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Quotes from Sean Payton following the Thanksgiving day game against the Atlanta Falcons

Head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media following the Saints Thanksgiving day game against the Atlanta Falcons

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons - Mercedes-Benz Superdome - Thursday, Nov. 22 - Head coach Sean Payton

Opening statement:
"Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. Obviously, when you play on this day and you have the night game, it's not like you have the whole day at all (for enjoyment). You are really getting ready for the game. I'm proud of the way that our guys played. Obviously, the turnovers were significant, the rushing yards (were significant). All of the things that lead to winning or keep you from winning were on display tonight. I am proud of our defense. I thought that we ran the ball well. It was a good win, a good division win."

On the defense getting better each week:
"It is good news. We played some good offenses. Cincinnati's a good offense. The Eagles are a good offense. I feel like we're playing a complementary game relative to time of possession, third downs, all of those things. Tonight was no different."

On why the defense was effective getting multiple turnovers tonight:
"A lot of it is effort. We had four of them; one right down on the half-yard line."

On the rushing defense tonight:
"It certainly helps when you can hold an opponent to twenty something yards. It helps when you know what's coming, if they are one-dimensional. That was the case tonight."

On the defense gaining confidence:
"I think that we are constantly talking about improvement or going the other way. I think that you can think it and you can want it and hope for it, but you have to, at some point, demonstrate it. And when you do that then there are actual moments where you can see a young player gain confidence because maybe he covered a kick the right way, maybe he fit the run the right way and he believes he can do it; and he starts doing it over and over again. I think that we are playing better and better. We still have work to do. It's encouraging."

On the improvement of the red zone defense:
"It's significant, I thought, just to hold them to a field goal after our turnover was a big possession."

On the four players who were not drafted having touchdowns tonight:
"I did not realize that. I do not think we really pay attention to it. We're focused on the opponent and the plan, who's healthy, how are we going to get guys involved. I think one of the things that they do well, let's ask them to do those things. Obviously, Drew (Brees) is someone who is very confident in the preparation and confident in the players around him. There is a lot that goes into that. All of a sudden you have a few big plays like we had tonight."

On the depth of the team on offense:
"It has been a lot of different players (contributing), tight ends. You are always hoping to stay healthy, and yet we don't live in that world in this league. That is encouraging (that we have options). I'm excited for those guys that received opportunities. We will keep working to get better."

On having success running up the middle:
"Sometimes it's a six or seven-hole play that cuts up, sometimes it's outside. I thought that we played well up front. Right from the start we ran a simple power scheme for a nice gain. I think credit Atlanta; and I say that because they are dealing with a lot of injuries on defense. They are playing without a lot of guys that have really been the heartbeat of that defense, captains, Pro Bowl players, guys that we actually had a chance to coach last year. Those are big losses (for them)."

On if the team has talked about the Super Bowl:
"No, not at all, only because there is so much football here. It's a division opponent. In our league, rivalry is not a good word for it. You have two teams that have a long, storied history of playing each other. They've been in what was the NFC West for a while, now it is the NFC South. We've always had good, competitive games, tough games. We're way, way, way shorter-focused right now, rather than extended like that. And I think that that has served us well. Every week I hear someone say, 'They're getting ready for the tough stretch of their schedule. Shoot, all of these games are tough, starting with trips to Baltimore, trips to Minnesota, the Rams. The focus for us is the next game. We play a week from now. We will be on a normal week schedule. People ask about tickets. It's always, 'Text me the week of (I say).' I couldn't tell you who we play three weeks from now. That is the way it should be. We were focused on this game and now we will have to get ready to play a real good Dallas team who is playing well, who is really playing well in the last three weeks."

On if he ever felt comfortable that the defense was in control:
"Two weeks in a row we played teams that we have tremendous respect for their firepower and their ability to score. When you play those teams, I don't know that you ever quite get comfortable because I have just seen it happen and I have been a part of it in one playoff game in San Francisco. I was very comfortable when they were checking the ball down and throwing underneath, with the clock being on our side. We were concerned about the quick-strike plays with their skill players. I thought that we handled that well. Just like last week, those teams can score fast."

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