New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Presented By Verizon
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability
What kind of progress have you seen from (Marcus Davenport)?
"You see the mental, the alignment, (handling) assignment(s), where a year ago he'd be into his first week of training camp. So right away, he's got a much better feel for the technique he's supposed to be playing. We're not in pads yet and I think we'll begin to see other areas, but the second year into it I think he's a lot more comfortable with where he's aligned in the technique involved."
Could you say the same thing as far as Eli Apple going into his second season (with the Saints)?
"Yes. (He came in) mid-season during the year. But yes, and he's someone that picks things up pretty quick. I would definitely say the same."
Marcus (Davenport) looks a lot stronger. Is that something you've seen in the weight room from him?
"Yes. He's one of those naturally strong players that now you've got to begin to utilize it a little bit and how you leverage your length and take advantage of it. He played a lot from a two-point stance in college and so the transition to more of a three point stance is part of it."
How important will Marcus (Davenport) be in terms of pass rushing with Sheldon's (Rankins) injury?
"Sheldon is progressing. He's ahead of schedule and if I had a game I could give you, I'd give you that game but hopefully it's earlier than later, but meanwhile you're counting on everyone else to step up including the inside players. We haven't quite gotten to that third down day, which is coming here in two days and now all of a sudden you get more of your sub rush combinations on the field, your best four rushers, best five rushers. They can be ends and they can be tackles. Some guys are pretty good inside on your third down looks."
Any chance (Sheldon Rankins) comes back during training camp?
"I think that's a little early."
Are you excited about the pads going on tomorrow?
"Yeah. Yeah, we are. Hopefully the weather holds up and we can be outside on a Sunday for our fans."
Do you see Latavius Murray as a complement to Alvin (Kamara)?
"Well, you know, how we feel just about playing those players, the importance of that and depth of that position so I view him as a guy that we really liked what we saw, we got a vision for the things we think he does well and our job is to put them in those positions. Look, is one player taking exactly Mark Ingram's reps? I can't tell you that right now. I think there's that presumption that Alvin's going to receive more (touches) and I think our pitch count and how we played and utilized him has been really good. Now occasionally we might get a return from him or early in the season last year his numbers were a little up because we were without Mark. Latavius is a good football player and we're glad that he's here."
You talked about playing to a player's strengths and we saw Latavius (Murray) catch a ball. Historically, that hasn't been a big part of his career.
"We'll see how that progresses. You have to have some versatility and he's shown that, whether it's the underneath throws, he knows who is blocking. I think he is pretty good in protection. So how much (he's involved) in the passing game I think is still to be determined."
What do you like about Teddy (Bridgewater)?
"With Teddy, number one, I love all the intangibles (he has) that are necessary to play that position. He's real smart. He's a fantastic leader. I mean, he's a guy that players really look up to. I thought today's practice with him was really good. He's got some of those "it" things that you look for, those traits that carry onto the field with his teammates and Taysom (Hill) does as well. It's a pretty good room right now."
Did you know Teddy Bridgewater had those traits before he got here?
"I did. Only because of my relationship with Mike Zimmer."
Did you fear losing him this offseason?
"I did. Yeah. I was down in The Bahamas and had a four-hour meeting with his agent who happened to be down in The Bahamas at the same time. I drove to see him and we wanted to keep him here. It was important. Fortunately, we were able to do that."
What goes into kind of establishing the timing between the quarterback and a new receiver?
"The routes, the brakes, how they come out of cuts, subtle things. All the receivers are going to understand how to run a certain outbreak or a certain inside brake, but you know how to handle those zone coverages, how to handle the main coverages when plays change. There is a lot and you'll see (Drew Brees) right now working through some of that. It might be something that happened in practice that he wants to clean up post-practice with the tight end or running back or a receiver. If you added up the amount of time, looked at all the tight ends that he's played with, all the receivers, all the running backs, and you took some of these guys like (Tom) Brady or Drew, you'd be in the hundreds of post-practice timing. There's a lot that goes into it."
When you reviewed last season, what did you attribute the offensive drop-off to late in the season?
"I know that has been a hot button topic in this camp, but when you get into the course of the season like that and you are playing for a playoff push – we are looking at winning games. You'd love to be able to win a game like we did in Cincinnati each week, but that's not reality. We played some tough fought close games early in the year. Baltimore came down to a PAT. Fortunately, our balance was good. Our time of possession was good, all those other things. I can think of a few plays where there was a penalty, a touchdown was called back. For us it's more about what we need to do to win that game and that that's really the truth."
With Drew (Brees) particularly, he appears ageless at times. How close do you monitor what he can still do?
"Nothing has changed that way. Obviously, we evaluate the film and watch it closely, but it's not like we've had to go in a different direction. Where we've been able to have balance on this team and play good defense and create turnovers, it's been a pretty good formula for us. And that goes back to 2006, 2009 and even 2011 and 2013. Playing a complementary game means that and I think that our group up front played well last year, so each week presents a different challenge."
What did you attribute the run defense and its success?
"I (give) credit (to the) players and the coaches. We played some good running teams too. I think that comes from when you start the season and you have some success or if you don't then you quickly have to get it corrected. I think we began to really play to that strength and force teams to be more one-dimensional. You're in for a long game or a long season if you can't stop the run. There's not a lot of stuff that's going to happen that is positive (if you don't stop the run). That was encouraging."