New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talk to the media after their first day of practice at NFL football training camp in Metairie, La., Friday, July 26, 2013. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
Posted: Friday, 02 August 2013 3:25PM
Q&A with Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton Post-Practice Media Availability Friday, August 2, 2013
Is there anything specifically you will be looking for tomorrow? What are some positions that you are most curious about?
“I think tomorrow, I am anxious to see how we do at left tackle. I am anxious to see how some of these young defensive backs and receivers handle this competition. For me, there are a number of these linebackers who run together, when I am watching the tape. I think Seneca (Wallace) will probably not go tomorrow. We will have a chance to see Drew (Brees), we will see Luke (McCown) and finish with Ryan (Griffin), kind of bump those guys up a little bit when we take Drew out. So, with three quarterbacks, they will get a lot of snaps. At the halfback position, we will be pretty clean in the rotation. So, (for) some of those linemen, both on the offense and defense side of the ball (it is a good opportunity). It is always the first impression when you get into a situation like this is interesting. So, I am anxious to see that.”
Looking at Malcolm (Jenkins) and his potential on the slot receiver as a nickel cornerback. How confident are you that he could play corner again? He’s mainly been an outside corner in the past. Are you confident with him in the slot?
“With Malcolm, he is had reps with that. He is one of those guys, I do not want to say things come easy to (him), but he picks up what we are doing fairly quickly, so he has versatility. At the safety spot, Kenny (Vaccaro) is another player who has played that. One of the challenges evaluating his senior tape is he played so much nickel over the slot, not as much safety with all the one back nickel teams that he has played. So, I think for Patrick (Robinson), when he is healthy, we will start him outside and just kind of see how he progresses. I think that is going to be sooner (rather) than later, the reports I am hearing on his injuries. So (that is) good news.”
How would you assess the first week of training camp?
“I think it is going well. I think we have stayed healthy, which has been important. We will have a chance tomorrow to see how these guys handle a scrimmage setting. But it has been a good opportunity for all of us now to see these guys in pads for a week, and going through all of spring, it is always a challenge because there is so much that is different when you finally get the pads on. So, so far it is going well. We still have a lot of work to do. I am anxious to see what these young guys do tomorrow.”
There is a lot of competition at wide receiver but, what have you seen from Joseph Morgan and what are your expectations from him?
“He is a guy who has experience now. He is no longer a young player. He is someone that has specifics with his route running that I think can help him. He is explosive, (and) he can run down the field. Just the overall consistency of more snaps and handling that, he is doing well. He is in good shape. I think where he is at right now is just refining the small things, (and) the details within the framework of the position.”
When you talk about the receivers, with Saalim Hakim, is speed going to be the difference there, maybe to get him over the top?
“He is explosive. You see that daily. Now, with this position group, how can they help us in the kicking game as well? But, he is an interesting prospect. He is picking up what we are doing, but he is someone who gives us run after the catch. So it is good to work with someone like that and develop it.”
How much communication is necessary before the ball is snapped?
“There is a lot, not unlike any other team in the NFL, with especially the nickel snaps, quarterback and center establishing how they are going to block a certain front. In other words, what direction they are going, who they are treating as the mike, some of these three down looks could be complicated, so both Drew (Brees) and the center begin that process, and it then echos out.”
Can you say eight days into camp at this stage, the difference between the mental challenge and the physical challenge? Is one harder than another right now?
“It kind of goes back and forth. Later in practice, (it is a challenge) forcing yourself to be disciplined when it is hot. You begin to get tired. That is something we met on the other night, about the fourth quarter in our league, and being able to still execute when you are fatiguing somewhat. So, that is part of training camp and the challenge, and I think that so far they have handled that well. We will get a chance to see some tomorrow. It is kind of a process. Now, from a physical standpoint, I think we are in pretty good shape. We will continue to condition and now it is a chance to see for us what these guys can do when the pads are on and when the helmets are on. Whether it is blocking, tackling, or just simply catching the football in traffic. We are getting those looks right now.”
Have you ever had a guy run on the field like that?
“No, it has been a while since I can recall. I did not realize who it was. We saw a tussle from a distance and security did a good job of getting it off.”
Marcel Jones, Andrew Tiller, basically got a redshirt last year. What have you seen so far in camp with them?
“They are two different type players. Marcel is big with heavy hands. Both of them had a really good offseason in the weight room. I think I am anxious to see (them) tomorrow and in these preseason games. It is one position that you can really have a chance to see these linemen compete and get a number of snaps. How do they hold up after the twelfth rep? I think both of these guys are going to receive a lot of work here, not only in this practice tomorrow, but in the preseason.”
How much do you appreciate a guy like Jahri Evans? He is one of the top players at his position, won a Super Bowl and earned a long-term contract. It seems like he still wants to come out and improve his craft.
“He has worked hard to get to where he is at. He has come from a small school (Bloomsburg), he is very sharp, (and) his weight is better today than it has been in a while. You do not really realize until you look at the line, but he is the lone player (starter) left from the Super Bowl team. It is part of our business. In the last four years, you lose a center, or you lose a guard, and all of the sudden, you lose another tackle. But, that is just part of the deal. Jahri is someone who is powerful, obviously knows our system well, and is one of our leaders.”
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