NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Following a day off, the Saints resumed training camp practices Sunday afternoon at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. New Orleans will face the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night in their preseason opener.
Sean Payton met with the media after Sunday's session. The following is the Q&A between reporters and Payton:
What did you think about that practice today?
"I thought it was what we wanted. We had a few periods I thought we needed to add after the scrimmage. I thought the tempo was good. Obviously the special teams segment with the field goal unit was good. I thought it was pretty crisp, guys moved around well."
Can you talk about adding the clock and the crowd noise?
"That is going to happen this week, (work on) two minute (offense) is coming this week before we go to Baltimore, and crowd noise, third down. We gave them, I think, three periods with crowd noise and it is kind of the world we live in so just getting used to it. We knew we were going to start it this week."
Was Willie Snead returning punts?
"He is one of the guys (returning punts). He is pretty smart and steady. So we have (Marcus) Murphy back there, (Willie) Snead back there and Brandin Cooks obviously will be back there. We worked the two of them today."
Can you talk about what kind of camp Joe Morgan has had so far?
"Real solid, I would say this, he is a physical player so he is one of those guys that can block the perimeter well. I thought last week there were a couple of practices were he got a lot of opportunities and had some good plays. He didn't have as many opportunities in the scrimmage looking at the tape, but I think he is doing well. I think he is in shape and moving around well."
What did you see in Joe Morgan to bring him back?
"There is a handful of things. There has been a process with him, a lot invested, and he is one of those guys that I think went through the right steps and all the things we were looking for. He is real conscientious. He wants to please, so that is a good starting point."
Did you have any wagers on the kicks?
"We didn't really. The plan was, like we have done before, a little offensive, defensive competition. Two kickers with a coin toss and assign one to the offense and one to the defense. They both made all four of their kicks. We backed them up to 60 or 59 (yards) and I threw in that little caveat if they both make the tiebreaker then the coaches run. It was a good problem to have, both of those guys kicking a 59-yard field goal, and that is encouraging."
Did you see any cleanup on the substitutions?
"We did quite a bit of substitution stuff. That was clean. I said this to the staff the other day, there were a handful of things that were real good in that scrimmage. The substitution thing was kind of like a bug in someone's meal. It could be a great meal and yet you just come away from it a little frustrated, but I think we were able to clean some of that up today and focus more on some of the football elements of takeaways. I thought the alignments, I thought our guys got set pretty quick."
When you watched the film from the scrimmage, what did you like?
"I would say a handful of things. First off, there was about four or five guys that played 30 plus plays. I bring up Andrus Peat because it appeared he was struggling. He finished the conditioning but he was at the high 30s (in total reps). The tight ends were up there in the 20s, high 30s. Some of the receivers and DBs (had high rep counts), so I thought we had a handful of ball disruption plays. I thought both first groups did some things that were encouraging and I would say that the pre-snap penalties on offense are some things that we have to clean up and then with substitutions defensively, those are the things that stood out. It is always hard to measure the pass rush because I am either blowing a quick whistle or a late whistle, and when you are standing off the quarterback it is difficult. I think we will get a better feel for that when we start playing preseason games. I thought the special teams segments were pretty clean and there were a number of snaps for us to clean up on."
It looked like Garrett Grayson had his best practice.
"It is funny. He threw the interception in the scrimmage and then came back and made some plays today. We will look at the film. He had a few good snaps I think. We had a man-to-man period, he climbed the pocket a few times and ran the football which can happen sometimes when defenses are playing man. We just have to keep working on the little things with him."
Can you talk about Andrus Peat playing left guard today with the twos?
"Again, what we have been able to do based on our personnel, if all of a sudden we are down in one position, he has kind of been that guy we want to see play the tackle position. He has been at right (tackle), left at the end of the week, then we were down a guard today and we wanted to put him in at left guard. The key is to get the right five guys out there. When he is at left guard he has his left hand on the ground which is kind of similar to his college career. I do see him as a tackle, and yet I think he has the athleticism to play inside. We felt like early in camp we wanted to do that and without having planned practice tomorrow I would imagine there is a good chance he will come back outside at tackle."
Was that something you saw before you drafted him?
"We saw a real good athlete who had size. I would say the vision all along has been tackle and yet what is most important is trying to get the right combination out there, but the vision when we drafted him was tackle and so he was able to play at left tackle with Terron (Armstead) missing some snaps last week or the scrimmage, and today he took some snaps at left guard. We will keep moving him around. He is bright. He knows what to do. I think that (tackle) would be the position spot."
What position group do you think needs the preseason games the most?
"It is hard to say what group. There is real good competition at linebacker and corner. There are a handful of young guys on the defensive line that are trying to separate themselves. Those are just a few spots defensively. On offense, obviously we've discussed some of the lineups in the offensive line. I would say the receiver position has a handful of guys that are competing for spots there."
What have you seen from Tyeler Davison so far?
"He is pretty active. I would say he has good instincts. He has good hands. He is the one guy, if you watch pass rush, who it would be pretty common to get two or three rushes in the drill and it seemed like he had success on at least one. I think he is an active player that is going to have a chance to factor in sub-rush inside. He is real quick."
Can you talk about doing the picnic out here with the fans for the second year?
"Well it is something that we plan every year with the Greenbrier and Jim (Justice). We get great support here and it is a chance for our players to come out and spend a little bit more time (with the fans). It fits in our schedule this year on a Sunday practice and I think it makes a lot of sense. For a fan that is coming, maybe they are not able to see a NFL game, maybe they come to a practice, this is a good chance they are going to be able to get a few autographs and players will spend some more time than normal."
What are some advantages of using package plays?
"The first advantage would be trying to get to the optimum play. If there are 70 snaps in a game you want to be careful that you don't have wasted plays, you are calling a run play into a run front or you are calling a pass play into a pass coverage. The idea of packaging a few plays is trying to get to the play that best detects the defense you are seeing. It is probably first or second down, it doesn't always have to be, I would say it is fairly common. I would also say in the last five, six, seven years, you are seeing all the teams try and get to packages that give them the chance to have success, be it run or pass. It also might go past the pass if you are basing it on coverage."
Is that something you guys have always used?
"Yeah, probably, since 2006, yeah. Has it changed some? I would say yeah, probably a little more on the third down situations."
Do you wish you didn't have so many unknowns at wide receivers outside of Brandin Cooks?
"No, I would say I am comfortable with that. I think we have good competition, and I think by and large that group has been pretty active and pretty competitive. I think it has worked out pretty well."
Do you think the Ravens defensive line will be a good measuring stick?
"I think so. We talked about it last night. It is a physical team, not just defensively but offensively. They beat us pretty good last year in the regular season. So to have a chance to play them in the preseason and kind of see where you are at, I think it is a good measuring stick."
With Delvin Breaux, do you consider him a typical rookie?
"Well, he has played. If I said all rookies get on the line we are doing extra conditioning, I wouldn't expect him to be in that lineup only because he has played in the CFL. He is a few years removed. I would say he is pretty hungry and his journey to get here is unique, and I think he is taking advantage of those snaps."
How do you interchange your fullbacks and tight ends?
"Some plays they can, some plays they can't. There are some tight ends that play the F position, typically the further away they are from the ball, they are interchangeable. If they are lining up next to the tackle, they are probably less interchangeable. I would say whether it is 21 or 12, there is a handful of offense that on the call sheet would be either or. So there has to be a tight end that is learning the F. Of course the fullbacks would be the F. There is some 21-only plays and there are some 12-only plays. But I would say there are 20 to 30 plays in each plan that would be 21 or 12 in the event of an injury so there is some dual learning there."