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Sean Payton quotes from final press conference before Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Posted Sep 13, 2013

Coach Payton met with the media post-practice on Friday

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, September 13, 2013

Opening Statement: “This has been our first normal week routine when you look at the  schedule.  Today was a lot of red zone work and goal line short yardage.”

Can you talk about how this weekend will be your first time back in Tampa Bay since you got injured on the sidelines in 2011?

“I think more than anything, I have paid more attention to staying behind the play.  If there’s the line of scrimmage and you are behind it, you are usually in a good position.  I think we should be alright.”

Can you talk about Garrett Hartley’s consistency?

“With that player, I don’t want to say it’s streaky, but he is hitting the ball just like you want, clean right now, much like a golfer.  He had done that as well in the preseason. To start the season the way he did was a great sign and even in practice this week he has been consistent and that’s encouraging.” Sean Payton

How much easier is it to make a decision when you know he is hitting the ball so well?

“There are certain areas on the field, when we are going inside, we look at a certain yard line that is pretty consistent.  When we go outside, somewhere during pregame, he and I might visit and if there is a little breeze, it might be hey, 32 yard line this way and 35 yard line this way.  I think it’s the latter really.   I think when you have a good kicker and we have had a number of different kickers here that you are confident in, you just know those range spots and you just make those decisions.  Periodically if someone at that position that you are really struggling with, then it becomes a bigger problem, but he has kicked in big spots and he has been real consistent now.”

For the last couple of weeks, Curtis Johnson told his players at Tulane that the more desperate team usually wins, do you implement the same kind of philosophy here?

“I think the one thing in our league that we always pay attention to, especially when you are playing in the division, when the schedule comes out, you tend to look at games and trips and the first thing you look at is travel or primetime as it pertains to a short week or a long week.  The thing that is in flux is always teams coming off a tough loss and that’s a tough loss that they came off last week with the position they were in.  Playing at home, in the division for them (the Buccaneers), they are a much improved team and we know they are going to be a tough challenge.  I think educating your players on that is important.”

Does the thought of Tampa Bay going 0-2 creep into your mind when gameplanning?

“I think it is too early in the season.  I don’t think that.  I just think it’s the sense of urgency to win, especially a division game.  Everyone wants to play well at home so there are a number of things.  I don’t think we look at it that way but that is just from experience.”

Can you talk about facing two division opponents in a row and how going 2-0 is so important?

“Last night at the end of that game, they interviewed Vince Wilfork from New England.  Three or four different times during that interview he brought up the importance of playing division games and how they matter.  It (New England) was an example of a team that went on the road and then came back home and won a game.  I just finished talking to the players about that same topic and understanding that when you are playing in the division, they are all tough games.  When the season ends and you look back on even Atlanta’s team a year ago with as many wins as they had, they split with New Orleans, they split with Tampa Bay, and they split with Carolina.  It’s hard to win in the division.  Certainly, it is hard to win on the road in the division.”

What have you seen from Jimmy Graham?

“I think that he has been consistent. I know that he has worked on all the details.  He is still a young player.  He is someone that works very hard on his trade and prepares like you would expect a professional, but I think the consistency (is important) and it’s good to see him (have it).  There are a handful of players, Zach Strief is another who is in really good shape who came to camp in good shape and it’s a first time in a while for him that he has been able to go through an offseason without a lingering injury (to rehab).  I think it helps a player.”

Do you think that temperature will be that big of an adjustment for you guys?

“It’s typically warm.  We know it’s going to be a warm game, (stressing) hydration, getting all the fluids in us, the salt, all the things you would do.  I think it helps us practicing in it here and we have some familiarity with it.”