New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton's Q&A with the media following Saturday's Black & Gold Scrimmage:
Opening Statement: “I’m not going to go through a couple of the guys that went down until I find out. I will give you something Monday, when we are back in the afternoon. Overall, I thought the tempo was good against each other. There is kind of a fine line. You want to be healthy, yet you still want to see some full speed action. I think they handled that well. I thought defensively, we made some good plays. We had some turnovers. There were a few false starts, (and) some pre-snap penalties that we have to get cleaned up. This will be good film for our staff to evaluate and for the players to see when they come back in Monday. But we received enough snaps. It started getting warm, but I thought they battled the heat pretty well.”
It looks like the running game usually got positive yardage.
“One of the things we wanted to look at was two or three specific type runs. We were able to get about twelve to fifteen snaps and some of those slash plays. I thought defensively they did a pretty good job. If we got into the 2nd and long or 3rd and longs, there are chances there were a minus play or, like I alluded to earlier, a penalty. I thought there was some good plays made on both side of the ball, and I thought we got good work, so I was pleased with that.”
Looking at the running game. You look in the past, Pierre Thomas, being an undrafted player to make the roster and even last year, Travaris Cadet. Now looking at Khiry Robinson, he seems like he is trying to earn the trust factor with how hard he runs. Will you possibly give him twelve or fifteen carries in the preseason?
“Yes, he is one player (who has produced), and we read our players last night with the scouts. We went through 89 guys, maybe a little bit less than that. A couple of the guys haven’t practiced. We kind of just went through how things have been going, up to date, with training camp, and he is a player that we felt has really come around, mentally. In the spring, for a rookie, small school guy, there was a lot on his plate, but I feel like he is beginning to pick things up. He is explosive, and he can run. One of his strengths would be just his natural running ability. The area that he has gotten better yet is just the protections, understanding who to get, who to block, some of the nuances that comes with playing running back in this offense. I thought he made some pretty good runs out here. That wasn’t surprising, and I do think that he will be a guy in the preseason will have an ample opportunity in games to carry the football.”
I know Junior Galette is going to be seeing an increased role and had some good pass rushes. Is that kind of evidence of what you are expecting to see?
“Yeah he is playing one of those outside backer positions. I thought he had some good rush snaps. We will see on the film when we get a chance to look more specifically, but he is explosive and he is a big part of what we are planning on doing with the two outside guys.”
Overall, on the defense, five sacks and two picks, and a fumble recovery were recorded unofficially. How do you feel about that?
“I was pleased with the turnovers. That is something that we have been emphasizing. I thought they took advantage of those snaps. I had the officials blowing an early whistle. That can be a positive. It goes both ways. I felt like that was the way to go with the tempo we had. I thought we rushed the passer well, at times, and probably got into some long yardage situations a little bit too much for us, offensively. I was pleased with that element.”
One of the things that you said you wanted to look at was left tackle. What did you see?
“I want to watch the tape, first, because I am watching it from the sideline, and there is no way to really evaluate it until you get a chance to look at the video.”
Are you headed up to Canton today? Just talk about how excited you are to get up there and see your mentor get inducted.
“It is a special place. A year ago, we had a Saint (William Roaf) go in, and Cortez Kennedy who we knew went in. When someone that is close to you, or someone that has been a part of your career, is going into the Hall of Fame, it is pretty special. It becomes a little bit more meaningful. Obviously, Bill (Parcells) was someone that really helped me a lot in my career. To this date, I talk with him pretty frequently. I am excited for him and just (excited) to be there to help celebrate with him.”
It seems like Akiem Hicks is playing with a lot of confidence and aggression. Just talk about Akiem and what you expect from him, coming out this season.
“Well, he is powerful. He has good size, (and) long arms. He is continuing to improve and really work on the little things. Using his hands better and shedding. For him, there are a lot of snaps that he is behind compared to a lot of these players who played a lot more football up until the point when they got here. That being said, he is powerful, he is very strong. He is something that his explosiveness is something that you can notice on film. It is just now the small things, the detailing, pad level, use of hands and where he is placing them and how he is taking on blocks. That is the one thing that he is continuing to work on.”
Did you think Chris Carr had a nice scrimmage, today?
“Yes, he seemed to be around the ball. He is a veteran player who has real good instincts, so it is not surprising. Nonetheless, he found himself around the football a bunch.”
Is this kind of a breakthrough for him today?
“Well, I don’t know if it’s a breakthrough. He is a veteran player in our league, so he has played quite a bit, but it was a good scrimmage.”
What about Mark Ingram’s three runs in the first series and the way he pushed across the goal line. What did you think about that?
“It looked solid. It looked like he ran with good pad level. Again, when we look at the tape, we will have the chance to see the decisions that they made. I said this at the beginning, but I think that the tape will be valuable for the players and coaches. It is the first bit of film that we are looking at where they are really cutting loose, and we get a chance to see what a play gained or what it didn’t gain. So, that will be helpful.”
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