New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton - Conference Call with New Orleans Media - Tuesday, October 30, 2018
Does the schedule for the players change at all this week with you guys getting back so late on Sunday?
"Yes. We tweaked it a little yesterday, but we'll start up again tomorrow with our normal base install on Wednesday."
What were your initial impressions of Eli (Apple) and how he played?
"I thought there were some real good plays and then some plays obviously, that were not as good. And so again focusing in on this week, the (defensive) calls and the technique, at times, his technique was off and I think he got himself into trouble, but things that we can correct."
Based on just three days of practice, is it sort of what you expected out of him though the first game?
"You went into the first game not knowing 'A', if he was going to be up and playing. (We) Really wanted to see how the week had progressed, so this would be another good week for him and obviously, a big challenge."
What does the film show of how (Terron) Armstead and (Ryan) Ramczyk are playing this year at the tackle positions
"They've been playing real well, real consistently. I think that we've helped ourselves, I want to say in the last several weeks here, reducing some of the long yardage situations on third down. Drew (Brees) does a great job with the timing of getting the ball out. But I'd say Terron (Armstead) and Ryan (Ramczyk), those guys have really played well and it's good to have that continuity of the first group up and playing and getting the work. That means so much to what you're doing not just in the passing game but also throughout your offensive game plan."
What are some of the things you liked seeing from your defense I guess specifically the last couple of games, the last two road wins?
"The takeaways were outstanding last week. They really were the difference in the game. Prior to the half, the fumble recovery and then the interception return for a touchdown (in the third quarter) and that's the difference in that game. Third down numbers have improved. I've been encouraged with that. We have to keep working on our red zone defense. But definitely from last week the takeaways."
What has impressed you about Sean McVay's success so early as a young head coach?
"Just the work he's done not only with Jared Goff (but the team). Remember, there were questions whether or not he could play in this league. All those things. Quickly, Sean did a great job of really looking into what are the things that he does well? I think they've done a great job with personnel. He's put together an outstanding staff. Many of the guys we've worked with and know well. I think his energy, his creative thinking, just his approach overall, he's someone that obviously loves football and this is a hard business to be in if you're not passionate. And you feel that from Sean and you feel it when you watch his games. When you watch the tape, they'll come up with some new thoughts. I think he's done an unbelievable job in just a short time he's been there."
How much of some of those characteristics would you say describe you? New thoughts and innovation and energy. I mean is that something you really tried to pride yourself in being as head coach in this league?
"Hopefully you adjust with your team and you look closely. I say this all the time, you're really trying to find the traits, the skill sets of players – things that they do and that they do well, and then give them a chance to do those things on gameday. And a lot of times we can get bogged down with what a player can't do, instead of asking, "Hey, what are the things that they do well?' So when you watch his tape, and you watch their offense, and you watch Wade (Phillips) on defense. Wade's done a phenomenal job over the years. He's always looked closely at the skill set and the talent of his players and then put him in those positions and I think that's good coaching. I think that along with their ability to look at that roster quickly and make changes has put him in a great position. Not just now, but for the future. They're one of the younger teams in the league."
You know how passionate Louisiana football fans are. How much can you appreciate a weekend like this where you guys have facing the Rams and then a day before LSU is playing Alabama? It's like the center of almost the football universe this weekend is in southeast Louisiana.
"What time is LSU-Alabama? All right. So when that when that game's over with and hopefully we get the result we're looking for, we (fans) need to get some rest. Fortunately, our game is in the 3:30 slot, so that will allow them to sleep in and (have) a much easier doubleheader. I get concerned when it's an LSU night game and a Saints noon game. But I like the time slots."
You took my follow up because that was going to be my advice for them, not drink as much and hydrate.
"I've lived here long. We can we can do both here. The time slots work out well."
When you're looking at their receivers, (Brandin) Cooks, (Cooper) Kupp, and (Robert) Woods do their skillsets kind of complement each other well? Are they able to play off each other?
"Absolutely. They all do things specifically well. They pay close attention to detail. You see it on the tape. There's an exactness to what they're doing. They run well. They're smart. They're asked to do a number of things. They'll block and then you put the running back in that equation and the quarterback playing like he is, it's special. It's fun to watch."
This stretch that you are on with road games against Baltimore, Minnesota then home against the Rams, does that kind of feel like a playoff stretch right now?
"I wouldn't describe it like that. I really think you try to focus each week. I used this term the other day with our team, we're focused on one pothole at a time. And so we've got to find a way to navigate the road. Then when that week's over with you get on to the next roadblock and the next challenge in front of you. Fortunately, we have been able to do that. This week's game will be different. It'll be a different type team, how they play. Much different than Minnesota in regards to their defensive structure, their offensive structure. So you dive in and you get consumed with the week and the challenge in front of you. I think that's the only way I know to handle it."
Can you recall a stretch like this in your coaching career winning tough games?
"I'm sure we've had a bunch. I mean you know in 2009, that year we started with 13 (wins). There were some tough, tough games in there. There were some games where we played real well and got ahead. But, you forget how many close games there were. And I think you're seeing it with the Rams. In a month from now, people won't realize how close the Packer game was or how close the Vikings game was. You work on winning and finding a way to win and then you make enough plays offensively or defensively and they've been able to do that or in the kicking game even. Then you quickly get ready for the next week's challenge. Each week presents a new challenge. The unusual games are the ones where you're able to win by more than two scores."