New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, November 23, 2020
Were you surprised about the performance of Taysom Hill?
"It's hard because the fans aren't privy to what we are, which the special teams snaps, the wildcat snaps, the tight end, receiver snaps. They don't get to see the same snaps that we might see throughout the course of a year that take place that aren't necessarily game snaps. It wasn't by any means an easy decision because I think we have two real capable and really good quarterbacks that are in the building already. So a lot went into it. That's kind of how we arrived at it."
From a perserverance and patience standpoint, are we talking about a guy who was willing to do a lot of other things for you in the meantime?
"Yes, he wanted to play and make no mistake when we claimed him off the film, it was a quarterback, our vision was not as those other things. Those are end results after he was here. Our vision watching the film, and I've told it a number of times, I started watching a practice squad receiver (Max McCaffrey) and then pretty soon, started watching more of the tape, more of the tape, then the evening, the next day, we were putting a claim in for him. He enjoys playing and you can't help but notice that when you watch the snaps in a game."
Is this going to be a week by week decision at quarterback or do you say Taysom did enough?
"Look, we're not making any big announcements. That's not us. We thought he played well. There were a lot of things we did well in that game defensively. We won the field position battle. We won a number of situational battles. We ran the ball well, especially in the second half. It was a real good team win, especially against a real good football team. I know the record doesn't say that. When you look at the games they played this year and the team we played, that's a team we have a lot of respect for and so, but outside of that we'll take each week with the approach of what's best for our team."
Cam Jordan's statistical numbers weren't what they typically are until this game. Did he sort of break out in this game or was this something that was sort of coming all year?
"There are a couple of things that go into that. Sometimes your packages might come from an even front, sometimes it might come from an odd front that can affect the end, especially a guy like Cam over on the right side. It was good to see his production and yet there was a lot of hidden production sometimes in rushing the passer and you don't always necessarily get to see the end result which is a stat line like a sack, there's hurries, there's hits, there's all those other elements that go into it. You keep working and going harder. It's tough to rush the passer, especially in a game where it becomes a little one-dimensional, that takes energy. The one thing Cam's had throughout his career is his stamina and he's always in good shape, so I think more importantly I'm just pleased with how we're playing defensively."
Can you talk about the production of that defensive line?
"I think overall, the groups done a really good job, you can point to David Onyemata, you can point to Trey (Hendrickson), you can point to a handful of the different tackles that have been in there. Sheldon (Rankins), when he was healthy, (Shy) Tuttle, (Malcolm) Roach, there's a number of those guys that are getting snaps. Carl (Granderson) is getting snaps and I think that rotation has helped us and I think that we've tried to come up with the best play of how to play those guys and how to play the defense we're playing."
You talk about the snaps you see of Taysom Hill at practices closed to the public and media. You talk about Trey Hendrickson, once again, you see more of him than anyone else every day. Was this season something you saw coming or has the production he has provided even been a little bit surprising to you?
"It's hard to make predictions relative to the actual pitch count or production that we are talking about. I know he's a tremendous worker, I know he's in outstanding shape. I know he's healthy. All those other things contribute to what you're seeing now and it's a credit to him and the players around him. I'm happy for him. I think he would tell you it's important to win. I think it starts with the other elements of how he works, how he trains, all those things."
What are your thoughts on the offensive line in terms of running the ball and protection as well?
"Yes, we're doing well. We've had a couple guys in and out of the lineup with a couple nicks and injuries and yesterday's front was different to some of the fronts we've seen. You're getting a lot of movement, hard slant and angle defense where you're landmarks can change, things can change in the run game. It's difficult to prepare for that, to actually simulate what that will be like on gameday and I'm sure that having gone through it yesterday we're only two weeks from seeing it again."
How much has the coaching staff embraced replacing injured players and getting comparable performances?
"Our job is to embrace the challenge even before the injury. We're developing everyone in the building on the roster, that's our job. We're not just coaching the starters, we're coaching the guys that are maybe going to play a role in that game and also guys that are on the practice squad. We're trying to develop everyone and maybe look at how these players that are here can fit and help us. That's our job and so then when someone has to ascend into a different role on gameday, we're able to prepare them for that role."
What do you put behind the increase in takeaways lately?
"That's a good question. The first thing that comes to mind when you have a game that's one-dimensional and the opponent's passing, it's harder to play offense and you can get results via sacks, hurries and generally speaking there's more risk in the throws and your chances of interceptions and fumbles in the pocket go up."
You said it was a difficult decision on which quarterback to go with last week. After the game, after it went so well, was that maybe a little bit more personally gratifying because of the decision and that it all turned out so well?
"No, I was happy to get the win against Atlanta and I'm happy for Taysom (Hill) obviously because there's a lot of pressure in that spot. He or Jameis (Winston) come into that spot there's pressure, no different than last year with Teddy (Bridgewater) in Seattle. There's a lot of pressure when you all of a sudden become that starter. So I was happy he played well and we played a good complementary game. There was an obvious amount of attention drawn to it because many who covered the game thought it might be Jameis as opposed to Taysom and then of course those people covering the game don't want to be wrong, so that there's a reaction when you think something's going to happen and it doesn't then it must be the wrong decision, but no one else has all the other stuff taken into account. That's what it is."