A few short takes from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton'sThursday morning teleconference:
- The offensive line was a position of focus this offseason and entering the regular season. It remains so, but mostly because of how effective it has been despite the fluidity of the left side of the line caused by injuries, and the late offseason addition of right guard Senio Kelemete. "I think they've played well," Payton said. "We've been in different type games regarding run or pass. I think that we're protecting the passer as well as we have in quite a while and I think we've done a good job when asked to run the football. A lot of each week just marries to the matchup and also the type of game we're playing. We've had to shuffle a few guys in and out of the lineup; I think we've handled those adjustments fairly well. And you continue to work on certain things you want to be more efficient at."
- Opening-drive success remains an emphasis, and has come to fruition the last three games in the form of touchdowns on each opening drive. "I do think it's unique to other drives because you can script," Payton said. "That doesn't mean you stay right on the script, but it allows you to give some thought to what you may want to do personnel-wise, play-wise, to where you can even walk through or get reps at those first dozen plays. The night before the game there's a little comfort, if you will, of knowing maybe what to expect early on, like you have the initial answers to the first 10 questions of a test. Now, I've done this long enough and we've done this long enough to where you've seen a perfect first 10 or 15 script, and you're three-and-out. The execution, ultimately, is what you need."
- There may be more Daniel Lascosightings in the near future. The rookie running back, the Saints' seventh-round draft pick, made the team primarily because of his special team impact, but is being incorporated more into the offense. "I think I probably – we probably – just haven't given him enough touches, partly because of the last couple of games and how we've played. But we really like the prospect and I would say that he's really done a good job in practice. Hopefully here in the next quarter of the season, we're going see him get those opportunities because not only does he help us in the kicking game, but I think he's really progressed as a running back."