Q&A: Sean Payton, Drew Brees meet media after first Saints minicamp practice

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New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Minicamp Media Availability

Thursday, June 12, 2018

How did Mark (Ingram) do today, coach?

“Well, I think he is in good shape. He did well. (It was) Good seeing him out here.”

Have you all had a chance to visit any more about the situation?

“No, and if we did it would be just between us, but we talked throughout the offseason.”

I’ve seen Tim Hightower out there as well?

“We have five guys that are out here working out for three days which is pretty common. He’s just someone who we will take a look at. Obviously, we’re familiar with him. I think we have a kicker, a defensive tackle, and a wide receiver. We have a number of guys that are just here on a three- day workout. It always gives us an idea of where guys are. Oftentimes it helps us with the shortlists grade.”

Speaking of that short list, Adam Schefter reported Jamaal Charles is visiting the team tomorrow. Are you just updating a shortlist at running back or are you thinking you might want to bring a veteran to training camp?

“No, if we work anyone out here in the next few days it would be just to see what kind of shape (they’re in) and see how they’re doing. That doesn’t preclude us from signing someone, but that’s pretty normal.”

How have you seen the wide receiver Eldridge Massington just come along throughout the offseason?

“He’s doing well, part of it’s learning the playbook, getting comfortable with the calls and all the details.  We have a few of those young guys that today was another part of an install and (they all) start to run together, so the key for those guys is just getting up to speed with the terminology and then being able to play fast. That would definitely be the case with them.”

Were you satisfied with the tempo of the practice considering the weather conditions with the heat?

“I think early on it was good. I thought later on it began to wane some and hopefully tomorrow we come back out and have another good day. Obviously, we’re going to deal with these temperatures, so they get used to it. But I thought early on, the first half of practice was better.”

Could you please update us on Marcus Davenport?

“No update. We won’t go through any injuries now with guys. You know he has a thumb (injury) that we’ll have repaired right when we’re finished here Friday.”

But you don’t think it’s a major issue, correct?

“No, correct.”

What can we see from Boston Scott in this offseason and what kind of impact he will have on the team?

“He’s someone who’s fluid, he’s quick. He’s a guy who is pretty smart. He gives you some versatility because he’s a guy that can catch a ball out of the backfield. He, too, is learning a lot because he’s kind of lining up in a few different spots. But so far, he’s done good things.”

Anything on Cam Jordan or Michael Thomas not here?

“No, no updates. Cam’s been having a baby.”

Was (Michael) Thomas an excused absence?

“Yes. I’m not going to go through each guy that is here and not here.”

How confident do you feel in your secondary, another year of progression for those guys?

“I think we have some younger players that saw a lot of time last year. We’re deeper there than we’ve been. So, once we get started in training camp and then they’ll have a chance to start competing against some other teams, I think that that’ll help us. So far, I’m encouraged with the depth there and the competition in some of those spots.”

Does Kurt Coleman change anything you guys can do coveragewise?

“No. Look he’s versatile. He’s a guy that’s played in a handful of schemes. He’s smart. He knows what to do. So, I don’t know that with his addition we look change certain things but obviously when you’re in man it’s about matchups and then he’s someone that has some versatility playing deep and then closer to the ball.”

It seems you have some versatility at linebacker, with guys pretty much lining up all over is that done by design or you just trying to find out who fits where?

“Each of those guys generally is trained in a primary and then a secondary spot. So, some them are just working at one spot, Again, hopefully our depth there is better and I think we have good competition at all those positions.”

How would you assess your progress with the new kickoff rule since this is the first minicamp?

“It is more of an instructional time of the year where we are going through the nuances of alignment. I think not until we start seeing other teams will you begin to quickly make changes in how you adapt as quick as you can. So, I think every team’s probably going through the same thing right now.”

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees

Minicamp Media Availability

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

How good was it to have Mark (Ingram) out at practice again?

“It was great man. Just to see his face and be around him again. (I) Love Mark as a teammate, love him in the locker room. Love his presence too. I know he’s been training hard, working hard, preparing himself for the season. So it was great to have him back for this week.”

How do you prevent Ingram’s absence from becoming some type of distraction? Is it because you have a veteran team?

“Yeah, probably. (It) Certainly hasn’t distracted me. I do not think it is distracting anybody really. So yes, we’re not we’re not worried about Mark or his readiness to play when it’s time.”

You understand when a guy is looking for that contract; you’ve been in that spot before, right?

“Yes. I mean again, it’s not something this distracting anybody.”

Do you expect Ingram to carry even a bigger chip when he gets back for the last 12 games of the season?

“Yes. We’re going to need every ounce of it (laughs). Yeah. Again I’m not I’m not worried one bit about Mark or his readiness to play when it’s time. Yeah. We’re not worried at all.”

Is there a certain comfort level if the team signs Tim Hightower?

“There’s a huge comfort level with Tim Hightower. So you know we’ll see how it all shakes out. But it was great; it was great seeing him back. It was a little bit of surprise. He had a couple of great years here, was super productive for us along with Mark and then got a nice contract to go to San Francisco. Crazy how circumstances (happen) and then he’s back for this week and hope he sticks around because he’s a veteran guy that I think is a tremendous influence on young guys just the way that he works and the way that he approaches his job and his profession. (The) Type of guy he is you know what he’s overcome I think there’s great lessons that a lot of the young guys can learn from a guy like that.”

Do you think players that sit out a non-mandatory workout take too much grief?

“Yeah. I mean at the end of the day, what’s the ultimate goal? The ultimate goal is to put yourself in the best position to see once the season comes around. There are important elements to the offseason when it comes to training and you know getting yourself ready to be your best. I know each guy here, especially as you become more veteran, you begin to you know kind of fine tune the stuff that you’re doing. You begin to realize what works for you and what’s going to get you in the best position, not just physically, but mentally and psychologically. So I mean just like I have guys who I train with elsewhere, Mark (Ingram) has guys he trains with elsewhere. So just because Mark hasn’t been here during the offseason that doesn’t worry me one bit because I’ve stayed in constant communication with him. I know what he’s doing to get himself ready to play and I know the comfort level and the confidence I have in him and the accountability that he feels for this team so I’m not worried about that one bit.”

How special is Michael Thomas among all of the receivers you’ve worked with throughout your career?

“I think his mind set and his work ethic to get better like each and every day (is great). Every rep’s the most important of the day if not his life. He really approaches it like that. Every rep’s a game rep, every rep’s like a Super Bowl rep. So not many guys have ever played with are that competitive. I mean there’s really no situation where it’s just like, ‘Ah, I am going to take this one off’ or ‘Not going to take this one seriously.’ No. Every rep is the same mindset. So you know what you are going to get out of him every day. And those are the best teammates you know. So, I love that about him. I think it’s as one of his greatest qualities. I think it’s a great quality that a player can have.”

Do you think this team grew this offseason?

“Yes. I mean listen, it’s early. I like the additions that we made in free agency. Only time will tell with the rookies that we brought in. I mean just as far as the mindset I see there’s a lot of confidence. I think that shows at practice. You must continue to keep the foot on the gas and create a sense of urgency.  that each and every day is the opportunity to get a little bit better and if you don’t have that mindset then other people are going to pass you up. We have too much to prove still and then we have too much of an opportunity in front of us. I think with the guys what we have and the situation we are in. So certainly, want to maximize that.”

How do you navigate through expectations that you haveSuper Bowl aspirations that surround you, how do you and the team navigate them?

“I think of it like this are only as good as your next performance so it doesn’t matter what happened last year or yesterday. You’ve got to prove it every day and then you get to respect your teammates every day to. Just because you’ve been a team leader around here for a while doesn’t necessarily mean that you’d (be) given that responsibility, you have to earn that responsibility, by the way that you act, by the way you conduct yourself, the way you communicate with your teammates, the way you get the best out of them. So that’s an ongoing thing. It’s an ongoing responsibility and (you) can never get complacent with any of those things.”

Do you like the quarterback room?

“I love the quarterback room. (Tom) Savage is a great guy. He’s been a great addition. He’s been in the league now for four or five years and so he’s got the level of experience behind him, he’s been a starter. Taysom (Hill) one of these guys, super-talented really been interested to see what he can do. He came into (the team at) a time last year where everything was just kind of set, and all of a sudden, he’s playing special teams and kind of this crazy sequence or this set of circumstances. But then J.T. Barrett the success that he had in college, he broke all of my records. But no, he’s got some moxie to him so it’s fun. I love our QB room dynamics. I mean nobody’s safe. We bust each other’s chops quite a bit.  We have our quarterback challenges, kind of got an ongoing tally with that. So, we find a way to have fun. We’re all competing against one another but we’re all we’re all having fun doing it.”

Whose winning those competitions?

“I don’t know where it stands right now. JT (Barrett) got his first one today though so we let the young buck win.”

For Father’s Day this weekend do you guys have any plans?

“For Father’s Day, time for family, that’s all I want.

I know you’ve kind of always been kind of into the World Cup, are you into it as much this year with the USA out of it.

“Yeah. My boys all of a sudden became really into soccer. They’ve been football-crazed for the last couple of years but they have all of a sudden gotten into soccer. Like (for example) my son went got a haircut a couple days ago and he told the lady when he sat in the chair I want it to look like Cristiano Ronaldo. So, we had Cristiano Ronaldo running around the house right now and then one of them wants to be Messi and then one of them wants to be somebody else so it’s we’ve got the world well-represented, (and) the World Cup well-represented at our house right now.”

What have you seen from Boston Scott on the field? 

“Boston Scott? He looks good. He’s got some savviness, some feel to him for a young guy that typically takes some time to teach and to work out. But a couple of things he’s done out there where I’ve just kind of sat back and said OK that’s something I’d expect a guy who’s been in the system three or four years to do, but he’s doing it in his third or fourth practice. I haven’t gotten a ton of reps with him specifically, but I like what I see so far.”

Have you gotten some reps with Tre’Quan Smith?

“Yeah, he’s been banged up a little bit this last week or two. But prior to that, he’s (been) a big target. He’s got a lot of confidence on the big targets. I think just like anything especially the receiver positions, there are so many nuances to what we do so it just takes time. But I look forward to getting those reps with him and getting him in the mix.”

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