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)
Q&A with Head Coach Sean Payton-Monday
Opening Statement: “We signed wide receiver Patrick Crayton, and we waived receiver Brent Leonard. Today’s practice was an emphasis on short yardage and some empty sets. I thought we had one of our better practices. We fought through it. We got through the team reps pretty well and dealt with the heat. Overall, I felt it was pretty good both ways (on offense and defense).”
Any update on Pierre (Thomas)?
“No update right now.”
Do you see yourself, like when you went live with the short yardage, doing a live goal line drill before Friday?
“Potentially. I don’t know that we will do it before Friday. It is something I like to do in a period earlier in the week before a game, but I thought we did pretty well with those twelve plays in the short yardage.”
This kind of 50-50 deal. It looks like both sides were able to make things happen.
“I think there is some good stuff to coach off of too. That period is always hard, when you are not live, to determine whether you have it or not, and I thought they handled it pretty well.”
With Seneca (Wallace) back in the mix, what do you need to see from him?
“Well, I think he has a pretty good grasp of what we are doing, and now, it is just running the offense and moving the team, all of the little things that go into playing that position. He will play this week.”
What have you seen out of Tyrunn Walker?
“He played pretty well the other night. He is, again, a young player that is going to get a lot of snaps. I was encouraged.”
Has Travaris Cadet improved as an inside runner?
“I think so. I think one of the things that you guys asked me about early on in camp with regards to him. The one area that I wasn’t as familiar with is how he is handling running the football. I thought, even with the short yardage, he did a couple of impressive things. He hit the hole. I think so.”
I know it was only one play, but when Cadet made that play in the corner the other night, is that something you look at as a coach?
“Absolutely. Can he be a guy that we hand the ball too aside from the draw play? Can he be a runner? That is something that he is showing us.”
How key is Jay Richardson’s versatility on the line and his ability to also play outside linebacker?
“We moved him outside to get some work at linebacker. He has done pretty well with the transition. We will continue to work with him at that spot.”
How about Glenn Foster, who has stood out not only in practice but also in the game on Friday night?
“He is a young free agent that we signed out of Illinois. I would say that he is explosive off of the ball. He is sudden. He was one of the handful of guys that when we finished watching the tape, we saw a lot of good things from him. He is going to continue to receive more reps, but he has been a good surprise.”
Is there a pretty good chance, as you move forward, that like in 2006 you brought in guys like Mark Simoneau here to training camp at the end and they made the roster. Do you think something similar to that is a possibility?
“It’s always a possibility. We try to, when we talk with the players about competition, one of the things that a young player can do is to begin looking at the depth chart. We really want to make sure that they understand and discourage that because they are not only competing with the other players at their position. They are competing with the other players on our own roster for that special teams spot, and other players that we are grading on the other 31 teams. So, that is always an option. We pay close attention to the players that come off of other teams, especially as we get later (in camp). I don’t know if we have targeted that as something we want to do, but that is something that the player needs to understand as he is looking at trying to make this roster. So that is something that we will always pay attention to.”
As far as bringing a guy in late, here, will that make any difference for you?
“By the time we get ready to go, we will have things narrowed down to what we feel we will be pretty good at.”
Can you recall what went into the decision to bring Preston Parker here after a good year two in Tampa Bay and then kind of regression in year three, last year?
“Well, I think a chance for us to look at a player that we knew had played some special teams and we knew might have a chance to help us on offense. There are a lot of factors as to why a guy maybe has a good season or doesn’t, but we felt that he was young enough and worth evaluating.”
And new scenery maybe sometimes helps guys, do you think, or new coaches?
You talked postgame about Kenny Stills having to clean some things up a little bit as well as other guys. Is that part of the process of being a rookie and learning something new?
“It is. He is a pretty smart player though. He has picked up a lot very early on. For him and Nick Toon, we need those guys to really speed this process up and be ready to go. Both of them will receive plenty of snaps here in the preseason. They did the other night. Fortunately, he is a quick study, and that has given him a chance. A lot of times, for a young player, a rookie receiver, if that is an issue, it becomes hard for them to play because they don’t know what to do.”
So is it a harder position to jump into the league and get started from?
“I think it can be one of the harder ones. In his case, though, I think he understands what we are doing, and now, it is just the details in each play.”
How is Nick Toon doing in that area you were talking about after the game? Knowing where to go and knowing what to do.
“I thought he made some big plays for us the other night. I think from an alignment standpoint, there are still some specifics that he has to improve on and that he is working on. I think he is getting there.”
Did you bring in Patrick Crayton for any particular reason?
“He is a person that I am familiar with and a guy that we feel can help us and give us a chance to evaluate.”
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