Sean Payton Media Call takeaways on Drew, Jameis, and Protective Gear
Kyle T. Mosley
Coach Payton answered questions from media on Wednesday related to the team's decision to sequester at the Loews New Orleans Hotel, the COVID-19 protective bracelet trackers, to if the players are embracing the new safety recommendations. The more intriguing takeaways were his responses to the Oakley Mouth Shield, Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and the promotion of VP Terry Fontenot.
SEAN PAYTON ON THE PROTECTIVE GEAR
Regarding the splash shields and performance masks, "have your players to maybe, start using some of that or get comfortable with it?" The coach said, sort of sarcastically, "Yeaaaah." Yeah, it's available. And, I think the jury's still out on some of that. You know, when you breathe, it's still a big ventilated hole right there." He chuckled and continued, "So, you know, like anything else, I'm a little skeptical relative to not the whole mask that we wear or a full plastic. But when it comes to playing football and trying to breathe. And then, you know, so that's an option that's available. I'm anxious to see any studies that we've been able to or see some experts' opinions on it, but it's available. Yeah, I've seen it." Payton is like many coaches, and NFL veterans are cautious in evaluating the new "protective gear." Especially in the game of tackle football, where the exchange of bodily fluids will be challenging to prevent each game by the NFL altogether.
SEAN PAYTON ON DREW BREES
Drew Brees' arm strength has been a topic of conversation for many talk show hosts and NFL reporters. Many wondered if the 41- year old quarterback could increase his yardage in the deep-throws on Sundays. Brees has worked out with sports coach and training analyst, Tom House, in Del Mar, CA on his throwing mechanics. According to the Tom House video, he is "preparing him [Brees] to throw a football farther at his current age than he's ever done before."
The Athletic's Jeff Duncan asked Payton, "Sean the other day Drew Brees told us he worked on his made it a goal, I guess to improve his arm strength, this offseason. I'm interested to know if that's something you all noticed with him. I know he's 41, it's probably inevitable. But is it something you all noticed on tape? And, how big a factor has that been for your deep passing game in the past?"
"Look, our numbers down the field are still strong, his numbers down the field are strong. And, I think every year, he's that type of player that is constantly looking for little ways to improve. He's thrown the ball with great accuracy timing." He continued, "Obviously, you know you're combating that age, and you're combating some of the challenges, both physically and then, and then mentally. You know, and I'm anxious to see as we get into these practices some of the things always that you know he's worked on. Tom does a great job Tom House, out in California, and Drew's very committed to every detail that he can cover. But I think, you know, numbers-wise, I feel like we as an offense, are still getting the ball into the spots we need to down the field, relative to opportunities for the receivers or tight ends. You know, traditionally, he's been someone who's been very good down the field in pass completion through yards, explosive plays that way." Sean Payton
SEAN PAYTON ON JAMEIS WINSTON
The quarterback room is going into Saints training camp this season will be different from the past two seasons, sans Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater takes over in Carolina, and New Orleans quietly captured one of their NFC South foes and a perplexing football talent in QB Jameis Winston. Winston was sent packing this offseason when the Bucs decided to sign Tom Brady to lead their restocked offense. New Orleans needed another insurance policy at quarterback after Bridgewater's exodus. Thus, Winston's signing was a steal in the 1-year, $1.1M deal. It allowed him to learn from the best QB room in football with Sean Payton and Drew Brees. The controversy or entanglement comes with the pending training camp battle with the penciled-in #2 QB Taysom Hill and his fit with the Saints.
One reporter inquired with Sean Payton to "what have you been able to do with Jameis Winston as far as coaching and spending time with him, and what are your impressions?"
Payton's reply, "Look, he's been in what we're doing meeting-wise, walk-through-wise, lifting. We're out on the field during the walk-throughs. So, just like everyone else is good shape. He's lost weight, he's lean. He's not afraid to work, he's doing well, he fits in well." Jokingly, the coach said, "And, you know, again, we're just into this thing. Now last week, we will COVID testing, so he COVID tested well last week, too," and chuckled.
Overall, the media call's tone was positive for Sean Payton, who is utterly locked in football mode for this season. The team will continue their training camp conditioning and dress in full pads on August 17th. Hopefully, for the team and Saints fans, the impact of COVID-19 will continue to be minimal. Currently, no New Orleans player has tested positive for COVID-19 since the start of training camp. Sean Payton, EVP/GM Mickey Loomis, and owner Gayle Benson must get credit for their "forward-thinking" on the team's sequester. If successful, the Loews New Orleans Hotel plan may become a model for other NFL teams to note in the fight against novel coronavirus outbreaks.
New Orleans Saints Media Call with Sean Payton courtesy of the New Orleans Saints organization.