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Sean Payton quotes from final press conference before Carolina Panthers game

Posted Dec 20, 2013

Sean Payton spoke with the media after practice on Friday, December 20, 2013

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, December 20, 2013

Did you guys come outside and have the wind to work through?

“Yes, all week long I think the temperatures sound like they are going to be fairly warm.  I am sure there will be a wind that you have to pay attention to.  Today that was the case, not only just offensively or defensively, but (also) as it pertains to punts and kickoffs.  I think that awareness is important.”

In general what is the drawback to using an up-tempo offense?

“Typically you would be working off a set list of plays and there are some positives in regards to the tempo, in regards to oftentimes it becomes hard to rush the passer repeatedly.  You can become fatigued and see a lot of teams rotating their defensive linemen in and out of games against an up-tempo offense.  We kind of pick and choose spots where we will go quickly to the line.  We have done it, depending on how the game’s unfolding and then sometimes just to create tempo if we feel like we are maybe not in a situation where we are not having much momentum.  Your play selection is maybe a little bit more limited without just one personnel group on the field.  Then, what is it that you want to do within the running game within the framework of that.”

I think you might still have the best time of possession or the longest time of possession since you have been here.  Was that a conscious effort?

“I think that is probably in fairness to, I think that is a result of consistency both in the passing game, certainly in the running game, but third down conversions.  I think there is a lot that goes into that.  It starts with the manageable third downs.  If you’re in those third and seven or eight, third and 10, you’re probably not going to have a high conversion rate and are probably going to have less snaps, you’re probably going to have a smaller time of possession time.  They kind of go hand in hand, but I think it is a byproduct of the quarterbacks.  In the second half if you are playing with a lead then you are able to do things to hopefully bleed the clock. You may not be in four minute offense, but you certainly are in an offense where you are trying to let the clock run when you are playing with a lead.  The team we are playing this week is number one in the league in time of possession.  I believe we are three right now.  The point is, there are teams that have possessed the ball for chunks and we have all been in these games where these quarters are moving pretty quickly and you look up and there is four minutes left in the first quarter and you might have had one possession.  You think, what happened to it?  In fact, the last time I think we played at home here, the first quarter I think they held a big advantage in the first quarter and then it flipped in the second quarter.”

Is Keenan Lewis a guy that should be getting the Pro Bowl and more national respect or does it matter?

“I think it always matters to the player.  I think those things are important.  And I think that our league historically the players, the coaches, the personnel people, see that film.  I think it may be a more challenging to someone that isn’t on television as much.  Now we have played a lot of national TV games, but I think he has been very consistent.  He has very good range, long arms, and I like the fact that when you are playing that position it is a little bit like you are drawing the best matchup. It is not always the easiest one.  He has been very consistent and played at a very high level and certainly you can pull up these numbers statistically, burned defender stats, all these other things and he is going to grade out exceptionally well and should be in those discussions.  I think very much so.”

Is it fair to see that he is exactly what you were looking for when you signed him?

“Yes absolutely.”

When teams play more than once in one season the one that loses talks about what they need to do differently.  Is it more about execution or game plan?

“I think that good teams have certain things they believe in both offensively, defensively and the kicking game and those are consistent week in and week out.  I think certainly there are some things that you tinker with, but there is never that whole sale where we are going to completely go to this.  Because, look, when you play in a game like this, it is important that the players know these plays by heart.  When you play in the Super Bowl, the best advice I received was the first 10 minutes you think that you have their attention, but you better make sure they have things that have done repeatedly as opposed to the new projects.  Yeah there will be things that are different and both teams will be forced to adjust, but by and large there is a front and coverage.  There is a handful of front and coverages that show up repeatedly for both teams.  That is what you practice against and you adjust versus some of the things that you haven’t seen.  I think that is pretty common with a good team.”

The difference as in tinkering or the normal tinkering you would do after a loss?

“You make adjustments, a different type of pressure.  Yeah, it might be something.  Look, if you really pay attention and you go back and watch the film, you can see certain things that you got away with, but you also recognize it if they are watching that very clip of film they are going to feel very comfortable coming back with it and that goes both ways when you watch the tape, objectively look at it and say we made a play here and made this stop, but it could have easily went the other way in favor of the opponent.  It is addressing those things that may come up.”