Saints sign RB Zach Zenner, release LB Stephone Anthony

  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
  • icon
Zach Zenner, Marshon Lattimore
(Photo: Parker Waters)

The New Orleans Saints signed running back Zach Zenner and released linebacker Stephone Anthony, NFL Network reported Wednesday.

The 5-foot-11, 221-pound Zenner, who played in 36 games over four seasons with the Detroit Lions, was signed as Alvin Kamara deals with knee and ankle injuries. Zenner has 685 yards and eight touchdowns plus 27 catches for 263 yards in his career.

Anthony, the former Saints first round pick, played the past three games on special teams after re-signing with the team last month.

The Saints filled the open roster spot from the suspension of P.J. Williams for the next two weeks by signing tight end Brian Parker, who played last season for the Denver Broncos.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 16, 2019

In your opinion, what’s kind of been the challenge of when another team is trying to take out a guy like or game plan against a guy like Michael Thomas or Cameron Jordan and sending extra help their way? What’s kind of the challenge in just creating some opportunities there for them and how much of that is kind of a focus of what you guys do each week?

“A lot of game planning is trying to figure out where we want to put them; how we think he’s going to be played relative to the defense we’re seeing. Sometimes you see more man or more zone. A lot of it has to do with the opponent and what their structure is.”

Do you sometimes see teams try to copy what other teams do or does it really change a lot each week?
“I don’t think anyone’s abandoning what their own structure of defense is, but I think a lot of it happens in the situation part of the game, third down, red zone, when you’re trying to get off the field or you’re trying to force a field goal. After a while, when you play X, you can get cloud, you can get bump and run, man to man, sometimes man to man with a safety cheat. There’s a handful of looks you can get. Look, part of the game plan is looking closely at the type of defense you’re seeing and then how to attack it.”

When you’re preparing to get the defense like this, is there a situation that I guess through practice, I know you guys go through ball security all the time, but do you put extra emphasis on it or can you put extra emphasis has on it?

“We hope to do that each week and recognize, again, the environment we are playing in. We talked last week a lot about being prepared for a warm day. I think the weather’s going to be a fairly good, it sounds like, and making sure that we are ready to play on a different type of grass surface and then understanding the significance of protecting the football. I think it’s one of the reasons we’ve been able to win here of late.”

Is Drew (Brees) along with that timeline you envisioned?

“No update. He’s doing well.”

When you say different types of grass surfaces, I think I know what you mean, but can you explain that a little more?

“I think in the South, the surfaces here (is) a little bit more Bermuda, where it goes dormant in the winter and it’s kind of a horizontal grass. When you play up in Chicago, Green Bay, and some of those surfaces, it is a different type of grass. The root system is different. It’s a little longer. So sometimes the shoes you wear can be different.”

I was going to ask you about the grass, but did they improve that surface last year from what they had in the past? Is the scouting report much better on it than it used to be?

“I’m not sure. Those fields typically get resodded, more than once to season. It’s not about the quality of the surface. Once again, it’s the type of surface that exists and if you’re not careful and you wear shoes that are designed for surfaces that we play on down here, you’re going to have footing issues. So the surface looks fine.”

With the depth of that defensive line this year, how big has that been for your success, especially with someone like Malcom Brown coming in and fitting right in to what you are doing?

“Look, I think we’ve improved a lot in that area and I think that it’s allowed us to handle Sheldon (Rankins’) injury and it’s allowed us to get a rotation going where guys are fresh and playing quality snaps. I think it’s a tough position to find if you don’t have.”

You kind of mentioned last week about how you have to draft those guys or pay them a lot of money to find defensive linemen. It seems like you guys kind of found a nice balance there with homegrown guys and guys you have kind of acquired in a free agency. How good of a job has the front office done there?

“It’s been important. They’ve done a really good job. Taking a look at does the player fit what we’re trying to do, what’s the vision for him, and if those things meet and we feel real good about how we see this player on our team then I think that creates an interest. I think that’s helped us.”

  • < PREV 2019 Byrd Football Game Notes - Game 7 vs. Benton Tigers
  • NEXT > Tulane begins season with Allstate Sugar Bowl Collegiate Bowling Invitational