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John DeShazier: Saints Coach Sean Payton not too concerned with elements in Buffalo

Posted Nov 10, 2017

Wind will be a bigger factor than temperature

While the forecast for Sunday’s game against Buffalo at New Era Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., calls for an overcast day, with high of 42 and 10 percent chance of precipitation, the New Orleans Saints and Coach Sean Payton have dealt with the elements before.

And they’ve expected worse weather before.

“We went to Philly for the (wild card) playoff game in ’13 and we thought that was going to be, like, minus-5,” Payton said Friday. “And (quarterback) Drew (Brees) had researched, we all had this scuba gear.”

That drew smiles. The story got funnier.

“You’ve got to understand, thus scuba gear, it doesn’t really wear well for everyone,” Payton said, drawing laughs from the media contingent. “But nonetheless, it’s kind of underneath your pads or sweatshirt. It was a night game and it was probably, not minus-5, but it was probably like 31 degrees, or 29 degrees. There was actually not much wind. And I was crazy enough where I had a piece underneath my sweatshirt.

“I’m telling you, after the pregame, I came in and ripped this thing off. I’d lost 10 pounds. I was hot as could be. So I think from a temperature standpoint, I think moreso the wind, the field position, just the elements of another stadium. The returners, we’re getting extra work with outside punts in the kicking game. This field position is critical in a game like this, I think.”

Linebacker Craig Robertson, who spent his first five seasons with Cleveland, said the issue is more of a mental one.

“It’s something you’ve just got to go through,” he said. “When you get there it’s, ‘Oh, well, it’ll be chilly.’ It’s something that you’ve got to know in your head, like, ‘Oh, it’s going to be cold so I’ve got to prepare for that now.’ So when I get there on Saturday, when we land, it’s not like that shock, like, ‘It is cold.’ ”

MAKING A NAME: Robertson said defensively, the Saints don’t think much about what happened last season, when New Orleans finished 27th in total defense (375.4 yards per game allowed) and 31st in scoring defense (28.4).

Through eight games this season, the Saints are 15th in total defense (326.6 yards) and tied for ninth in scoring defense (19.4).

“We’re just trying to create our own identify,” Robertson said. “We’re finally starting to get in the right direction of creating our identity. So we’re just trying to keep building in the right direction and try to get to our ultimate goal at the end of the season.”