New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Monday, October 11, 2010
"After looking at the tape this morning and a lot of it was pretty evident, the two turnovers we had backed up were costly and led to 14 points; the one interception and the one fumble. I thought defensively we tackled well and played well. We forced four fumbles; we weren't able to recover them but I thought we did a good job and played with the energy we were looking for. The turnovers were significant. I mentioned yesterday that our coverage units – particularly early on in regards to kick coverage – is something that we're going to have to improve on. Those are the specifics that really jump out at you. Lastly, our ability inside the 20 to come away with touchdowns rather than the field goals that we settled for. Those things, when you look at all three phases of the game on video, clearly jump out on you. 14 points off the turnovers with as good as we were playing defensively, those are game-changers. We'll have a chance to watch it with our players and make the corrections and move on for this week."
When you mention corrections, are these repeat things that are happening?
"Early in the season we started off protecting the ball pretty well and we haven't been as good in that area. We won despite it last week. So that would be one aspect. Early in the season we covered kicks pretty well and we didn't yesterday. Really looking at all of it – ourselves included – and making sure that we're not just turning the page and let those same things come up and hurt us again. Those are critical things – especially the turnovers and some of the red zone possessions as well."
Are there some of areas where the offense is doing well while poorly in others?
"I thought we blocked pretty well for the passer yesterday overall. I don't like the fact that we ended up with a number of penalties. We had two false starts, we had a holding; those are things that are hard to overcome in a series. The main thing is overall more consistency. That's the one area that is evident. We'll put a quick drive together, move the ball with efficiency and then in the very next sequence we'll have penalty, a minus-play or a turnover and you can't operate that way and expect to have real good results. We went up 10-0 in the game and you're looking for that chance to really jump out, especially on the road, and we weren't able to do that."
Is it becoming more evident how much this team misses Reggie Bush?
"I wouldn't say that. You always want your starters, but I've mentioned before that we've played long periods of time without him. I don't think the turnovers are a result of him not being involved; I don't think the penalties are a result of him not being active. Those are the specific things that beat us yesterday."
Were you surprised to see some of the throws that Drew Brees chose to make yesterday?
"There's an expectation level that we get accustomed to when we perform at a high level. That's the bar and the bar he sets for himself and it's the bar that I would say that I set for myself as we go into a game, to be efficient, to play well, to score in the red zone. So when you don't meet those expectations, certainly there's disappointment. There are things that I look at and want to improve on myself. I'm sure he feels the same way. But more importantly than anything else, the one thing about him is that clearly despite any type of numbers, he's interested in doing one thing and that's winning. He wants everyone on the offense to play their best and operate most efficiently and he can recognize, as we all can, that we're not doing that right now and we have to improve."
Would you characterize this as a rough stretch in the season or a slump?
"Fortunately I don't have to characterize it as one of those things. That's one of those things that you guys can characterize. It's a period where it's a loss. That term 'crisis' came from a question and I was responding to it. You know how this league is. It's week by week. Do I think we can play better? Yes. That's the thing that's encouraging; that's the thing that gets you here and started on the next plan and that's the thing that keeps you driven and motivated. We don't have to identify it as anything other than a setback. Any time you lose a game, we feel like it's disappointing but what's most important is what you do about it. That's the real good thing about the jobs that we have; we get to come back and take another test this upcoming weekend."
How close do you feel you guys are to being where you want to be? Do you feel like it's just a hair off here and there?
"That's a good question. We can't lose sight of the turnovers. That's something that can keep you from winning a game despite playing a better game. Statistically you can do a number of things well and forget the red zone for a second, just backed up on the one and backed up inside the 15 or 20 on the fumble; that's 14 points. That's one aspect that we can't sugarcoat or overlook. That's all of us. The other stuff is easier to quickly put a handle on, but the turnovers are something that have to get corrected or that will keep you – even if you play well in the red zone or even if you efficiently do some of the other things that we're discussing – that can single-handedly keep you from winning games."
How frustrating was John Carney's missed 29-yard field goal?
"It's just the disappointment, no different than any other of these plays that we're discussing specifically. He's a veteran player and certainly has poise and confidence. It came a little left and we didn't get the points out of it. But that was one of a number of things that you're disappointed in. I'm sure he'll bounce back."
With the fumbles by your running backs, are you at a point where you have to ride it out with Ladell Betts and Chris Ivory and work through it?
"These are guys that we have a lot of confidence in. I felt a week ago that Ladell played very well. He had the one fumble yesterday. I thought Chris ran hard yesterday. We'll keep coaching them. These are our guys. There's no one walking in here to save the day on the street right now."
Is it your view that maybe in some specific instances some players on offense are just a shade off in their execution?
"You could certainly say that one thing with offensive football is if it's just one player here or there or one call or one miss, that can affect your rhythm, sequence and ability to drive the football. To be operating real efficiently requires all 11 or all the things that go into a big play, big drive or a touchdown. That gets back to the topic of consistency and the ability to go on to the next play and be efficient. It's not going to be without mistakes, but the key is to minimize as many of those things as you can, particularly the penalties and some of the things that keep you from executing."
Is it a time for chair throwing or a time to tell your team to keep calm and stay the course?
"I think this is a veteran team. If you put the tape on, our players in the locker room clearly understand the things that kept us from winning yesterday. It's not time for any chair throwing. I think more importantly than anything else, it's teaching, all the things that we feel when we win we do very well, our workweek, our preparation, the fundamental values that we've held onto that have made us successful these past few years."
What do you do to improve your running game?
"We get back to work Wednesday just like I mentioned. We keep practicing. I thought there were some pretty good signs yesterday. Chris (Ivory) ran pretty hard yesterday, particularly in the third quarter he had a stretch. We just keep working on the details and little things."
It seemed like Drew Brees alluded to that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie should not have brought that final interception into the end zone. What is your view on it?
"It's easier to get an interception when you're up by more than a score if you choose to try to score a touchdown, but if you're up only three…We saw that happen two weeks ago in Atlanta vs. San Francisco. Obviously the smart play is going to be to take the knee and ice the game. It's easier to make a decision like that if you're up by more than one score if that makes any sense."
Is the ball not bouncing your way?
"It's going to bounce all sorts of ways. I was pleased. We had the ball out four times yesterday and caused four fumbles. We weren't able to recover them. I thought those were all positive signs. I said it after the game, as disappointing as a loss like we had yesterday, there were a lot of things when you put the tape on that you get encouraged with. You get encouraged with the hurries, the pressure. You get encouraged with us attacking the football and seeing those opportunities. If you just keep that and continue to do some of the things we did and clean up the areas, then the other stuff will come."
How much does what you were able to accomplish last year change your demeanor in talking to your team right now?
"Demeanor doesn't change. It's consistent. We have a veteran team. I think most importantly the message might shift week to week, but the demeanor, how we teach and how we approach remains consistent during the season."
Are there any injuries to update?
"No, nothing specific."
What about Pierre Thomas?
"Nothing today, no updates. He's getting healthy."
How do you assign blame for the interception that went of Ladell Betts' hands?
"The tough thing about the interception is that you're in a short area with some linemen in front of you. The ball kind of comes out. Drew's (Brees) checking it down and it's one of those where I'm always concerned about internal throws that get tipped. There's one where they play the right coverage or force a check down. It got tipped, but nonetheless, any mistake is magnified down there when it takes place inside the tackle box area. That would be something I would have done differently or changed looking back, but I think it's a tough play. I just can't lay it on one person. Certainly we're confident checking the ball down in the passing game. We do that well and that's one where it kind of gets deflected off the shoulder and they make a play off it."
Are you okay with the frequency of those?
"I don't see it being different than it has been. The team we played yesterday wasn't a big cover two team. Typically you'll get more of them when you see a two deep team. There was a few of them (looks), not any strange amount."
It seemed like you were not in a hurry up mode in the middle of the fourth quarter on offense. Was there cause for concern?
"No, I think with seven minutes left there's a lot of time. Certainly we wanted our tempo to increase. That was basically the discussion we had. Let's get in and out of the huddle. We didn't want to become one dimensional though. In our league, that's an eternity. The way our defense was playing, we wanted to make sure we were operating with the threat of both the run and pass at that time."
Were the early timeouts in the second half you called formation issues?
"One of them was late by me. You're dealing with the noise down there in the tight red (zone). All of a sudden it's late and we don't want to lose the yardage with a delay (of game penalty).
Why did John Carney kick the onside kick at the end instead of Thomas Morstead?
"The obvious onside kick is something that our kickers work on. Thomas worked on the one specific one you saw last year. When it comes to the spike onside kick, all the reps is something both John and Garrett Hartley take all the work on."