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Transcript: Sean Payton OTA Media Availability 6-4-19

Saints head coach speaks to the media during week 3 of OTA workouts

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
OTA #8 Media Availability
Tuesday, June 4, 2019

I was looking for Drew (Brees)?
"Yes, there hasn't been someone not here I'm not aware of. So, just leave it at that."

Without him (Brees) here, are you able to get any sort of additional glimpses of Teddy (Bridgewater) and Taysom (Hill)?
"Yeah. Absolutely. Everyone receives more reps and you receive a chance to also get reps with maybe a unit you haven't been going with, so Teddy received all the reps with the ones. It was good work."

How do you think he (Bridgewater) looked specifically?"
"I thought he looked good today. I thought he had a good practice. He is doing well. I think it's his second year in what we're doing, and you see it when he's getting through his progressions, getting in and out of the huddle. He's doing well."

Yesterday, Roger Goodell talked about shortening the preseason. How much time does it take to actually evaluate? Do you feel like four games is enough to evaluate?
"There's been a lot of discussion relative to the preseason and the regular season and honestly, I think a lot of that'll be something that's handled by the management council and the union. So there are probably three or four suggested, reduce it one game and add 17 to the regular season with an alternating eight and nine home-season schedule. And the years that you'd have eight home, you'd have the two preseasons if you were going three. There's been discussion of 18 regular season games. Honestly, that'll be something I think those two groups will work through."

Do you see a need to play four preseason games?
"The significance of the preseason obviously, with the way the offseason is, or the spring is, I know there's a lot of people that feel like, man that fourth game (sits a lot of starters)…And yet I know each season there's guys that we're making decisions on after that fourth game that are going to play more in that fourth game, and (on) special teams that are going to play more offensively and defensively. And so, I know what currently exists, and that's not to say that if it went to three that you just have to change how you're rolling your players through. But, after doing this a while, you have opinions on some things and yet, I think ultimately that'll be an ownership, management council, and a players union decision. But I do think that time in pads from when we start, to the start of the regular season is vital relative to the evaluation process and the preparation for getting ready to start the regular season. So, I'm sure they'll go through a lot of the different scenarios."

How would you just assess your secondary, just at this point so far?
"I think it's a group that – when I say a veteran group, some of those guys are young, but I think, certainly we have the returning group that have all played a lot of snaps. So I think they're doing well."

I know you said (Cyril) Grayson hasn't played a lot of football. He's kind of bounced around and has got a lot to learn. But when you see that speed, does that kind of get your mind going?
"There are certain plays that do, and then there are other plays that you just realize, man, it's going to take a while. So I think the interesting and exciting element is his ability to run. And today you saw a couple of flash plays, but I still think he has an uphill battle and one that he knows he is going to have to work on some of the details of being a receiver. Now, can he stand out and be a special teams player? Well then that – we've had guys that have done that that maybe weren't as far along at their position. And so I think that's something we'll get to see more once we're in those situations."

When you look at the future of the NFL, do you see more RPO's actually being run more? I know it depends on the quarterback, but could you see the trend going that way in the future?
"We start with the trend as to who won the Super Bowl. And I think there's an element. Look, I am going to go back 20 years ago. It was a play. I changed it to another play. And then eventually it might be two plays called in the huddle. And then eventually, you know, what bled into as a backside slant or smoke route, and then maybe more backside combinations with the ability to hand it or keep it. And so I think that element is not going anywhere, that RPO element. And I think a lot of it is based on what your philosophy is offensively and who you have playing quarterback. But, certainly, the idea is to get to a better leverage play. Whether you're changing it at the line, killing two, or checking to the better play, or building in a play like an RPO. They all in essence effectively try to get the same thing done. But every once in a while there's times where man, I want to run regardless of what I'm seeing. Or I want to – and so, I think depending on the team and your philosophy offensively, I don't think it is going anywhere though. I think you're seeing a lot of what we get from the college game and so you build some of that in to suit your personnel."

There's this idea out there that your success with Taysom (Hill) kind of started a trend and other teams are looking for a Taysom Hill, but it seems like he's developed here very organically. I mean, is that really something that any team can just do if they think it works?
"Yeah, ours did develop that way. I mean, it started with watching a practice squad receiver on film and then noticing the guy who played quarterback and we still see him as a quarterback. Now, it's a plus, and to his credit he can do these other things. He's a good football player and so, he lines up obviously in a lot of spots in the kicking game. He lines up for us in a number of spots offensively. And so I think this kind of grew more than three years ago, us saying, "We need to find this guy like Jim Thorpe." It did not start that way, but the idea of looking for good football players that may be at positions other than where they might end up playing, I think we are all doing in our search for certain players. We're looking closely at the basketball leagues for guys that might be able to transition into our game. You're seeing more players from outside our country playing than 20 years ago. You're seeing it, not as much as you see it in basketball or baseball, but that's transitioned to our game as well. I mean, a guy like David Onyemata who had limited experience in high school, if any. (Played in) College than at a small school in Canada, and all of a sudden has made that transition in a positive way here. So, we're in that talent procurement profession and so you're searching everywhere you can for someone with the right vision as to what he could play."

People talk about rugby sometimes in that light, but I'm not sure if – but.
"Yeah, look, there's been the punters that we've gotten. I think the Aussie rules football (has some things in common with American football). I looked at a rugby player not too long ago just on film, so we're not opposed to putting the film on and looking. And I think that's just part of evaluating."

What's been the challenges with the new special teams coach and that adjustment process?
"Darren (Rizzi) and those guys are experienced. He has coached in this league for a long time with a close friend of mine (Tony Sparano). Those guys have come in right away and I think that transition has gone smooth. (I) Just spoke to Mike (Westhoff) recently to see how he is doing. At some point I am sure (in) training camp he will come visit, but those guys are doing well. And this time period's good for us relative to the installation, terminology. Those units will be important for us."

With the discussion of the 18-game possibly regular season, how realistic is it to expand the rosters? Whether it's 45 or 55…
"I'd say, without overstepping my bounds, I think all of that'll be kind of on the table and now it's just kind of predicting – I think there'll be some give and take. There generally is if they were to expand the regular season. How much on the active? I think the one unique thing, especially for the college guys come in as man, when you go 53 to 46 on gameday, if you ever just look at an NFL sideline while the defense is on the field or the offense is on the field, you can pretty much go three-to-one other personnel on the sideline to players. If you took equipment and took all the other – you could easily get three-to-one. So it's a thinner group than when you see a college game where it would be three-to-one the other way. And, and so I think that would be something that is clearly discussed,

From a competition committee standpoint, when management and ownership considers going to an 18-game season, what would be the pros and cons of expanding from a injury standpoint?
"It's not a competition committee topic. In other words, it's not a rule changer. And so off the top of your head, you expand revenue, you play later into the year. I think a network person might be able to expand on it better than I would. And then it's all right, wear and tear on the player's. Additional two games. You know, how does that all work? So those are the, the immediate pros and cons. Look, I've heard 16 still with three preseason. 16 with four that currently exists. 17 with three. Which was an interesting proposal or idea. And then certainly the 18. So, it's kind of above my pay grade a little bit, but I do think that the preseason that exists relative to the time we have in pads is important.

After the two strong years to start his career, what would you kind of want to see out of Marshon Lattimore going into year three?
"There's so much at that position. There's a lot put on him oftentimes, with a match on the certain receiver. the overall technique in, in the things that he's pretty demanding of himself. So he's competitive. I think that it begins to, it never slows down, but it begins to become a little clearer for those guys. Especially as it pertains to the splits, the formations they're getting, route combinations. If you're a corner and you're defending every route each play, you are going to struggle. You have to understand where the split is and then what routes are going to come with those splits. But I think he is a real smart player. So I think you're seeing those things just take place with the repetitions."

Did you guys discuss (Gerald) McCoy at all? I know he signed with the Panthers.
"We'd made a number of investments already at defensive tackle and feel real good about the group we're working with right now. He's a talented player and yes, (I) hate to see him stay in the division. But no, we were far enough down the road with other players."

In the past, you guys have canceled the 10th OTA for some type of team bonding thing, is that the same deal this year?
"We'll see. I'll email you the itinerary."

I mean, are you practicing Thursday?
"Your schedule (to cover an OTA initially) was Thursday. We moved it to today, so we'll have something tomorrow. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out if there is a chance. Guys are doing well though. We've gotten a lot of good work in the heat. Today was a changeup just to come inside. I thought we had good tempo today."

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