New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2019 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability
"Just one roster move this morning. We signed running back Jacquizz Rodgers and we waived running back Rob Kelley. We're still at 90."
Favorite snowball flavor (snowballs were served to players, coaches and staff post-practice)?
"Mine? Cherry lime."
Obviously getting Marcus Williams and Latavius Murray back out there is a positive for you guys. How encouraged were you with what you saw after they missed a few days of practice?
"We will look at the tape. Obviously it is good to have guys like that get back out after the rehab. Both of them should be pretty healthy. I am sure there's a lot of soreness right now with a number of players. Today's practice was more of a red zone emphasis. We'll go in, watch the tape and then make corrections for this afternoon's walkthrough."
Rookie Erik McCoy, going into tomorrow's scrimmage, has he done enough for you to comment on how he's coming along.
"We have seen a lot of good things. I like how he has picked things up. I think he is strong inside. I think each day you see progress. I think discussing the personnel the other day in the meeting, we felt like, especially since the pads have come on, we have been able to see some things that are encouraging and yet they're still a number of things, third down, two minutes, some of the protections that he is working through. But I have been really encouraged."
What is the relationship building on that line when you got a rookie at center?
"There's veterans both to the right and left. Guys that have played a lot, Larry (Warford) and Andrus (Peat), obviously Terron (Armstead) and Ryan (Ramczyk). I think that's what happens. Look, the center is an important position. Max (Unger) was a real good leader (and) a good communicator, and I think Erik (McCoy) can be the same. I think as he's getting more and more familiar with what we're doing; you saw a consistent player at the college level, at a real good college level. It's just each day working on getting better and working on the things that maybe are new or a little different."
How has Cameron Tom kind of progressed from his rookie year?
"He's stronger right now. I think he's carrying his weight better. He's in the mix inside. He's someone that obviously is playing at guard, but he's someone that's taken some center snaps. He's competing. I've been encouraged. He's smart."
Do you feel that the addition of the 90-player roster last year helps some of the undrafted free agent rookies coming out?
"I think we've been at 90 for a while. In other words, I don't know that last year was the first time we were at 90, but what happened last year was they pushed the cut date back instead of having a 75 cut and then a 53 cut, you just went all the way through our camp. I do think that obviously it gives you a little bit more exposure to players 75 to 90. Exposure, another preseason game, it gives you more reps, and I think it does help that group of players."
Do you feel like you need all four preseason games to evaluate all of your players before making decisions?
"Do I feel that way? Yes, just because of how much we're restricted in the spring and quite honestly, what we're restricted (to) in training camp. I know the challenge oftentimes is that fourth preseason game, but I can't think of a season here where that fourth preseason game didn't mean something to a handful of players that were in it. And it meant something to us in the evaluation. Because of the current spring format, obviously we're not in pads at all. I think it's important."
Is that something that could potentially be on the table with the upcoming CBA negotiations?
"I'm on the competition committee. So that's a whole different department."
Saquan Hampton has made a few plays out there, what have you seen from him?
"Listen, he's smart. He's had a good camp. Quietly, he's someone that I think is going to be able to help us in the kicking game. I like his stature and he's got good ball skills."
What type of practice (should the fans expect) tomorrow night at Tulane? Will it be very similar to what we've been seeing out here?
"We'll get a number of team reps. We'll get a number of seven on seven reps. We will have special teams kind of mixed throughout. Very similar to what we have done in years prior."
Your guys on defense look at points aloud, not yards, obviously. When it comes to red zone drills, what do you want to see from the defense specifically?
"If you're going to be pretty good defensively and if you're going to be pretty good as a team, your red zone defense is important. You're looking to force field goals and not touchdowns. In other words, you can give up some yards and then get to that area of the field and play effectively. There are some things to your advantage because the field's reduced. If you play good red zone defense and your forcing opponents to kick field goals, you're going to be in a lot of games."
Would you say today's practice before you look at the film, was maybe the most productive offensively? Did you feel good about it? It seems like we made more plays in this practice.
"I do not know if one thing stood out. I have (always) thought it's always easier to begin to watch the tape and then kind of look at it closely. I thought we had a good run drill. We had a couple of different red zone periods, red zone seven on seven. We started one period off with a few mental errors on both sides of the ball. We started it again. It is just working through this right at this point where you've got to train not only yourself physically, but train your mind to be at its best even when you're tired. I think that's something that I don't know the ever get comfortable with it, but you've got to get used to it."
What has stood out to you about Justin Hardee so far?
Well, he can run. I think he's someone that does a number of things well in the kicking game. I think he's still a work in progress at corner. I think he knows exactly who he is and how he has to make the team."
Drew Brees has obviously never been someone who launches it down the field as far as some other guys. He is obviously gotten by with great accuracy. How much do you stress accuracy with Taysom (Hill) and (Teddy) Bridgewater and that is a more important element than distance?
"The accuracy's important, but I would say this, I think yards per completion, big plays, those numbers I would argue Drew's been near the top at. Do you throw it behind everyone on defense? I don't see that a lot from anybody. Occasionally you do, but getting the ball down the field off of play action or in the drop back passing game is something that I think he does really well. Back to just operating efficiently at that position, I think where you locate the ball and your accuracy overall is going to be real important to play at a high level and we've seen that firsthand from him."
As it pertains to Taysom (Hill) and (Teddy) Bridgewater though?
"I have felt like I have seen progress with both of those two players. I felt like I have seen in and out of the huddle, I have seen him at the line of scrimmage a little quicker. Teddy (Bridgewater) had a good practice today I thought."
New Orleans Saints quarterbacks throw water balloons at fans after practice at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Aug. 3, 2019.