New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, October 10, 2019
DJ Chark is off to a really good start there. Have you seen maybe a big connection between him and (Gardner) Minshew since he took over?
“He's a big target that can run and I think it happens at times. A quarterback comes in and there's some confidence that's usually borne out of some plays or a game and then all of a sudden that continues to grow. I think you've seen it with those two guys.”
Is it difficult to tell what changes they’ve made offensively because they brought in Nick Foles obviously and probably structured things around him? Then they had to change quarterbacks to Minshew to go on the fly. Do they seem to be doing some things that maybe Minshew excelled at in college or does it look pretty much the same as it would if (Nick) Foles was there?
“I think the one thing is you see in the last couple of weeks this commitment to running the football, whether it's out of sub personnel or base personnel and I know Doug (Marrone) well enough to know you’re wanting to help your quarterback and your team. We are the same way, so you are finding ways to reduce the third and longs. I think that you've seen that. You've seen the rushing attempts go up.”
How's Kiko Alonso started to kind of work his way into the defense here? Do you feel like he’s kind of been picking things up?
“Yes, he's a smart player and he's experienced and sometimes the timing, you don't understand the significance of it. But in that case, unfortunately for Alex (Anzalone), his injury came and I think it's something that…We're fortunate to have a player that can move (into the lineup) like that with the injury that Alex had. I think he's done well and he's playing in the base. His role will continue to expand.”
With Mike Thomas this offseason, maybe the perception is sometimes when a player gets paid the big money contract, you wonder if they're going to be the same player that they were before, but I'm guessing that was never a concern with Mike?
“No. He's such a competitive player. He's such a competitive practice player that…Look, you can never say the money's not important. The money's important, right? But I would say he's one of those players that won't be as effected by the money maybe as some others might be. He’s really a guy that wants to win, be successful, and he can be, to a fault sometimes, his own worst critic.”
Is his play without Drew Brees in there, kind of not missing a beat, does that surprise you at all or is that kind of what you expected out of him?
“The (last) three games had been different. Seattle, we didn’t have as many snaps. I think these last couple (games he’s seen more opportunities)…He is competitive. Our job as coaches is to get him those opportunities and each week find ways to get guys like him the football and practice it and put the quarterback in that position. He is doing well.”