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John DeShazier: Takeaways from Coach Sean Payton's Monday teleconference

Offense didn't have many snaps in first half

Check out the Saints vs. Lions action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

Short takes from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Monday teleconference:

  1. It's hard to score when you don't have the ball, and the Saints didn't have it much in the first half. New Orleans had seven offensive snaps in the first quarter, and 23 of a first half in which Detroit led 13-6 on the scoreboard, 33-23 in offensive plays and 18:35-11:25 in time of possession. "Seven snaps in the first quarter – we had some early third-and-1 opportunities, we don't get the shotgun snap on the first third-down situation and the next one, we come up short on a running play," Payton said. "Here we are after the first quarter with seven snaps. First half, we're at 19 snaps before we get to the two-minute. Our third down numbers in the first half were 2 of 6, which wasn't good."
  1. There were some good things to be drawn from the way the Saints played defensively, Payton said. But there was a glaring negative. "The thing that's a concern was the third-and-long situations. They were 3 of 6 on third-and-10 or more, with a touchdown and a 28-yard average. That down and distance for us defensively, we've got to improve on."
  1. Payton offered a modification to a statement he offered after Sunday's game, in which he said the Saints appeared to have low energy, as if they were playing on a short week. "The thing to be careful with that is, defensively I think we played with energy. I think offensively, there's an element in there – there's an element of execution that shows up more than energy. It's frustrating when it's sloppy, when you don't get a shotgun snap correctly, you fail on a third-and-1. So I would describe more of it as the execution early on, especially on those third downs, which led to the time of possession in the first half. I was frustrated, certainly, with how sloppy it was. But watching the tape, watching us play defensively, watching us in the kicking game and watching us offensively, guys are playing with great effort. And yet, it was just the antithesis of how we wanted to look. It wasn't sharp. We did a number of things to hurt ourselves; we had eight penalties offensively. Those are things that we've got to have cleaned up by this time of the year. When you have those penalties and you're first-and-20, you're putting yourself in a hole where all of a sudden, there's a drive where you're starting backed up because of a penalty. Those are all things that hurt your chances of having a successful drive."
  1. Tight end Josh Hillinjured his leg on a 3-yard reception in the second quarter and did not return. His presence was missed and possibly will be missed in the future, depending on his status. "There's versatility that he gives you at the tight end position, there's versatility that he gives you when he's playing in-line at the 'Y,' " Payton said. "There's a handful of things."
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