New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Does it almost seem like it was last season when you played Tampa Bay in the first game of the year?
"It feels like it's been a long time ago. Obviously, a lot's taken place since then. We will be seeing a different quarterback in this game. I think there are some similarities relative to what the teams do schemewise and yet through the course of the season there's been injuries, new players playing at different positions for both sides and a big enough gap to where you're watching a lot of other tape, not just the tape of your past game."
What are some of the differences with the new defensive coordinator they have now in Mark Duffner?
"We were talking about it last night. If you're charting, there's some coverage things that appear to be different, more at a percentage or rate, (but) not necessarily a whole new type of scheme. The scheme hadn't changed and I think it's always hard to do (that) in the middle of the season. Now relative to down and distance and tendencies and when they're calling certain fronts or coverages, some of that's moved in a certain direction one way or another, but overall you're still seeing what you know structurally at least in that defense."
What are some of the challenges going from Ryan Fitzpatrick to Jameis Winston?
"Both are guys that have played extremely well at times this year. They are (Tampa Bay) throwing the ball as well as anyone in the league. They are moving the ball as well as anyone. They are first in third down percentages. I think they have legitimately four receivers that you have to defend, (and) a tight end (in Cameron Brate as well), so they present a number of challenges. I think both those quarterbacks are confident in getting the ball down the field. Jameis is buying some time with his feet. He's (become) a stronger player in the pocket, a little bit more difficult to sack and I think you begin really to spend most of your time defending the offense first and understanding the player second obviously."
What has been the reason for having 20 sacks in the last four weeks?
"It's been impressive. As a coach you're encouraged because we're receiving good end play, but we're also receiving great tackle play and I think inside we've really been able to push the pocket. We've gotten in a rotation (set up) Ryan (Nielsen and), those guys over on defense, B.Y. (Brian Young) and them. I think it's like (with) the turnovers, those have really picked up and we're doing those things to win games. Hopefully, we can continue on that path."
Jameis Winston, statistically's been running more productively than in the past. How has that changed his game?
"We've played him enough to know that all of a sudden you have a rush plan for him, he climbs up and runs for eight yards and gets first downs. Those are tough downs, so it's a threat that you have to deal with."
Has Brandon Marshall being inactive had more to do with Keith Kirkwood stepping it up or does Marshall still need to do more to get on the field?
"Each week, we are taking a look at where we're at with our personnel and doing what's best for that game."
What have you seen from Brandon Marshall so far?
"I think he's picked up what we're doing. He's a big target. He's strong. I think he's a quick study."
Marshon Lattimore seems to have locked everything down on the back end since his week one performance. Was it a fluke?
"It wasn't just about Mike (Evans) and Marshon (Lattimore) that day. The quarterback was comfortable in the pocket and in this league you have really good football players. A quarterback that's throwing it extremely well, we turned the ball over offensively. There were a number of things, but yes, Marshon we feel like is one of the better corners in this league and I'm glad we have him."
You're now one of the longest tenured active head coaches after Mike McCarthy and the Packers parted ways. You've talked about this before. You're now 13 years in with the Saints and I know that very rare for a coach to stay in one place for that long and you've talked about it before. Do you have to keep kind of changing your coaching over the years to stay in one place as long as you've stayed here?
"I hated to hear the news of Mike. He is a close friend, a fantastic coach and do not get me started on that subject. I hate it. I hated to see how it happened and he was the last one in our when I say our class the year we were hired in 2006. I don't know if there were eight or nine coaches, but that is the business. As a head coach, the first thing you realize (is) winning, losing, wherever you are at, it is a business just like it is for the player. Relative to your question, I think you do have to constantly pay attention to how we are teaching. I've said that before. We're teachers by nature and how are we getting across communicating and then the subject matter is what you're doing defensively, offensively or in the kicking game and how does that fit your personnel. All of those things, but I'm disappointed in that news with Mike and what else do you say?"
I assume you're constantly evolving to as the game evolves?