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Q&A: Sean Payton's Friday Conference Call

Audio and quotes from Sean Payton's Friday conference call with local media

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Friday, November 18, 2016

What's your most pressing takeaway now I guess 12 hours later?
"A couple things, obviously the turnovers set us back early. We have had six now in two games and it has been something for the good portion of the season we have been good with and I would say has helped us in regards to winning games, so six offensively in the last two weeks is not good and you are going to lose. I think defensively, we handled the short fields and sudden change stops really well. I thought Nick Fairley jumped off the film a little bit and you see his play, especially not only in the passing game, but in the running game (as well) and he had a real good game. I think in the kicking game last night there are a handful of things that come up in that game, penalties late in the game on two punt returns where we're going to try and get in midfield situations we've got them backed up and when you get a penalty on a punt return unit it's magnified because it's not necessarily where the spot of the foul occurs, your return finish is then tagged 15 backwards so those hurt us and then that swing right before the halftime obviously was a 10-point swing. That would be 24 hours removed."

With all the injuries on offense and defense that take away from special teams when players are elevated to new roles, how much of the responsibility for some of the struggles on special teams falls on Greg McMahon?
"Yeah, I think all of us, it falls on me. It starts with the Head Coach. We have to make sure we're giving the guys the best plan possible. It has to become a way for us to win games, (it is) too easy today right now to just single out one specific individual. The turnovers like I said are the most troubling. I think it's difficult just to point at one specific area."

With Delvin (Breaux) was it just a matter of a short week and do you expect to have him back on the field?
"We'll see where he is at."

With turnovers is it easier said than done to fix them?
"No, it is not, I think it is easier to fix and has to be or you really do not give yourself any chance. We can't give ourselves the closest opportunity to win a game if we're going to be turning it over four (times) against Denver and two on the road at Carolina, just look at the numbers. That has to be something that we understand and we communicate better as coaches and I think the same thing with regards to the takeaways. I think we've not had one yet in the kicking game and defensively I would say we are towards the bottom of the league in taking it away."

Was Mark Ingram diagnosed with a concussion?
"I don't know that he was put in the protocol and I don't know that the final diagnosis was and I don't want to comment on it, but I think he's going to be ok. He's going to be fine."

How has Wil Lutz handled some of these hardships?
"He's a tough competitor and you watch the play on tape from last night and the kick is a little lower than you'd like, but coming off that field and talking to you guys last night it felt like it was a real low get off and watching the tape from the end zone copy the protection has to be a little bit better and that strong side B gap. Andrus (Peat) is doing real well there, so I think the job for everyone else is to paint the clean picture and I think and you've heard me say this, clearly we have the right kicker and I don't see it being as low on film today. It still needs to get up a little quicker, it needs to get up a little quicker, but that unit has to do all their things right and watch the kicker than do his thing right."

When you say get off quicker, do you mean his motions faster?
"No, just a little bit more takeoff, a little lower spot on the ball where you don't want to drive it. Typically, if you just take the angles and you have a shorter kick if I continually bring that kick further back I have to drive it more and more and more and you'd say I'm probably hitting a little bit more of a center point on the football and when you are closer to the field goal (the) crossbar, uprights. I think you're preaching the get off and preaching the height of the kick."

How much better do you think Andrus Peat is now than a year ago and what have you thought of his progression?
"Man it's been fantastic, it's been fantastic. He's playing well, he's had to play left tackle and left guard, but clearly he is more comfortable on the left side and I'm encouraged with how he's performing and look there are certain things you want to clean up, but he's doing well."

A lot of players feel like the team is improving, but just not getting the results, what is your take on that?
"Well it's really the last two weeks right, in other words I would agree. I see some positive signs and I told them that and I'm encouraged with our guys getting back off the injury list. We are healthier now, I see our defense playing better and so really the last two weeks going from right at 4-4 getting that win that we needed to get to .500 and then all of a sudden within 5 days having two tough losses, but I do think there has been improvement and now it's that understanding of alright what keeps you (from winning). Sometimes before you win a game you have to understand what keeps you from winning a game, but I'd share that same optimism."

What do you think about the scene with Luke Kuechly?
"Well first it was Mark (Ingram) and initially there was a reaction by everyone and you feel for the player. In your own mind you say a quick prayer and you just hope that they are well and fortunately with Mark (Ingram) within about 15 seconds, 10 seconds after I got out there he gave me that smile and you knew things were going to be okay. I wasn't able to see the initial play with Luke (Kuechly), but recognized the significance of it and just there is that moment where you have a chance to recognize the player and I think the world of him and respect certainly all he does."

Did you find Mark Ingram shouting as he left the field encouraging or is that a reminder that these guys need to take care of themselves?
"I don't think he was trying to get back out there, my guess and I didn't see that was he was just trying to make sure his teammates knew he was going to be alright or inspire them, but I didn't see that."

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