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Q&A: Sean Payton's Monday Conference Call

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

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, October 31, 2016

After the way that Tim Hightower played yesterday, could he get more carries moving forward?
"Yes, definitely. He is someone that I think's been a consistent performer for us since he's gotten healthy. Each week we look at the opponent, we will look at the game and how we want to distribute the touches. It is always a challenge for the positions, much like (at) quarterback, (where) usually you are playing one of them at a time. You can get a rotation and we have done that. It was good to see him go in there and play well."

Was your intention to not return Mark Ingram into the game originally, or was it the way that Tim (Hightower) was running?
"I think it was really the way that Tim (Hightower) began running. That ball security was such an important part of playing those guys and I think the intention at the beginning was not to not return him, but I just felt that with the way that Tim (Hightower) was running – he was getting into a pretty good groove and that is the way that it unfolded."

What do you envision for Mark (Ingram) going forward?
"We'll see each week. Mark (Ingram) has, obviously, an important role with our team and our offense."

You have won three out of four now; can you zero in on a few areas that have been common threads in your success in those three wins?
"I think we've had pretty good time of possession. I think, offensively, we've done pretty well on third down. I think that's helped us play a complementary game. Conversely, defensively, our numbers in those wins have been good. I think our ability up front to hurry the quarterback or apply some pressure to the quarterback has helped as well. We have gotten the takeaway, the interception yesterday by Nate (Stupar) was a big play. Going back, Carolina – you are going back to that game and the ball security and turnovers were big there. I think there's a back and forth that can take place between the offense and defense. It is important that we complement each other."

You haven't always had your projected starting offensive line together on the field during the game this year; how well did they play yesterday?
"I think there are some really good bright spots. We were able to establish the line of scrimmage. There are some areas still that we want to clean up. I think we will have that opportunity with that group being together. Overall, our pass protection was good. There were a number of times where Drew (Brees) was able to get to his second and third target."

How important were those defensive stop to keep the Seahawks off the board?
"It was encouraging and yet they were able to come down the field before the half and get a couple plays and had a chance at a field goal and be it the holder muffed it, but we will still continue to work. Obviously, we spent a lot of time on those end of game, end of half situations."

Why are those situations so tough?
"They're fluid and what I mean by that is that after each play the situation is different, timeouts remaining, area of the field, you're working, one situation on one play, but then the result is this and now all of a sudden you're playing for a hail Mary for instance on that last play before the kick or you're playing for a sideline (pass) you have to prepared for both to prevent a receiver from getting out of bounds and stopping the clock. They're very fluid and there is not a lot of time between plays and you have to quickly adjust."

What kind of affect can it have to get past the hurdle Seattle represented?
"I don't know as much as a hurdle, I just think for our team we felt like whenever you get tested by a good opponent you have a chance for growth and we felt that way yesterday. An opportunity to play a good team and play well at home again and get another home win. Those were the things that we felt were important."

Do you expect Sheldon Rankins to be activated?
"We'll see how this week goes, he's progress has been good. We'll see how he practices day to day and kind of go from there."

When do you have to make the Sheldon Rankins decision?
"I think during the week, but I think leading up to the game I don't know (that) there are any restrictions."

What was your reaction to the Saints getting picked for a London game in 2017?
"I think positive, especially if it's someone else's home game. Our experience having been over there once in 2008 was a real good fan base, all sorts of teams so it becomes a little bit more of a neutral game if you will, but I think we gained something going over there as an organization it gives you a chance to bring your team closer together and also a chance to bring the organization closer together. I think our experience back in 2008 was good. I think the way we handled the itinerary and how we practiced and preparing for that game ended up working out well, obviously when you win the game your recollection is a positive experience so I think in a busy week preparing for a real good opponent it was just kind of off the radar news that was next year and that seems like an eternity away."

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