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Head Coach Sean Payton Discusses Continued Prep for Panthers

    <span>              <span style="">Q: Why did you practice outside today?</span>                  

A: I think just to change it up. We get going so much inside and it's a little hard on your legs with the surface. We had good weather. We talked about it yesterday and today. We wanted to do it one of these two days.

Injury Report: (Scott) Fujita, calf, did not practice today. Sedrick Ellis, knee, did not practice. Lance Moore, ankle, did not practice. Will Smith/Kendrick Clancy.aspx">Kendrick Clancy, knee, did not practice. Malcolm Jenkins, ankle, was full. Marvin Mitchell, foot, was full. Jonathan Goodwin, knee, was full. We did a lot of nickel work today, typical of a Thursday.

Q: If Fujita can't go again, do you have a set rotation to replace him with?

A: The guys who have gotten his snaps in the base are Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Troy (Evans). Those are the two guys who have gotten the base work. I'm still hopeful. We'll see where tomorrow's at. It's getting better. Those will be the two guys to date of taking those snaps.

Q: Are you concerned with the kicking situation in terms of John Carney missing a couple of field goals?

A: I said this at the beginning of the week with our players, that there are a number of things we have to improve on. The snap-hold operation has to be cleaner. We had a protection snap earlier in the year. I think it's the whole operation. There's some other areas where working on and have to improve on. We have to get better in our return game, specifically the punt return game. The coverage units have been better. The key is much like offensively and defensively, finding ways to correct the mistakes and really improve week to week. That's what we're trying to emphasize.

Q: Is the snap-hold operation the reason for the last two misses?

A: No, it was the reason for the miss before the last one. The one where it came down late at Miami.

Q: Does having another kicker on the roster maybe force you to look at it a little bit more?

A: I just think it provides you with a little bit of a luxury that you have two kickers. Most teams don't carry two on the active roster and we feel like we have a good talent in Garrett (Hartley) and we have a steady veteran with John. We're fortunate with the ability for our punter, Thomas Morstead to be able to handle kickoffs well and he's playing well. It hasn't really affected his punting.

Q: Is improving the punt return game a matter of change in design or personnel?

A: I think probably it's just getting the execution. The holdup's outside, we've gotten beaten with some doubles, where you really shouldn't where you're doubling a gunner, mixing up the looks. For us, it's really the fundamentals of what we're teaching and spending more time on it and giving him some room to make a play. Last week we get a decent return and then a holding call and so that obviously negates it. When you get a penalty on the return, it's minus the return, penalty from the point and then all of a sudden, there's a 28-yard penalty more than a ten yard holding.

Q: Do you see the positive punt return, are you starting to see it hit?

A: We're searching for the perfect return, the one that results in a score. We've seen it.

Q: Is the four to six week prognosis for Sedrick Ellis' return that has been reported in some media reports accurate?

A: I don't think so. I think it's going to be sooner than that and yes, the key is making sure he's 100 percent. I think it's inaccurate.

Q: What's your strategy on taking a knee as opposed to running out the clock?

A: Looking back, we're up 11. We're not in a position yet to run the clock out and so typically we take the approach we're going to hopefully get the first first down and then take a knee. But being up 11, we probably could have brought that thing down to 17 seconds and punted. I'd like to think we're good enough in our running game and ball security to understand the situation and yet it didn't happen the other night and all of a sudden this game is lasting longer and getting closer than you want it to be. I have to look at that closely. That' something where we have a number of charts. As soon as you're in position to take a knee, you want to do that. In years past, we've taken a knee earlier and certainly the other night would have been a situation where had we taken a knee we could have really punted them with about 17 seconds down 11. That's something I can do a better job of.

Q: Were you trying to get a first down to end the game?

A: First down to end the game and one first down is what you need. It comes up a lot every weekend. You see someone every week in the four minute and you know if they get one first down, they're on a knee. We have to be smarter with ball security and I have to look at that closely when it's 11 as opposed to seven or six, when it's a two score game. Those are two things I think we can do better on.

Q: Was Mike Bell's play not that fundamentally wrong?

A: It wasn't fundamentally good. The ball came out. You absolutely have to be smart with how you're carrying it, two hands on it. He got caught and really just yanked from him. We have to be better in that area.

Q: Can you talk about the fullback situation with Charles Grant/Kyle Eckel.aspx">Kyle Eckel and David Thomas?

A: Both of those guys are getting a lot of work. Kyle's getting more work now that he's here for week two. He's a smart guy, so he's picked up a lot of nuances of the scheme, playbook and terminology and Daivd's someone who's been with us. We'll continue to work both of those guys.

Q: How did Bill Belichick let a Navy guy go?

A: I don't really know. I know he's been in New England and been in Philly. Maybe that was the reason he got to New England to begin with.

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