New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, September 6, 2019
Have you been able to identify anything that explains the difficulties you have had in your openers the past five seasons and how do you try to fix that up and change that this year?
"We (have) tried to look at a handful of things. Obviously, two or three times in a row was one thing. The routine this week has changed practice wise, (when you) kind of look at the daily schedule from the last roster cut down until the game on Monday."
Can you identify anything in particular?
"You're projecting like, this is something we should do different. Specifically, I'm not going to cover what we've looked at or how we're making the change. Certainly we're not going to just repeat the calendar schedule from the last few years."
I know you've said it's a completely new season and you don't dwell on what happened last year in the NFC Championship game. Do you feel a good start is important to help?
"I think a good start every year is important. It's better than a poor start. We're well past last year's season. (There are) a number of guys on our team this year that were a part of last season and a lot of guys that that weren't, but yes, I think a good start is something that every team in the league is hoping to start the season with."
You've talked about discussing with Andy Reid about how to come up with a bye week really well, given the success his teams had after a bye week and eventually what yours has had. Is there similar consultation in terms of trying to maybe try and spice something up at the beginning of a season? Do you talk with other coaches or anything like that?
"Yes. We try to do that. There are a handful of guys that I know well that are coaching (in) the league that I'll probably talk with on a regular basis."
If you look back at that 2009 Super Bowl team, you had a lot of the members of your current staff tht were on that staff. A couple guys such as Dennis Allen and Joe Lombardi went to different jobs and then came back. What does that say about the system that you guys have here and the structure and continuity that you have built? What does that do for you guys?
"I have said this before. Look, in the beginning, we looked to create a (successful) program and I want to see our assistants that do well here flourish and receive opportunities (for promotion). That has happened. I think more importantly we're in the business of teaching and coaching and we're always trying to find the best teachers. When you have experience with someone that you're comfortable with and you know they're good in a certain role, that's helpful. I think that you're not always going to have the continuity. Sometimes guys are going to have opportunities and then I've been fortunate enough to have been able to hire a few guys back."
What makes Deandre Hopkins so successful?
"He has real strong, natural hands and traffic. He is comfortable catching it in tight quarters. He makes a lot of real good catches with people on him. He's sudden in his movement so he can get open. He's got good size. That'd be a starting point."
Along those same lines, Marshon Lattimore obviously rises to the occasion or he mostly prepares that way when he faces elite wide receivers. How important is that matchup against Deandre Hopkins on Monday night or is this more a collective effort among the defensive backs?
"I think it's a collective effort, not just amongst the defensive backs, but I think our ability to get to the quarterback, pressure the quarterback becomes a lot harder to cover a player like Hopkins. Especially if a guy like (Deshaun) Watson can escape the pocket, extend the play. Then it becomes very difficult. There are many things that go into that. How are we making the quarterback play? What kind of clock in his head does he have to throw on? Are we tight in coverage and understanding the assignment?"
For a center, what goes into the transition from college to the NFL in terms of learning everything he needs to?
"A lot would depend on what he would he knew in his college game so it can vary. There might be guys that are asked to do certain things at the college level they're going to be asked to do in the NFL level and conversely a larger curve maybe if they weren't. Look, I think it's the same learning curve that takes place in a lot of other positions, but it is a position that requires communication."
With Erik McCoy though, what gave you the confidence he would be positioned kind of like he is when you drafted him? Positioned to be where he is today to play such an important role in the team?
"Look, our evaluation on Erik was really high. We had good grades on him and felt strong about what we saw as player on film and then all the other areas."
Going back to that kind of continuity on the staff, with Aaron Glenn having been here for a couple of years now, what kind of an impact does that have on that secondary who's been hearing just one voice for the last couple of years?
"I think that Aaron's got a presence about him. I'll give you an Aaron's strengths. I think he's a very confident teacher. He's someone with great respect amongst the players in his room. I think that he's passionate about the game and I think that's very contagious for the players and then others working with him."