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Payton Friday Q-A


New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Friday, October 3, 2008

Opening Statement:

"To review the injury report that's going out, Marques Colston, David Patten, Jeremy Shockey, Aaron Glenn – all of them are out. Sedrick Ellis (right knee), did not practice and he'll be out for this game. Chris Reis (hamstring), did not practice, he's doubtful; Randall Gay (hamstring), was full, he's probable; Jonathan Goodwin (hamstring), full, probable; Mike Karney (ankle) full, probable; Mark Campbell (hamstring), full, probable; Troy Evans (ankle), full, probable; Aaron Stecker (hamstring), full, probable; Terrance Copper (hamstring), full, probable; and then Olaniyi Sobomehin (shoulder), full, probable."

What happened with Sedrick Ellis?

"It was a meniscus repair that was done this morning through a scope and we'll see where it's at – they tell me anything from two-to-four weeks. It was fairly simple, and yet it was still a procedure that needed to be done and they did it this morning. We have to move on and understand that obviously Brian Young, Antwan Lake and some of those other guys inside are going to have to get more snaps."

How did he do it?

"Sunday he felt some soreness after the game and then it felt fine Monday. Tuesday they were off and Wednesday he practiced and felt pretty good and then yesterday he just felt it catch. That's pretty symptomatic of a meniscus, so they wanted to go in and look at it, they did, and then this morning they did the procedure."

Did he feel soreness before Sunday's game?

"No. Sunday during the game it was sore but then it kind of went away and basically the way it's explained is that it's a little bucket-handle tear. It's loose enough to wear it can catch. You can feel pretty good for a day and then all of a sudden it catches and locks up a little bit."

How big of a blow is this for you?

"It's a challenge. We understand that it's something we have to deal with. We're playing the game and I think our players will handle it well. The good news is that it's a shorter period of time. Our goal for him is to have him back in time for Carolina along with guys like Shockey and Colston. Right now someone else is going to have to pick it up inside and we understand that."

Is there enough time to possibly bring in someone else before the game?

"No, I don't anticipate us doing that right now. We could possibly bring someone up from the practice squad, but we'll see what tomorrow brings. It will certainly be more time for Antwan Lake and more time for Brian Young."

Are there any thoughts on bringing Hollis Thomas back?

"We're still a few weeks out from that being a possibility."

Is Antwan Lake the guy that takes over that starting spot?

"We're rolling a lot of guys through there but Lake and Brian Young will both take over a lot more snaps."

Does it seem like in four or five weeks you've had a season worth of injuries?

"They kind of come this way sometimes. More important is how you respond and I think our guys will respond well."

Has the tweaked groin that Martín Gramatica had last week been a factor this week?

"We backed off the amount of kicking that he's had and today he kicked pretty well. We just wanted to rest it some and he handled it pretty well today. That was encouraging."

Might we see more of Charles Grant at defensive tackle now?

"That's more of a nickel issue at times; not as much of a base issue."

Is Martín OK to kick off Monday?

"We'll see. I don't know if I could tell you that right now. I just saw him kicking today and he felt pretty good, so we're hopeful that he is."

You and Brad Childress were both part of the coaching class of 2006. You and Mike McCarthy are the only ones from that class that currently have a winning record. Is there anything you see that would be a reason for that?

"I think it's fairly common in that every year you take the number of vacancies that are available – whether it's nine or whether it's five or six – and then move ahead three years, the likelihood of all or a good majority of those openings to be dealing with a winning record is unusual. In other words, those places changed head coaches for reasons. Brad is trying to do the same thing that all of us were when we got hired, and that's to get the program turned in the right direction, begin a winning tradition and put his stamp on their team. Obviously there are challenges that come into play with that and we've done some things here that we're excited about and yet there are a lot of things ahead of us still that we're working toward.

I think that if you reflected back not only on that group of head coaches, but if you took each year you'd probably find a couple that in three years out would have winning records and the majority still trying to get it turned around. That's the challenge in our industry and that's the thing that you work to overcome. Whenever there's turnover, you step back and start anew and there are some growing pains. For us, our transition happened quicker with that first season but each year you're battling that."

Do you think you having Drew Brees and McCarthy having Brett Favre has something to do with the success?

"You want good players. When you go back through the process of Drew Brees with Miami and the Saints, getting the right player in place is a key to winning along with making those right decisions. That decision specifically is paying off well for this organization and all of us. That's part of it. Having a quarterback and knowing what you want to do with that quarterback is very important."

Is there anything that has surprised you since taking over the head coaching job?

"I don't know that there has been anything that surprises you. I think there are things that you begin to adjust or adapt into as a head coach differently than when you were an assistant. There is some on-the-job learning to it and you hope that where you have been in the past and those lessons serve you well. I feel very grateful and feel like I've had an opportunity to be with some real good coaches – head coaches and assistants and real good organizations that have helped shape and mold who I am as a coach now and I think that's important. I use that and reflect back on a lot of those lessons and lean heavily on that, no different than I lean on my coaching staff. It's creating a culture and an atmosphere that is conducive to winning where everyone is really on the same page and I think that's the thing that we try to do first and foremost."

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