Injury report: Saints without Lattimore for Carolina game

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The brightest spot in the beleaguered Saints secondary will not have a chance to shine Sunday in Charlotte.

Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore has been declared out for New Orleans when they take on the Carolina Panthers due to a concussion.

The first round selection has been in the NFL’s concussion protocol from a head injury suffered last week against the Patriots. Fellow cornerback Sterling Moore (chest) is also out this week, leaving P.J. Williams, Ken Crawley and De’Vante Harris as the top options at the position for New Orleans.

The task of slowing the Panthers appears a bit easier thought with center Ryan Kalil (necK) and tight end Greg Olsen (IR- leg) unavailable for the first NFC South matchup of the season.

Saints starting tackles Terron Armstead and Zach Strief are also out again this week. Rookie defensive end Trey Hendrickson is questionable with a knee injury.

NEW ORLEANS SAINTS FRIDAY INJURY REPORT

Out
T Terron Armstead (shoulder/DNP)
T Zach Strief (knee/DNP)
CB Marshon Lattimore (concussion/DNP)
CB Sterling Moore (chest/DNP)

Questionable
DE Trey Hendrickson (knee/limited)

Full
TE Michael Hoomanawanaui

CAROLINA PANTHERS INJURY REPORT

Out
C Ryan Kalil (neck/DNP)
LB Jeremy Cash (calf/DNP)

Questionable
QB Cam Newton (right shoulder/ankle-limited)

Full
WR Kelvin Benjamin
LB Thomas Davis
DE Julius Peppers
CB Daryl Worley
DT Vernon Butler
RB Jonathan Stewart

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Media Availability

Friday, September 22, 2017

If you guys need to have a roster move next week, how would that be done with the travel to London? Were you thinking about that this week?

“Absolutely. It’s tricky. There are a handful of moving parts some of which can take place tomorrow. But there are some unique challenges when you fly right from this game to the next one.”

Would it be impossible to bring someone in next week if you had to? Would that be hard to do?

“Well you’d have to put him on your roster before you left.”

What are some of the challenges this week preparing for the Panthers being down a few bodies at the cornerback position?

“I think week to week in our league, it’s not uncommon where the next guy has to step up and you have to put your plan together accordingly. Carolina all of a sudden is without one of their primary targets and (a) real good player (Greg Olsen). So I think you get used to that and you’re never happy with it. It’s part of Monday and Tuesday where you begin to look at what you think is going to be your game day activations, who you think are going to be the inactives and then how you’re going to play your offense and defense and certainly your kicking game. All of those things are affected and I think that’s part of our NFL.”

How easier is it for this specific cornerback group because they went through the same thing last year around this time in this timeframe too?

“It’s just the nature of our game. It could be the receiver. It could be defensive linemen. We’ve seen it already with a few other positions. We’re seeing it with offensive linemen.”

Is there any unique challenges to playing a team like this that likes to run as much as they like to?

“I think the strength of what they do is play (a) very complementary game with time of possession. They are playing outstanding defense. It has been a real good formula for them. I think that it does not always have to be aesthetically pleasing to be effective. I think we’ve played in some high scoring games with these guys and we’ve played in some games that at the half last year on a Thursday night it was fairly low scoring. Generally, the team that doesn’t turn the ball over eliminates some of the negative plays wins the game. That was the case a year ago in both games. One became a high scoring game and the other really not until late.”

Mark Ingram became the number two rusher for the franchise last week, what have you thought about the progression through his career?

“He’s doing well. I thought last year he played exceptionally well. This training camp was one of his best. He’s done a good job of I would say a lot of the little things, whether it’s the protection, whether it’s the running, certainly blocking the protection and his route running. I think the versatility with him. He’s healthy. He’s been a real good player for us. I wasn’t aware of that (statistic) but it’s not surprising.

What are some of the unique challenges of preparing for London? Do you have to pack Gatorade and different things?

“There’s another group I’m sure, hopefully that’s packing the Gatorade. Those are the things (specific departments handle). We’re (coaches and players) trying to really remain focused just on this game. We’ve done this before. It’ll be a fairly smooth transition. Pack an additional bag of luggage and that’s it, let’s go. And everyone else will handle the other stuff. Our group does a great job of getting us set up somewhere we have never been before. These guys, the players and coaches, are pretty resilient. Our focus really has been just on this game and this weekend. Then we’ll handle the other stuff.”

Most teams travel to London on a Friday. Why did you decide to do it like this?

“It varies. This itinerary, the last time we went we felt comfortable with. You get the experts that talk about recovery and the time change. It’s just something we made a decision on. (It’s) Probably (better to arrive) earlier than later. But it varies depending on the team.”

Would it be strange to stay another night in Charlotte?

“No we are doing the exact same thing that we did the last time we played in London. We happened to play Carolina and then we have a dinner and we’ll fly out and arrive in London Monday morning.”

Carolina I believe is the only team in the National Football League that has not allowed an offensive touchdown, what has popped out to you about their defense in the first couple of weeks?

”Correct. When you look statistically at their third down defense, they are getting off the field. Their red zone defense. They do a good job of eliminating the big play. It’s early in the season just two games. When you go through their history they’ve always been a real good red zone defense. The points you score are earned. You can see that on the tape right now. The two young corners have really progressed. And that front has been together for a really long time. When you look at the tackles, the ends. Then add Julius Peppers back into it. He’s getting in, playing some man, playing inside. He’s blocked seven or eight field goals (12 in his career). Our protection is going to have to be spot on when we’re kicking. But the experience at linebacker when you’re talking about (Luke) Kuechly and (Thomas) Davis, those guys have all played together for a while.”

Is Willie Snead IV joining the team in London?

“Yes, we have it all planned out and he’s (flying to London with the team) because of the uniqueness of the (trip). He is not going to meet us in London. He can fly to London with us.”

Was it good to have a full week of practice with the new offensive line lineup?

“Yeah we were just talking about it. You have to quickly get ready and there’s a lot that goes into it and we’re going to get challenged this week. One thing about it is it’s a divisional game and with the experience that we’ll see on their defense, a lot of these guys have played against a lot of these players on both sides of the ball and the same way with Carolina and there is a familiarity with each team and its part of the division.”

When did you begin your evaluation of A.J. Klein?

“We saw a lot of him when he played a lot of Mike for them when Luke (Kuechly) was injured, so we were familiar with the player to begin with and when it comes to free agency there is additional study, but clearly with a guy in our division you were more familiar with. Certainly, I was just because where he played than maybe a player coming out of Jacksonville or some other team, but that being said we still pay close attention to the snaps he played and then more importantly which division and he was a good addition for us.”

Do you remember much from A.J. Klein’s college tape?

“Yes, very much so, Iowa State, I remember the film, I remember everything about him, but he was one that I remember closely.”

Is there a sense of urgency because everyone in your division is undefeated and do you talk about that in meetings?

“It’s really more of an internal focus three weeks into the season. It’s about really us working on getting a win and controlling what we can control. That’s really where the focus is. I wouldn’t at this point, I’d talk more about us. I think the focus has to be on our improvement quickly and our sense of urgency getting ready to play a good team.”

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen

Conference Call with New Orleans

Friday, September 22, 2017

What are some of the challenges this week preparing for the Carolina Panthers and your depth at the cornerback position?

“I think the challenge is that this is an offense that/s very talented. I think it’s a good offense with the quarterback (Cam Newton who) was the MVP of the league two years ago and this was a team that played with a chance (to win) in the Super Bowl. I think it is a tough challenge. They have a couple big receivers specifically in (Kelvin) Benjamin.  I think their doing a really good job in the run game. Obviously, (Christian) McCaffrey adds an added dimension to their offense and then we’ll have to see what they’re doing with the tight end position based on the loss of (Greg) Olsen, but they’ve got some guys that have been able to step up and play in that position. (Ed) Dickson’s done a nice job for them and back when he was with the Ravens he was the primary receiving threat.”

How much easier is it for those guys to adapt to losing cornerback depth?

“I think that’s one of the things, we’re playing with a lot of young players back there in the back end and their ability to get adjusted and understand really what we are trying to do in the scheme of things and get some plays under their belt where they begin to anticipate things and not react to things and that’s the key with the young players, is getting them to a point where they are anticipating rather than reacting.”

How has Ken Crawley practiced this week and how is his confidence?

“I think that is the reality of the NFL. There are only so many guys that are up in a given week and its part of the deal and part of the challenge and that’s why you always have to prepare every week as if you are the starter because you never know when you’re going to be out there. I think he’s had a good week of practice and I think if he’s called upon I think he will be ready to go.”

What is your evaluation of P.J. Williams so far?

“I’d say a little inconsistent, some up and down. I think he’s had some challenges with his eyes at times, which has caused him some challenges in man-to-man coverage, but when he’s on point and he’s playing with the right technique and has his eyes in the right spot he does some really good things. I think with all young players the biggest thing is just trying to eliminate those inconsistencies and just become a more consistent performer and he has the ability to do that. Again, that comes with experience, that comes with playing time. Here is a guy that’s played really three NFL games and really about a quarter of play against the Giants. P.J. is still a young player and he still just has to work through some of those challenges of inconsistency.”

Do you think the inexperience of that group as a whole has led to the struggles through these two games?

“Yes, I think that’s part of the challenge that we have in front of us, but at the end of the day we’ve all got a job to do, we’ve got to go out there and put those guys in a position where they know exactly what to do and can be able to go out and execute and I think that’s our job as coaches.”

What are some of the issues Kenny Vaccaro has been dealing with?

“I think with all of us on defense right now our challenge has been just the consistency of doing our job on every single play and that’s something we’ve got to do a good job of as coaches is making sure that we can put the guys in position that they can form the best and try to limit the times when we ask them to do things that maybe they aren’t quite as good at. I think that’s really been our challenge defensively. I don’t think that’s specific to any one player. I think that’s a challenge defensively.”

Are there any reasons why you haven’t gotten that consistency you want?

“I think a lot of it has to do with the youth on the team and the communication factors, but I have seen some improvement in our guys and improvement in this defense, but what happens is when you have that one lapse of focus or one lapse of putting your eyes in the wrong spot and all of a sudden you are giving up a big play. That changes the momentum of the game. When you really look at the first two games of the season, I really believe if we do a good job on that first third down of the game and can get off the field on third down because we have done a good job early on in the game of getting these teams to third downs. Our challenge has been getting off the field on third down and when you continue to give the other team opportunities then they take advantage of that. We have to do a better job with our third down defense and being able to get off the field.”

Have Kenny Vaccaro’s issues been more when he’s playing deep or is it both when he’s up in the box?

“Obviously Kenny’s a really good player the closer we keep him to the line of scrimmage and really that is my job, to make sure I am putting him in those positions to let him really accentuate the things that he really does well. There are a lot of things that Kenny Vaccaro does really well and I think that is the thing that we have to continue to work with and continue to focus on defensively as a coaching staff.”

How do you think the pass rush has come together so far?

“You are always wanting to get more pass rush, you are always wanting to create more pressure on the quarterback, but I think if you look at that game specifically last week there are some times where Tom Brady’s really getting the ball out extremely fast. Pass rush and pass coverage must work together and we have to do a better job of making the quarterback hold the ball for another count to give our pass rush a chance to get there and then when we do make them hold the ball for a count then we’ve got to be able to affect the quarterback up front.”

What was the message to the defense heading into this week and then how was their energy level the last few days of practice?

“I think we’ve had good energy, I think the biggest message is we have to keep grinding and get ourselves out of this hole. That’s part of the NFL, you are going to face adversity in the NFL and how you respond to that’s going to be critical to your success. We go to work every week and get ourselves ready to play, get ourselves mentally, physically and emotionally ready to play and we will face this challenge this week and then all of a sudden next week will be a different challenge. That is part of the way it goes in the NFL.”

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