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Transcript: New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton training camp interview - Thursday, Aug. 20

Payton spoke with media about his proposed postseason bubble idea and camp competition

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Video Conference with New Orleans Media
Thursday, August 20, 2020

What have you seen from Alex Anzalone so far in his growth and how quickly did he sort of picked up after missing so much time last year?
"I think he is going doing well. I know he feels healthy. He looks strong, his weight is up. I like the way he's carrying his pads. He's had a good offseason, relative to his rehab. So he's working with the first group and he's someone that, obviously has played a number of plays for us and knows what to do. So I've been encouraged."

Is it your idea for a postseason bubble?
"No. It was a little bit more, look, I made the comment when this season comes to an end if everyone just followed the protocol right now, gradually as you get into games, that they're all meaningful, but as you get into games that have playoff implications, or when you get into the playoffs, teams will ramp up and elevate. Just their accountability to each other and so it wouldn't be a neutral site thing. It's just the idea of a really, sequestering yourselves in hotels away from family members away from all the things that possibly could infect somebody and nobody's going to want to miss a game period. But nonetheless, or certainly a playoff game or NFC or AFC Championship game or a Super Bowl. I think you're going to see teams do that on their own. And so it's just the discussion of entering the postseason and then really eliminating all the specific little things that could possibly transmit a virus and we know that that's pretty easy."

Have you seen anything that's stood out to you or some things you want to see a little bit better or worse or anything?
"Well, look, we're just needing to get a lot of these competitive periods because they're going to have to some degree take the place of some of the preseason snaps that that young players have a chance to turn heads or make an impression. So every day we're in periods or having periods with a live element to them that matter because that's part of the evaluation. And if you're a younger player trying to make a roster, you have to somehow (one way) or another, you have to make sure they know who your name is. And so we have got to give them those opportunities and we have got to embrace that competition."

How far along in the installation are you all right now with your newcomers like a Emmanuel Sanders, how many times has he gone through the offense?
"We are on the third go round, if you will. And today was an emphasis on third down. There's install days and we've had a chance during the walkthroughs to get into the heavy part of the installation. And then when we went to helmets and the spider shells we had a chance to kind of begin again. Today was a big third down emphasis and we'll continue to keep moving with the teaching progression."

Are you guys doing any sort of load management with Demario Davis, since you already kind of know what you have out of him?
"Well, look there's not just one player, we look at the roster, and we make sure we're being smart about the repetitions. So each day we talk about it the night before and there's certain players that will be a little bit mindful for, whether they're coming off an injury or whether it's something that's more experienced or age related."

Are you going to be able to bring in officials and kind of set up some competitive like game like situations and practice?
"Yeah, look, we'll be able to set up competitive situations and we'll be able to set up scrimmage situations. What we have to do relative to the officiating, we might have to be a little bit more creative. But we're not going to have a problem creating a competitive game like environment, though."

Relative to the installs, are you where you would be on a typical year or has this been different ads that changed or is this about what you expected?
"I think it would be a little bit different. Look, we would've just finished playing our first preseason game. We would be preparing for our second preseason game today being a Thursday. Yeah, so I don't know that we're all the way in where we practice goal line full pads where we've done some of these other things, they're coming. But I'd say we'd be a tick off from where we would be in a normal training camp environment."

Are you worried about tackling because of the lack of preseason games?
"Yeah, we're going to we're going to need to have (live) periods and we will, where we're live and we're tackling runners, receivers, tight ends and we're going to have to create those scrimmage like environments and those are coming up. But yes, that's something that certainly is an important part of the game."

Does special teams preparation change a lot this year?
"We're going to have to evaluate closely these special team periods. Today, we had a competitive live pump period where we're covering a pump. We were working competitively outside, hold up guys versus gunners. We were working inside and then really getting a good chance to evaluate our guys. Those reps we just finished talking about it, those reps every one of them are being evaluated and it gets back to that saying where if they don't know your name now you got to make sure they find a way to know who you are."

Coach you mentioned Alex Anzalone. Is there anyone else that you'd be willing to mention by name that has kind of stood out in practices so far?
"There has been a handful of guys that I think, are competing and obviously some of our veteran players that we know and yet there has been some good glimpses of young players. We have a lot of guy's taking reps at receiver. We have some young defensive linemen that I think have stood out. Trey Hendrickson has done a good job in the kicking game. We've seen a number of snaps from him. I think we're on the right track. We have a lot of work to do. But I thought we got better this morning."

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