New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Local Media Availability
Friday, December 28, 2018
Can you unveil your plans for playing starters?
"Look we're going to be smart and yet our message all week is this is a chance for us to you get a 14th win, which has never been done before (In franchise history), but I'm not going to go through the whole lineup. (Teddy) Bridgewater will start a quarterback and let's just leave it at that. He's had a good week preparation and he's thrown it really well. It'll be good to get a chance to look at him."
What do you want to see from Teddy Bridgewater this week?
"He's going to have a chance to play some more. His last games were in the preseason. But he's looked sharp all week. I think we've had a good week (of) practice and certainly the players understand how we want to approach this game."
How beneficial has it been having Teddy Bridgewater run scout team?
"Look each week depending on who you play, he has exceptional arm talent. He's smart. Some of the throws he makes are pretty special, so forget just running the scout team. It's good to have depth at that position and Taysom (Hill) the same way. It's a good room."
What does it say about Teddy Bridgewater now backing up Drew Brees after starting in the NFL?
"He has all the traits you look for. He's pretty smart and he understands short-term versus long-term and he knows he's going to be a starter in this league and I think both sides have benefited. But it says a lot about them and (I) think the world of him, from being around him and working with him. He's been a great teammate and I think he's brought a lot to the team."
Do you have to keep Teddy focused on the game knowing this could be a free agent debut for him?
"No, I think the people in our league know and certainly saw in the preseason, the only evaluation that really teams needed were how healthy is he and that has been answered. I think he's had, like I said good a good week and he'll play well."
Do you see Teddy Bridgewater as a big part of your future?
"Right now that's getting ahead of it, we'll see. We obviously feel highly about him and yet Drew's (Brees) coming off of another great year. No announcements that way and that's something that'll just take care of itself."
How excited do you feel Teddy Bridgewater is about this opportunity?
"When you think about it, here's a player that got drafted in the first round, earns a starting position goes to a playoff game and gets injured in a kind of a freak way and all of a sudden. He's been through a lot. Then to another club and that club drafts a quarterback just real early in the draft. I have no doubt that he's going to be successful and start in this league and I'm glad we have him. He's real young. So he has a ton of good football snaps ahead of him and it's good having him out here every day."
How would you evaluate Tre'Quan Smith's rookie season?
"He's doing well, but there's a learning curve obviously that takes place. He's physical when he blocks. He's doing well."
Do you get on those guys about not hitting the rookie wall?
"13 games. What was Central Florida's record? 13-0. For all of them it's a long season, compared to what they're used to when talking about the younger players. But he's doing well
Can you talk about how significant winning 14 games would be?
"The one thing, relative to where this team is, I would say we've found a way to win some hard fought, close games. Some seasons maybe we weren't good enough in those situations, but we have been this year and we've got a lot of football ahead now. That's kind of where we're at. (We're) not ready to put a stamp on the season, but it's a chance to win the next one. What I like about this team and every one of us working is it feels too good to win. There's too much work that goes into it, and yet there's certain key parts to that and I think these guys understand that."
From a competitive standpoint is there in itch for 4,000 (passing yards) to have Drew (Brees) just throw one first down or does that not even cross your mind?
"We've got this 46 on game day and 53. so tell me who the inactives are and how you're going to play your guys. I don't think that's a significant milestone for him. I think he has set a number of them, but most importantly would be winning. You would have to ask him that. I do not think that's something he is even thinking about."
Obviously, he's one of the top candidate's or contenders for the MVP race missing this next game. What would you say to the voters for the MVP for him to say he deserves that award?
"You are asking the question as if the voters are listening to me. He has had a fabulous year. He's been magnificent in big games, but I'll let those guys handle that."
Why is he so valuable to the team? What are some of the things we don't see?
"It's all the things we've discussed. There's a work ethic to him, the competitive nature to how he prepares, his efficiency down the field, third down, red zone. All the details that go into a long work week. Over the years, occasionally you see not a lot, but a handful of these quarterbacks that have been through 40 receivers 20 tight ends (and) 20 running backs. There's a lot that goes on in preparation and he's playing exceptional right now."
Benjamin Watson* announced he's going to retire. What are some of the things he's brought to the franchise?*
"He's been steady. He's another good teammate, leader. He's one of those players that does a lot of things well and he's had a real good career."
Why was Luke McCown here today?
"He was town speaking I think at a seminar. He spoke at a FCA event and they (he and his family) stopped by practice."
Are there opportunities for some guys on your offensive line to get a look?
"We'll see. I'm not getting into our lineups. I said at the beginning, we'll see how we decide to roll them through."