New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks about the Saints offensive strategy and preparations for Week 2 against the Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on September 21, 2020. New Orleans Saints
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Video Call with New Orleans Media
Saturday, September 19, 2020
I don't think we've gotten around to asking you this, what was what was the reasoning you didn't have (Zack) Baun active in week one? Was it just kind of a matter of what you were wanting to play defensively?
"He is going to be up in this game. A lot of it had to do with just a decision in regards to the kicking game. He's doing well, he is healthy. He's had a good week of work. You will see him a lot in special teams. No specific reason."
That hard count last week Drew (Brees) got them on (last week). I'm just curious, is there anything about just the optics in a stadium that has maybe changed how that sounds? Is there anything you have to protect against because that's a little bit different sounding?
"Well, look, I think there is. Look, it's like a practice environment. And so, for both teams, very quickly, the defensive lines can begin to hear the cadences without the road crowd noise, of course, that would be on defense. But I do think it's a little different. The timing of the play worked well. It was something we work on and we play around with in different formations. But I do think it's different now."
Does Emmanuel Sanders play like kind of a veteran mentor role in your receiver room right now? Is that fair to say?
"I think he's number one, experienced, and he's picked up the playbook. We keep looking for ways that uniquely fit his skill set to get into football. And I would say yes, we have some young players on this team at the receiver position. Generally speaking, the guys that have been in the league a little bit longer, can help those guys out. His transition, being in his first year here, obviously, is picking up what we're doing and he's done that well. He is one of those guys that they look up to and he's got a real good feel for playing the position. I think that helps when it comes to talking with younger players."
Obviously, it's just one game that you guys have played, but you ran more than you passed, you had nine different guys targeted in the pass game? Is that kind of balanced, what you're going for here, offensively, or just a reflection of how the game unfolded?
"I think a little bit of how it unfolded, I felt like when we watched the film, after the game, there were a number of things that we would have liked to have done better. When you get three turnovers, and you get a lead like we had, you're rushing numbers then can build a little bit in the second half. But a little bit of a byproduct of the game. And yet, I think it's important for us as an offense to establish that balance and have the running game that complements some of the other things that we want to do. And so, it was kind of how that game unfolded, though."
How about Latavius Murray specifically in that way, did you guys take a look this offseason at a way to give him a more defined or consistent role, possibly after his touches would vary so much from week to week, last year?
"It's a challenge with two backs. Certainly, we feel like even when Alvin (Kamara) was injured last year, and he carried the load, man, he's someone that we value a bunch in what we're doing. And it's a challenge for me as a play caller making sure he's getting enough touches and we're still getting Alvin his as well, but we'll keep working on that and that can vary itself week to week."
You mentioned this week about how (Jon) Gruden does a lot of formations, motions, personnel packages, is that one of the ways he had an influence on you and the way you go about putting together an offense?
"Yeah, look, to some degree, I think so. That was a big first impression. You got to understand when I arrived there in 97, coming from a college offense, what he was doing there and Philadelphia, that was a huge jump schematically relative to play design, relative to personnel groupings. I think it's probably something that a lot of college coaches go through when they enter our league, but I certainly did. We would study certain teams, I can recall breaking down Green Bay, breaking down Kansas City and San Francisco, teams that maybe had similar styles and looking for ideas, personnel, grouping wise, formation wise and, look, to this day, we do the same thing. Jon's tape is someone we look at every week. So, yeah, I'd say that was the beginning. Definitely."
Did he, for lack of a better term, kind of teach you the way to grind, like, looking at a ton of films, staying up late, that sort of thing?
"Yeah, Absolutely. He used to say I look like a boxer in the 11th round. Bags under my eyes and getting adjusted to the schedule. His intelligence and his work ethic are really impressive and have had a lot to do with him being a Super Bowl winning coach and a guy that's respected by so many."
I don't even know if you would know the logistics of this, but if there was a problem with the hotel you are staying out on the road, could you change the hotel last minute? I say that because I just saw a news article about a big outbreak at one of the hotels in Vegas.
"Yeah, look, I read the same article, Katherine (Terrell). I think that hopefully, with what we're doing, this is the only game on the road that we're playing at a hotel that's occupied with other guests. Then the remaining seven are all buyouts where it is just our team. So that being said, there'll be a whole wing where we're just basically quarantined in and really going into more of a hard bubble, but that's a good question."
I know you get so many bubble questions. I just literally saw the article five minutes ago and thought, man, could they even change a hotel last minute?
"Yeah, look, I think that would be difficult only because of the amount of preparation relative to where we're going. It's a pretty sterile environment, specifically where we're going to be at. The buses, we're operating with more buses than normal to space out all of us on the buses. The airlines, there's a lot that goes into this road trip and just as I said a week ago, the key for me is just keeping it simple. The guys understanding the itinerary and focusing on the main thing."
Is Drew (Brees) still on the same throwing schedule, where it would be Wednesday off and then the next few days or this week, Thursday off and then throws the next two?
"Yeah. This past week was different because we had an additional day, but yes."
So, he threw on Thursday this week, but then you guys practice had a bonus day and he didn't?