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Payton's Friday Presser

Coach gives final injury report, hopes for loud Superdome Sunday

Opening Statement:

"Pierre Thomas (ankle) was full today. He's probable. Julius Jones (ankle) was full today. He's probable. Tackle Charles Brown with his back was limited today. He'd be questionable."

Did things go well with Pierre this week?

"He's had a good week of practice. He's really in his second week, this week full and he's ready. He'll be up and part of the plan."
Do you have the luxury of not overworking him?

"We'll be smart and try to package the plays accordingly like we do and we'll see how the game unfolds in regards to his snaps."

When Drew Brees was asked about Jahri Evans and holding calls and he brought up an example of cornerbacks and how they are often holding receivers, but the good corners often don't get called for it. Do the quarterback and cornerback have a matchup similar to that of pitcher and hitter in baseball?

"No, I think as a quarterback you're probably more in tune to plays where the wide receiver was obstructed and vice versa. At the beginning of the week, you're always paying close attention to who's playing in the base, the nickel. Where do they deploy the nickel? Some teams bring him off the bench and he plays over the slot. Some teams bring in nickel (corner) outside, someone from outside comes inside. Who of the group has good ball skills? Who of the group can run? Who's small and who's big. That's studied very closely and a lot of what you do in gameplan is you pay close attention to that. (Marques) Colston's little fade the other day at the end of the game was to the right, purposely not against (Leon) Hall to our left who's bigger and has extremely good ball skills. That type of thing and at that position with Drew, you start with your studying and look at the pass rushers that you have to be mindful of, the safeties with the ball over their head. All those things go into the gameplan and go into his mindset when it comes into progressions. So week by week that can vary. I think he's very attentive to that when he watches the film initially and pays close attention to that."
Even though a quarterback has to study all 11 guys, is the cornerback position what he keys on the most?

"I think there's targets. Each week you want to know who the targets are, who you want to go after. Some weeks there might be more than one. Other weeks there might be a handful of good players you have to pay attention to, so that varies week by week. You'd have to ask him in regards to that. I don't view it that way. I think he looks at the big picture."
Is it a great luxury to have the health you have right now in terms of game planning on offense?

"Number one it's always good to be healthy. You don't ever take that for granted, especially this week and at this time in the season, but I think when you put the plans together, you put them in place with players in mind, progressions in mind and there's no guarantee that primary (target) gets a throw. There's more to each play. The one thing in regards to the running game, there isn't a guarantee in regards to who can get that carry. It's a little different than in the passing game, you try to package plays with individuals so that during the week they're getting the same reps in practice as they get in a game. There are some variations with that. There are some players, where it might be (Jeremy) Shockey. It might be Jimmy Graham. It might be Reggie (Bush), or Julius (Jones) or Pierre (Thomas). So, sometimes there are variations. Sometimes there's little or no personnel or formation variation. So, depending on the play you're always trying to evaluate and put these guys in the best position to be successful and then let's make sure those reps are given during the week with those plays and that the same player's practicing the same pass, run, screen, draw, are getting those reps in practice that they'll get in a game. It's a little bit more specific than that and so, that's the challenge when you deal with injuries during the week when you're uncertain to a player's status and you need to have players taking the same reps in case a guy can't go."

Is it a tougher plan for you to come up with when you have more or fewer players?

"It's always tougher when you have fewer. It's always tougher when you're handcuffed by injuries, because you have fewer options"

Talking about targets at cornerbacks, if you have a corner that gets picked on, does that require some physiological rebuild the next week?

"That position has the nature of playing left tackle and each week Jermon's (Bushrod) going to face some of the best defensive ends, some of the best in the league and so you start with how can you help. You can help with chipping. You can help with a tight end over there in protection. You can help with a back. The same thing happens with a receiver when you might be going after a certain corner. You can help with safety play over the top. You can do a handful of things. The key is mixing it up. That's one way to help any corner, particularly when you go against teams that throw the ball very well. That's a hard position to play and those guys need to have short memories. So much of that is confidence, forgetting the last one and going on to the next one"
Was there an accusation this week of pumping in crowd noise at the Superdome?

"I was getting ready to say that I thought it's been getting pretty quiet the last two home games. I was going to have one of you guys ask me about the crowd noise and see if we could get this thing going. Clearly there hasn't been anyone pumping in noise. You're not allowed to do that."

What type of noise levels are allowed?

"You can't have any artificial noise or create any artificial noise in any venue. I think we can be louder. I thought with Seattle it was okay, but I know that it can be a lot louder in there. We're in that stretch of the season where it needs to be louder."

Is that something recent where they've banned artificial crowd noise?

"No, I think it's been a few years now."

Did you see a report? It came from the Ram's Flagship radio?

"That's inaccurate. That's monitored by the league. They have ways to (monitor). That's not true. I think there was a time when that existed, but I think it's watched too closely now. It's too easily detected."
What concerns you most about the Rams?

"These would be the things I'd tell and have told our team: Defensively they give you a lot of blitz looks and their sack totals are in the top five in the league right now, so, their third down as a result of it is in the top five. They're getting off the field. They're hurrying quarterbacks. They're creating pressure with their four man rush as well as their dog blitzes. They're playing with very good team speed, so you see that on film. Offensively it's a much different team than a year ago. The offensive line is playing much better. The quarterback of course is giving them stability and confidence at the position and they have arguably one of the better running backs in the game, so it's completely different than a year ago. In the kicking game, they've been very opportunistic. Their coverage units have been outstanding. Those are the specifics that when the week starts and you look at this team (and discuss) why are they winning. What's the difference from a year ago? In all three areas they're much improved. You can see that if you just want to look on paper. You can also see it when you watch the game tape."

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