every snap and he can turn a game around. We've seen that too many times. I think that's, uh, one of the keys in this game."
Is he one of the more, I guess, better guys out there when it comes to forcing fumbles and getting that handled?
"He's had production there. There's some guys that have a knack for that. On one play, all of a sudden a third downplay or a second down play, the game can turn quickly. We saw it last night with the Kansas City's defense against Denver. A sack fumble that scores a touchdown, you're winning over 80% of those games. He's an outstanding player."
Their defense as a whole, one of the more productive ones?
"Very good. Extremely good. We saw a lot of film of them a year ago as the season wore on late in the year. We were preparing for the postseason. It's a group that is well coached and very talented."
32 years ago, the Saints played the Bears at Soldier Field. What do you remember about that game?
"32 years ago?"
32 years ago today. 1987.
"Wow. I remember the last pass in that game was me throwing an interception and they were on a knee. That's what I remember."
When you're making your cuts at training camp, like specifically in regards to Emmanual Butler, was that difficult? Did it come down to one thing? Like when you're trying to decide between maybe the 5*th* and 6*th*receiver?
"There's a handful of things that it comes down to and it can vary. Sometimes it's special teams. Sometimes it's the immediate vision. There's a lot of time spent on that evaluation. It's spent throughout camp. You're constantly playing with your 53. If it were that day, you might have a month left before you're really getting down to your 53. I think there's a lot that goes into it."
How much do you actually worry about, hey, this player may not make it though waivers? Fans always worry about that.
"We do too. We spend time on every one of those players that we're releasing. Managing the roster is a completely different part of the process and managing the roster involves that. Your biggest fear is that there's a real good football player on your roster that ends up somewhere else. We've benefited from claiming Taysom Hill a few years ago in that same type of situation."