New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, September 18, 2017
When you looked at the film, was there anything that stuck out to you?
"The obvious was just the big plays. Then I would say our opportunities offensively, we had some but certainly we weren't able to keep pace with New England. I think we have to keep looking at creative ways to apply pressure on the quarterback. There were times where he (Tom Brady) had more time obviously than you'd want to find a route or a route that's broken down and converted into a different route. (Rob) Gronkowski's touchdown for instance starts in the flat and then ends up (where Brady) he buys a little time in the pocket, breaks coverage on third down then ends up with a touchdown."
When you say you have to be creative, how much does that indicate that your guys aren't winning one on one matchups up front?
"Well one of the things Tom does a great job with is releasing the ball quickly. He gets to his primary (option) right away and recognizes what you're doing. He was able to do that yesterday. Sometimes you do it through your four-man rush. Sometimes it might require more. It becomes a difficult chess match with someone who's so good at really getting the ball out of his hands on time. I think we had a sack. We had him forced up against the pocket once. He was able to climb and gain some yards. I think each week depending on who we're playing I think certainly the clock in that player's head we have to continue to look to affect it and help the back end that way."
Regarding man to man defense, how much man did you play in the game? Looking back on it is that an area that you thought you guys did not do a good job with?
"There were a handful of real good snaps. But just as many that were not as good. We were going to mix the coverage between man and some single safety zone. We played some two deep zone as well. One of the challenges in the man to man's when you get the extended sets and he is able to see the coverage if you have a tight end outside of a receiver or a fullback outside of a receiver and whether they shift back in. He was able to get to a touchdown pass early with one of his running backs (Rex Burkhead) on Alex (Anzalone). So it's really trying to have a balance. I think when you see a quarterback like him, it is hard to stay in one coverage without him seeing it and being able to attack it. You're wanting to obviously show a decent mix. Handling (Rob) Gronkowski is tough when you're playing that man trying to leverage him. There were a few double calls where we were going to put two on him. But I think it's always easy to after a game to look back and say well we should have played more zone. I think the key is playing with a good mixture with man and zone."
What were some of the things you liked about how Marshon Lattimore played yesterday in his home debut?
"Well he's had two good starts. He's long. He does a good job at the line of scrimmage especially with his press technique. So that was encouraging. We have to keep working with him on some of the nuances. There were a few different coverage looks where especially in the nickel where you're tracking maybe a matchup and they ran a pick play that ended up being flagged but correctly overturned because it was right at the line of scrimmage depth. I think that will come with experience. We just have to keep working on those details."
How different are you seeing teams play Michael Thomas compared to last year?
"I don't know if in Week One that we saw anything different. I think (with) Minnesota there's a certain scheme you prepare for and they played it. I would say in Week Two, yesterday, there were a handful of number of snaps where it was a safety lean or a double in the red zone. The first touchdown we threw to Brandon Coleman was kind of a mirrored pattern to both sides. Drew (Brees) saw the overload obviously over towards Mike and came back over to Brandon. We have to be prepared for that. Fortunately, we have a veteran quarterback that can see when that's taking place."
How good was it to see Hau'oli Kikaha with a sack?
"I think he gives you an edge presence. The one thing he can do is bend. It was encouraging. Hopefully that trend can continue. Typically, with Tom (Brady) it is hard to get to him outside because he does such a good job of climbing the pocket. Oftentimes if you're not careful you can find yourself behind the quarterback which is a tough place to be as a pass rusher. But it was a good play on his part I think for him taking advantage of the noise and the silent snap count when your opponent is playing here. Hopefully we can continue to get that type of production and keep working ways for him to be involved in the pressure."
What more do you need from him to get more action?
"I think there's two things. I think number one is situationally. I think he's someone we value in the sub-rush. Yet, we have to be careful that a player his size doesn't get worn down in a lot of the base situations. I think he can play the run, and I'm not saying that. His strength is certainly in the second down and third down passing situations."
How are you addressing just the overall confidence in the unit right now? Is that something you have to worry about at all?
"These guys are grown men and they understand the sense of urgency we have to play with and we have to practice with now starting with two losses. We can't get back to the practice field quick enough. We talked about it a little bit as a team. I know from just the leadership standpoint and the captains on this team we have a divisional game coming up against a tough Carolina team."
Kenny Vacarro said after the game he was surprised to be pulled from the game and didn't recognize that he was making repeated mistakes? When you watched the film was it a situation where you saw too many errors?
"Part of it's also trying to get some snaps to Vonn Bell. Two weeks ago we were in some Buffalo three-safety looks. We were not in as much of that yesterday. That is something that I made the decision on and yet he was back in the game fairly shortly afterwards. We have to keep working with his consistency and alignments. I think I know he feels like he can play better. But we'll continue to get those guys work. He is going to be important to our success."
The running backs have not received a lot of opportunities yet based on the flow of games partially. How do you find the balance of getting this running game going two games before the bye week?
"It's been an emphasis of ours. Obviously we made some changes in the offensive line. There were some yards we left out there I think and we'll continue to work on. I think it's going to be important for us as a team. We talked in the offseason about the ball security and the turnover ratio. We haven't had a turnover and yet we haven't had a takeaway either. But I think it's something that will continue to improve. Hopefully we can see those signs earlier than later. Again I think there were a handful of plays yesterday that were blocked up pretty well. Then both those backs along with Alvin (Kamara), and then you talk about Mark (Ingram) and Adrian (Peterson) they just need a crease. We have to continue to work on the combinations. We had a much different type of defense last night than in Week One. It's still something we're working on and grinding on."
How would you evaluate the play of the offensive line yesterday following lineup changes that were necessitated by injuries at both tackle positions?
"There are some plays where those guys (for example) obviously the footwork for Ryan (Ramcyzk) is a little different because he's coming over to the right side and his stance and sets. For Andrus (Peat) he's handling a little wider rusher. The concerning thing are the penalties. We had three. When you have those types, whether it's the offensive holding or hands to the face, those are significant penalties and hard to overcome. They're almost generally penalties that don't lead to any production on a drive. That is the thing that you come away from initially. But I think that the group will continue to play better and they're going to have to."
Has there been some instances on some of the deep balls with Drew (Brees) and younger receivers where he thought the route was going to go one way and the receiver thought it was going another way? Is that a work in progress?
"I can point to (a) play yesterday it would be the fourth down play where he and Ted Ginn (Jr.) are still working on the timing of, it's really an inside fade and the ball was a little outside. I think the clock in Ted Ginn's eyes regarding getting his head around (timing). That would be something that we'd work on more this week and just making sure that not only from the outside position but from the inside receiver position if the coverage leans one way being able to take advantage of that. Obviously just the reps and time on task is something that with a newer player would come up. I can't recall broken routes or routes that were missed if you will.
I think it's not necessarily the route run, I think there was one last week from Drew to Tommylee (Lewis) in the end zone where it looked like he through it to a spot and Tommylee turned another way. We say that you guys have so many moving parts on this offense and still succeed but is that?
"I would say the precision that we're used to is still a work in progress. The exactness where guys need to be and how they're going to react in man and zone is still something that I think needs to be better."
Also there's the one where Alvin Kamara seemed to get off strut for a moment on that down the field throw, do you remember that one?
"Yes, it was a corner route. I think just finishing on the play. That was a man to man play and earlier he had thrown to him when he was outside and on that snap he was inside. And the angle in which he's running that obviously Drew (Brees) sees the matchup and I think that's something again with the repetitions with those guys we'll improve, especially with a rookie player."
Check out photos of the Saints and Patriots in Week 2 action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.