New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, October 29, 2020
First of all how did you guys make out with the facility. Is everything on schedule today?
"Yes, we pushed practice back a little bit to get more film in order to get everyone home after practice yesterday and so we'll catch up on that film this morning. The power went out here, generators came on, they worked and we got our work done. Things have been pretty smooth here."
Is the power back on?
"No, the power is not back on, but (we have) the generator, so we will wait and see when that gets back and operational."
When you say you worked here, was it with all the coaches that were normally there?
"Our typical third down night, our normal schedule, yes."
Is it interesting that you wake up to these interesting weather conditions with the temperature dropping 15 degrees. Obviously it's not that cold (as it will be in Chicago) and as intense, but is this the perfect day for an outdoor practice day?
"We are going to (practice outside). I'll let you put the practice schedule together next time (laughter)."
What are some of the things to prepare for in the outdoor environment in Chicago?
"I think that the surface, it's hard to simulate that relative to the Bermuda grass that we have here, there's some wind today which is perfect, because we're going to have a pretty gusty day. The forecast is calling for the low 40's with a fair amount of win. It's (Soldier Field) right off the lake (Michigan) there, but I think that the footing, the outdoor conditions have always played a factor in games always played there."
I know you've said you want to see improvement on the red zone defense. What are you seeing that's not translating from practice to the game?
"It's not one specific thing. Obviously we're trying to force field goals, that's both in the running game and the passing game. If you go all the way back to the start of the season, at the two-yard line and Tom Brady runs a quarterback sneak, that's not a godo thing. So it begins with defending tight quarters more aggressively. We've had a couple calls, that's not the discussion. The discussion is being able to play the defense called, contest the throws and understand what we're trying to take away and fit properly. That's the key and I think that will be important in this game, just as the third down matchup."
When you see Alvin Kamara do the things he does such as stay in bounds on that third down and extended the ball over. How great is that particular ability and do you keep that stuff in mind when you are thinking about what to do with him as a play caller?
"I'll answer the second question first. He never leaves my mind relative to what we want to do and the things that we want to do when he gets his hands on the ball, but more importantly, the first question, when you combine the skillset, obviously the athleticism. We talked about it yesterday. There's the combination in the essence of yesterday's discussion. Right at that very moment a first down, his foot's inbounds, he's just a very smart player who's talented. Those are rare traits."
What's it like to put a game plan for him together and know everything he can do?
"I'd first start with that I enjoy coaching him because I think he enjoys coming to work. He has a smile on his face. He's one of those guys that's well-liked by everyone. You have to keep his attention once in a while where he tends to wander off. He and Latavius (Murray) are different. There's a good fit between the two of them, but you enjoy coaching to begin with in teaching and you enjoy coaching players where it's that perfect student. I don't completely mean to use that term but they see it, they get it, they understand it, they react the way you want them to. We enjoy coaching regardless of the talent level, but you enjoy coaching real good players."
When his mind wanders off how do you reign him in?
"Have you ever seen the fidget things you have that you spin, fidget spinners? We gave him one of those where you start spinning that little thing (laughter) or Latavius will start talking to him. Creatively, we come up with ways."
Is there another player you've coached over the years that has that skillset and intelligence?
"Marshall Faulk. I had a chance to coach him at San Diego State. I'm not making the comparison again. They're different runners, but Faulk was extremely intelligent and talented obviously. They're build differently, but I would say from a talent and intelligence level, Marshall was that way."