New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Opening comments on the game:
"Obviously, it was a good win. There are a number of things we did well. Certainly, the turnover differential was important. Yeah, a good hard fought division win."
On Trevor Siemian's Performance:
"[Trevor] did a good job. He came in. He's one of those guys who is pretty calm. I coached a player like him once, Ty Detmer. He's never (flustered), he's just (signs to show even-keeled). It's a good trait for him. It was not perfect. There were a number of things that we are going to be able to coach off of the tape on. I thought we played with energy, and that was a big concern of mine coming off of the Monday night west coast trip. I thought we played with a lot of energy."
On his faith in the run game:
"I like our ground game. It was a little different defense in this game. Usually, when you put in a sub, [Tampa Bay] would match it, but this game in the first half, there were a ton of heavy fronts, base personnel. It's always been a hard defense to run against. I don't know what our rushing numbers ended up being. They're first in the league. I knew we were going to have to throw to win."
On Jameis Winston prognosis:
"Yeah, I'm going to get an update here. I think it's significant. [Winston] felt something. He's on crutches right now, but I don't want to say until I have a chance to talk to the doctors. When he got back up and had to go back down, you were a little concerned."
On how Winston's injury affected the game plan:
"I was asked that at halftime. I would say, truthfully, that we spent more time at halftime on what Tampa was doing differently then what we have seen them do in however many years or games- a lot more heavy, a lot more pressure. At halftime, we spent a lot of time on protections, personnel groupings ... Obviously in the back of my mind I knew, or at least I felt like I knew the things that [Trevor Siemian] does well. The pressing matter was protection, what runs do we feel good about and our second down plan that changed a little bit. Those moving parts, I think, kind of took us away from Trevor's playing. We knew Trevor was playing. That hasn't happened a lot since I've been here. We've had backups play, but we knew they were playing. This was the second time since I've been here, really. Drew (Brees) got hurt in the San Francisco game, I believe, and at halftime he didn't feel like he could play. This is the second time that I can remember in 16 years. Man, he handled the situation well. It's always difficult when you don't receive a lot of the reps, but he's an experienced player. He's been a starter in our league."
On Trevor Siemian's comfortability with various receivers:
"I don't know that anyone goes into the game saying that we are comfortable throwing to Alex Armah. I like Alex. He's a fullback, and we found him. It was a pressure look, and he scored. It was awesome. I know where you're going. There's no like, 'Oh, I have chemistry with the dude'. I think he has to go out and execute the offense. I think the read took him to Alex on that play. We were counting on a goal line defense. We got on the field late. They matched. They weren't in a goal line defense. Fortunately, we had a play that was going to protect, regardless of whatever defense they were in. I prefer to throw that play to the quarterback's right, but there was a reason for that relative to the game plan. I think that was one of his better throws. That's pretty hard flipping around going that way."
On the play-calling decisions with less than two minutes:
"I know what you're thinking, but here is the thing. They have time; they have an eternity. I'm thinking score. I still haven't met the person that's got the formula. I hear all the time, you can't leave Tom Brady with time on the clock. There are two methods. We could eat up time and kick a field goal, and he has plenty of time to get his team back in field goal range. The perfect scenario is you eat up the clock, and you score. Well, that is easier said than done. In other words, run, run, score on third down. I am thinking of scoring on any down because when you look at the time and you do the studies, him having to come back to kick a field goal is much easier than him having to come back and score. Obviously, I do not want to throw an incomplete pass. I do not, and yet, everything about today's approach was going to be super, super aggressive. I heard the fans. It is what it is, but there's more to it. I'm always curious as a play caller when the announcers say, 'Hey, you want to eat up as much time as possible and then score'. Well then, I want to know those three plays."
On significance of victory with a backup quarterback:
"I didn't understand. I am on my third? I thought I was on my second. That would be my second thought in a game. Had Taysom (Hill) been playing today, it would have been Trevor [Siemian]. It would have been Taysom next week, but look, I understand. One of the traits that I think he has, and I'm talking about Trevor is -- and this is difficult-- some guys have trouble if they don't get the work, the reps with the system. I think he can function and understand. The hardest thing is to pay attention every week like you're going to be in that game when you're the No. 2. You might do that for four years before you win a game. That's pretty hard, but then, you have to pay attention next week. He has some of those traits that you would say, that's not for everyone. Some guys if they're going in without any work, it's going to be difficult. He was cool at halftime, and like I said, there was more thought being given to adjusting to what we were seeing from Tampa than Trevor's in the game. They were pressuring Jameis [Winston]. They were pressuring all of us. That didn't change because Trevor was in the game. It's a pressure defense. They're first in the NFL, meaning in calling pressures, linebacker or safety pressure. Sure enough that was the case today, and we knew we were going to have to be a little aggressive. We weren't going to be able to just try and run it into some tough looks. Kevin [White] catches a deep ball to get us started. I think we scored on that first time. That was tremendously important for the confidence. I think that's one of the challenges in being the No. 2. It's not just week-to-week, it might be two-tothree years. Then, are you ready in Week 5 of your third? That's pretty challenging."
On how that works defensively with backups, specifically P.J Williams:
"At least [P.J. Williams] has packages where he is playing. He is a starter in dime packages, third down, and he is a smart player. I would like to have seen him take a knee, and then the game would have been over. He's always had good instincts, and he's always had good ball skills. Those things have served him well. That was a big play. The turnovers were significant. It is hard to be in the media and say the turnovers are going to be a big difference in this game. Man, they have been so much in our series. The last game I watched last afternoon was our playoff loss. We had four turnovers, yet the third turnover, it is a field goal game. Meaning, we overcame the interception (and) the fumble. That was a hard-fought game. Those possessions are just worth too much, and the game's very fast. They are significant. That was important."
On the confidence of Trevor Siemian late in the game:
"We were throwing some stuff that we know by heart. When we had that time in there, I'm like, 'Boys, I've seen this. I've just seen it'. I'm thinking I want to score and let (Tom Brady) go ahead and do his thing. I have three timeouts, and we might score again. You follow me? There was too much time and too many timeouts in the coach's pocket. That's how I felt. I think our crowd needs to be a little louder, if you want to ask me, on third down. We've had two home games that have been unremarkable, if you want to know the truth."
On players going into the injury tent to check on Jameis Winston:
"Obviously, I didn't see that. Picture this, though, if someone got hurt 20 years ago, guys would go by the bench and check on them. Now, they just go in a tent. I get it. I didn't see it. I know they are trying to do an exam. I think right away they knew [Jameis Winston] wasn't going to be able to return, but they go through a series of things. There's a protocol. That's all. I'm sure they were following their protocol."
On the nature of players like Terron Armstead to go into the tent and check in:
"Absolutely. Listen, absolutely. Man, absolutely."
On if this is the most improbable victory of his career with the Saints:
"I don't know. Listen, it always feels good to win. Obviously, we were playing last year's Super Bowl champion. We have a ton of respect. I think there's mutual respect between the clubs. It's always a hard-fought game. Those guys have done a great job. I've been on the staff with Kacy [Rodgers], Todd Bowles, a bunch of those guys. I know them well, and man, they're tough. Today was the first day, the first when you see some of them to congratulate them for winning a Super Bowl. It was a great run. It's a division game. It means a lot. I'm not really good with that. I haven't put up any type of like -- all the stuff goes in the closets and some day maybe I will reflect on it, but this is a good win. I'm happy more for every player that battled through. I'm happy for Kwon (Alexander), who's fighting a season-ending injury and coming back and playing and being a factor. I'm happy for all those guys that had a good week of preparation. So much goes into the week. The biggest challenge is when you don't have success after like a full week of everything you've got and then mustering up the energy to do it again. That in itself is motivation, if that makes any sense. That was a good win. I'm proud of Trevor [Siemian]. I'm proud of our players. Those guys fought hard, and Tampa fought hard as well."
On Mark Ingram:
"[Mark Ingram] got a game ball today, and it was the 'You can hear him before you see him' game ball. He brings a lot of energy. It's good to have him back."
On his sadness for Winston:
"I cried when I saw him coming in. You know, it's hard."
On Winston's attitude in times of adversity
"Listen, that's a great question.[Jameis Winston] sees things and [Drew] Brees was that way. That trait of being able to tune into a game while it's on, you don't know what the score is when you watch the body language of a quarterback, I think that's an important trait. You could never tell if you were winning and losing when you tuned in and you saw Drew until the score was put up. Jameis is one of those guys that's that way, glass half-full. He sees the positives in the adversity. I think to some degree, I'm probably a little like that too. Man, I'm glad that we were able to win it. He got a game ball as well."