New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Saturday, October 10, 2020
Is it taking Malcolm Jenkins a few games to kind of settle into his role? It seems like his plays has kind of ticked up in the last few weeks.
"Number one, he's a smart player. He's very reliable. I'd say, collectively, defensively, as a whole, our red zone our third down numbers have to get better. We have talked about it certainly as a team. It wouldn't be just one player. Obviously, I know he feels like he can improve in certain areas and that's why we're working throughout the week to improve in those special situations that we find ourselves in each week."
When you're dealing with someone as competitive as Michael Thomas, does the medical staff's decision to play him come down to his pain tolerance or simply risk of re injury? Because knowing him, I'm sure he's yelling to get back on the field every day.
"We'll always do what's best for the athlete and be smart regarding any player."
I've got a couple on Drew (Brees) real quick, memory lane type questions. To the best of your memory, can you recall what you were thinking, you had really just been hired, when you first found out that he would be available as a free agent? And the second would just be basically, I can anticipate the answer, but how does the last 15 years compared to what you could have reasonably expected at the time?
"I'll start with the first one, I found out (when) I was at the combine. I was sitting in the end zone section of the old Hoosier dome watching the o-line drills. What did that mean, I just found out that he was being released. And then it was really at that point, just beginning to discuss, alright, how significant is this injury we've heard about? Obviously, at that time, he wasn't on anyone's radar. We were in the quarterback business when that happened. We were obviously looking at the quarterbacks coming out in that class. Yeah, the 15 years, it doesn't seem like that long, it seems more like seven or eight. As a coach, we're teachers, I say that all the time. You're coming to work hoping to teach and motivate and help your players and win games. That's ultimately what we all do. The continuity I don't take for granted relative to ownership, front office, Mickey (Loomis) and our group, I think that has served us well and will continue to."
When you're looking at those red zone defensive plays, there's been a handful of times where guys were just really open on those short passing plays. What were the breakdowns there? What would happen on those?
"Well, look, you'd start with there's, separate from red zone, we've given up three goal line touchdown passes in goal line personnel. And look, they'll continue to come, you're going to have to cover them. Generally speaking, it's your eyes relative to your run pass reads and paying attention to the defense that's called. Those are the tight ones that you're talking about that show up in the tight red, but more specifically in goal line. Overall, it's just an area that if we're wanting to be a good team this year, we have to improve those numbers."
As far as the Los Angeles pass rush, they don't have a lot of sacks, but it seems like they're still pretty disruptive. What have you seen from those guys? And how critical is that this week just to kind of keep those guys off of Drew (Brees)?
"Well, look, every week and each team presents another challenge. Obviously, with guys like (Joey) Bosa that are in that front, they do a good job with their technique. They're strong inside, their edge players have given teams problems and so yes, it's hard sometimes to measure the hurries and hits that don't necessarily end in a sack, but they might end in a turnover or a fumble. They might end in a negative play offensively. That's important in this game."
You have got a number of guys who've been on the field for 100% of the defensive snaps this year, I think Malcolm (Jenkins) Demario (Davis), maybe Marcus Williams. When a guy's giving you that, not coming off field that, like is that important, just for like a continuity standpoint, communication standpoint?
"Yeah, I don't think it's that unusual. There's some positions where there's more rotation throughout the league. And yet, there are some positions where, barring injury, guys will play most every snap. I think it's pretty normal."
Not related to his status at all, but is Andrus Peat's toughness maybe something that doesn't get talked about enough? Just his ability to just get back on the field quickly and start practicing after some of the stuff he goes through.
"Yeah, look, he's gone through a handful of injuries. And I'd say that there's a ton of grit with him. He came into camp in great shape and he's working real hard right now (to return to play). The sooner the better, but he's certainly someone that's real diligent and enjoys playing."