New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 27, 2020
Considering Denver's COVID-19 situation, I know it didn't change you guy's preparation, but does it concern you? Or is it kind of one of those things that you've expected to come this season?
"It's the 2020 season. After a while, you really focus on the things that you can control. We're trained that way. I think the teams are trained that way, the players, certainly the coaches and that's, obviously, this won't be the first time and we go full speed ahead."
The other day you mentioned how Kwon Alexander has fit in and you said it feels like he's been here for eight weeks. Is that rare for a player to fit in that quickly?
"It all depends on the player. He's sharp, has picked things up, is playing a position he's familiar with. And then there's a personality element. He is a confident player. There's a lot of leadership you get and he loves football and I said this the other day on the conference call, I think that generally travels well to any team. Certainly he's familiar with the Saints. He's played at LSU and (is) from Alabama."
Did you guys have to simplify anything for him at first or did he just hit it and go from that first game?
"No, first game. We had a package. Again, he had a week and so we began to give him the package he was in, the nickel package and gradually just look at the reps and look at the defense's that we're playing."
I feel like we asked you about David Onyemata almost weekly now, but he just keeps performing, two sacks last week. How important has his production in the middle been to that whole defensive front?
"It's been very important. When your front's playing well, and you're counting on big guys, not just the ends, but you are counting on your inside guys. He gives us good push up front, and (is) very athletic. He loves playing. I can't say enough good things about just him as a player and a teammate."
Speaking of the middle, you designated Sheldon Rankin's for return this week, what did you see from him in practice?
"He's doing well, we just finished meeting, we're going to meet some more and come up with our plan, but he's doing well. It's good to have him out there working."
How big a challenge is three road games based on the current COVID situation and have you thought about, for lack of a better term, going into hiding more with the team, as you get near the stretch run?
"I think this, I kind of feel like the road environment, knowing that every hotel we're in is just our team. And so the road environment is more of a hard bubble than the soft bubble you have when you're at home. So I understand the question, but I kind of feel like when we're on the road we're in a much different environment than if we would be at home. So I think we're planning on approaching it the same way. There are new protocols this week that the league announced and they'll impact every team and I'm sure they won't be the last, there'll be some more so we will just pay attention and quickly adjust."