*Saints Head Coach Sean Payton *
*First off, congratulate Minnesota. It was an exciting game and obviously a disappointing game to lose in the fashion we did. I was proud of our players though. We fought back in the second half, kind of climbed back in it. Made enough plays to put ourselves in that position. This will take a while to get over. At some point it will pass; it will just take a little bit of time. Overall, I was proud of the fight and the way we played and responded in the second half. We got ourselves in a hole in the first half but in the end we came up short. *
Q: What can you say about your team’s resolve?
A: I think there has been a lot of fight this year. We have dealt with a lot of adversity, a lot of different players, a lot of injuries and guys have stepped up. They fought hard until the end. We lost to a good team tonight and had a chance.
Q: Have you ever been a part of an ending like that?
A: Oh yeah. I mean listen, in our game, if you play it long enough, you have some wins like that and some losses. The losses are tougher to get over. Hopefully when your career is done you are a part of more of the wins than you are the losses.
*Q: What was the defensive call on that last play? *
A: It was an outside zone; we were protecting the sidelines. Anything inside and you’re in a pretty good position when the game is over. It’s a situation we practice quite a bit. Look, he jumped and went for the tackle. The call was what we wanted in that situation – the right call.
*Q: What did you see from Drew Brees tonight in the second half versus the first half? *
A: We started catching some looks, making some plays. We converted some third downs, which we couldn’t do in the first half. We got a little momentum going, stayed balanced. We still managed to be able to run the football, but more importantly we were able to convert some third downs.
Q: Have you had a chance to speak with Marcus Williams?
A: I will at some point. It’s not on one player. You guys, I’m sure, won’t swamp his locker. He’s played well for us all year. It was a timing decision obviously. He’d like to have that back, but he’s been a good player for us all year.
Q: What was your reasoning for the two challenges you called during the game?
A: Our monitor was down; our booth was the only booth that didn’t have a feed to it. You just got to go with your gut and fortunately, it wasn’t an issue with the time outs.
*Q: What made you go with that trick play involving Willie Snead? *
A: That was a perfect situation; it’s what we wanted you know, man-to-man. I liked the timing of it. Some of these things you have that don’t come up but that third-and-short was something we’d wanted.
Q: Did the feed go out or was it never working?A: The feed was out for a handful [of plays]. Lsten, that happens though. We didn’t get a look at any of those, and I felt like they were significant enough calls. Like I said, fortunately, the timeouts didn’t affect us.
Q: What would you say about Wil Lutz long field goal?
A: It was a big kick, right? A big kick. I’m proud of him. He felt confident and I’d gone out basically just to remind him that they had called a time out so he wasn’t going to get another time out all. But he hit it clean and the guys did a nice job. Special teams played well. That blocked punt was big; it led to a touchdown. There’s a number of things that helped the turnaround in the second half.
Q: What was your message in the locker room after the game?
A: That’s our business. This is a special group, a young group. But that’s for us.
Q: Because this is a young group do you handle how you address after a loss like this differently?
A: We try to be straightforward. Look, everyone is disappointed. You get that close to advancing again. It’s a tough loss, a difficult loss.
Q: How much do you think the environment in this stadium affected the game tonight?
A: I’m not sure. It’s a good environment; they do a good job with the production here. It’s probably one of the better home game environments that you see in our league. We just didn’t play well enough and didn’t do a good enough job early. Fortunately, we were able to bounce back in the second half.
Q: What can you say about the two plays that led to interceptions? Did you have to make an adjustments at all?
A: There were a couple, yeah. A lot of times you play it differently and don’t get caught, depending on how tight the defenders are.
Q: When do you have to start thinking about the business side of the game now that the season is over?
A: Listen, you’re asking me that tonight. We’ll keep you posted. We’ll have a mandatory Monday or Tuesday visit with you guys and we’ll ask the same questions. It turns pretty quickly to the next phase, but this is tough right now.
Q: Obviously Everson Griffen tipped the ball on that one play which led to a pick. Did it feel like tonight the odds were just against you?
A: No, you can’t look at things that way. You look at it like, ‘Hey we have to be better with the calls. We have to execute better.’ You have to change that you can’t look at it like things just aren’t going your way. We never think that way, ever. Really.