Saints quotebook: Sean Payton (August 11, 2018)

Head coach discusses first full practice since preseason opener

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Opening Statement

“We were kind of back on our normal ‘A’ schedule. I thought we got a lot of good situational work done today. It's kind of a back-and-forth a little bit in regards to how we handle the situations, but overall I thought it was a decent practice.”

What was your impression on the goal line? It seemed like the running game was getting stuffed a little bit.

“Yes. There is a lot that goes into it and it is technique, it is pad level. It was the first time for us to get down there live. It becomes more and more challenging. Two yards is a good run. So when we look at the film, I thought defensively the pad level was good, then there was a pass play here or there. But from a run standpoint, they did a good job of coming off with good pad level. They had some penetration on two of those runs that were all of a sudden, there was someone in the backfield and that becomes a lot more difficult.”

What is your assessment of Jonathan Williams this camp?

“He's been doing well. I thought he played well in his snaps that he had the other night. He had a good run down here (by the goal line for a touchdown). He's a smart runner. He has good patience and vision.”

How big of a step has Marcus Williams taken this summer?

“I think significantly. You remember, when we drafted him, we felt like he was very intelligent and you're seeing that. He understands splits. He understands three-by-one, two-by-two, what he's leaning to. I think he plays the run well and communicates well. So he's doing very well.”

Drew Brees said Williams reminds him of Ed Reed, do you see that in him?

“He said he had traits (laughs). Look, when you make a comparison to someone who has been one of the better free safeties that we can recall in a long time, Ed was extremely smart. We had him in the Pro Bowl, or he was there the year we were in the Pro Bowl (coaching the NFC squad). He was a smart player, had great ball skills and instincts. So I think we're seeing him get to throws that you normally may not expect a free safety you get to. So it becomes a little bit more challenging for the quarterback to hold him, know where he's on each play. Understand when he drops into the coverage as opposed on top the coverage or outside – you can't just fall asleep with a player like that because he catches the ball so well.”

Has Brandon Tate shown a little bit more as a receiver than maybe his career catches indicate?

“He made a few plays today. He's going to have to make it first as a returner.”

What about Michael Floyd? You said you wanted to see him progress, wanted to see him get in shape.

“I wanted to see his weight get down. The good news is it’s working in that direction. He's a player that has good size and length. But when he’s too heavy, his transition and everything else just labors. I thought it was better today and he's making progress.”

It seems he has a unique way of using his size, especially in goal line situations. Is that something you’re seeing, too?

“Well, he wasn't in on goal line, but he's in in the red area. Yes. When you have a catch radius that's bigger, that’s to your advantage when you're in tighter quarters, I would agree with you.”

What did you think of Boston Scott’s kickoff return the other night?

“I thought overall it was okay. We are going to give him a lot of work and he has to make improvements.”

Did you want Tre’Quan Smith to avoid contact today in practice?

“Some of the details, he had a shallow cross and one of the things you have to learn with a shallow cross is to get your eyes across the formation. It's not until you know that you're clear that we want to turn to the quarterback and if not you'll get picked up by a floating linebacker picked off. So just the technique of that route. But he's getting it.”

What is the balance that you have to weigh as the head coach regarding tackling?

“We are always kind of mindful of it. It is part of the game, so we have to in controlled environments. Today was one of them. (We) Have a live period and it's hard to practice goal line sometimes but just walking through it. Guys handled it well.”

What did you think of the team tackling Thursday?

“Just ok. Just ok. That first drive, everyone had their nachos, their hot dogs, their coke and they were on to the freaking churros in those 15 plays (laughs).”

Coach, when a player makes a play in the game does that carry a bigger part of the evaluation, or is it all clumped in with practice?

“All of it gets factored in, every snap that game gets looked at closely, so you can't disappear into a punt or kickoff for a play. It's getting rewound eight times, we're evaluating the effort, the technique, does he know what to do and you know how he is doing it?”

What do you like about a guy like Rickey Jefferson, I know you brought him back last week?

“He’s smart and we were down at that position, but he's someone that I think has good instincts and we had a pretty good impression when he was here earlier so that was an easy decision for us and someone that we knew would be in shape.”

How important is it for a guy like [Jayrone] Elliott to have the versatility?

“If you can rush and then find a way in the kicking game, those are two good things. That was encouraging, I thought he did pretty well the other night.”

How hard is it to find time to stay fit?

“I think it’s probably easier today than it was before to eat better because the options are there, and I think we're all a little bit more mindful of nutrition. That doesn't mean we always follow it, but then from a sleep standpoint and fitness standpoint I think it's important we find that time. I think it helps us sleep better as well. Each guy has their different routine in regard to whether they do it after practice or in the morning, it’s a little bit more difficult when you're traveling.”

Speaking of your team, it seems like Drew [Brees] is pretty crazy almost OCD like in his routine?

“That's kind of been the way he takes care of himself since the very first time when he got here in ‘06 so I think it's extremely diligent. He's extremely dedicated to all those things and you get a player at his level and at his age so it's not an accident, it's a lot of small things that matter.

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