New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Conference Call
Wednesday, Sept. 8, 2021
What are some of the things you like about Desmond Trufant?
"Well, first, we needed to add depth at that position (CB). He's from our division (Atlanta) and we've seen a lot of him over the years. I like his experience and I think he's a smart player. We've got to bring him up to speed quickly."
Did Tony Jones Jr.'s play in training camp the primary reason for the release of Latavius Murray?
"Yeah, it's a credit to Tony. He battled and earned that No. 2 spot (at running back). Obviously, I have strong feelings toward Latavius. He's someone who has given us a lot of good snaps and has been a great teammate. We'll see where this takes us. But, in fairness to the process, Tony was someone who stood out throughout the preseason."
Where does the process of preparing for Green Bay start for you, given that this is week one?
"I think the one thing we get accustomed to is a routine. So, very quickly, with being on the road here we are trying to establish that routine. Relative to Green Bay, we've had some periods during training camp with an emphasis on them. Certainly, Monday was a practice day focused on Green Bay. Today, we're getting into the "meat and potatoes" of our gameplan. We will do that today, Thursday and Friday with a walk-through and travel Saturday. Obviously, they are a talented team, well-coached. When you look at the numbers from last year, relative to ball security, they have done a really good job. They finished No. 1 in the league last year with only 11 giveaways. That is a really good number. They do a lot of the little things well. I think a lot of games, especially early in the season, really come down to those little things. You saw it in the first college football weekend. Whether it's on special teams or on offense or defense, the more mistakes a team makes early on with blocking a field goal or struggles with ball security ends up costing that team."
When you emphasize "controlling the things that you can control," what are some of those things that you're specifically referring to when you say that?
"I think most importantly is making sure the players' families and the players themselves are in a good spot. We're set up here with a real good location (hotel). The practice facility and setup at TCU is outstanding. Having meeting room space and all of those things are accounted for: players' families, coaches' families, and everyone in the football ops department. That allows them to focus more directly on the game."
How much have you seen Alvin Kamara's leadership evolve since he joined the team in 2017?
"He is naturally a guy with a bright smile and is well-respected by his peers. Players look up to him because of his skill set and how he works and prepares."
What have you seen from Elgton Jenkins (Packers tackle) with him filling in for David Bakhtiari in week one (knee injury)? What stands out on film when you watch him?
"They have an experienced group. Just watching them, there is a toughness to how they play. When you have an injury like that with one of your best players on offense (Bakhtiari), they've shown that they have flexibility. That's a significant injury (torn ACL) to one of the better tackles in the game. There's nothing that uniquely stands out. Obviously, he's smart and he's tough. There's a thing we've seen with them over the years is that they have a low sack number. It goes hand in hand with the offensive line, but also with the quarterback. Their numbers have been extremely low and it's a combination of how their blocking scheme and how quickly the ball is coming out."
Can you take us back to the initial recruiting pitch to sign Jameis Winston in free agency last spring? What did you tell him to convince him to sign here?
"It was just the opportunity to learn underneath Drew (Brees) to see how we do things and to have the opportunity for when the time came (for Drew to retire) to compete to become a starter in our league."
You obviously had a ton of familiarity with Jameis Winston as a division opponent (Tampa Bay), but how much more did you learn about him once he joined the organization?
"We definitely learned more about him. We scouted him coming out of Florida State and obviously played him twice a year in the division. Once a player arrives here, we begin working with them. With any player, you become much more familiar with their personality and all of the other things that go along with them."
Have you named your team captains yet?
"Yes, we voted on them, and we'll announce them at some point. Typically, we do that during the first week of the season. We'll get that to you guys."