King is Embedded with New Orleans Saints Ahead of Matchup vs. Eagles, Provides In-Depth Look at Team Meetings and Game Preparation
“He’s the football equivalent of a coder.”– Saints WR Austin Carr on head coach Sean Payton
“I think some of our best ideas at times come on a Saturday or Saturday night, or even Sunday morning.” – Brees
“For a stranger who doesn’t know the Saints’ vernacular, listening to the discussion of each play is like listening to Dutch.” – King
“Football Morning in America” Runs Every Monday Exclusively on NBCSports.com
STAMFORD, Conn. – November 19, 2018 – Peter King’s Week 11 edition of “Football Morning in America,” available now exclusively on NBCSports.com, is highlighted by King’s exclusive access with the New Orleans Saints ahead of their matchup against the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.
King was embedded with the Saints during their game preparation on Saturday, which included team walk-throughs and multiple meetings, highlighted by an evening film session with New Orleans head coach Sean Payton, QB Drew Brees and other members of the Saints’ offensive coaching staff, followed by King’s conversation with Payton and Brees about their relationship and collaboration.
Following his time with the Saints on Saturday, King reacts to the Saints’ 48-7 win over the Eagles on Sunday, including a look at how the story lines and schemes outlined on Saturday night played out in the game.
This week’s edition also includes an in-depth look at the Indianapolis Colts’ four-game turnaround; a preview of Chiefs-Rams; this week’s ‘What I Learned’ with ex-Cowboy Jeff Rohrer, who recently came out as gay and married his partner Joshua Ross on Sunday; weekly awards, quotes, travel notes and more.
The following are highlights from this week’s edition of “Football Morning in America”:
PAYTON, BREES & SAINTS
- Brees on his relationship with Payton: “The evolution from where we were, call it 13 years ago, when we all first got here in ’06 to now, is pretty amazing. It’s an exciting process. It’s a bit nerve-wracking early in the week I think because you’re sitting there watching film after film and you’re trying to identify all the ways that you can attack that defense, right? I think some of our best ideas at times come on a Saturday or Saturday night, or even Sunday morning.”
- Payton on conjuring up his double-bunch play-call with no QB under center: “Thursday night, just doodling. Just thinking. I just thought of it, and I said to the coaches, ‘Will this work?’ And [quarterbacks coach] Joe Lombardi said, ‘Why not? We can do anything we want.’ When I told Troy Aikman about it [in the FOX production meeting], he said, ‘Who’s getting the snap?’ I said, ‘No one. Yet.’”
- King on sitting with the Saints’ offensive coaches on Saturday night: On the screen, Payton’s opening plays come up … and the double-bunch is number five. Clearly, it’s going to be called early in the game. Payton wants to see the big-bodied Hill steaming around right end at number 22. (He never calls him “Sidney Jones.” Just “22.”) For a stranger who doesn’t know the Saints’ vernacular, listening to the discussion of each play is like listening to Dutch. One of the reasons Payton isn’t paranoid about me sitting in, I’m sure, is that when I hear, “Snug left, Y fly, P 35 Stab dog F rail,” I’m not going to know what it means—and that’s just the way they like it.
- Payton on drawing up plays later in the week: “This week, it started with me drawing it on the board saying, what if we just lined up with no quarterback and one of the two of them came back depending on the play. Part of the install sometimes is to have some fun and have some levity with something like that. The first day we’re doing it in walk through. Max [Unger, the center] turns around. There’s no one to snap to. Drew and Taysom are kinda looking at each other like, is it me? Or is it you? And —”
- Brees continued: “Rock, paper, scissors.”
- WR Austin Carr on the New Orleans’ offense being a democratic group: “I can attest to the democratic process here. There’s an ethos of leaving your ego at the door. Lots of teams say that, but you don’t always see it. Sean’s OK when Drew says, ‘I don’t want to do that,’ and same with Drew about Sean. They’ve found the sweet spot in dealing with each other.”
- Payton on Carr: “Wide receiver. President of his class at Northwestern. He’ll be the president of the United States when he retires.”
- Carr on Payton: “He’s the football equivalent of a coder.”
- Head coach Frank Reich following Sunday’s victory: “Sitting there, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I was so emotional. I really connect with this place and these people and this quarterback, and I just thought how great it was that it worked out that I’m here.”
CHIEFS & RAMS
- Payton on the NFL’s most dangerous player: “Hey Drew, tell Peter who’s the most dangerous player in football right now.”
- Brees: “Tyreek Hill.”
“WHAT I LEARNED” WITH ROHRER
Rohrer: “It’s hard for anyone to understand what it was like for me growing up, and in the NFL. Now that I’m out, I know that you’re either born gay or you’re not. And when I was growing up, it simply couldn’t be a part of my life. I was a scholar-athlete in high school, and being gay did not fit into that profile. I was a scholar-athlete at Yale, and it did not fit into that profile. I was a Cowboy, and it didn’t fit into that profile.
My life was suppressed and managed. So, I got drafted by the Dallas Cowboys and I’m gonna be gay now? No. I don’t think so. Not with the Dallas Cowboys in 1982.”
Read the rest of the column here.
A new “Football Morning in America” will post every Monday morning exclusively on NBCSports.com. It was announced in May that King signed an exclusive agreement with NBC Sports Group that included writing a weekly Monday morning NFL column for NBCSports.com; making regular appearances on NBCSN’s and NBC Sports Radio’s PFT Live with Mike Florio; and continuing to contribute to Football Night in America, the most-watched studio show in sports.