Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Saints Answers Questions At Training Camp Presented By Verizon
 posted “five takeaways” from Sean Payton's Thursday, June 18, 2015, press conference:


1. Coach Sean Payton said following Thursday's practice there would be a team meeting and he would remind everyone to stay on top of their conditioning and weight. "Most of these guys understand that," Payton said. He said the members of this year's draft class have to attend a mandatory NFL rookie symposium next week and then will return to the facility about four weeks later. 

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2. Payton praised the fans for coming out this week to support the team and watch practice in warm conditions. "We've got, I think, the best fan base in the world," Payton said.


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3. When asked about the addition of senior defensive assistant Dennis Allen to the team, Payton said: "His value is extremely important. Great acquisition for us."


4. Payton lauded Sarah Thomas, who will be the NFL's first female official this season. "She's going to do well," Payton said. "She's going to be outstanding. … She's ready" Thomas was part of a group of officials who worked minicamp this week and Thomas has worked Saints training camp practices since 2006.

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5. Payton cut short the final practice by almost an hour. The players won't be back until they report for training camp the final week of July. The first practice is July 30 at The Greenbrier.



         The following is a transcript of Coach Payton's post-practice press conference on Wednesday, June 17, 2015:



Opening Statement:

          “(We worked on) a couple different situations today. Short yardage in the early portion of practice, a third and one, fourth and one, which is kind of hard to simulate from an alignment assignment standpoint. That was one of the objectives and then two minute towards the end of practice.”


You popped in (Tyler) Davidson and (Damian) Swann and they had a decent day with the ones, are you seeing something or you just wanted to see kind of how they would react?

         “One of the things that we’ve tried to do throughout the OTAs and Minicamp and you will see it on offense as well. It’s not getting set into the ones, the twos, the threes and so you’re seeing a mixture of rotations that we’re purposely trying to accomplish that as you get further into it and into training camp and closer to the season that you are less likely to see so for now we are really trying to move guys in and out of spots.


Is Garrett (Grayson) being limited on the throws or any kind of management?

          “No, there isn't anything medically, it’s just a matter of getting work. Today we were able to get three different groups, two minute work. The trick is, when you have four quarterbacks, each day what’s the plans to rotate these guys so he’s fine.”


With a guy like Anthony Spencer who has a lot of credentials, a lot of playing time, a guy who’s seen significant snaps, what do you need to see from him going forward?

         “The first thing that comes to mind with Anthony is rushing the passer, so again it is something that’s a little bit harder to simulate out here but if you said what’s the first thing, it would be being able to play on those downs where there are obvious passing situations.”


With the addition of (Brandon) Browner, what do you see out of him so far?

         “Well, he’s a veteran player, he understands defense, I would say he’s had a pretty good volume of man to man snaps at different clubs and single safety zone snaps. He has really good size and length and so that experience of having played in a scheme that would be somewhat similar both in New England, prior to that Seattle, I think has helped him.”


As a whole has is that group meshing with a lot of veterans coming in on the defensive side?

         “I think it’s good. It’s hard to tell until you get the pads on to really begin to see but I think overall the work we’re getting in is helpful. The key is making sure these guys know what to do when we start at training camp and that is one of the big objectives here is to get through the learning portion of the playbook, the installation, and begin to repeat it again as we get back in later July.”


You talked about having competition at every position, do you think that’s helped make everybody a little sharper, make them focused a little bit more?

          “History tells you it always has, I don’t think it’s a question when there’s competition at anyone’s spot, no different in your industry or in any industry, there’s a heightened level of performance so I think that certainly that’s something that takes place.”


Do you ever have to find new ways to keep the players focused right before you kind of hit a wall before training camp? 

         “Well, tomorrow will kind of be the first time you guys kind of get to experience the last day, typically it’s been an OTA. That open locker room will be fairly quick but I think they are here, they understand the schedule, and I think they are professional enough to understand that why we are here and working that we want to get something out of it. I think that, back to the competition, back to what’s at stake, I think it’s important.”


There was an article the other day about how some coaches have had to change their coaching style to gear towards new generations, like letting players check their phones periodically my making meetings shorter, is that something you’ve had to change over the years? Having to change how you do things to kind of cater to a new generation?

         “There’s certain things that in 2006 (were put in place), as we review the operational guidelines. In 2006 for example, we didn’t have cell phones in the locker room so any call or text would take place outside the locker room. That’s changed obviously but we don’t have them in meetings. Having read the article, it’s interesting that you bring that up, I think the one thing that hasn’t changed is the attention span. I think when you are teaching, you have to be mindful of that you aren’t just talking to yourself at some point and so making sure there is enough time to segment those meetings, break those meetings up. The challenges for them I think are a little bit different and a little bit bigger with regards to the social media element. We met yesterday with a guy who has met with our team before on a number of years, it is one part of the offseason program, those things are difficult, or (have) changed. I think from a teaching standpoint and from an on the field application standpoint, there’s still some things that remain the same so has it changed since 2006, yes, there’s things that are different. The way we practice sometimes are different. I think we are constantly learning more not just with regards to how to they learn but I think with regards to their body, nutrition, sleep, all those other areas.”


As you winding down with one more day to go, what are you seeing that’s encouraging and what are you seeing that you want to work a little bit more on?

         “I think we’ve had good focus, I think leading up to this week, the attendance has been outstanding, I think more than anything else, when you are out here at practice you want to see the details handled, you want to see guys learn from the mistake that they made before and not repeat them.”


Have you spoken with Alvin Gentry since he’s been hired and just your reaction to the championship and do you have any advice for him?

         “I have not. Listen when you watch something like that and a lot of us had a chance to see it, two nights ago it was the Blackhawks and last night it was the Golden State, the very first feeling is always that jealousy because you know how great it is. But, I’m sure he’s excited to get here and get his staff in place, I know he’s been working on that and I’m looking forward to meeting him. Just to have an opportunity to be a part of what they accomplished is special so when that ends, the hockey game or the basketball game, you recognize the significance of what that does for that group of players and coaches and everyone in that organization, you recognize the significance of it.”


How much of a gamble is it, if it turns out that way, to start a placekicker who has never attempted a kick in the NFL?

         “In a perfect world you would have experience, you’d have a history, you’d know exactly what you are getting and yet I think there’s a measured approach to that. Every year we tell these players as they are lining up and competing for their position just don’t pay attention to the depth chart on this roster because they aren’t just competing for this roster but they are competing with the other thirty one guys and so that hasn’t really been a big focus, I’m anxious to see how these guys do when we get into our training camp, we get into the preseason games and we kind of go from there.”


You don’t really know until they are under pressure, right?

         “Yes, there’s going to be that first kick and that’s part of playing a young player, absolutely.”


Will you get a better feel of Stephone Anthony when the pads come on?       

         “Yes, at linebacker especially, he is doing well.  He is receiving a lot of work.  There are a lot of things he needs to work on.  Situationally there was a lot going on today with the two minute, short yardage and slot period, but he is pretty bright and picked things up fairly quickly.”


When you look at the competition out there, you talk about the offense and defensive line and they don’t have the pads on.  Are there coaching points, for instance, when you are seeing (Hau’oli) Kikaha get past Andrus Peat as far as hand placement, is that something that you really can’t judge?

         “Yeah there is, it is just hard.  Obviously you want to set for a certain position, the guys that are challenged the most with the practices right now are those guys up front because if I say you have to reach this gap or shut off this gap and then I want you guys to stay off the ground, there is no contact, and then pretty soon you scratch your head and like who is going to submit for the purpose of the drill continuing.  It is much easier when you are in one on one pass rush and once you are in live or at least live protection settings and yet there are some things that you can still see like hey, your feet have to be expanded a little bit.  It is challenging for those guys.”


Kevin Williams just got here and it seems like he walked straight into the starting lineup, is that by design to catch him up or by necessity?

         “No, we wanted to get him work.  I think there is a balance though with a guy that hasn’t been necessarily in the offseason program, but our plan was when he got here to get him in there with the three technique position, some of the sub-rush.  He was rotating yesterday if you really look at it.  He was two on, two off, two on, we just have to be smart that we don’t come up with an injury and all of a sudden strain something when he’s been here for two days.”


Have you noticed any tangible benefits of Jairus Byrd being here for the whole offseason program these past few months?

         “I think so, just from a communication standpoint.  He’s a real smart player.  He has good questions.  Those guys spend a ton of time in meetings, the guys in the back end and I think when we had sound out here the other day, there are a lot of things that they have to be on top of with adjustments.  So just having a veteran like that, someone that we obviously envision in the starting lineup, I think there certainly is.”


Do you find yourself experimenting with C.J. Spiller?

         “When you sign a player like that you are anxious to see, you’ve seen it on film, and then you are anxious to see how it fits with what you are doing and you begin to expand some things.  A guy like him, you throw a simple wide route to or a swing to and he has the right leverage and he’s pretty effective. So it is really just getting him involved in space.  Each week there is a lot of different things that go into a game plan and the early portion of what we are doing now, part of that is having things that are suited to what he does.  He has been in some pony packages, a few different looks, so some of that you don’t do during the OTAs if there is not someone that you have a vision for that plan with.  With him, certainly as you are installing there are certain things you are looking at where this would fit him well if he gets that rep.”


Drew Brees said yesterday that there are more changes being introduced to the offense this year than he can ever remember, partly because of the new personnel. Would you say that is accurate? 

         “Yeah, there are a handful of things, you get into the offseason and you look at route combinations, things you want to do versus pressure, things you want to do in the (shot)gun, package plays, so as you go through the offseason and you research and you have a few coaching changes, John Morton comes in from San Francisco, Joel Thomas coming in from Arkansas, whenever there’s that type of change in turnover there are new thoughts and Pete (Carmichael) has done a really good job just in the offseason with the staff researching other teams.  You are always trying to stay on top of what maybe’s trending and really how does it fit to your own roster.”


Was there any one element that stood out, deep passing plays or anything that you guys were missing from this offense?

          “Well the first thing was ball security but it wasn’t like we said hey, we have to go find this, we were really looking at other teams on third down, other teams in the red area and then how are teams playing or handling man to man combinations.  There are a handful of things that are scheme related you look at and try to implement that and this is a good time of year to do that.”


Did you get a sense last year that that was something you were going to take a hard look at in the offseason?

         “Well we honestly do it every year.  Seriously I think to your question, it was more about making sure we get back to the things that prevent us from winning games, things that cost us from winning games or keep you from winning games.  I think that from a scheme standpoint we will assign research projects to coaches.  Guys will go spend a couple weeks cutting up different teams and then we will bring them back and say how does this fit with us if we want to implement it.  That wouldn’t be a significant change as much as understanding that the core of what we do and why we have been successful when we have and what kept us.  Last year we were that team, we were the team that was offsides on fourth and one.  We were the team that struggled in the two minute drill either offensively or defensively to close out a game.  There’s a handful of things that go into that and those are the more pressing I think issues when you are heading into an offseason after a 7-9 season.”


C.J. Spiller seems to think his childhood background as a shortstop and center fielder made him a better receiver as a running back.

         “I would say this, one thing you can see with football players you can see who probably did not play baseball sometimes.  When we had those big guys line up to catch punts there’s something about that sport where guys learn to track balls.  I kind of have a feeling that C.J. was running track and field, playing baseball, basketball, he probably did all of those things real well.  That’s my guess.”


How much have you been following all the civil proceedings with ownership? Do you follow those at all or ask for updates?

          “No, I would probably catch the headlines that you guys are aware of or write.  So much of it has been done behind closed doors.  There is a lot going on I am sure.  I know that it is good to have Tom (Benson) back here and I know our team, he was out at practice.  We see him occasionally but our focus believe it or not, there is a ton of time spent on what we are doing here at practice and what we are doing with our players.”




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