Saints coach Sean Payton post-practice press conference (Aug. 4)
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2017 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Friday, August 4, 2017
“One roster change, we waived/injured offensive lineman Martin Wallace and claimed offensive tackle Jerry Ugokwe from Indianapolis (on) waivers.”
Drew Brees didn’t throw today?
“We have a calendar laid out for the month. Periodically, you’ll see veteran players that will be out at practice in the individual drills. Today was his day and he’ll probably have another one out here in two weeks.”
Was Jerry Ugokwe one of those guys that you had your eye on?
“Yes. We had seen him coming out and we had decent grades on him. He has length and size, he’s very smart, and of course he’s healthy. We’ll receive a chance to look at him when he’s able to pick things up and get thrown into the fire.”
What are thoughts on Darius Victor so far?
“I think he’s done some good things. We felt when we left the minicamp and OTAs that he was right at the 90-man roster. We knew that if we couldn’t take him to camp, there were a few yellow magnets that we wanted to get back. That was just this week. I think he runs with a good pad level and he’s put together and built differently. I like him.”
Do you think the players gain a little fuel seeing Aaron Glenn and Curtis Johnson talk the way they do?
“I think it is good. Part of this is creating the right environment and the right competitive environment. Oftentimes, we as coaches have to lead in doing that.”
How good are those two guys at leading?
“Very good. That’s why they’re in those positions.”
Does spiking the ball and things like that keep camp from becoming monotonous?
“I don’t, sometimes, have a chance to see. Sometimes, it’s a little overkill. We still have a lot of work to do and I reminded them we are just in the beginning of this camp with our installation. There’s a lot that we have to correct, but as long as they’re playing hard that’s fine.”
Why do you think teams use so much shotgun now as opposed to five or six years ago?
“I think it’s evolved with the passing game. I think from a protection standpoint, there are a few things that become a little easier than under center. The trick’s always balancing then what you can do in the running game from that formation. As the game’s progressed more towards a passing game, I think the protections and some of the things it allows you to do that you might not feel comfortable under center’s one of the reasons.”
You talked about Darius Victor is built a little different. How does that play into his advantage?
“If you’re on defense he’s tough to locate visually. I think the thing he’s doing well is running with really good balance. It’s hard to get him off his feet when you watch him. There’s a lot of yards after contact. He’s had a couple good practices. I’m pleased with how he’s doing.”
The heavier use of shotgun, does that make the right tackle almost equally as important in pass protection?
“The left tackle’s protecting the area where the quarterback doesn’t have as much vision. Depending on your opponent, when you line up and play a team whose best pass-rusher’s over on your offensive right. With both tackles, there’s times when you can help with chips, bumps, and ways to help take a little of the edge off the rush. Both of them have tough job descriptions and are drawing some good pass-rushers. The left tackle’s usually drawn, but not always guys that have the speed and also have the power. I think that comes just with the amount of throws.”
It’s interesting how so many of those guys have gone over to the other side like Von Miller and Khalil Mack. Is it because they’re trying to get the advantage against the lesser tackle?
“Some guys are more comfortable in the stance. When I was in New York, Michael Strahan was on the defensive left. Generally that player on the left, if he’s in the base, is probably playing more of the running game, but not always. A lot of it is your personnel.”
You pumped in noise today. How do you think the guys handled it?
“It was okay. It was the first day offensively and defensively. We’re going to have home games where defensively we’ll have to handle it and be better at the communication. Not counting on the verbal communication and the signals. Of course, offensively handling it Week One on the road in Minnesota, it’s going to be loud. I thought overall, it was okay. We were late with a few snaps and our get offs. It’s typical when you start doing that in the very beginning, you have a lot of work to do with it.”
Kristjan Sokoli has played both on both the defense and offensive line. How do you identify those?
“Every once in a while, there’s a guy that we’ll kick over to the other side. It starts with a body type. Typically, some of those defensive linemen might be a little more athletic or they might have a certain skill set that might fit with our offensive line. It’s not uncommon, the key is just identifying what you’re looking for. If a guy is not making it on one side of the ball it would be the next stop and probably the last stop. We’ll see how he progresses.”
Have you seen things from Marcus Williams that make you think he could be a regular contributor?
“It’s too early, but I’m seeing a guy who has picked things up pretty early. We haven’t played yet and we haven’t scrimmaged yet, but I think as time goes on, you guys will see just as we will.”
Talking about diets in the NFL, did you ever think 10 or 20 years ago that guys in the NFL would ever go vegan or anything crazy?
“I’m not familiar with the vegan diet, but I just think educationally we’re all in the same business of learning and constantly trying to improve our way to train and coach. That involves on the field, weight room, diet, and sleep. Those are all avenues that we pay attention to in the offseason. Never are you just stagnant in your approach.”
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