New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 12, 2019
Are the Rams the kind of team that kind of keeps you on your toes a little bit more on special teams because of that propensity they have of faking punts?
"I think there's a lot that goes into that. I think they pride themselves on being extremely well coached. I've known John Fassel for years and he does a fantastic job. I think there's a confidence level they have with their players. I think it's something that Sean (McVay) does a good job with. I think they go into each game looking to create a big play, look for opportunities, and take a very aggressive approach to it."
How has Sean McVay evolved as a play caller since you became the head coach in 2017?
"Listen, I think that he's always had a plan that he believes in. He's done a great job with some formations and how they set up their run game and play action game. I think he has very aggressive getting the ball down the field. It would be hard for me to measure his evolution. And yet, he's been around some really talented offensive minds and I think he himself is one of those guys. I think that he's certainly had an impact at a very young age on a team and a franchise in such a positive way."
I remember a couple of years ago when he became the head coach there were some parallels between him and you, a lot of comparisons about his rise and your rise. As you sit back and look back here now three years later, do you see some of those comparisons now?
"I always enjoy being around young coaches and at one point. I guess there's some things we had in common. Sean went to and graduated from Miami of Ohio. I coached there (from 1994-95). We spell our names the same way. We both worked for Jon Gruden at some point in our careers and he had a pretty big impact. That would be a starting point."
What are some of the things Cooper Kupp adds to that offense? He was out at the end of last season, but what are some of the things he adds when he's in there?
He is such a smart, instinctive player, he does a lot of things well. It is not just in the receiving game, he is blocking, he is putting his hands on guys, he is handling the force well. I think he's very consistent and a very smart player. I think he brings a lot to what they do."
Specifically on McVay's offense, I think we hear a lot about the difficulties and just kind of the window dressing they put on stuff. Is that accurate? How do you prepare for the way they kind mix things up pre-snap?
"You've got to have good eyes in this game and if not, you can get caught on one of these ghost returns. They do a great job with their turbo motions. They'll reset the strength, they'll change the strength twice a one play. It'll go from a left call to a right call, back to a left call. All of those things, your communication, you have to be tight or you can get caught looking at the wrong spot or out of your gap by half a step."
There's obviously a huge narrative coming into this week, a rematch with the Rams and human nature being what it is, how easy is it for you as a coach and even the coaching staff and players to shut out that narrative and then really focus on the game?
"I think myself, it is easier than you than you would expect. It is a different year. It is a different team. It is week two of the regular season. I was asked (about it) yesterday by their media. The importance of the game or the relevance of the game is that you have two real good playoff football teams playing each other from a year ago. And so I think that's why it is the afternoon game (on FOX). That's why it's a national TV game. That is what I see."