New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, September 24, 2020
Have certain things come up that you've had to deal with, the empty stadiums and the lack of crowd noise, maybe even something that you didn't anticipate would come up and change your job at all?
"No, look, I think the one thing I've seen is the communication that can take place from the bench on to the field is a lot easier for now. And so, if you're not careful, you've got half the band shouting out, watch the pass, watch the run and generally speaking, you can't hear those things in game. But now, it's a lot like when you were playing Pop Warner football, and you can hear your mom on every play, if she wants to yell at you."
When you say if you're not careful…
"Well, just what I said, everyone knows the next play. And yet, everyone's got an opinion on the next play. And then if you start tracking the batting averages, they're all about, if you're just run or pass, then they're probably around 50 50 and when they're right, they're going to let you know. But yeah, I think you've just got to be careful, because you can have too much noise from the sideline."
When you're looking at Green Bay's offense, what's made them kind of jump out of the gate the way they have?
"Well, the first thing you look at is their balance. They're not one dimensional, they're rushing the ball right at the top of the league, their skill positions are outstanding and obviously Aaron (Rodgers) has got great command of what they're doing. They've really pressured the opposing offenses, because in both cases, by the second half, teams they're playing against are one dimensional. So, you can point to a lot of specifics, I think their scheme has been fantastic. Obviously, Aaron executing it, is comfortable in it. But I think most importantly, you're seeing the balance and I think that's the challenge. I think you notice that especially this season."
What is the kind of the challenge that's presented by a versatile player like Za'Darius Smith? It looks like they kind of move him around the line.
"They do. You have to recognize where he's at. They'll line him up on the edge, right and left. And they'll take him and travel him inside in one of the A gaps, kind of becomes a moving nose tackle, if you will, a little bit of a spinner look. Look, they do such a good job of trying to get him on a stunt, trying to get him on a matchup. And their defense kind of allows him to do that relative to what they do structurally, you're going to see some five down fronts. And so, generally speaking, you'll find him as one of the edge players in that front and at times though, they can adjust it and he can become one of those players that moves. He's very quick and explosive and there isn't a game you watch where he's not impacting the quarterback and so the key is just understanding where he's at at all times."
Hearing from Aaron (Rodgers) yesterday, he's almost surprised it sounds like at how many guys are open offensively. What are some things you're talking to your team about this week as you prepare for Sunday night?
"Yeah, just tempo, playing with energy, making sure we understand the coverage we're in, understand the defense we're in and it's going to take a great team effort. It's not just one individual and so you start with some of those things."
Is there anything that's different about them when they have Kenny Clark on the field versus when they when they don't?
"Yeah, look, you have a nose tackle, a defensive tackle that's physical, that I think is very athletic. He's one of the better interior lineman in our league. Obviously, there's a difference and it would be the same with I think any team losing one of their better players now. We'll see where he's at, but the film on him, the second half of last season was really impressive."
Offensively, you want to improve the numbers, but situationally, you are okay right now, is that fair to say? Are you where you want to be there?
"I do not know that we are (where we want to be), look, we're one and one right now, two weeks into the season. I think we could be playing a lot better football, we expect to be playing a lot better football and we're gonna have to have the success we are wanting to have. So our red zone offense and defense still needs to be better. I thought our third down numbers, offensively, were okay last week. Defensively, we had trouble getting off the field. It's that critical time early in the year where we need to make the corrections so that we have the success that we're looking to have as the season moves forward."
How does the short week kind of throw a wrinkle into that if at all, with less time to work on those thing?
"Yeah, look, I think it's just a matter of how you handle it. I've been a part of a number of schedules (where) we're pushing the days back. It's a little different. We've done it before, today's like a Wednesday for us. I think it's important to recover from the west coast trip, and if you're not careful, turning around and coming right back out. Now, that being said, the schedule requires us to practice a little bit more on a Saturday, if you will, normally would."