Check out photos of Saints coaches and staff from the team's Week 2 home opener against the Patriots.
After a second consecutive standout performance by the opposing quarterback, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton said the team will continue to look for different ways to pressure the quarterback.
The Saints sacked Tom Brady* *twice (by Hau'oli Kikaha and Alex Anzalone) in Sunday's loss to New England, and took down Sam Bradford once (Cam Jordan) in the season opener against Minnesota. But the Saints haven't generated the consistent pressure that they've sought, and were able to produce during preseason.
"We've got to keep looking at creative ways to apply pressure on the quarterback," Payton said. "There were times where (Brady) had more time, obviously, than you'd want to find a route or a route that's broken down and converted into a different route – (Rob) Gronkowski's touchdown, for instance, starts in the flat and (Brady) buys a little time in the pocket and breaks coverage on third down and ends up with a touchdown."
MARSHON'S PRESENCE:Rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore continues to display the coverage skills that had him ranked at the top cornerback in the draft. Lattimore had a couple of pass breakups Sunday against the Patriots while shadowing former Saints receiver Brandin Cooks, and Payton said he likes what he has seen so far. "He's had two good starts. He's long, he does a good job at the line of scrimmage, especially with his press technique, so that was encouraging. We've got to keep working with him on some of the nuances. There were a few different coverage looks, especially in the nickel, where you're tracking a matchup. They ran a pick play that ended up being flagged but correctly overturned (on a 13-yard touchdown pass from Brady to Chris Hogan) because it was right at the line of scrimmage. But I think will come with experience. We've just got to keep working on those details."
LINE CHANGE:Sunday's offensive line shift put Andrus Peat at left tackle (from left guard), Senio Kelemete at left guard (from finishing the Minnesota game at right tackle), and rookie Ryan Ramczyk at right tackle (from left tackle, where he started the season opener. Right guard Larry Warford and center Max Unger remained at their respective positions.
The line allowed a sack, the Saints ran for 81 yards on 17 carries (Mark Ingram had a 28-yard run on the final play of the game) but Payton said mostly problematic was the three penalties committed by the unit. "We had three and when you have those types, whether it's the offensive holding or the hands to the face, those are significant penalties and hard to overcome. They're generally penalties that don't lead to any production of a drive. But I think that the group will continue to play better. And they're going to have to."
PAYTON ON VACCARO:Safety Kenny Vaccaro was benched for a portion of Sunday's game. Payton said the reason was twofold. "Part of it is also trying to get some snaps to Vonn Bell. (Against Minnesota) we were in some three-safety look, we weren't in as much of that Sunday. That's something that I made the decision on and yet, he was back in the game fairly shortly afterward. We've got to keep working with his consistency and his alignments, and I think I know he feels like he can play better. But we'll continue to get those guys work. He's going to be important to our success."
TRYING TO GUARD MIKE:Through two games, receiver Michael Thomashas 10 receptions for 134 yards as the Saints' No. 1 receiver. Payton said the Vikings didn't employ any special looks for Thomas, but that the Patriots appeared to keep closer tabs on him. "I don't know in Week 1 that we saw anything different. Minnesota, there's a certain scheme you prepare for, and they played it. I would say yesterday, there were a number of snaps where it was a safety lean or a double in the red zone. The first touchdown we throw to Brandon Coleman (from Drew Brees)* *was kind of a mirror pattern to both sides, Drew saw the overload over toward Mike and came back over to Brandon. We have to be prepared for that and fortunately, we've got a veteran quarterback that can see when that's taking place."