Q&A: Sean Payton after the Saints first minicamp practice
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2019 Minicamp Presented By Verizon
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, June 11, 2019
“We’re kind of in this last week or this last stretch of our OTAs and minicamp. This is much like what we’ve been doing. Any questions on practice?”
Your saying was “Prove Them Right” a year ago. Do you have a new motivation this year or saying?
“We don’t have a saying yet.”
Will you come up with one?
“Yes, we might, but we still have until training camp. We’ll think of something.”
How has the running back room worked so far? How has Latavius Murray adapted to the offense so far?
“They’re doing well. They’re learning the system, some of the newer players. It’s really hard to evaluate when you’re not in pads, you’re not tackling or running. But he’s someone that picks things up quick. That part of the transition has gone well.”
What about Ryan Ramczyk? What makes him so reliable and consistent on your offensive line?
“He is smart. He is talented. I think he has a real good poise and patience about him in his game. He’s one of those guys that’s pretty steady and extremely smart when it comes to things that can happen relative to protections or in the run game. He’s doing well.”
Are you finding it challenging to find new ways to use Alvin Kamara in the offense?
“No. Right now, we’re going through an installation and a little bit different than when we get into a season relative to gameplan. You’re kind of working your way through what we’re wanting to install. There’s a few things you put in, but as we get closer to the start of the regular season, we’ll begin to focus more on specific matchups.”
I know it’s hard to evaluate offensive linemen in practices like this, but mentally, how has Erik McCoy been handling the install?
“Real good. He received a lot of work today with the first team. We’ve been rotating with a lot of these positions. But, he’s someone that I think learns well.”
You worked out the rugby player (Tristan Blewett). How do you evaluate that given his learning curve is maybe so far behind?
“It’s difficult just because yesterday was the first time he’d ever (worked in American football), the workout, really done anything relative to this sport. But look, we’re looking at him for three days as a safety. He’s a guy that the vision would be for special teams, that type of thing. For him, to his credit, he’s starting from square one. The first time we get out and stretched today was the first time he stretched relative to this sport. But, he seemed pretty bright yesterday just picking up the drills we were asking him to do.”
Can you talk about what a positive it is to have Cam Jordan under contract for three more years?
“I did not see. I am coming off the field (after practice), but I knew they were working on an extension. I think that it is much deserved and he’s someone that has been extremely productive. I think it’s a good thing.”
He’s always been a very good player, but do you think he’s become an elite player in this league?
“Listen, I don’t know. I think when his career is over; we can decide the elite, the great, the good, the very good, the tens, the eights. I know he’s good enough right now. I am watching him. I think he’s one of the better defensive ends, run and pass. I’m glad he’s on our team.”
What does he bring also, just from a personality standpoint? He seems like kind of a heartbeat or a leader on this team.
“He’s one of the leaders. We go back to the ‘11 draft when we took him. I think, number one, you lead with your performance and work on the field. He’s one of those guys that’s in great shape. He trains hard. I think it starts with the way he prepares.”
I know you like your young receivers, but given their maturity and the fact that you had injuries at wide receiver, does that make it even more impressive the numbers that Mike Thomas put up?
“He’s been very consistent and he’ll be the next one I am sure. Mickey (Loomis) will be working. I know that they probably have already begun discussions. I leave that to those guys to handle. He competes, he is durable, and he is someone that enjoys playing.”
What have you seen out of Alize’ Mack and the progress he’s made?
“He’s doing well. He’ll take a couple of good steps forward. He made some plays today and then all of a sudden he’ll have a few mistakes. Like a lot of these rookies, it’s a transition, a big (learning) curve for him. He made some plays earlier in practice. He can run well. I think the detail, play to play, relative to what he’s doing is something he’s working on now.”
What are some of the new things you’re learning about Teddy Bridgewater now that he’s actually sort of installing and running your offense for the first time?
“Look, he’s played in the league and he’s been in some of these situations and in fairness to Teddy, there are certain things that you would begin to build around strengthwise that I think he’s exceptional at. When you’re in an OTA or a minicamp and you have an installation for the masses (it’s not really tailored to an individual), but he’s extremely bright. I think he has really good arm talent. He has a demeanor about him that suits the position well and I think he’s a good leader. I think the reps he’s receiving obviously are important not only for him, but for us as a team.”
How do you guys evaluate or coach up the quarterbacks whether it’s a blitz period or what looked like it would have been a sack and then they throw you guys tell him to continue to play?
“In order for us to get the most out of a play, we’ll try to finish the play. Obviously the rush staying off the quarterback. When you get into a two-minute drill, it’s a little bit more difficult because there is a competitive nature to it. At times we will blow the whistle. There are a handful of sacks. Our pressure period, I thought defensively (we) looked really good. Offensively, it wasn’t what we would have liked, but to try to get the most out of a play, we’ll be smart that way.”
With Drew (Brees) not here, how do you adjust practice?
“No, we still start at the same time. We’re going to still play with the brown round balls and we’re going to kick field goals. When you’re used to having someone like Drew who has trooped in here going on year 14, obviously it’s different. Other guys are receiving the work. There’s that part of you that knows he’s going to be obviously ready for training camp. Realistically that’s how our season can be sometimes when you go through injuries that everything keeps moving.”
Is there a limited amount that (the players) can learn without pads? How deep into the summer before you realize an idea of what you have?
“There’s a limited amount you’re still evaluating. You can learn a lot about how they learn. You can learn a lot about how they move. Every year since I’ve been here, there’s something about the pads that defined certain players that had it not been for the pads then you might not have seen their talents. So, we’re slow to evaluate that way but quick to evaluate if someone has trouble or can’t learn.”
What are some of the aspects of Latavius Murray’s game that you are impressed with so far?
“He’s smart. He’s a guy that I think has good vision. You feel his leadership. He’s a real good teammate. We’ve seen the film and you get an idea of the things he does well. Those would be the first things that come to my mind.
Do you see similarities between the 2006 draft class and 2017 draft class as they’ve developed a little bit?
“Their similarity, first off would be the importance of those classes, the importance of the ‘06 class relative to what we were able to accomplish in the years to follow a real good draft like that. That same similarity exists in the ‘17 draft class. The unique thing about the ‘06 draft class is when you have two seventh round players playing 23 years in the NFL and both have outstanding careers, that’s unique. But hopefully, we’re living it right now (again). (Hopefully) We’re all around to be doing the same type of thing with members of that class. The significance of when that class was drafted — I’m talking about ‘17 now and getting us over the hump. That’d be the clear comparison for me.”
Can you speak on the impact that Joe Brady had on this organization and what you expect for him at LSU?
“Number one, he came here with some pretty good insight relative to certain elements of the passing game. He’s a tremendous worker and a guy you could rely on occasionally for some information relative to what a quarterback or a system might be doing. His background relative to the RPO stuff was very good. (He was) also someone who was good to work with and good to have on the staff.”
What have you seen early on from Cyril Grayson, the former LSU track star?
“Well, if he runs well, I think it’s just how quickly can he make that transition. And I know he’s been with some other teams, but there’s still some elements of not having had the background or the experience, but I think he’s working hard at it each day. He’s made some plays to really get you excited.”
How is Taysom Hill progressing as a passer in year three?
“Good, I think he is doing well. I thought he had a couple of good (team) periods today in practice.”
What goes into your evaluation of the mix between Alvin (Kamara) and Latavius (Murray) in terms of what you did last season?
“We’ll have packages for both those guys and probably a third (running back). We will balance what we tried to do and be mindful of the tendencies so that they’re not so steep for either of those players.”
Just to follow up on the rugby player trying out, how did that come about?
“It’s too good of a story. I can’t tell you. I told you a local artist texted me about this rugby player. Here’s where you have to understand when the plane flys over: when someone sends you something about a player, obviously that happens a lot. If it’s a college player, I might forward it to Jeff (Ireland). If it is a pro player I will forward it to Terry (Fontenot). When someone’s recommendation (comes), you go about the process every time knowing that there might be 44 out of 44 where there’s nothing to it, but then on the 45th one, there might be Taysom Hill…In a different way. I’m not making the same comparison. It was an email, a text forwarded on. It is easy to work out a player who’s right here. That was kind of it.”
Did anyone watch any of his rugby games?
“No we just saw highlight films.”
Is this the first rugby player you worked out to your knowledge?
“I don’t think so. I’m guessing we worked out others, but recently (yes).”
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