Check out the top Saints player performances through the first four weeks of the 2016 season.
Snippets from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Wednesday teleconference:
- As could be surmised, Payton has high regard for Carolina tight end Greg Olsen, who has had a great deal of success against New Orleans – and pretty much every other team. Last season, in two games against the Saints, Olsen had 17 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns and this season, entering Sunday's game in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, he leads the Panthers in receptions (33), receiving yards (516) and is second in receiving touchdowns (two) through five games. "Before I even get to his skill set, you can watch him play each week and see passion," Payton said. "There's a toughness element to him. He takes on the task of blocking the D gap, or getting down the field on a post, or a double move, or a seam, with the same enthusiasm. He's a very good foot athlete. He's flexible. I remember him coming out of high school, and then coming out of college. And I think you clearly see the respect of his team. He's a big player and he comes up big for them in moments. He's extremely, extremely talented."
- The return of receiver Kelvin Benjamin hasn't given Carolina the offensive jolt that was expected prior to the season, but he still provides another significant option for the Panthers. Benjamin was a 1,000-yard receiver as a rookie, then missed last season with a torn ACL, but leads the Panthers this season in receiving touchdowns (four) and also has 21 catches for 308 yards. "He's a tremendous athlete. He's got size and his body type (6 feet 5, 245 pounds) makes it very difficult not only in the field, but when you start getting into the red area – he's a target that becomes tough to defend that way. It's another weapon that you have to account for."
- Quarterback Cam Newton didn't play against Tampa Bay on Monday night due to the concussion he received in the prior game, against Atlanta. Payton very much expects Newton, and not Derek Anderson, to be taking the snaps for the Panthers on Sunday. "In our case, we're preparing for (Newton). We feel he's going to play. I think that's clearly the only way to approach it and yet, we understand the strengths and weaknesses of Derek and the other players that may or may not play on their team. But in this case, our plan is to see him and we're planning accordingly."