New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Wednesday, November 02, 2011
"Two players that didn't practice were Mark Ingram (heel) and Jon Vilma (left knee). Junior Galette (right knee) was full, Sedrick Ellis (ankle) was full, Jonathan Casillas (knee) was full, and Dave Thomas (concussion) was full. From a transaction standpoint on the roster, we placed T Charles Brown on Injured Reserve and we signed T Ray Willis in jersey number 67. We signed WR Andy Tanner to the practice squad and released QB Sean Canfield."
What was Charles Brown's injury?
"Charles ended up with this hip flexor. He's going to have surgery. His rehab is going to be pretty extensive. We had it examined and kind of held off until we got the doctor's notes. I don't have the date of the surgery. I'll get that to you or Greg will get that to you on when it's going to be done, but the amount of rehab and the time he would have been out would have gone actually past the end of the season and further than that. Based on those findings, we made that decision to move him to IR and signed Ray Willis."
At the midpoint of the season, can you give a snapshot of where you think things stand?
"Number one, we're 5-3. That's an obvious statement. I think what's important is there are a number of areas we think we can improve on that we're going to need to improve on. We have an important stretch of our schedule right here before the bye with divisional games coming up beginning this weekend and the following week. That's basically what I'd say. Let's make sure we're getting better in a few areas specifically and get more consistent and understand the significance of this divisional game coming up this week."
Do you think the journey of the offensive line since training camp with transactions and injuries has contributed to their play recently?
"No, I think two weeks ago we had one of our better games. This past week we didn't play very well in a number of areas, not just in the offensive line area. There are some new players getting more playing time and I think that it's a group that's been a strong-suit of ours and will continue to be."
Zach Strief wasn't on the injury report. Are things looking up for him?
"He'll start at right tackle."
In the last five weeks, your run defense has given up 5.8 yards per carry. How concerning is that going into this two week stretch?
"We're playing two good teams that run the football. That's one of the areas that we'll pay close attention to and one of the areas we feel will be very important as we hit this stretch of division games."
How disappointing is it after bringing in Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin to stop the run?
"Each game takes on a little bit different shape in regards to what the point of emphasis is and what you want to do defensively. It's easy to look at certain numbers. You look at last week's game and there were three runs that took place on third and 15 or more that were runs where we were in a prevent defense and basically we're more than happy to let them run it and tackle them and force a punt. But all that being said, it's an area we're spending time on and an area we feel like we can improve on both offensively and defensively. We feel like we can run the ball more consistently and better and the same thing goes for defending the run."
How far along do you feel like Chris Ivory is at this point?
"It's really just his second full week now. Hopefully we see the continued improvement as he's more and more comfortable with playing with full pads and playing in live action."
As far as coming off a game like Sunday, what is your message to your team the following week?
"Today is Wednesday. The message has been delivered. We've talked about it already. Now the focus is on Tampa Bay and really this game. If your question is going back to Monday, it would be, 'Hey, here are the things that show up on film. Let's make sure we understand what we didn't do that regardless of whom the opponent is and where you're playing them that you have to do in order to win football games. Where we're at today is all Tampa Bay in regards to what we're looking at and the focal point of our preparation."
Looking at the first game against the Bucs this season, what stands out to you on film?
"It was a game we fought back in and had some opportunities. I think the turnovers stand out really. There were four of them. Tampa played well. At times, we did some decent things and we sputtered at times as well. I think the turnovers were the one thing. If you study closely and you look at this series, that statistic is each week but it's been vitally important in this type of game and it has been for the winner of the Tampa-Saints games. Two week ago we played so that's an important film study."
You said the message has been delivered. How do you think it's been received?
"We come in on Mondays and we go through the game tape closely. We talk about that film and the players see it and we make the corrections. You hope that each week you're able to learn from certain things and yet obviously it was a step backwards but it certainly wasn't a step that's going to affect how we play moving forward. We're not going to allow it to."
Where is your offensive line and where do you need them to be with the return of Gerald McCoy for the Bucs?
"I think this is going to be a great challenge for us this week because Gerald's gotten off to a great start this year. He had the injury. He's a very physical player and is playing very well. I think their defensive line presents a lot of challenges. (Adrian) Clayborn is rushing the passer very well. Both ends have really produced. I think those early downs for us are going to be critical and our ability to have balance. I think it's going to be a game that I don't want to say is going to be won or lost in the trenches, but it's going to be an important game for both fronts, both our offensive and defensive lines with the battle against Tampa Bay's offensive and defensive lines."
Can you talk about the challenges LeGarrette Blount brings?
"He's a physical downhill runner. He has some traits that I would describe as similar to Chris Ivory. He runs with power or a good pad level and has been a player that has really come on for them. We didn't see him in the first game. He's a guy that you have to get a lot of people to the ball to tackle. He's a tough tackle by yourself."
The Saints have always seemed to play well in big games coming off a loss. Does that give you a sense of comfort going into this game?
"I don't think during the course of the week we deal with a sense of comfort. We deal with a challenge and we deal with recognizing the importance of a divisional game and getting really ready to play a real good team at home. I do think it's important that you're able to bounce back and fight through the adversity of a tough loss and there's a lot that goes into that. I think we're mentally pretty tough. We'll be rested for this game. We'll have a good week of preparation and each day really focus on what we need to do that day as it pertains to Tampa."
How much has Jonathan Vilma's injury slowed him down in games?
"You'd like to be one hundred percent healthy. So much of our game there are a number of players that line up to play that are fighting through an injury, and Jon's one of those players right now. He's making progress. I'm anxious tomorrow to see what he's able to do and I think he's further along on this Wednesday than he was on last Wednesday or the Wednesday prior. I think it is something that's fairly common in our league with players that have to balance what they do during the week in order to play at one hundred percent or close to one hundred percent on game day."
Is he playing at one hundred percent on game day?
"No, we just finished discussing the fact that he's dealing with this injury. I think it's as close to one hundred percent as you can be, but I think you have to balance that during the week."
It's kind of a quirky schedule that they only played one other team before playing you again. Does that make it easier?
"Every once in a while, I think within the division you'll play a division game fairly close. I think this happened to us before. I think both teams know each other fairly well from a personnel standpoint and a scheme standpoint. I do think that the last game study is important. At this point in the season, we're halfway through and we have enough film to where you begin to recognize certain things that you can expect to see and yet you begin your game planning off that. I do think the prior game being that it wasn't too far back will be something that both teams look at closely and study closely."
Is there anything logistically different that you'll be doing in the second game from the press box?
"Obviously when you're at home you have a better feel for the transport as far as getting up to your spot, but overall it was pretty smooth."
How do you think the offensive line has played up to this point looking at their stats?
"They're a big part of really any team's success. We're currently 5-3. They've played very well at times, no different than our team at times having played up to the standard we have. It's a group that's very close-knit. It's a tough group. They have a lot of snaps behind them, some more than others. I think they'll be ready for the challenge this week."
Do you think there's any additional challenge for them than they've faced in the past with the change in personnel?
"I think we talked about this two weeks ago. You don't take for granted but we had some consistency in regards to starting lineups for a while, but I think in our league over a period of time you're going to have some changes at every position. We have some on the offensive line. Zach Strief is a guy that has a lot of experience and has played for us. If you just go through the lineup, really Brian de la Puente at center is the younger player from a rep standpoint and the rest of those guys have a lot of experience."