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Q&A: Sean Payton's Thursday Conference Call

Audio and quotes from Sean Payton's Thursday conference call

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Local Media
Thursday, December 10, 2015

Was Mark Ingram's shoulder injury kind of an accumulation of things over a couple of weeks?

"Yes, he had the shoulder and then after this past game he had another MRI done and there was more damage done to it and at that point he knew the club knew after the MRI that he had on Monday that he was going to have it fixed. He's getting it done today and will go through the offseason rehab, but it got worse after the Carolina game. He is tough. I think was playing good football for us, but after this MRI it was clear."

What was the nature of the injury?

"It's his left shoulder (torn rotator cuff) and it's the same shoulder that kept him out (of part of the Washington game). He had an AC sprain and then after this past game he knew it felt different and they went in and did the MRI and Dr. (James) Andrews is doing the surgery on his torn left rotator cuff."

With C.J. Spiller, have you not seen all you expected this year so far?

"Well we're going to get a chance to see him now. I think the training camp injury set him back some and then it's just a matter of the confidence and explosion off that knee, but he will play a significant role as will Tim Hightower and even (Marcus) Murphy."

That has been what has held Spiller back the most?

"I think the injury in training camp affected him. It's the one player that I'm trying to figure out what are the touches and I think that put him behind and hopefully down the stretch we can give him enough touches to see."

Talk a little bit about Tim Hightower and what you've seen from him since he's been back?

"I mentioned this (but) through training camp, we got a chance to see him run. He came off of the roster and then back on the roster. He finally received some touches in a regular season game against Washington. He's competitive, he's tough and he's been in that spotlight (before). I think, for him, it's the confidence that the injury and the leg is 100 percent (now). I am excited to see him play, just like I am with C.J. It'll be a good opportunity (for the both of them)."

This is going to be Kevin Williams' 200th NFL game on Sunday and he'll be only the second active defensive lineman with that many games played. I think he is playing more than we anticipated. Can you talk about his durability?

"I would agree with you. I would say that he is probably playing more than I expected. Number one, he is a very smart player. I would say that he is as respected a player in the locker room as we have. He's got a quiet demeanor about him, and yet a wise demeanor. He prepares every week. Here we are in a critical game last week and he gets his hand on a blocked PAT. You guys have seen enough of those rushes. You really have to want to do that. Here is a guy that was in the draft class of 2003, if I'm not mistaken. Here he is making a difference. I think he has been a great asset to that room and clearly the leader in that room."

Obviously, losing (Mark) Ingram is a big hit in a lot of areas but specifically in protection, how much does it hurt losing him there?

"He has been our third down back, so in regards to the protections, he knows them pretty well. Hightower knows them well. These other guys are on top of it. It's just that Ingram has received more work. With today's practice, it's been one of the (main) focus points from last night, with third down and pressure looks, who is going to be in the game, who is our personnel and how are we going to go about handling it. When you have a change like that, it doesn't just impact your base."

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