New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 20, 2019
How do you factor the weather in when you're game planning and then scripting your first plays and it's a little bit uncertain?
"It's a good question. I think the wind can be more of a factor relative to some of those decisions and yet it's pretty normal for us to be off the script early and they're calling for a chance of rain. I think the field's in decent shape though, so it was good to get outside and practice for a few days here too. Similar grass."
Did you'll do any wet ball drills or anything like that?
"Yes. Again, I think the steady rain can be challenging, but the wind I think becomes more of an issue than sometimes a light rain, but we kind of cover all of that."
Did the game in Seattle help at all with that?
"We have traveled well. The narrative years ago was the dome team (that) had not won (outdoors). We've won playoff games in cold weather. We have played in cold weather. I think the weather this time of the year is going to be somewhere in the 50s and similar to the way it was today. I don't see that. Certainly, you're paying attention to it, but I don't see it being a factor. The footing is always important. What kind of shoes are you in and (making sure) you're getting decent footing."
How big of a challenge is it playing an uncommon opponent every four years?
"Look, when you play outside your conference, that scouting report, the film, all of those things become important. From a personnel standpoint and some of these players you may have seen with other teams. I think that's generally the case when you play opposite your conference."
How do you feel you guys have kind of navigated some of these offensive line injuries that you've had this year with shuffling some guys in and out?
"I think, overall pretty well. I think coming into the season, we were a little deeper in the D line and the offensive line and we were fortunate that we were with a few of the injuries we've had. We've talked about this before, you're constantly training all elements of your roster, not just the starting part of your roster because guys are going to have to play that maybe start the season as a two or a backup. There's just a lot of games and the roster size is going to force that to happen."
With that position in particular is that one that you do have some attrition and then on top of that, a lot of the guys are playing 100% of snaps every game?
"Look, there are seasons where you go in and you have a group stay healthy the whole year. There are seasons where you have a few guys nicked up. Nick (Easton) has jumped in and done a really good job. We played a few different guys inside. I think that depth has helped us. Fortunately, we're getting gradually healthier here towards the end of the season with some of those spots."
Generally speaking, is cornerback a spot where it's a little easier to get a guy up to speed who comes in compared to some other positions?
"I do not know that there is one specific position. A lot of it is dependent on the player. Certainly, it is not unusual in our league to sign a player and then have him involved in the game that week, That happens. That takes part of the evaluation, how does a player learn? Do we feel like he's someone that has good instincts or do we feel like it's going to take them a month to learn what we're doing? That has a lot to do with the signing of a player. I think a lot of it is dependent on the player."
Didn't Eli (Apple) get up to speed very fast?
"Fairly quickly. He sure did. Look, each week we're putting a plan in and we'll decide how much guys are going to play."
Do you see some similarities between Taysom (Hill) and (Ryan) Tannehill in terms of being dual threats? Does that help you throughout the week at all?
"Certainly in the look squad element, Taysom and Teddy (Bridgewater) both have given us those snaps. I think they're different athletes, but certainly they're both very good athletes and you've seen Ryan's progression now and I think he's throwing the ball awfully well. He's got real good command of what they're doing offensively. They are doing a fantastic job in the red zone. They are the number one team in the NFL in the red zone. That combination of the ability to run the ball, the confidence they've gained and some of the young receivers they have, the tight end. You've seen that kind of take on now a life of its own as he's been starting these last couple of weeks."
Over these last couple of weeks, just as a motivator, do you feel like having a team that's still fighting for playoff seeding rather than having something locked up and kind of sitting around can be advantageous as a coach not to have to motivate guys as much?
"We're always paying attention to where we're at as a team. Certainly, we understand the opponent, but the focus really is internal in regards to our performance. We've been at home here for a few weeks now we're going back on the road. I think we're playing a real good football team that's in the thick of it and when you watch their tape, they've won, prior to the last week's game, five in a row. This is a team that is playing with a lot of confidence and they're doing a lot of things well."
We've asked a lot about their offense this week, but what kind of stands out about their defense?
"Look, they give you some oddball looks. I think they're defending the run well. I think they're a team that on third down gives you some pressure looks that are challenging. Red zone, they give you some challenging looks. I think they have a really good scheme and a really good nucleus of players that can cause you problems. I think that getting on the tape, you asked earlier about a team outside of your conference, there's some nuances to what they do that maybe we haven't seen in the last month or so that you've got to quickly get up to speed, especially after a Monday night game."
By oddball looks do you mean pre-snap?
"It would just be pressure looks alignments. We went a few weeks of playing a similar type front in coverage, this week a little different."
Cam (Jordan) mentioned I think it was early this week that he hasn't faced a guy at the running back spot similar to Derrick Henry maybe since Brandon Jacobs. Just someone who's that physical?
"Leonard Fournette in Jacksonville's a back that runs with power. The combination of Derrick's size, and his speed, there's a physicality to how he plays. He's has, like I said, an awfully stiff arm. He's a fantastic player and so you have to obviously populate the ball and that's going to be important relative to the run game."