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John DeShazier: Takeaways from Coach Sean Payton's Buccaneers press conference

Payton said Byrd is playing his best football with Saints

Quick bites from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Friday news conference:

  1. Tampa Bay tight end Cameron Brate(56 catches for 648 yards and seven touchdowns) spent a week on the Saints' practice squad last season and has become a pivotal player for the Buccaneers. He was undrafted in 2014, spent that season on Tampa Bay's practice squad and active roster and a week after he was released by the Saints in 2015, he signed with the Bucs again. "He's doing well," Payton said. "You see him making plays and there's a confidence level that the quarterback (Jameis Winston) has with him. It's something to his hard work. I think he's become a pretty big staple in what they do. If you look at the targets on third downs, it's (receiver Mike) Evans, then all of a sudden it's the tight end. If you look at the red zone (it's similar). This late in the season, those aren't just trends, those are stats."
  1. Payton said that in the last six weeks, safety Rafael Bushis playing his best football as a Saint. "That's encouraging, he's played real well. His grade this last month-and-a-half has been fantastic, and that's positive.  (Defensive coordinator) Dennis(Allen), I think, has done a good job of utilizing – not just a two-safety look, it might be a three-safety look, depending on what we're seeing defensively – but I think he's got a real good grasp as to what we're doing and you see him playing faster. He's been tackling well."
  1. The approach to Saturday's game will be business as usual: The Saints (6-8) are looking to win, with players put in the best positions to help accomplish that goal. Thus, the younger players that play will do so because of earned time. "If that helps us win," Payton said. "(Trying to win) is our responsibility. I was real impressed with how we approached the week last week traveling west (to play Arizona), and the focus we had. I expect the same this week."
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