Saints rule three players out on final injury report before Vikings game

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Three players ruled out for Monday’s game



DE Trey Hendrickson (illness/DNP)

T Terron Armstead (shoulder/DNP)
LB Nate Stupar (hamstring/DNP)

LB Stephone Anthony (ankle/LP)

QB Chase Daniel (ankle)


G Danny Isadora (knee/LP)


CB Tramaine Brock (groin/LP)


DE Brian Robison (groin)

CB Marcus Sherels (foot)

S Anthony Harris (quadriceps)

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Media Availability with New Orleans Media

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What did you like about Zach Wood, the long snapper that you signed

“We had four or five guys in. (We) Treated it like the Voice (laughter), Mickey (Loomis) and I were in a chair, the pro (personnel) department, special teams (coaches) and we just hit the buzzer and turned around. Those guys all worked out, we have seen all of their film. We’ve graded their tape. There are enough game snaps in the preseason that we saw and of course we had a good grade on him prior and know the folks in Dallas pretty well. A lot of the group was younger and there was one experienced player and I felt like it was a similar decision we made in ’07 or ’08 when we brought in (Justin) Drescher and some older players. He has played defense and had a good workout.”

What was his (Zach Wood’s) defensive history?

“He played defensive line, long snapper and then in the offseason cut weight to focus strictly on long snapping.”

Is there a chemistry to the kicking game or is the operation pretty standard?

“There’s a timing element, but just the details of the operation. It has to be clean. Of course we practiced the other scenario a couple days ago with Josh Hill and some of the guys who would take it in the event something happened in a game, but yes, it’s the timing and the location.”

Have you decided who the holder will be this year whether it’s Chase Daniel or Thomas Morstead?

“Yes we have decided, but we will wait and see.”

When is Jon Dorenbos having his surgery?

“I saw him here yesterday and I know that he along with our medical department were reaching out and researching really across the country. I don’t want to speak for him, but I think it will be sooner than later and by that (the next) ten days, I’m not sure if it’s inside of a week, but I know that he was narrowing the list down of doctors he wanted to visit with.”

Have you thought about what wouldn’t have if you didn’t make that trade and if Dorenbos’ health issue wasn’t discovered?

“He and I have had a lot chances to reflect on the last two days. He’s an amazing guy and his perspective as you can imagine has been outstanding and he looks at it in a significant way or a way in which you could argue the trade itself saved his life. I said this to you guys on the phone the other day, credit Dr. John Amoss because there are murmurs that were ones that aren’t as alarming that players and people play with and John heard that in his exam, but there are two types and without getting into specifics, John felt like he wanted to follow up with more work, just in the event it was the second type and sure enough he was right. I‘m thankful that that happened and when I say John there are two John’s Dr. (John) Amoss and the player (Jon Dorenbos). I’m sure he is anxious to get on with the procedure and get it going.”

Is there a fine line in overpreparing for a Week one opponent?

“Yes, this is the first time (since I became head coach) we’ve had (a) Week one Monday night (game) because you have that extended time, your game is Thursday and you just played in the preseason, you’re getting your roster cut down and you bring the players in and I think it’s the first time we’ve had this game on a Monday night and I do think you have to be mindful of how you handle the week. We used yesterday morning to be in recovery mode and today was back to pads. Hopefully we have handled it the right way, but I do think it’s a longer period of time and it’s just making sure it doesn’t begin to dissipate or drag on.”

What goes into the decision to change a guy’s position in regards to Justin Hardee who is working on the practice squad at defensive back after playing wide receiver at Illinois?

“When a player gets changed it happens occasionally, it happens more defensive line to offensive line, sometimes it happens from an end to a linebacker. In (Justin) Hardee’s case we’d seen a lot of receiver work and a lot of gunner work. He played for Ted Ginn’s father (at Glenville High School in Cleveland) and he played both ways. He is long, the one thing we noticed on tape was in the kicking game and his ability to cover. He has good edge speed outside as a gunner and plays a lot special teams and that was the attraction and we’re real steep at receiver and knowing that he’s played defense, he has a frame for it. We’ll have a chance to look at that transition and that will be a little unique, maybe not the norm, but that was the thinking. Researching back to what did he play and what he’s competed at and he’s tough, he likes to tackle and see how it goes. A lot of times you’ll see a safety one way maybe go out or a corner go back, but his special team characteristics are what attracted him to us initially.”

When you have a team coming off a Thursday game, do you have anyone start looking ahead?

“Yes, there is a group, the pro department, that will have all the games from a year ago to the game that was just played. I’ll probably look at it a little bit here and it will be a short week. We’ll get back in at 2:00 in the morning and Wednesday will be more of a walk through, Thursday, Friday and here we go. It is what it is.”

Is it tough playing on Monday night facing the Thursday night opponent who will have had 10 days between games on a short week?

“Let’s just say there are x amount of hours in the week and when you play Monday Night Football those are reduced, but when you play Monday Night Football versus someone whose played on Thursday then you have to make sure at least your get your tape work done, but not at the expense of not being familiar and on top of what you’re getting ready to do and who you’re getting ready to play, but there are a number of people who are working on and getting the preparations made for when we return and I’m sure we’ll have tape on the plane when we return and look at them last year and look at the differences beginning of this year.”

New Orleans Saints Offensive Coordinator Pete Carmichael

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What do you see out of this Vikings defense?

“I obviously see a defense that is well coached, plays their assignments well, and it’s a strength of theirs. They’ve been a top 10, top five defense for a long time now.”

Similarities between Alvin Kamara and Reggie Bush or Darren Sproles?

“Just talking about Alvin, he has versatility. The one thing I would say about him is, we’re comfortable with him on the field, run or pass. He’s a rookie, there’s going to be some mistakes along the way. We feel good about his preseason and where we’re at with him.”

What do you think makes Ted Ginn such an effective rusher in certain plays as well as receiver? Why has he been able to do that for so long?

“I think he has good speed and he has a good feel for where he needs to be at, knowing where his blockers are going to be. I would say he has been really good with the ball in his hands.”

Does it dawn on you how much turnover it is this year based on the switching out of running backs and receivers? You are down a few receivers than you were last year this time.

“I think that with the guys we have out there this year, they’re out there for a reason. Some guys are going to have to have to fill some different roles. That whole group, whoever is active for this game, we’re going to use them all and they all are going to have roles. We feel comfortable with the group we have.”

When is the last time you’ve had a running back stable like you have now?

“I think that since we’ve been here there’s been years where we’ve had multiple running backs or guys at that position. I think we’ve had most of our success when we’re mixing those guys in and out and they’re all playing.”

New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Dennis Allen

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What do you see out of Dalvin Cook?

“He is a very talented player. He is extremely explosive. He has good vision (and) good feet. I just think (that) he’s one of those guys that you have to make sure you set the edges and do a good job of gang-tackling him. He’s really exceptional once he gets out into the open field. We have to try to do the best we can to make him have to start and stop and really not be able to just hit the thing downhill and get into the second level of the defense without being affected.”

What kind of growth have you seen out of Marcus Williams since he arrived right after the draft?

“I think the growth that you have seen is that he is beginning to understand the system a little bit more and exactly what we are asking him to do. We do a few more things than what he did at Utah. He is still extremely good with (when) he is kind of in the deep middle of the field, reading the quarterback’s eyes, and doing those kinds of things. But I’ve seen him get better in the other aspects of this game. I think the one thing that has probably been the biggest growth, you didn’t necessarily see it all the time on his tape at Utah, his ability to tackle and play physical in the run game has been really good for us.”

How safe would it be to say that Marcus Williams is one of the top 11 defenders on the field?

“I think there is the potential that he is in that top 11. I think obviously certain situations in the game kind of dictate what that personnel is that is going to be out on the field. I think we have some versatility in that safety role that allows us to do probably a few more things. He’s obviously guarded the ability to be out on the field. Just how much and where we use him, (we’ll) continue to evaluate as we go throughout the season.”

A.J. Klein, what do you think makes him such a competitor?

“I don’t think that’s something that you teach. I think guys can get better at that. I think that’s just something that’s innate. I think that comes from his upbringing and the way he’s been ever since he was a child. I think it’s just innate in what he is. He’s a natural competitor. He loves to compete. He wants to win in everything that he does. The more guys that you can get like that, the better you’re going to be both, offensively (and) defensively, the kicking game and as a team as a whole.”

How optimistic does the defense make you feel that things are pointing in the right direction, based on the preseason?

“It’s like I said from the very beginning, it’s a work in progress and it always will be a work in progress. We’re really not concerned about what the end result is. What we’re really concerned with is how we get better from week to week to week. When you talk about optimism, that’s where I’m optimistic is that I saw improvement from week one in the preseason to two to three to four. You want to continue to see us build on that and continue to grow as a defense. I think when you have as many new players as we do, that’s one of the things that you don’t really know for sure. It will be great to get out here against a good opponent in a tough environment and go out and play and see where we’re at.”

Is this the best you’ve felt about that “quarterback of the defense” position since you’ve been the defensive coordinator?

“Well I certainly feel that we have a few guys that are back that are capable of being back there and making sure that we’re all on the same page. I think A.J.’s (Klein) done a good job for us the offseason, training camp (and) preseason. Manti Te’o I believe also, has done a great job there. But we have other guys like Alex Anzalone for a rookie, does a really good job of communicating and understanding the big picture of football and not just ‘what’s my responsibility but what’s happening around me’, too, which helps him to understand how he needs to do his job. Then we have other guys like Craig Robertson and Nate Stupar, those guys, being (in their) second year in the system, have a really good grasp on what we’re doing.”

Is there anything you can do to help with the shortened week since New England, your next opponent on September 17 after Minnesota, played on a Thursday and now you have a Monday night game?

“To be quite honest with you, my focus is on how we are going to win this Minnesota game. That’s all we are concerned with right now. We are focused on that. We will worry about next week, when next week comes around. That’s the nature of the game that we play. You put all your efforts into who you’re playing that week and then when that one’s over, you put that one in the books and you go on to the next one. That is really the only way that I know to do it.”

New Orleans Saints Special Teams Coordinator Bradford Banta

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Saturday, September 9, 2017

What’d you see out of Zach Wood?

“We saw a consistent player. We thought he did a good job through the workout and the last two preseasons. He did an excellent job and he earned his spot.”

How long does it take normally for a punter and a placekicker to get used to the long snapper?

“The game is ever-changing. You just get used to those kind of situations and you know there’s always a possibility because everybody is one play away from going in and playing in the game. You just have to learn to adjust and make things happen. Everybody’s a professional.”

Have you ever seen a situation like this given your experience as a long snapper? The team right now is working on their sixth long snapper and we’re two days away from the regular season.

“Going through six long snappers, no I have not. But a situation when I was playing, we had a situation where our punter went down on a Saturday and we actually, he was also the holder and we had to get ready. We took extra reps that Saturday afternoon and we flew out to where we were playing and we played on Sunday. Like I said it’s just one of those situations that you just learn to adjust with.”

What jumped out to you about Trey Edmunds and his ability to contribute to special teams?

“Trey has a good combination of size and speed and want too. That’s what you look for in special teams players.”

Did you ever get a chance to look back at Wil Lutz’s blocked field goal? What are some of the issues that jumped out to you there?

“Yes. It was a combination of stuff. The snap was a little high. Obviously what you saw was it was a low kick. It’s not a good combination. Fortunately, we have the situation straightened out. I thought we kicked well for the rest of the game.”

Was there an issue with the spot?

“I felt like it was fine.”

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