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Coach Sean Payton Q&A with media on Buccaneers

Coach Payton held conference call with New Orleans media Thursday

Photos of Sean Payton vs the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Photos by Michael C. Hebert (New Orleans Saitns photos)

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Thursday, December 8, 2016

What have you seen out of the Buccaneer run game so far this season?

"Certainly they've been patient. They've had games where their yards per carry have been higher (than others). There have been games where it's not been as high and yet we just did a last four-week study relative to the last month of football for them and then prior to that and you see some consistency in what their goals are. They've obviously been in positons to run the ball more of late and I think it's something that is a part of what they are going to do and what they want to do."

What jumps out to you about the middle linebacker Kwon Alexander the last four weeks?

"It's not just the last four weeks for him. He's playing fast, his key and diagnose (diagnosis ability) is really good and you see him making plays sideline to sideline."

How big of a difference is that from his rookie year?

"I don't know that there is a difference in four weeks in his growth. We've just seen him as he's grown into a starter getting more and more confident (because) of experience and playing time and you can see just like you would any young player."

What is the challenge for cornerbacks defending someone like Mike Evans?

"There are a couple things that go into it. Are you playing safety help over the top with him? Are you trying to press him at the line or give him off coverage? I think he does a good job locating those balls above his head, some of those jump balls. There is kind of a confidence you've seen in year two between the quarterback and him and you can see that significantly more than maybe you did a year ago."

How much have (Shiloh) Keo and (Chris) Banjo helped in the coverage units on special teams since signing with the team?

"It's necessary because with the depth at our linebacker position, if you look our linebacker position, shoot we are four deep at a game. When usually you carry at least 6 or 7 and so those guys have kind of filled those roles and so with the injuries and some of the spots we've had the depth is the big concern and it's probably hurt us in the kicking game. Last week we were able to get the punt return game going. In some weeks you can't control kickoff returns because you might play a team that decides just to kick it deep and yet lately we've been given opportunities and we've got to be better there. This is another opportunity and the team we're playing is struggling in kick return as well."

How much has the constant change in personnel impacted that special teams unit?

"I think significantly from the standpoint of the coverage unit. You look at guys like (Craig) Robertson that are frontline core guys initially to start the year and then you've got a change of (Nate) Stupar who's playing more defense. I think there has been some attrition there and then there have been some elements that have nothing to do with that. That doesn't impact how you kick a PAT or that doesn't impact certain parts of it, but the coverage units are I think the ones that you see impacted more readily, more noticeably."

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