|Q&A with Sean Payton (Late July 2009)
Q: If Jo-Lonn Dunbar plays well enough do you look at him as a potential starter?
A: I think all these guys are competing for playing time. He’s a young player that we like. We think he’s
going to make a big impact for us on special teams and for snaps. He’s a guy that’s pretty smart and
has a pretty good grasp of what we’re doing. For him in this second year, how many snaps he can get,
not only in the kicking game, but does he figure in on defense? We’re looking at all these young guys
right now and trying to get them work and the preseason will be important.
Q: Can you discuss how much comfort level you have with Pete Carmichael Jr. as your offensive
A: A lot. Pete handles all the quarterback meetings with Joe (Lombardi). Pete sits in on all the installs.
He’s involved in the installs. He handles the staff. Today for example, practice is ending, the staff is
meeting at the hotel and Pete’s running the meeting. I’m not there. That happens a lot. He’s done a
great job. He came here from San Diego with a pretty diverse background and each year he’s done a
great job with not only working with the quarterbacks specifically, but working with the group in general.
He’s had two opportunities to leave as a coordinator and to his credit he’s stayed with this system and
this offense. He’s a huge asset for me and he is very talented.
Q: What is his role on game day?
A: His role on game day is on the sidelines he’ll work hand in hand with the quarterbacks as they
come off, communicate with Joe Lombardi. They’ll go through the pictures with Drew (Brees) and the
quarterbacks and really be my voice or ear in the passing game with my thoughts each series. I have a
lot of trust in him. He works very hard at it, is very diligent and very thorough. He’s done a great job.
Q: When you made a change in offensive coordinator what convinced you Gregg Williams was the guy?
A: You first look at the body of work that’s important. He had a track record that was coincidental and for
a number of years I had experience in going against him. Then in the interview process, you saw his
passion for what we were wanting to do. I think the combination of what he wants to implement, his
past success, his ability to come in and play a key role from a leadership standpoint and get those
guys up to speed, all of them factored in.
Q: What did he do in that interview that convinced you to hire him?
A: It was a full day of meetings. It’s hard to point to one thing, but it’s easy to point to a lot of things,
which I did. But, I think when he left we felt comfortable that if we were able to secure him…He had a
number of teams interested…If we were able to get him on board and the search was going to stop
there and fortunately it did.
Q: How long did you have to wait to be able to hire him?
A: It was probably six days after the interview, maybe a little less than a week. He went up to Green
Bay, came back and then we spent some time on the phone and got it done.
Q: Even if you didn’t work with him personally, did you talk to people who worked with him?
A: I talked to a number of guy, various coaches, and various players. Mark Brunell was with him in
Washington. The linebacker that I had in Dallas that is now in Miami at Washington. I talked to
assistant coaches. I talked to other coaches that had been with him and much like you would if you
were signing a player you do homework. All those things factored in.
Q: Did the game against Washington in 2006 and their defense’s performance against your offense
make an impression?
A: That was just part of it. That was one game. There have been a number of games that made an
impression over a period of time.
Q: How do you think your offense has responded to the increased intensity?
A: Good, we get challenged. It’s helpful for us. You come out here everyday you’re challenged to hold
onto the football the right way, you’re challenged to pickup blitzes and anymore this game is about
applying pressure to the quarterback. How you get it, whether it’s a four man rush or applying
pressure, the ability to change his comfort level is critical in terms of forcing turnovers and bad
decisions. From that aspect, he’s really been good. They’ve done a good job defensively so far of
Q: Are there any individuals that have impressed you?
A: Mike Bell did a good job and made some good runs. I thought defensively there were a number of
players that got their hands on balls. I think a lot easier after two, three four days, after a week, where
you start to see guys make repeat performances. Overall, knock on wood, we were healthy today, guys
seem to be flying around. The offseason work from a football standpoint or the football x’s and o’s
helps us he a lot in the first day or two because we give them a lot.
Q: How much is Jonathan Vilma working?
A: About two thirds of what (Scott) Fujita and (Scott) Shanle or one of those first line guys would do, not
just quite as much, but similar.
Q: Is Jeremy Shockey healthy?
A: He’s in good shape. He’s injury free, he’s moving around well. It’s good to see him running the way