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John DeShazier: Quick takes from Coach Sean Payton's Saturday press conference

Payton's final session with the media prior to Monday's game

A few highlights from Coach Sean Payton'sSaturday news conference with local media:

  1. Much of the outside world remains focused on the fact that the Monday night game against Atlanta will be the 10-year anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome re-opening after Hurricane Katrina. The Saints, mainly, remain focused on winning a football game after starting the season 0-2. "Our focus is really on getting a win against a good division opponent," Payton said. "These games over the years have always been close, hard-fought games. I recognize it's 10 years. Last year, it was 10 years from Katrina and this year it's 10 years since the re-opening of the Dome. And yet, there are so many of these players that weren't on that team. I think the main thing is getting focused to play a good football game. Preparation this week has been good. I think the routine that we work on is getting ready to play, play well at home."
  1. One of the benefits of playing on Monday night is that injured players will have a little more time to heal. That time may be crucial for some of them in terms of playing. Among them, left tackle Terron Armsteadwas absent this week from the portion of practice that media was able to view, and defensive tackle Tyeler Davisononly jogged off on the side while drills were being conducted. "We've got a number of players that are questionable and we'll see where they're at," Payton said. "The good news is it's a later game, Monday night. Guys that'll have to step up, obviously at corner – we've got guys playing in a role maybe different than when the season started. The same thing would exist in any other position."
  1. The Saints annually have been one of the league's best third-down conversion teams on offense. This year, so far, New Orleans only is seven for 24 (29.2 percent) on third down; since 2006, the Saints' lowest third-down conversion rate for a season has been 43.9 percent, in '13. "Last week, specifically, there's a handful of snaps where we've got to be better as coaches," Payton said. "We got some blitz looks. We looked at every snap from a year ago and it's a down where you're getting contested, man-to-man coverage, and you've got to find ways to win your one-on-one battles so you're not throwing into a ton of zones. That's certainly been a point of emphasis this week."
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