New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Video with New Orleans Media
Friday, September 25, 2020
It's been I think like seven years since you guys have actually faced (Aaron) Rogers in a game, when you're looking at his tape this week, is he still pretty much the same player as he was back in 13 or whenever you played him?
"Yeah, absolutely. I feel like when you look at the tape last year and the early part of this season, he's got great command of what they are doing offensively. They have got great balance. I know that is obviously a quarterback's friend. Their ability to run the ball is impressive. They take plenty of shots down the field, it's an explosive offense in the running game and passing game. You watch the timing of what they're doing, precision. I think Matt (LaFleur) and his staff have done a great job of instilling a plan. This is a team that obviously won a bunch of games, 13 a year ago, and they're off to a 2-0 start. And so yeah, he's playing fantastic."
Does he still do a lot of the off schedule stuff that he kind of did in the past? Just kind of like improvising sort of?
"Yeah, he does and yet, I would say a credit to what they're doing right now. He's got that ability, and certainly in the redzone, if you're going to rush three, he's going to understand that, buy time, find receivers. But he's on schedule. He's someone who's difficult to sack. He's got a quick release, he understands defense, he understands where he might be short. And so you're seeing the same skillset."
Would you describe this as maybe a challenging time for you to try to figure out the offense and get it going or do you feel like this is something you've been through before and you've done it? How would you say this last few days have been for you looking at the offense?
"Well, look, I thought we did some things better last week than we had the week before. I felt the one challenge a week ago was the time of possession. And in the second half, we had trouble getting off the field. We talk all the time about a complimentary game and to credit Las Vegas, they very much played a complimentary game. Their offense converted, was on the field a lot and conversely, it felt like, man, it felt like the third quarter went quick for us relative to our snaps on offense, and a lot of snaps for our defense. Each week, we're working extremely hard at trying to find the right fit for our players to have success in that game. It's always easier to do coming off a win, and yet that's just the reality of our league. You come back, you make the corrections and then very quickly, you've got to get on to the next opponent. And meanwhile, as coaches, we're constantly evaluating, not only what we're doing, but who we're doing it with."
How big has Nick Easton been in just giving you guys some flexibility there and kind of filling in wherever you needed a player to start?
"Yeah, look, there is flexibility. I think, overall, it's been important for us. He's someone that, obviously, can play at center. He's played a guard. He is an experienced player. He was a good addition for us when we signed him and is playing well."
Does Tre'Quan (Smith) have a better understanding of what he's doing in the offense now? He's talked before about it was a little bit slow, but does it look like he's where he needs to be?
"Yeah, I think so. I think, number one, he had a real good week of practice. We'll move him around some. He's a real good blocker for us, but he's also a guy down the field that can run and one thing about him is he can catch the ball in traffic. He'll be a big part of this plan."
Marcus Davenport has been back at practice last couple days. How beneficial was that for y'all just to get him back?
"Look, it's good to have all your guys out there healthy and sometimes that's not always the case. But yeah, I would say just what you said. It's good to have him back out there working and getting reps and feeling good."
It seems like the Raiders either had no crowd noise or it was low enough that you couldn't hear it. Have you guys considered just dropping the fake crowd noise all together because you will be able to have at least some fans in attendance this week?
"Look, they just changed the levels or decibels of which a stadium can set crowd noise from. What was 70, I think you can go up to 80 now. Yeah, look, we'll set it up whatever level you're allowed to set it at and I think that will work just fine."
What's been your assessment of the kicking game so far this season?
"Pretty good. Last week, I would say we did our job. There was nothing remarkable relative to coverage or return units and the week before we were outstanding. Hopefully, that can be a big part of our success Sunday night."
Does that surprise you considering that you didn't get to really touch on it too much in training camp with the live reps?
"Yeah, look, we're talented at those positions. We're talented at kicker. We're talented at punter. We feel like we've got real good coverage units and a good return game. I think we've got a core group of guys that have returned and obviously that helps."