New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, October 14, 2016
How has your team responded to coming off of the bye week from a work perspective?
"I think well and yet interestingly enough when you do a little stat analysis, this game with a Monday night opponent, playing a team coming off of a bye has happened 17 times since 2006 and the team coming off the Monday night game has won 10 of those 17. We talk about the routine, but we also talk about the rest and preparation in regards to the team we're playing. It's a divisional opponent, so there's a lot of familiarity on both sides with Carolina and us and it will come down to some of the same things each week, but I think our guys have had a good week of practice."
Is that stat regardless of who is home and who is away?
"It doesn't matter. It's 17 games, Monday night versus a bye team. Four are going to happen this year. This is the most in a season. We were one of those teams. We played Pittsburgh coming off a bye, back in 2014. I think the workweek's been good"
Your teams have played pretty well coming off of a bye. Do you feel that you have your bye week formula down in terms of operation?
"Yes, but I think there is some variation depending on your team. We're younger, so we got some work in, but we never just turn the page. We pay attention to the team and where we're at. We were able to do that this year and yet there are some elements to the schedule that are similar."
Is there anything you've tried to replicate during a bye week to encourage starting off fast?
"You're always wanting to get off, play fast and get off to a good start on early possessions. Really it comes down to the execution, because I don't think you start a period out there and say we're going to pretend this is the first series. We want that first series to be sharp. We want that eighth series to be sharp too. I think there has to be an awareness and understanding of a sense of urgency."
Roman Harper said he grew as a person in his two years in Carolina. In what ways have you seen it?
"He's always been extremely smart, so his instincts as a player have served him well. He's obviously in his 11th year and I think from a leadership standpoint, he's been on a lot of winning teams. I think in his next career when that comes, that's going to help him, because he understands and recognizes the specific attention to detail, the difficulty of playing week in and week out and winning games and the energy that take. Certainly he's a lot wiser."
Against San Diego using certain packages, do you think you were able to get your best 11 defenders on the field at certain times?
"We'll always go into a game with two, three, four defensive packages, a lot of that is starting with who's available, the health of your team. A lot of that is predicated on who you have to defend. Hopefully that's the case. We know the opponent well, but the one thing you have to caution yourself back to this number is being careful on an extended period of time to not add a lot of stuff. Because you know the Monday night team is going to run what they run. You don't have that time for a lot of (wrinkles). It's really about the execution and attention to detail than it is the actual design."
With that expected return of Jonathan Stewart, what does he bring?
"He's an outstanding back, so when you don't have a player like that, it affects you. When you have a player like that in your lineup, he's a real good runner, good after contact. He's a load. He's a good player."
How encouraged by the improvement of Terron Armstead and Sheldon Rankins? We saw them out there today.
"Real good, day to day as we would say."
How significant is the loss of Erik Harris on special teams?
"It's pretty significant. Anytime you have an injury (that affects special teams). He's a core guy. It's no different than when a guy playing core special teams is moved up on defense. There's an attrition. We'll have to pick up with his loss."
There's a narrative around the league that Cam Newton takes too many hits? Is it something you address with guys during the week and try to get them to be cognizant of from an officiating perspective?
"You have to understand the penalties and you have to understand the rulebook inside the pocket and the rulebook outside of the pocket. I get the narrative. The season started with the two Super Bowl teams from a year ago, so I understand it."
Do you think Sheldon Rankins will be able to begin practicing when eligible?
"I think so."
Is it tough to find the best guys for every spot on special teams?
"In the kicking game it's about some of the younger guys understanding the nuances of special teams units but the question is what's the best thing this guy does in coverage. What's the best thing he does in protection. I think we have a handful of returners, maybe more than we've had in a while. Maybe we can get that return game going."