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Transcript: Sean Payton Conference Call 9/11/20 | Week 1 vs. Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks about the Buccaneers offense and the preparations for Week 1 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Video with New Orleans Media
Friday, September 11, 2020

You sort of talked about it a little bit yesterday, but how much do you feel like defensively for you guys you're preparing for two different offenses just with maybe (Tom) Brady concepts and (Bruce) Arians concepts?
"Yeah, look, I think it's a good question. It's one of the things that can happen sometimes to start a season when you have staff changes. In this case, you have a quarterback change and, look, someone with Tom's experience, certainly there's going to be plays he's comfortable with that he's run in New England. The question is just how much are we looking at and we're going to have to adjust and be prepared for those formations that we've seen on film. I know we've looked at both sets of teams relative to the preparation and the cut ups."

Does that put you in a position at all where you have to go in with more defensive pivots, if you will, than a normal game or no?
"No, it's not about more defense. It's just about understanding what you're getting offensively and then preparing for it accordingly. There's a handful of nuances, but I think it doesn't require additional defense. There's certain elements to how we want to play and play in this game, but the ability to just recognize formations and play types based on the formations would be that challenge."

Does it feel that way every season or does it feel that way even more so this season without a preseason to base some concepts on?
"Yeah, look, this is a little uniquely different. Typically in the preseason, your first game of the season, there's always going to be some changes and wrinkles that teams have and you've got to adjust to. This is more philosophical relative to the quarterback and so I would say this is a little different than normal."

With the practice squad rules and the ability to protect some guys, how come you guys didn't do that?

"Yeah, a number of teams didn't. We were one of them and just chose to go that route. There's pros and cons. Obviously, you put a protection tag on someone, you're alerting 31 other teams maybe of a player that that you might have plans for. I think it's just one of those things where I don't know how many teams, 14 or 15, but I know we weren't the only ones"

I saw that Josh Hill was listed at fullback in the depth chart this week. What does that mean for him if anything and does adding (Adam) Trautman kind of change what you could do with Hill with kind of having three solid tight ends now?
"Yeah, look, he was actually listed as F. And so, we play with a lot of two tight ends. Josh plays certainly the tight end position, but he can play the F tight end position. It was just as experience and instead of just listing it as a traditional fullback, we probably play with two tight ends more than we play with a tight end and a true fullback. I wouldn't read into any of that other than how that flip card reads."

I do not know if I misread it as fullback yesterday, but I opened it today and it said F.
"Look, it's a good question because the F can be (Michael) Burton, the F can be Josh (Hill), it just depends on what personnel that we have in the game."

What's the update on Ruiz going into Sunday's game?
"No updates."

I feel like Lavonte David's been with Tampa for like, forever now. What sort of challenge does he present when you're kind of scheming against their defense?
"Well, look, he's an exceptional player. He's got great awareness. He's one of those linebackers that defends the pass extremely well and the run extremely well. He can move, he's got great instincts and key and diagnosis. He's just one of those 'headsy' players that you might get him once, but he's one of those guys that's going to be a half a step ahead if you're not changing up formations and trying to change the looks up. He's that good of a player."

You talked about their front seven earlier this week, but specifically the two bookends they have with Jason Pierre Paul and Shaq Barrett. What about those guys? What kind of challenges do they present?
"It's a tremendous front and the numbers show it. Every day, we situationally go through red zone, third down, running game. They certainly pressure the quarterback very well. Their rush patterns are difficult. They are athletic and they present a lot of challenges."

Without having the crowds, of course, the fans for week one and now week three, how do you keep the team engaged? I know there's been conversations about keeping the energy up for the first two home games. Has there been any specific preparation for that?
"No, look, we've been there twice. I haven't heard any news relative to week three, but we've been there and practiced with the exact environment we're going to have Sunday, last week. And like I said before, it'll be different for everyone. We'll get adjusted to it and pretty soon you're playing. Yeah, would we like to have our home crowd? I think it's one of the better, you know, home environments there is in sport, but that's just the way it is right now. I know it's that way for week one."

Mayor (Latoya) Cantrell said (no fans) for week three also.
"I just hadn't heard that yet. We'll deal with it if it's week three the same way and we go from there."

What's the challenge when you're going against a team that has a power running back, but they also have all these guys that can kind of spread you out and maybe lighten up the box?
"Well, look, you're playing run, you're playing pass, you have to understand when you're playing one or the other how to defend the opposite, if you're playing in a too deep look, and you're having to defend the run, you've got to be prepared for that. If you're playing with more down safety and you're getting the passing game, and the unique thing is the differences with the running backs, that'll be important to gauge and how they are utilizing them."

Relative to P.J. (Williams), kind of have the same vein as Josh hill on offense, P.J. is on the roster as a DB now and listed as a free safety on the "depth chart," Is that the kind of the same thing with Josh in that it's based on matchups is where he's going to be?
"Yeah, he's got really good position flex. He's played nickel for us. He's played corner for us. He is smart enough, He is one of those players that can play a lot of positions. So yeah, again, the old traditional flip cards always showed four defensive backs, three linebackers and over time we're playing with so much substituted defenses that (it's changed), but look, he has played that position in camp as well as inside and outside. And that's kind of unusual for a defensive back, but it's a good trait."

We've talked about that position-less football on the defensive side, but do you feel like you've got that on offense too with some of the guys you've got like (Ty) Montgomery, Taysom (Hill), Alvin (Kamara) that can kind of move around and do a lot of stuff?
"Yeah, I think we do. I think the key each week is trying to put plans together that can utilize their strengths and put them in the best positions to have success, but it's nice when you have those type of those type of players."

Payton: "Do we have Travers (Mackel) to blame for the week three decision? Is that the deal?"

Katherine Terrell: I made that joke actually. I said, "If they don't have fans in week three, it's all going to be Travers' fault."

Payton: "I didn't hear that, but that's who we'll blame."

Amie Just: Yeah, that press conference was right before practice.

Payton: "Oh, is that right?"

Katherine Terrell: Yes, no fans for week three and then no idea after that.

I'm curious if you caught any of the Chiefs, Texans game last night and if you did maybe if there was a moment at all of self-reflection where you felt like, man, we've been through a lot just as a league over the last several months to get to this point. Was there any self-reflection, like, I'm glad to see football on the TV and we kind of made it to this point at least?
"Look, I'm sure I would have felt that way. Our Thursdays are really spent on a lot of red zone, a lot of goal line, short yardage. Periodically, when you're taking a quick break, you get a score update, but not enough to watch the game really like you're discussing."

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