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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 12/16/20 | Week 15 vs. Chiefs

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks impressions of Patrick Mahomes, Week 15 prep for Kansas City Chiefs on Wednesday, December 16, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Conference call with New Orleans media
Wednesday, Dec. 16, 2020

As you've looked over Patrick Mahomes in the film this week, what are some of the things that you've seen? I know you guys liked him coming out of the draft, but are those things still just so evident while he's in the NFL now?
"I would say so. I think he does a good job processing quickly the information, the protections, he does a good job evaluating the rush lanes instinctively, climb and escape, outside and escape, climb and throw, but his arm strength, his awareness and then his ability to process and throw it are very rare."

*What do you see from Chris Jones? *"He's strong and he's long and that presents challenges inside. He does a good job playing the run and the pass. He's very physical, but you feel his length."

*Back to (Patrick) Mahomes, is his arm strength such that he can kind of I guess throw himself out of trouble if you know what I mean? *"Yeah, look, he certainly can do that, but the thing he does is he moves and then is able to find the better throw. That's the one thing when you watch the tape, his ability to climb and push, adjust a little bit. The pockets always kind of fluctuating and he seems to have a great feel for that to the right or to the left and is able to extend plays which obviously makes it challenging with those receivers."

JD (John DeShazier) mentioned that you guys liked him that year. Were you surprised that he was all the way down as the 10th pick that year? Or was there some projection that had to be done with him?
"No, look, nothing surprises you in the draft anymore because you don't know how people themselves evaluate them. I know we took a trip down and had a workout down there, a private workout. We were extremely impressed. I call it the magic week where we went from there to Tennessee, saw (Alvin) Kamara then on to the next step (Marshon) Lattimore. Look, he had all those things that you look for. He was in a hurried offense a little bit, the protection wasn't great, but, man, you saw him survive rushes, you saw him throw without his feet set. You saw him do a lot of things that you don't get to see sometimes from a college player."

You've talked a few times recently about sort of the culture and the team building. How huge of a part of that was your 2017 draft class?
"Yeah, we hit on players and that's important when you start looking at (Marshon) Lattimore, (Ryan) Ramczyk, you hit Alvin (Kamara), you hit Trey (Hendrickson). I mean, that was extremely important for us."

*Is it fair to compare that class to the 2006 class? *"Yeah, I would say the comparison is the importance of it. Now you could argue over the actual class itself relative to back and forth, but I think the fair comparison certainly is the importance of the procurement of talent back into the building to put you at that level you want to be at again."

When you're facing a team like Kansas City that can score as fast as it does, I think last week it had like three touchdowns in like three minutes of game time, does that kind of change the equation a little bit with like how important time of possession is? Do you have to try to match that or do you have to try to keep away from them?
"Well, look, there's a number of schools of thought that way and that's part of the game plan unto itself."

Have you faced a tight end like Travis Kelce yet this season? Is like a completely different animal than something you've seen yet?
"Well, we saw, yeah, listen, he's one of the best in the league and we saw the really young talented player in Las Vegas (Darren Waller). One thing that you see with Travis that's very impressive is not only his athletic ability, his receiving ability, man, you see and feel a smart player, you see a leverage guy who understands how to set up a block, how to setup a route. It's like he's constantly thinking and it's pretty impressive how smart he is."

You've spoken highly of Andy Reid in the past. I'm just curious, what is it about what he's been able to do in his career and his offense that stands out to you?
"Well, he's always had the ability to move forward, think forward, lead, adjust. I was in the same division for a number of years. When Andy got hired in Philadelphia, I went to New York as an assistant. And so we played him twice a year. And then, of course, Dallas the same way. And then when I got hired here, it seems like we played a few times early on. He's always been a true gentleman. He's been a football man through and through. He is one of those guys that I think is special."

Is Tyreek Hill on of those guys that can stretch a defense as much as anybody?
"All right, you get the question of the week award. Yes, Tyreek Hill can stretch the defense as much as anyone, yes (laughter)."

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