New Orleans Saints rookie kicker Wil Lutz was named the NFC’s Special Teams Player of the Week on Wednesday following his 52-yard game-winning field goal against the Carolina Panthers.
Lutz badly missed a 53-yard try earlier in the game but split the uprights in the final seconds to give the Saints their second straight win.
Saints head coach Sean Payton, however, did not think Lutz was even the best special teams performer last week.
“I don’t know that we go into the meeting and pay attention to what the league announces in regards to our special teams player (of the week). He received an atta boy to be honest. Jake Lampman was our special teams gameball winner,” Payton said Wednesday.
Lampman, a rookie from Ferris State signed off the practice squad last week, made three tackles on coverage units to help contain dangerous Panthers return man Ted Ginn Jr.
On the season, Lutz is now 7-for-11 on field goal tries while making all 18 extra point kicks.
New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
What are some of the key developments you have seen with Michael Thomas, his connection and relationship with Drew Brees and his grasp of the offense once the team began gameplanning in the regular season?
“I think pretty clearly it’s not just day to day route to route, pattern, repetition. He’s one of those guys that once he has it, he has it. Last week, there’s a specific route we were running on the inside and he might not have had the reps that some other players have had at it, so the first time we ran it, it was all jacked up, but then we made the corrections, so I think with him, he wants it all. He wants to take it in and I think that he goes out there by gameday and is able to realize the looks he’s receiving. It’s not too big for him as a young player. I think he’s extremely confident and humble in a real way in really wanting to learn. Those are real good traits for a player at any position because they’re going to improve and they’re going to improve quickly and I think we’re seeing that daily.”
What are some of the things in Marcus Peters you see that stand out?
“He has very good feet and transition skills. We graded him coming out and had high grades on him. The other thing, when you see him, any errant throw or ball off-target, he gets his hands on, he has elite hands. You have to be decisive and your location has to be spot on. He can run, he can tackle. I think he’s one of the real, real talented good, young corners in our league. This is just into his second season, but he’s a special player.”
There’s been a lot of talk about the Microsoft tablets you have been using. How has your experience been with them?
“I think inside they’ve functioned. Outside it’s more challenging because of the glare. I don’t think there’s been a lot of talk actually. I think there’s just been talk in one city.”
If it’s been inconsistent how much of a problem has that been outside?
“Outside is more the glare. You guys look at your phones once in a while. Any type of sunny day or you’re looking down. The consistency comes with the prints, the pictures, I think that they’re working on it, but I don’t see it being a big story.”
Do you guys plan on designating Sheldon Rankins as your player to return from Injured Reserve?
“Yes, that would happen, my expectation is it does happen.”
Is he healthy enough to begin practicing today?
Is his progress what you expect?
“I think we’re good right there. We’re ahead of the game with an injury question.”
Can you discuss what you saw in Joe Callahan to encourage you guys to claim him off of waivers from Green Bay?
“He’s a young player who I think has some pretty good feet in the pocket. His preseason was fairly impressive. We watched every throw. We knew of this player coming out. He essentially won the Division III Heisman Trophy award. But watching the preseason tape, he’s someone we felt that we wanted to look at. We felt we have some flexibility with our roster and we were able to make that move. I think he arrived on…I want to say Saturday. He was just getting a chance to meet everyone, obviously inactive (vs. Carolina) and we’ll work with him and Garrett (Grayson) both now.”
You will keep four quarterback for the forseeable future?
What was your message to rookie kicker Wil Lutz when he won NFC Special Teams Player of the Week and what was his reaction?
“I don’t know that we go into the meeting and pay attention to what the league announces in regards to our special teams player (of the week). He received an atta boy to be honest. Jake Lampman was our special teams gameball winner.”
Why was Lampman your decision to receive the special teams gameball?
“He had three tackles. When you go back and look at the film, it was outstanding. His first game up, he was fantastic, kickoff coverage, punt coverage, disruptive, but we recognized Wil with an atta boy.”
What have you seen from your running game? Are you getting the consistency you would like out of it?
“Yes, I think when you throw it like we did effectively (vs. Carolina), I would say yes to answer your question. I thought we were efficient in running the football in the game we just played. The question then is how many times do you want to run it when a team is as banged up as they were in the secondary and as strong as they are in their front seven. So, I think each week you look at how they are playing and make your decision on how you want to win that game.”
Since 2006 you’re 3-1 against Andy Reid. What is it about your ability to scheme against him?
“I’m not scheming against Andy Reid. I wasn’t even aware of an overall record. This is more about the teams, the coordinators and so I think Andy’s one of the better coaches in our league. History will tell you that when you look at the success he’s had at Philadelphia to Kansas City. It’s been outstanding. He’s been consistent. He’s been (producing) a playoff-type caliber team and organization (wherever he’s been) and I consider him a close friend and someone I have a lot of respect for, but I think it’s more tabloid stuff there.”
How important is it for a player like Willie Snead IV to go back to school in the offseason to finish his requirements at Ball State?
“Absolutely. All these guys, we talk about it how it’s a short train ride and we’re all off and the train keeps rolling. Man, it’s preparing to get on with your life’s work once football’s finished and that’s for all of these places. The transition element is the most important. I love to see the chance for players to go back and graduate and at least there’s that idea to ‘here’s my next step I think’. You don’t have to know what it is, a lot of times it finds you. I like the idea of having the flexibility educationally to choose or give yourself more options.”