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WhoDatInTexas

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Alright guys, shoot your questions my way. I'll be in and out and will answer them as best I can as they come in.

Let's kick it off!
Thanks for doing the AMA.

How will the new safeties change the defense? For instance, Williams had incredible range, how much can we expect Maye to replicate or will the scheme have to change? Similarly, Mathieu is a lot smaller than Jenkins, what will be our solution for big body tight ends like Pitts?
 
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TCUDan

TCUDan

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Do you ever think about just how homoerotic football culture is and do you think the focus on hypermasculinity (talking about it in terms of "war" and the like) is a reaction to that?
I don't know, that's kind of a loaded question and football (like most things) is not a monolith. And culture varies from players to coaches to ownership/front office to fans. I personally think the culture within football has come a long way.

Now I consider the NFL, as an entity, to not be wholly representative of football culture. There are added political/business/PR pressures that are involved at that level. And I don't really want to get into all that.

One area where I don't mind being vocal is coaching culture, which--honestly--I think is worst at the collegiate level. There is a very toxic culture within college coaching, and sometimes when highly regarded college coaches don't make it at the NFL level, one of the most overlooked factors is that the coach in question was just a terrible person (not gonna name names, but there's one current headliner who I have a little bit of personal experience with).

Not saying that's always the case, but when you get to the NFL and you're dealing with grown men with life experience, your BS doesn't land the same as it did when you were bullying kids.

So yeah, I try to keep my controversial "football culture" opinions restricted to the realm of college coaching... mostly because that's where I have the personal experience.
 

Taker597

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What you think about the switchability on the dline with a healthy Turner?

People think secondary is gonna be switching a lot, but with all the new personnel. I wouldn't be surprised they are pretty vanilla to start the season and gradually work their way up there.
 
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TCUDan

TCUDan

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I thought Payton Turner did well his first game last year. I don't know what injuries he acquired during that game, but his playing time was cut short and he wasn't really effective the rest of the season and was placed on IR. Predraft his wing span was one of the biggest in the history of the combine. Analysts and some fans here have given the team flack for drafting an pretty unknown player. (I didn't know his name until the draft myself). From your perspective, can Payton Turner surprised a lot of people and be a force on that line? Physically he looks bigger than Davenport. Has bigger lower leg than him.
I'm extremely high on Turner. I think he's more of a Cam Jordan style edge player than Davenport. Obviously not on either of their levels ATM, but he's legit.

I was definitely surprised by his performance in spot duty last season, but to be honest, him, Werner, and Adebo all surprised me. Probably one of the Saints more underrated rookie classes.
 
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Hey Dan, while we know Pete is going to run the same system, what changes do you think we will see with him calling plays?

I think we will be more patient with the run game and use the play action more often.

Do you think will continue to keep Jameis under control, or give him more liberties?

I'm not banking on any deliberate philosophical/schematic changes. I think, from a personnel standpoint (compared to last season), we're gonna see the passing game opened up a little more. I think it'll be closer to what we saw in 2009/2010/2011, pushing the ball more downfield, passing early to get a lead and using the running game to close things out. As long as Jameis is fully recovered from the ACL, I think they're gonna let him loose a little.

MT + Olave changes the offense, without a doubt. Probably way more than Pete Carmichael taking over primary play-calling duties.
 

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What's your outlook on Ruiz and Trautman's year 3 development? What positive growth you need to see?
 

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Any thoughts on Baun? Also what's your opinion on any of the developmental OL from last year like Throckmorton and Landon Young. Might as well throw Forrest Lamp in with that question.
 
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Thanks for doing the AMA.

How will the new safeties change the defense? For instance, Williams had incredible range, how much can we expect Maye to replicate or will the scheme have to change? Similarly, Mathieu is a lot smaller than Jenkins, what will be our solution for big body tight ends like Pitts?
This is a question I've been waiting for :).

Change the defense? Not really. The best thing about the new safeties is their ability to keep the defense functioning at the high level it was last season. Matheiu has played bigger than his size his entire career and I don't see that changing.

If you want to understand our secondary (and this is kind of the way football has trended in general--I know it's how I evaluate mine), you really have to look at less "positionally" and more in terms of roles and player archetypes.

A very simple, bread and butter breakdown would be like this.

You have your pure corners/coverage players: Lattimore, Adebo, Roby (though I think Adebo could actually play safety)

You have your "passive" (for lack of a better word) ball hawks. Marcus Williams was this guy. Rangy center-fielder who understood route combinations and angles to the ball, could anticipate and chase down passes to get his hands on them. This is how I see Maye. I'd also put PJ Williams in this category (though he's more of a poor man's Williams/Maye).

Then you have your "scrappers", your guys who make plays on the ball not only by jumping routes and batting/snagging passes, but through second effort, charging into scrums, knowing how to strike the ball and get it loose, how to scoop it up and run with it. That's CJGJ. That's Jenkins.

That's quintessential Honey Badger. That's practically his brand.

The Saints back end functions, in my mind, by effectively filling those roles. By getting Maye and Mathieu, they did exactly that. Obviously we have to see the results on the field, but at least on paper, you no longer have to consider adjusting the defense out of NECESSITY, b/c Maye and Mathieu should be able to do everything that Jenkins and Williams did, hopefully at a greater or equal level.

Now the one guy I've left off is Taylor, and that's because, honestly, I thought the Saints had drafted him to play safety (and maybe they ultimately still have, though I'm now fairly convinced the Mathieu deal was already worked out before the draft). He's a guy who, in my mind, can fit any of those roles, and I can't wait to see in which direction he's funneled. In the mean time, I think he'll compete with PJ Williams for that dime spot and he'll blow sh*t up special teams--as a 2 on Kickoff, as a guy who blocks a punt or two, and most especially as a gunner on punt team.
 

football

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I'm not banking on any deliberate philosophical/schematic changes. I think, from a personnel standpoint (compared to last season), we're gonna see the passing game opened up a little more. I think it'll be closer to what we saw in 2009/2010/2011, pushing the ball more downfield, passing early to get a lead and using the running game to close things out. As long as Jameis is fully recovered from the ACL, I think they're gonna let him loose a little.

MT + Olave changes the offense, without a doubt. Probably way more than Pete Carmichael taking over primary play-calling duties.
Honestly I hope they don't go back to doing that. What works for us was a good running game, balance attack that resulted in less turnovers. This resulted us 3 straight NFC south title. And of course we still don't know what we have in Winston, especially come back from ACl. Yes I would like for us to push the ball down field a little more than last year and allow the offense to open up.

But speaking of Carmichael, how confident do you feel in him calling the plays full time now? Even though things might stay the same somewhat, but Payton was the one calling the plays all these years and understand situational football. I am not going to lie. I am a little nervous about it.
 
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TCUDan

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What you think about the switchability on the dline with a healthy Turner?

People think secondary is gonna be switching a lot, but with all the new personnel. I wouldn't be surprised they are pretty vanilla to start the season and gradually work their way up there.
By switchability, do you mean in terms of the rotation or personnel versatility (guys being able to swing outside and inside)? In general, I don't see anything new there... the Saints like to be 3-deep on the edge and 3-4 deep inside.

There have been a few questions about schematic/philosophical adjustments, and my general read is this: the majority of the Saints staff remains in tact. That's a big reason why Dennis Allen got the job. The whole "if it ain't broke, why fix it?" philosophy.

I see little to no schematic or philosophical change on either side of the ball. This season won't be a referendum on Payton. Allen's biggest challenges won't be schematic. It'll be all the other stuff that comes with being a HC--at least 50% of which has nothing to do with football on the field.
 
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TCUDan

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Any thoughts on Baun? Also what's your opinion on any of the developmental OL from last year like Throckmorton and Landon Young. Might as well throw Forrest Lamp in with that question.
Baun will compete at the backup Will spot and his roster spot will probably still depend on special teams. To be honest, I haven't seen/can't recall enough about Throckmorton or Young to give an informed assessment.
 
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TCUDan

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Honestly I hope they don't go back to doing that. What works for us was a good running game, balance attack that resulted in less turnovers. This resulted us 3 straight NFC south title. And of course we still don't know what we have in Winston, especially come back from ACl. Yes I would like for us to push the ball down field a little more than last year and allow the offense to open up.

But speaking of Carmichael, how confident do you feel in him calling the plays full time now? Even though things might stay the same somewhat, but Payton was the one calling the plays all these years and understand situational football. I am not going to lie. I am a little nervous about it.
I think Carmichael was wayyyyyyyy more involved that people realized. Plus, he spent... what, 14 seasons with Payton? I'm not that worried about him.

A lot of emphasis on OC gets put on gameday. But the gameplan is laid out through the week. How a coach or coordinator performs on gameday is 90% preparation. The other 10% is having the stones, cold bloodeness, and confidence to make a decision.

A lot of being a HC (or a coordinator to a lesser extent) is being decisive. Not toiling over whether you are making THE RIGHT decision... but to make a decision, confidently (which again, comes through preparation), and then trusting your team to make you right. In those games without Payton these last couple of years, I thought Carmichael showed he can do that.

Not to go off on a tangent, but a lot of "bad coaching decisions" on game day (legitimate ones, not MMQB-judged ones) come from coaches who prepared all week for one thing, then in the moment where they should trust their prep, they go rogue (overthinking it, losing confidence in a certain area due to the ebb and flow of the game, etc.). Yes, you have to be able to adjust, but when critical decisions have to be made, if you have prepared your team/players/staff in a certain direction, it was done for a reason. Go with that. Your guys will trust it, be more likely to succeed, and they will make your decision the right one.

All that said, I honestly think the defense is the bigger question mark (in relation to it staying consistent--I'm still not worried). Carmichael's only job will be running the offense. Allen is adding HC to his duties. I hope he has a guy on the defensive side who he trusts as much as Payton trusted Carmichael. Because taking on HC duties does not come without a price.
 
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TCUDan

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What's your outlook on Ruiz and Trautman's year 3 development? What positive growth you need to see?
Just consistency from both of them. Proving that they are above average starters and not just backups/role players.

I think Ruiz needs to find himself a little more than Trautman does. With Trautman, I kind of know his identity, and I'm OK with it.

Ruiz... I just still don't know who he is yet. He could be a legit starter, or this could be the year that seals his career as a journeyman backup.
 
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TCUDan

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Based on your handle, where is best crawfish in DFW??
Doesn't exist. It's all disappointing.

I did a crawfish boil my senior year at TCU. Drove it all up from Louisiana.

I haven't lived there in 15 years though, so maybe they've upped their game.
 

ndcc

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How long do you think it will take Marrone to coach-up Penning on better pass blocking?

Run blocking doesn’t seem to be his weakness.

:gosaints:
 

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