New Orleans Saints Quarterback
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
How’s the process going to work with play calling?
“Sean (Payton) will be calling the plays just like he normally does, he just won’t be on the sideline. He’ll be up in the box.”
How different will it be not having him on the sideline?
“We experienced it in Tampa with that game. He got hurt very early on in that game and then was gone for the whole second half. He definitely has a presence on the sideline that we all feel. I’m used to looking over at him and reading body language. As he’s talking to me, that’s the voice I hear. This will be an adjustment, but then again when I do come to the sideline my communication is usually with Pete (Carmichael). We’re over looking at the pass pictures together. I’ll get up and talk with Sean a little bit but a lot of the communication happens in the headset between Pete and Sean and then back to me. I think we have a good flow as far as how we communicate on game day anyway and a lot of it comes through Pete. I think the fact that it’s going to be Pete’s voice now and he’ll be actually relaying the plays into me, that won’t be all that unusual for me.”
Now that Sean will be sending the plays down to Pete and he’ll be relaying them to you, how much of an adjustment will that be?
“We did this before when I was in San Diego. Cam Cameron was our offensive coordinator and there was a year or two when he was up in the box relaying it through Brian Schottenheimer to me. I’ve done that before so you understand where the challenges are and it’s just the fact that it has to get relayed. There are a couple seconds earlier that you have to get the play out. The fact that I don’t know the setup up in the box, but I’m sure Sean will have it all laid out. I’m sure we’ll go off of that hitch.”
Was today’s practice a little different today?
“Yes. Again, Sean kind of has his hand in everything. There are times during practice where he might go off and be talking with the defensive backs or the linebackers or the offensive line, so it’s not that he’s always with the quarterbacks necessarily. Just because he’s the head coach, he has to have a beat on everything. There are plenty of times in practices when he’ll say, ‘Hey Pete, you’ve got it,’ and Pete will be calling it off the script or making adjustments. The fact that Pete was the one giving me the play today wasn’t all that unusual because we’ve done that many times before. I think that’s part of being a head coach is being able to delegate stuff at times and also in a way you’re always grooming your other coaches for their development.”
Where will there be a hole without Sean Payton down on the field?
“There’s no doubt it’s a little bit different. You’re used to seeing him roaming the sidelines. You’re used to looking over and seeing his eyes because he has the play sheet. You still feel body language. We’re still going to have communication throughout the week like we normally do and meeting the night before games. I still feel like the anticipation of certain plays in certain situations is still going to be there. But just the fact that he’s not going to be right there on the sideline if I need to talk to him or if he needs to talk to me, it has to be over the phone and not face to face.”
Did you take a bigger role in the game plan than normal this week?
“We have a really good routine anyway that involves me talking with Sean and me talking with the offensive line coach and Joe Lombardi and Pete Carmichael. We see each other many times over the course of a Monday and Tuesday going through stuff now. I’ll probably spent a little more time with them than normal yesterday just because in Sean’s absence and the fact he’s still in the hospital trying to get things all set for when there would be communication with him. We just try to streamline it and help the process a little bit. Like I said, I think we have a good process that involves all of us communicating anyway, it just happens to be that we’re communicating over the phone or via conference as opposed to face to face.”
How impatient do you think he’s going to be up in the booth?
“It’s a first for him. I’ll let him tell you after he does it. I think the biggest part of it is initially you say to yourself, ‘How did this happen, why did this have to happen of all things? Now I’m on crutches and can’t walk for six or eight weeks, whatever it’s going to be.’ But then after a while you just come to grips and say, ‘What do we have to do? What are the adjustments we have to make?’ I’m not saying there won’t be things that we’re going to have to work through here throughout the course of this game and as we move forward just with him being up in the box and the rest of us being downstairs. I think we have good enough leadership. He empowers our assistant coaches a lot anyway. I think for all of us it’s business as usual, and then if there are adjustments that need to be made along the way then we’ll make them and we won’t even think twice about it. That’s the way we operate.”
Do you think the way he stayed on the sideline after sustaining an injury like that garners even more respect for him?
“Sure. I think at times we get so locked in on the game and the moment and what’s happening. I see Sean go down and then try to get back up and go down again, and I have genuine concern in my heart for him. And then again we’re right in the middle of a football game and I have to have my mind focused on this game and what’s happening. All of a sudden he’s gone and you’re wondering if he’s alright, and yet we’re in the middle of a game. It’s not until afterwards that you look back and you say how gutsy he is and how he wanted to be out there with us. But obviously the severity of the whole deal, he had to go get himself checked out and then prepared for surgery. He already had a lot of respect, but I think guys look at that and certainly think he didn’t have to stay on the sideline for any amount of time. He could have gone straight to the hospital but he chose to stay there because he didn’t want to leave us.”
How bizarre is it not to have Peyton Manning playing on the other side?
“If there’s any other guy I’d rather go up against, then it better be another Purdue guy. In that case, we’re ok. I don’t have very good luck against Purdue guys up to this point. I haven’t had too much luck against Kyle Orton, so hopefully things will get a little better this time around. I’ve been asked whether I get up a little bit extra for when I’m going against a Super Bowl champion quarterback or something like that, and I think deep down as a competitor you say absolutely. The fact is never once am I going up against Peyton Manning directly. It’s me and my offense against their defense just like it’s him and their offense against our defense. The fact is that it’s the first time we’ve played these guys since the Super Bowl. It’s Sunday Night Football. We’ve been on the road for a long time coming back home. They’re a defense that can really make your life miserable if you don’t prepare and do certain things to prevent that. I think we know the challenge that’s ahead of us regardless of who’s quarterbacking on the other side. I’d also say that obviously they have a lot of confidence in Curtis Painter. Guys on their offense were clamoring for him a few weeks ago. I think they like what they’ve seen over the last few weeks. While they haven’t been able to win some of these games, they’re right there in every single one of them. They’ve lost late in the fourth quarter four weeks in a row. In other words, they’re right there competing ready to win that game, playing their butts off and we expect no different when they come to town. They’re a team that knows how to win. They’re an organization that knows how to win. They’re well-coached and well-disciplined. We’ll have our work cut out for us.”
Are you surprised you guys haven’t been able to run the ball more efficiently?
“I felt like we were running the ball well effectively up until two weeks ago. The last two weeks it’s fallen off and we just need to pick up. I feel like we have a great run plan this week. I feel like we’re making an emphasis maybe more so than other times because we know that we’ve struggled a little bit the last two weeks. We understand that we have to improve in a lot of areas but especially in the running game. We want to be as balanced as possible. We understand how that helps our offense the more balanced we can be. That’s definitely an area of emphasis.”
Is it odd that you have a leading rusher in
“It’s tough because so much of it is a numbers game. Especially when you’re banged up at certain positions, there are only so many slots on game day. I think it’s a good problem to have when you have a lot of guys and so many carries for them. We’ll continue on and whoever is out there is obviously doing a great job. We’ll see what transpires here, but I think the big emphasis is no matter who’s back there we need to make sure we’re doing a better job overall in the entire run game.”
Does it feel good to be back home for a game?
“Yes. We’ve been on the road forever so it will be nice to get out in front of the home fans for Sunday Night Football against the Colts. This is what it’s all about.”
Sean Payton told us he’s never been injured before. Are you going to have to let him know what the rehab is all about?
“It’s tough because rehab was my job when I was coming off my injury and it was the offseason and that’s all I was focused on for eight to ten hours a day. He has another job, which is head coach, game planning and other responsibilities that come along with that. This is certainly going to be another challenge for him. His mindset though is whatever the challenge is, we’ll find a way to overcome it. Despite the fact that he hasn’t had an injury before or an injury like this one, I’ll make sure to stay on him about the rehab.”
Would it surprise you to see him explore contraptions to get back on the sideline?
“There’s no question. I’m envisioning some kind of hovercraft on the sideline, some kind of back to the future hovercraft that he figures out that he figures out a way to be back on the sideline. This is a process and we’re all working our way through it. His mentality is that he’s going to do whatever it takes to do all his things and be head coach and then on the side doing the rehab and everything else he needs to do to get himself better.”
Is it odd that he played high school, college, and semi-pro quarterback and never sustained an injury?
“That’s surprising. What he’d probably tell you is that he was such a superior athlete that he just had a knack for not getting hurt. That’s why you just look at it and say of all the years of playing football and taking hit and all this other stuff, I get hurt standing on the sideline. You just kind of shake your head.”
Are all the interceptions starting to frustrate you?
“Yes, that’s disappointing. Regardless of how they happened, you walk out of a game and even if you feel like you had two picks and both of them were tipped, it’s still a bad mark on your record. In some cases, there is something that you can do something to get this fixed. There’s a fine line because my position is about trust, confidence, anticipation, and accuracy and if you hesitate for a second or over-analyze for a second, it’s not happening. In fact, that’s when things get worse. I’m certainly not going to press either. I’m still going to turn it loose and have trust, confidence, anticipation, and accuracy. Understanding though that with the framework of that, there are times where you say this can’t happen. This is the worst thing that could happen right now and it can’t happen. You protect against those things happening at those times.”
How is this Colts defense different than the defense you faced in the Super Bowl?
“Personnel-wise, they’re different. I’d say they’re without half or maybe less than half of their starters from the Super Bowl year. When you look at their team, I’m not sure exactly but they have about as much maybe half their team from the Super Bowl year. Here’s the thing, I see them as having been on the field a lot this year, maybe different than in years past. Obviously the longer you’re out on the field, the more it wears on you and that kind of thing. There have been times that they’ve been put in some tough situations this year with turnovers and that kind of thing. Really, I think they’ve played pretty well. You see them flying around. They’re very disciplined. These two defensive ends are the greatest tandem ever and two of the best individually ever too. They have some game-changing guys on that side of the ball. You have to have a plan for what they have.”