Transcript: Coach Sean Payton Training Camp media availability 8-2-19

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2019 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Friday, August 2, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability

How much does that help the evaluation process, I guess especially for the linemen when you are able to get that red zone work in?
“Well, there's just like an ongoing teaching progression and that's part of the installation and obviously you're trying to get, not all but most of your installation done prior to beginning to play games. It changes when you're in that area of the field. It is an area that you can give up yards, but if you're pretty efficient down there defensively and forcing teams to kick field goals and that can be pretty significant. Obviously offensively, you're trying to score touchdowns. So, today was our first day getting into that and getting into that section of the field.”

*For a young player like (Alex) Anzalone, how much did it benefit him going through a full 16 games last season? *
“I think quite a bit. Coming off the injury the year before, I think quite a bit. He is real smart and very comfortable in coverage. To get through a year and the way he did and play as well as he did I think that there's a confidence level then you return with.” 

*Some of that benefit too is physical then because he can go through a whole offseason without rehabbing? *
“Sure, yeah. He's not rehabbing, he's actually in the offseason program.” 

When you look at the RPO quarterbacks’ going into the future, could you see them getting double digit carries game in and game out, as far as sticking that system?
“It is a good question. Philosophically, our league has seen an evolution offensively in different directions. There have been years where multiple tight ends (are a trend). At some point, you're going to have to be able to run the football. I think we are seeing a little bit more of some of the built in run or passes. Yet I think there is a, place for that depending on who your personnel is and what you're trying to accomplish. That ability to run the ball without it being a RPO, because there are times where you're going to just want to run the ball. All of that I think factors in. But, I think a lot of it depends on who you have personnelwise and what your vision is as a team for your offense.”

*Having Alvin’s (Kamara) versatility in both running and pass-catching, how much does that help you with the red zone? *
“Well, he’s a good football player, not just a receiver, he's a good runner. So, there's a little bit more of a premium on your running game down there when you're getting some of the red coverages we do, on a two and a half, three yard gain is a pretty good play.”

Did you get a chance to see the pass interference challenge last night in the Hall of Fame Game?
“Oh, I heard about it. It sounded like it took not that long. It is just another play that's being challenged. I felt like everyone felt it was as we saw pass interference, (it) got challenged last night. But, I didn't see the play. I'll watch it. The feedback I got was it was a, it was kind of an easy, no-call or ruling on the field stands right. I didn't see any of the game.”

I know so much gets made of the unintended consequences and so early. Do you expect teams to maybe try to weaponize it in a way. Try and have a technique to draw it?
“I think that'll be difficult. I think that would be hard. It is being officiated the same way. It's being officiated at the same way and if it goes to New York, they're going to look closer at it and then make a decision. If they have to look at it probably over 30 seconds, they are probably going to stay with what they call them, the field. So, the biggest thing is valuing your challenges a little differently now that you have one that might be a more significant play. I don't want to get caught in the second half without any challenges? So, the eight yard catch, no catch maybe or feed inbounds, in the first half probably does not merit using the challenge on if I can save it for a bigger play if need be. I mean the worst thing that could happen for you as a coach would be to have a game changing play in the second half and you're out of challenge flags.”

Do you think the perception of the game in terms of officials needing to be from different parts of the country, should play a factor?
“I am not quite sure how the selections are made relative. I think that is really more for Al (Riveron). I think they are mindful of that, just relative to eliminating any type of perception. But, I think that is more of the scheduling with the league office.”

After a year with Demario Davis, how much do you think that was a home run with an acquisition?
“It was identifying in an area that we felt we wanted to improve and then finding the right type of makeup and the right type of football player. Sometimes, it is hard to do and sometimes you have to wait for the draft. However, fortunately for us, the vision was pretty clear and to his credit, he has really come through and played well. He is a good leader too.”

*How much is he a part of the run defense? *
“Well he was part of it. He is a physical player. He is not a wrap up and take down guy. He is someone that that can hit you and stop you in your tracks. He was part of that.”

Were there any other rule changes that you had to adjust to?
“I think one that is significant is any peeled back block, you could not go to the head or neck. You can't peel back behind and go towards your line of scrimmage in and knock someone off their feet. You're going to have to be a little bit smarter. I think that is a good rule change. Generally, when those blocks happen, those players are out of the play anyway. They're chasing. So on a turnover, the defense has to be smart about peeling back in and hitting someone that can be a foul. 

Are you going to coach to just screen the player?
“Yes. We're going to screen. You're going to shield. You can block them. You just can't decleat them. We're learning more. You don't have to just (have someone) getting hit in the head to get a concussion. You can get hit hard in the chest and it can be a traumatic play for the guy getting blocked. That was one. There's a couple relative to, there's a foul on a scoring play, a defense or offensive foul, usually it was enforced on the kickoff. It still can be, but the team that was fouled against can take it on the PAT try. So, if all of a sudden you want to make them, at the end of the game instead of kicking a field goal or PAT from the 15, you can make them kick it from the 30. That is pretty significant rather than take it on the kickoff and then vice versa offensively if you choose to take the foul, you can go to the one-yard line and go for two if you want as opposed to from the two.”

They seem like they are going to be looking at the running back more closely going forward.
“I think philosophically, the message is clear relative to leading with the head or crown down, body behind, we know that’s not a good position. When does that happen? It happens with a pulling lineman. It happens with a player in space, a defender. It happens with a running back when he gets outside the tackle box. Focusing on seeing target or head to the side. That's the second year of this rule and again, trying to draw clarity from it.”

After bringing in two new tight ends this offseason, what have you seen in Dan Arnold so far?
“The progress. He is a young player. He had a pretty good 50/50 ball yesterday, that I thought was a good play and then the confidence that comes with playing well. So just that growth, the reasons that he made the team, now you want to see those steps.”

Action photos of New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon on August 2, 2019.

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