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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 11/30/20 | Week 12 Recap

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton discusses Adam Trautman's progress as a blocking tight end, Taysom Hill's maturity at the quarterback position during his weekly conference call.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Conference call with New Orleans media
Monday, Nov. 30, 2020

How have you seen Adam Trautman developing in recent games, especially in his run blocking? It seems like he's kind of coming into his own in that regard.
"Yeah, just the more and more snaps he gets, I think the more and more (he receives) we'll see the development. Sometimes the challenge is just getting them the number of snaps you want to. I've said this, we have got to keep finding ways for him in the passing game. I think he's someone that has a real good feel in that area in. And I think he's learning the leverage elements of blocking different than in college and certainly with the athletes he's blocking."

On you guys' first touchdown with that formation with Will Clapp split out, you guys got that four on three, they put four guys over there? Is that something where there's an option to either side based on the advantage? Or was that run all the way regardless?
"That particular play was run all the way. We've done what you're referencing. That play was Taysom (Hill's) crack all the way. We knew that there'd be four guys out there. There'd be a fifth guy following (Alvin) Kamara in motion. One guy left in the box and really the numbers to our right."

Yesterday, the Saints clinched their fourth straight winning season. What would you say has been the main key to sustaining that kind of success for these past four years?
"Look, there's a lot of things that you'll look back on and you're excited about. I mean, four straight winning seasons, that probably tells me it's coming from a program that hasn't had much success or history of success. And I'm being just honest. So I'm glad that that's four in a row. Certainly, our aspirations are much higher than having a winning season, that's all. So I don't really look at that and footnote it."

*I know you said yesterday after the game that Taysom, and I'm just paraphrasing here, did exactly what you wanted him to do. Can you maybe just talk about the trust and the maturity that just goes into trusting that process, especially for a young quarterback who is still proving himself to himself and his teammates? *"Yeah. It is a great question because there is a catch-22 in there somewhere, right? And that catches like, man, I'm trying to make an impression, I'm trying to prove that I'm a starter, I'm trying to prove all of those things. I understand that. And yet, you know what, today's not the day. Today's the day to prove you aren't. But it's not the day that, and the way this game was going to unfold, you've got to pay attention and be smart enough to understand we're not going to learn the hard way today with a matchup with two starters out on the offensive line. Terron (Armstead) goes down with Covid a couple days before and we're not going to (have a) sack/fumble, we're not going to get (the ball) turned over in our red zone, any of those things and that type of game field position mattered a lot. Seven points in that type of game would be the equivalent of 21 and that's just the way I felt that game needed to be played. And he did a good job of that. He had the one turnover, but I thought that lost in all of this and then look, man, make no mistake about it, that's a tough position to be in when you don't have any quarterback, but there has not been one thing written about, well how did they give up 229 yards rushing? In other words, if there was one thing that was going to happen, if you lost all your quarterbacks is that you were going to bow up defensively and so, look, I was proud of how we ran the football. I thought our guys up front toward the end of the game, we won that battle pretty clearly."

Is Justin Simmons someone who affects the game, too? Is he someone that if they had a quarterback, is he one of those guys that can kind of affect the way you approach the team?
"Well, they have two. They're right and left with their safeties. I think both of them are good football players and here's the unique challenge they present, they both can cover and they're both asked to cover receivers quite a bit. Both of them have good ball skills. And look, it's a good defense. I mean, it's a defense and we thought the week before, shut down Miami pretty well, you've seen them throughout the course of the year play pretty well. But this didn't have anything to do with safeties, linebackers, defensive linemen, or any of it. It was just being smart, understanding that game that day. And like I said, I mean, lost in it all is they gave up over 230 (229) yards rushing. And so that was pretty important in the game."

I know you don't care at all about league rankings and those sort of statistics.
"I don't."

*I know, the defense is ranked No. 1 right now, what in particular do you like about the way they're playing that's kind of lead to this improvement? *"I think we're playing the pass better. I think we've eliminated some of the big plays that were coming earlier in the year. And then most importantly, is third down and red zone defense has gradually gotten better. And it had to, it could not have gotten any worse. We were last in the league there for a stretch in red zone. And so when you look at rankings, it's a little bit like your semester in school to some degree. If you start the semester off with three D's, it is going to take a while before you see the light of day. But I'm pleased with how we're playing situational defense. Yesterday, obviously was a uniquely different deal, but we're getting off the field on third down, and I think we're affecting the quarterback more than we were earlier in the year."

*How did you feel like the left side of the offensive line played with Terron Armstead and Andrus Peat out, replaced by James Hurst and Nick Easton did in the game? *"I thought pretty well. It's hard to run the ball like that in the NFL. You have (Bradley (Chubb) over there and you've got a pretty good defensive front. So I thought they played pretty well."

You said you guys are affecting the quarterback better, has Cam Jordan's performance graded out better?
"Yeah, there are a few things that have gone into that. It is not just one specific thing. We got into some more four-man rush a few weeks back, I think that helped us in a number of areas. I think DA (Dennis Allen) and his (defensive) staff have done a good job on third down. I think we've also tried to try to get more red zone work done earlier in the week and tried to eliminate maybe the amount and reduce some of the volume, but there's, generally speaking, there's probably a collection of a number of things that have contributed to the end result. But you are seeing more production from Cam. I think we are communicating on the back end better and you hope you are improving. I hope we're better next week than we were this past weekend. I think there's certain things you've got to look and get a rep on again, practice it again, and then say, hey, that won't happen the same way should that come up again."

How would you say that Kwon Alexander has affected your defense so far and how would you grade how he's done so far?
"He's done well in a short period of time and that's not easy to do. But he's in great shape, obviously (great) playing shape. I think he has given us more speed on the field. And he's also given us a pressure player. I think he's very good when and if he's asked to rush the passer, he's disruptive. And that becomes a little problematic because look, if you're trying to assess the front seven, you might try to assign Demario (Davis) to the offensive line. And then now you have another guy that's going to get matched up on a running back and so those are the early things that I've seen and I like guys that like football as much as me."

I was just wondering if you had any comment on the NFL's decision to dock you a draft pick and that decision?
"No, no comment. You can ask Mickey (Loomis) or somebody. I haven't been involved in any of that. I haven't seen any, I wasn't even aware of it. In fact, I was one of the last people to find out so you might want to ask Mickey."

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