New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Local Media
Thursday, December 5, 2019
Just out of curiosity, what stands out to you about Kyle Shanahan as a play caller?
"I'd say for someone his age, he has a lot of experience. I think that's invaluable. I think that there's a transition, when you are real young. There are some things you don't know and that's not a bad thing once in a while. I think his experience in the systems he has been (in) and where he's been, I think those have been good stops along the way. I've said this before we're oftentimes products of our pedigree and some of that is out of your control. Some of it's under your control. I think when you look at his pedigree, it's been very strong relative to the offense he's been a part of, the running game, the exposure to what he is looking to do, how he is looking to do it and who he needs to do it with. I think that is just as important, knowing what he is looking for. His experience and the people he's come up under, and I'm not just talking about his father (Mike Shanahan), who's a hall of fame head coach. I'm talking about a number of good football people along the way have been I think a big plus for any of us, but certainly for Kyle. He and John (Lynch) have done a tremendous job now in a short period of time."
Are they one of the teams that kind of frequently pops up and you're doing those studies of what they do?
"Absolutely. We're studying them."
What are some of the challenges specifically when facing George Kittle, especially with some of your linebackers banged up this week?
"Look, it can be linebacker challenge. It can be a safety challenge. Shoot, It can be corner challenge. We've seen corners play tight ends in the past. I think you're dealing with a real good foot athlete and you can see him transition. He has bend and along with his speed that bend allows you to separate. You can work on it, you can try to improve that, but he's become a very savvy route runner with good speed and good run after the catch. How you handle him. Today's third down, he's their leading receiver on third down target wise. How do you handle him on third down? It's not just the same person throughout the game plan. There's a certain pressure on, it might be a linebacker or safety vice versa. I think the looks being somewhat different and then ultimately the first thing that can help is a quicker clock for the quarterback and it becomes more challenging. In other words, it's rush driven. We are seeing that from their defense."
The players yesterday, a lot of them talked about feeding off the crowd's energy. What's the energy like just to you as the coach when the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is rocking?
"Look, we think about a lot of things. We think about everything, is it going to be loud? Can we be louder? Is it a 12 noon start? Does the crowd realized how much of an impact they can have? Do they truly realize that? I think about that kind of thing addressing the crowd prior to a Friday press conference, making sure they appreciate the difference. I just finished talking about third down and playing at home is, if you were trying to physically measure, it's somewhere between a half second and little less than that, but just a tick slower for the visiting team. It is what it is, but during the game, we have the headsets on, we're doing a lot and you're going lose track of it. There's times during the game where it's a critical point in the game and you want to get them going and I don't want to be guessing what hat the acorn is under."
When you re-signed Manti Te'o the other day, what were you looking at in terms of how he could fit in? I know he hasn't really played special teams in a while.
"He might have to play some special teams though. I said to him yesterday, depending on what we do, active, inactive, we're going to see how we are health wise by the end of the week. He's a smart player. He knows what to do. I think he's in good shape. Typically, I don't like (signing and immediately playing) players that haven't been in a training camp. It concerns me because there's a football condition that goes with our game, but he's someone that I think's very well respected in this locker room and he can play in the kicking game. If he wants to play longer in his career then he will do that."