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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 9/17/20 | Week 2 vs. Raiders

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks about preparations for their Week 2 "Monday Night Football" matchup at the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday, September 17, 2020. 

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 17, 2020

The Raiders offense, it looks like their running game has been pretty effective. What are some of the things they do well there and that make it difficult?
"Well, look, anywhere Jon (Gruden's) been, he's been one of those coaches who does a great job staying committed to the running game. It's something that you saw on tape last year, this year. Man, those guys played extremely well. It was a hard fought game and I think that it's something that's kind of followed Jon wherever he's been."

What do you see in Josh Jacobs, their running back? He seems to break a lot of tackles, seems to have great balance, but what do you see from him on film?
"Well, you hit on the one (thing). Last year. he led the league in missed tackles. He is elusive, he's big, he's strong, he runs with power. He's extremely impressive to watch on film."

You mentioned the running game, what are some of the hallmarks of Jon Gruden's teams over the years?
"I've worked with Jon and watched his preparation, the attention to detail in everything he does. There's always going to be a presence, physicality wise, running the football. He will be creative with formations. We've got to be on point that way. He'll look for the look for man matchups with his personnel, with some oddball formations. He does a very good job of that. Man, they play hard. You can see that on tape."

Has Michael Thomas been ruled out for Monday's game?
"No, we'll will let you know."

Is there any possibility he ends up on IR with the new IR rules?
"I am going to say this one more time this season and then I am just going to ignore injury questions because it's easy to do over a phone call, alright? I am not going to discuss injuries."

Going back to your relationship with Jon (Gruden), I think this is going to be the first time you guys are on opposing sidelines in, like, a dozen years. What does that mean to you knowing that he kind of played a role and you get your first NFL Job and now facing off against him again?
"For me as a young coach, extremely young, really, you come out of college and jump in with an NFL team and a guy like Jon is a coordinator, there was so much so much to learn. Watching him prepare, watching his work ethic, my office was basically a little corner couch in his office and I had just a cell phone, but it was a chance to learn really, and a chance to be around, it was is a pretty impressive staff at that time. David Shaw, we shared an office with David, Juan Castillo was on that staff, John Harbaugh was on that staff, a lot of guys. Bill Callahan had a lot to do with me getting there, all of us just trying to try to work hard and win games, but, no I think the uniqueness when I came here in 06 was that two of my closer friends in the profession both Jon Gruden and John Fox were coaching in the NFC South."

You guys had another really good game out of the special teams, you've had several over the last few seasons. What goes into finding I guess the right guy to play special teams and how much of it is the player, how much of it is scheme whether it be Darren (Sproles) for example in the return game or going back before Darren?
"Well, look, you start with the skill set just as a special teams player, but then also I think there's got to be a toughness and want to and then, from a coaching perspective, it's guys that are creative, guys that are going to look each week for matchups and look each week maybe for an edge because all three of these phases we're spending crazy amount hours looking for ways to win football games. We spent a lot of time on these situations, kicking off from the 50-yard line after a penalty, we worked that three or four different times in training camp and fortunately we get a fumble and we're there to recover it. So it's the attention to detail I think and the ability to teach it."

Will you make any rules or guidelines regarding the hotel?
"I don't have to make any rules. The league's done it fortunately for us. We can't leave the security of the (hotel). When we travel or when we're at home we go to a hard bubble. Yeah, we'll be in a secured area. Period. So, it's not like you can just stroll down the lobby and roll some dice for an hour."

When it seems like someone does do a lot with their formations and with their personnel groupings, is it just the defense has to be far more aware and just constantly paying attention to who's going in and out? What makes that hard to keep up with?
"Well, you're always having to be aware defensively. Some teams present plays in a certain manner. Some teams present plays in a more challenging manner and that can vary week to week. So, when you get a lot of shifts, a lot of motion, you've got to be able to understand when the strength is changing, you've got to be able to know when you're going to change your front or when you're going to leave your front alone. All of those things are part of it and Jon (Gruden's) been very creative year in and year out at stressing defenses. It's a little bit of the offense's version of blitzing a defense."

I don't think Emmanuel Sanders had his first catch until the fourth quarter last week, is it just, like, the sort of thing, especially without any preseason games, where it just kind of take some time to build that in game rapport?
"I think it's a little bit of our offense over the years in we're trying to get guys touches, trying to get Mike Thomas his touches, the runners their touches and sometimes, just the way the read takes place, those are things that can happen. The key is when they come taken advantage of them and, fortunately, he was able to."

I wanted to get back to Brees' numbers, 160 yards. I believe last year at Atlanta, he had the same yardage and you won. Could you maybe just discuss, I guess how encouraging that is when you do win that way?
"Yeah, look, the number one thing is winning, obviously. Each game takes on a shape of its own. Man, we took care of the football real well the other day. We were able to get three turnovers. One of them resulted in a touchdown. I think, if statistically you looked at (if) you're plus three in the turnover ratio what your winning percentage is, it's going to be real favorable. There's a lot we have got to clean up and we have begun to work on that already. But yeah, whether we are running more or passing more or doing a good job in field position, which really, man, defensively and in the kicking game the other day, the drive start location for both teams was dramatically different and that had a lot to do with the game because when a mistake is made on your own end of the field, it involves points. And that happened a handful of times."

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