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Saints Week 1 Transcripts: Sean Payton, Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Davenport 9/10/21

Saints head coach & players discuss Week 1 and remember 9/11 20 years later

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Media Availability | Friday, September 10, 2021

Opening Statement:

"Tomorrow, because of the facilities we'll have our walkthrough at a local high school indoor facility. It's a forty-minute walk through and we'll travel tomorrow afternoon."

What did you guys like about Bradley Roby?

"We have known him for a while now. We studied him a lot coming out (of college). The trick was, there were about three options for us (at cornerback). I credit Khai (Harley) and Mickey (Loomis). He was definitely high on our list but we didn't know his availability. We already had two third round picks and we might have another compensatory third (round pick). When a position is a must, you don't know when you're going to fill it. You hope to fill it sooner rather than later. There are some things that have taken place this year that remind me of 2006. We made a trade for (Scott) Shanle with one preseason game to go along with (Mark) Simoneau. Those guys were two of our starting linebackers who were only here for one week of preparation to prepare for the Cleveland game (week 1). We've had some roster changes, which is pretty common, but we're excited to get him (Roby). There's a handful of people who I know closely who have worked with him and the feedback has been really good."

Did you trade the additional compensation 3rd round pick?

"No, it was our pick. I just know that we've discussed that there's a good chance we'll receive an additional third round pick in this draft."

Is trading for a cornerback a more complicated process than people realize?

"Absolutely it is. They're hard to find in any offseason, nonetheless during roster cutdowns right before the season. He's got one more game where he can't play (Roby; suspension) and then he'll be able to practice and participate next week."

How difficult was it to wait to find the right fit to add to the cornerback room?

"It was a lot. I can't go through it all. There were a lot of discussions with Houston among other teams. Ultimately, this deal worked out. We felt real good about it."

Is there anything you guys learned from bringing in Eli Apple and Janoris Jenkins mid-season to prepare cornerbacks quickly?

"I would say that when we talked to the TCU coaches, is that even when the season gets started, injuries happen and there's a player that needs to step up and prepare quickly to get acclimated to the system to be ready to play. Players who have good football IQ and good football instincts make the transition easier. It's happened before at other positions. It's the nature of our league compared to roster size. I will say the extended practice squad size has helped teams in our league. A team like Baltimore is in a similar position having to play different running backs who don't quite have the experience. That's how our league is."

Are you able to communicate with Bradley Roby at all during his suspension?

"Yes. We communicate with him. There's a set of things he can and cannot do, but he arrived and we met him. He can't practice or lift with us yet but he's with us."

Can you talk about the organization's relationship with the city in times like this?

"Our first year here in 2006 was overwhelming. Everyone that came to play and coach didn't appreciate what we were getting into, but very quickly we saw how important it was. We saw the relationship (with the city) grow even stronger. That was an important year relative to Katrina recovery. There's a toughness and resolve to our community unlike anywhere I've ever been. We battled through tough times through COVID-19 last year too. It's great to see that relationship continue even with a new roster of players."

Do you plan to practice in Dallas next week?

"The plan is to practice back here with a similar routine next week. We are taking it one step at a time."

Can you talk about your experience on 9/11?

"I was with the Giants. I remember everything about it. We opened the season on the road against Denver on a Monday night. It was their first game in their new home stadium. When you play a west coast Monday night game like that, we flew back into Newark (New Jersey) around 7 am. Typically, there would be buses waiting to take us back to Giants stadium. The players usually go home while the coaches usually drink coffee to prepare, which we were for Green Bay. I think it was Flight 93 that went outside Pennsylvania, which was boarding near us when we landed. We were in the football offices working when we saw the news. Giants stadium is probably two and a half miles from Manhattan, and I remember visually seeing the second plane (crash) from Giants stadium. You could see the smoke. For the next two and a half weeks we saw smoke from our practice field. Back then, there was a park and ride program that helped commute people from the Meadowlands into Manhattan. There were 400 and 500 cars in the parking lot. I remember leaving my car at 10:00 that night and seeing all those cars still there. I also remember getting on the highway and seeing people walking from what looked like the Lincoln Tunnel. I was living in Wayne, NJ at the time. That was Tuesday morning. Wednesday morning the games looked uncertain before they were officially canceled that Thursday. Our next game, we traveled to Kansas City. There's a great picture of everyone in the locker room after the game. I do not think there's anyone who didn't have a story, or somebody not affected by 9/11. I can recall Ernie Accorsi telling us they received a voicemail from a season ticket holder that the wife had gotten her husband tickets to the Denver game as a gift before he passed. Those towers are like cities. On any given day there might be people just visiting there or there were people who were always there. We were that close to it all. I remember everything like it was last week."

Is it hard to believe 9/11 was twenty years ago?

"Yeah, it is. In a lifetime, you have events that take place. My parents had Pearl Harbor. As a young coach, to experience that and then be involved with the aftermath of Katrina and the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill. There's a lot of events you experience. It was easier for me because of my age and the circumstances we were in. It was a road game that we were coming back from. It doesn't feel like it's been twenty years. That was tough. It was tough for anyone, though, regardless of if you were there or not. I think a handful of the airline tickets purchased by the terrorists was nearly two miles from where I lived. I thought our league made the right decision to cancel the game. It impacted us and the Jets more than other teams because we were right there. With all of the first responders; police, paramedics, fireman. I just saw the Netflix documentary done by Spike Lee. That was interesting. I didn't realize how many people were taken off the island by boat. At that moment, we didn't know what was next. There was a lot of uncertainty."

Did you see the second plane hit in person?

"No, I actually saw it on TV. At first you thought it was a smaller plane that had gone into the first tower by accident, so when we were watching that live feed, we saw the second jet. At that moment, you knew it wasn't just an accident with a smaller plane. That was on TV, and we were right outside the Lincoln Tunnel, which might not have even been two miles away."

New Orleans Saints Safety Malcolm Jenkins

Media Availability | Friday, September 10, 2021

What in your opinion is unique about Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers?

"I think is just, you know, his efficiency with the football. His ability to get rid of the ball quick, to throw kind of from pretty much any angle. And his ability to just take what the defense gives him. If you're playing off, you know, he'll abort the run and throw it out to his receiver in space, He'll get to plays where, you know, he'll make things happen at the line of scrimmage. So he's a smart quarterback when I've been around him, you know, he's going to be one of those Hall of Fame type quarterbacks. So, you know, you're not going to fool him. You got to come up, you know, you got to show up and be ready to execute. Be ready to cover the guys that he has, and he's going to make some plays."

Do you know much about Bradley Roby? And how long does it take to get those guys acclimated to the defense?

"Yeah, Bradley's obviously a Buckeye, so we're familiar, all those things. But, from a defensive standpoint, we're going try and get him (integrated), that's a tight learning curve. So, within a week or so, you know, hopefully, he'll be able to digest small portions of the playbook and obviously be learning on the run. Same thing with (Desmond) Trufant, some guys here in the last couple of days, and you know, it's going to be a tight learning curve for them. But, I think we feel really confident in our group and where we are so far, and it won't be won't be long to get them acclimated."

Does it limit some of what you can do when a guy doesn't know everything?

"No, we don't look at it like that. I think our game plan is pretty solid, our scheme isn't overly complicated, it's more so just getting acclimated to the to the looks, the communication, the verbiage, the tools within kind of the defenses that we as players control, you know, on the field. Less about what Dennis Allen calls, I think that part is easy. More so getting, you know, like I said, acclimated to how we play off of one another out there on the field."

How (inaudible) do you think it is this Sunday?

"Yeah, yeah. I mean, I think you know, everything that we've done, pretty much thus far, it's been kind of abnormal. And game day is what we'll be used to, that'll be something that will get back to normalcy, and we look forward to, to that part. So the biggest thing has just been focusing on what we can control. And that's been, our practice our preparation. And the same thing come Sunday, our performance, how we execute is what we can control. And that's what we're looking forward to."

Growing up in New Jersey, what do you remember about 9/11?

"I was a freshman in high school and my dad used to work in the Trade Center, maybe a few years before 9/11. You know, but I remember classmates, you know, being called to the counselor's office, they had other adult parents that were there or who were in the area and just watching it on TV in real time was, you know, is right down the road. So definitely a scary moment. But one, you know, I think everybody kind of remembers where they were when, when it happened."

Is it hard to believe that was almost 20 years ago?

"Yeah, it does feel like you know, it's one of the things that's so seared in your memory that you – it doesn't feel like it's been 20 years. But I guess we all are getting older. I was in shop class. I remember that."

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Marcus Davenport

Media Availability | Friday, September 10, 2021

What's the biggest challenge going up against Aaron Rodgers?

"Pretty much just staying disciplined and realizing that, you got to really go off of their keys and not necessarily the cadence or the sound. So that's probably the biggest part."

What do you see from Elgton Jenkins? The guy replacing David Bakhtiari.

"Jenkins. I see, well, especially moving from guard, I see he is pretty tall, or at least seems tall. I think what 6-foot-4, 311? Yeah, like 5.11 on the 40? He seems like a good athlete. Long. It's going to be one of those things where, you know, I go to pretty much rely on my game, and make sure to play fast."

Do you always look up the 40-yard dash times of the people you're going against?

"No, but, shoot, I got time. And I like to at least do some research. 40 times don't matter. Not at all (laughs)."

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