Transcript: Coach Sean Payton Training Camp media availability 8-5-19

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2019 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Monday, August 5, 2019
Post-Practice Media Availability

It seems like the quarterbacks were pretty accurate today, (Teddy) Bridgewater and Taysom (Hill).
“We had a number of periods. We had a third down period. We will take a peek at the tape. I thought the defense did pretty well in the two-minute drill at the end. I thought the practice coming off a lot, I thought last night was one of our better practices…I felt like they followed up today with another good practice on both sides of the ball. There'll be a little time now where they're off and we're kind of in our Tuesday off day and kind of go from there.”

A.J. Klein said the other day that these players are good at coaching themselves when something breaks down and doing it on the fly. Can you talk about that?
“I think some of that comes from a little bit of experience. It's a little harder typically for maybe the first-year player. Hopefully if you're looking at the right type of guys, and we're placing a high value on football intelligence, at some point during the course of a game, there are some things that are going to happen maybe that you hopefully have covered in and yet sometimes you're going to rely on your leaders on either side of the ball that are out there for that play to react in a favorable way. But I think some of that comes with just time on task and experience in what we're doing.”

With Alvin (Kamara) and Drew (Brees) not on the field, what does that give them practicewise and what does it mean to give them that extra time off?
“We talked a little bit about it last night. We'll do a load prevention list and the idea that is to selectively look at a few different players relative to the kind of reps they are getting, (it) might be their age, (It) might be injury-related recovery and try to map out ahead of time a plan that allows that player maybe to recover one extra day. There are three different groups in that. There's a group coming off a surgery, call it group one. The second group might be a veteran group that’s played quite a while. The third group might be the fewest amount that might be just a couple sprinkled in. That's the goal.”

The Ravens and the Jaguars held a moment of silence to remember the victims of the shootings this past weekend. Did you do anything like that with your team?
“I did not. I am glad someone in our league did and that was good thinking and probably something that was significant to those two teams. Certainly when something like that comes up in two different cities, it’s tragic, it’s disappointing, and just keeps repeating itself. So I'm not going to get into a long political answer here. I'll just say that.”

With Devine Ozigbo, did you sell him on how you had Pierre Thomas, Chris Ivory, Khiry Robinson, and it doesn’t matter who you are?
“I think our history speaks for itself. I think the agents are able to see that, especially into our 13th year. We deal with a lot of these same agents and they understand that and hopefully he feels like, hey, I’ve got to go out and put my best stuff on tape and see where that lays.”

Does each preseason game have a different personality or different purpose?
“To some degree. I think there's a, there's a philosophy with all of them. How we're playing guys can vary in each game. Tomorrow we'll meet as a staff and we'll go through the roles relative to Minnesota, like the play count. We’ll discuss every player that's dressed in the game, how many plays we'd like to see them play in the kicking game, both offensively and defensively. And then the key is then communicating that so we have an organized game(plan) and we're not stuck with 10 guys on the field. It's a little bit harder in the kicking game sometimes. But from that standpoint, I would say week by week there might be some differences. I think from a competitive standpoint and trying to win and trying to put your best foot forward, that would be consistent in each week.”

Some of your offensive linemen got together for the offensive line master summit, were you aware of that and what are your thoughts on players getting together like that and sharing information?
“I'm all for it. I wasn't aware of that. Where is the national summit?

It’s in Dallas. It's held by a Duke Mayweather.
Okay. Look, there are a handful of places where certain positions train (together). I know Phoenix, Dallas, they get quite a few offensive linemen, but I wasn't aware that there was a summit. What's the definition of a summit? I'd like someone to look that up what a summit (is). I feel like it's much too important for anything we do.”

Did you look at Jared Cook's background and try to identify what kind of held him back from having a kind of season he had last year earlier in his career?
“I saw real good film when he was in St Louis. I saw real good film last year. And so anytime you're in free agency, you gather as much information as you can and then when the player arrives, there's certain things you weren't aware of that are good and maybe sometimes weren't so good. In his case, it was all positive. He's a tremendous worker, dedicated, I think someone who's a true pro in every sense of the word. I think that he's been a real good addition for us.”

Do you think it's not a coincidence that he thrived in Jon Gruden’s offense that features tight ends a lot?
“I think sometimes there's a fit. Sometimes there's a fit and maybe some other places it's more difficult. There's a little bit of is it the right script for success? There's been a lot of real good actors in poor movies and there've been a lot of poor actors in poor movies. I think it is up to us to really look closely at the things that he does well and feature those things.”

He’s high on the garage sale test?
“My parents loved garage sales. So, every Saturday and Sunday that was their hobby together and they would go garage sale shopping and come back. We probably had about 10 different sofas growing up and each one (was) met with the same enthusiasm when it arrived. And then every once in a while, you'd lean back and there would be like a leg off. You're like, ‘ah, this is why it was for sale.’ So, we knew we were getting another one. That was their thing.”

Do you remember two years ago what the genesis was from claiming Taysom (Hill) off of waivers from Green Bay?
“I remember everything about it.”

Who first came up with the idea of, ‘hey, let’s try this guy somewhere else?
Well, so the claim takes place and it comes in. We know we have a real good athlete. We're excited about it. We were worried that he might not get to 11. We were 11th in the claiming order. The first weekend he gets to play significantly on special teams, we were at our inactive list. Generally, there's a handful of injured guys in that list. They're naturally going to be inactive. And we were at eight with four injured players and then four guys available. We just discussed each of the four players. I said to (former special teams coach) Mike Westhoff, ‘what about Hill?’ Mike was one of those guys (that said) ‘I'll take him.’ He came out and that was his first exposure to the kicking game and special teams. He played very well in that game. He wasn't playing that role that we use offensively as much, but we knew we had a real good athlete that loved football and so it kind of was born out of one extra spot because of injury.”

If I can recall, I think maybe it might've been his rookie year, the Saints are playing the Patriots and Julian Edelman is back there, a college quarterback, he runs back a punt it seemed like 25, 30 yards. Was that envisioned from the get go with him as a receiver?
“I don't know firsthand. I think that Bill (Belichick) and their staff has done a really good job of having a vision for a player athletically. I remember some early practices with them where you began to see his role maybe get defined. I think the thing they do a real good job with is really harping on the things they feel like a player can do a little bit more than the things that he can't do. And then I think they look at it that way and they look at it from what can he give us? My guess is there was a plan. I just don't know.”

I know you have commented previously about Trace McSorley at Penn State. (He) looks very athletic with the Ravens. Copycat league. You hear it all the time. Maybe (he could have a similar experience as Taysom Hill)?
“I haven't paid attention to their practices or depth chart or anything. It could very well be playing him at quarterback, which was his college position. What they're wanting to do offensively it might be a great fit. So, I think that can vary. But I do think teams in general prior to a selection, talk out loud about the vision for the player and what they see them doing.”

Looking at the preseason game coming up and you trying to give a running back an opportunity to be productive, is there a number (of touches you’re looking to give)?
“It's a little bit harder sometimes. There's a number and we talk phases. Phase one's in and phase two’s in. And then while we discuss those phases, we'll talk about, I'd like to see this guy get this. It’s a little bit harder at receiver. As the game's going we talk about plate count because one side of the ball might get more of the second quarter than the other so the other might stay on longer. When we talk tomorrow, we'd love to see this guy get a return. We'd love to see this guy how he does in third down. We'd like to see how the protection is with this combination of players and what we can do with the linebackers. We try to map out what to expect.”

Is there a different level of focus or energy in a game week?
“I think it changes a little bit as you get close to putting on Minnesota film, discussing the Vikings and now you're going to face someone else other than yourself. Yes.”

Why do you think teams are more open to trying an RPO now versus before?
“I think we're getting more RPO talent from college and I also think we're getting some RPO coaching talent. And oftentimes if there's a conviction or belief in a knowledge from a coach, then we're more willing to try something. So, I think part of it is what we're getting from the college game, both as coaches and as players.”

Related to (Jared) Cook, what's the best way to describe any kind of similarities in philosophy between you and Jon (Gruden)?
“My first NFL job at the Eagles in 1997 was working for Jon. He was our offensive coordinator and so I cut my teeth a little bit offensively in his system and I would think over the years, I'm sure there's terminology differences, but John is extremely talented in putting together a plan. Just the installation, the consistency with how you teach and what you do with your players. The perfect first year job in the NFL is really working underneath him and kind of being a blank tape if you will.

Do you think you're pretty divergent now?
“We're different, but yet there's some similarities. We’ll watch and study their film and look for ideas.”

How do practices change during the game week versus the rest of them?
“It would typically change closer to the game in the preseason. If we were in a regular season, today would have been Minnesota. In the preseason you might just devote the last couple (of days) leading up to the game rather than the whole week. So that would be the big thing.”

Action photos of New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Verizon at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on August 5, 2019.

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