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Quotes from Sean Payton's Friday Press Conference

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Friday, November 11, 2016

What has been the message this week about getting over the .500 hurdle?
“I think the message has really been more on Denver. It has not really been on prior teams. It is really been on this opponent and getting ourselves ready to play last year’s Super Bowl champions (Broncos). It is a little bit cliché, but the more we keep working on these days and the emphasis that we are working on and the specific goal that day I think the better. That part of it has been pretty clear.”

Is this offense the most diverse you’ve had in a while?
“I think the question arises just because of some of the balance in the last few games. We have been able to run the ball and that’s encouraging because that is something that I think there’s a lot of things that benefit from it. It would certainly benefit your protection and it benefits your defense and each week you pay close attention to how your numbers are, but more importantly how the game is unfolding.”

When do you expect to hear an update on Kenny (Vaccaro’s) status?
“You guys will probably hear before me, you did yesterday.”

Did you get any clarification after those reports came out?
“No, we’re waiting just like you guys are, you guys keep me posted.”

How much of this success on offense is attributed to Pete Carmichael?
“He’s outstanding, the preparation, the organization that goes into what we are doing, the amount of time during the week and the constant thought as to trying to get our players in the best position. He communicates well on game days, he’s quick and I think he’s done a real good job and look I’m biased because he’s been with us this long, but he’s one of those under the radar guys and yet extremely talented.”

Is there anything that you can say distinguishes him in this offense?
“It’s hard to specifically, because if you sat in one of those night meetings and it was an idea and it might come from anyone of the coaches. I think Pete does such a good job of making sure the group’s on the same page and the challenge for that group is oftentimes I’m grab(bed) in maybe away and then I go back in and they don’t start over, they have to update me and it just works. It might be a little longer, a little later nights, but to your question I think he’s a quick thinker and I think that’s a plus. He’s not stammering over a decision. I think the challenge is he has a tough position, tough job because he’s wanting to please me and I’m always on him about chiming in on calls, but I don’t want you to feel like you’re trying to think about what I would (call), but it works and there’s a good flow to it.”

How has Pete taking a bigger role benefited you?
“You’re trying to manage and coach the whole game and yet honestly sometimes you’re there and your hands feel empty, but it allows you to see things no different than if it were the reverse way and Pete would always be in my ear on an upcoming third down. You are running a play and you might say Pete give me a thought here when we get into the red zone and it just might flip around or hey let’s get to this. It works well, part of that is because we have been together so long.”

Do you feel like you guys are getting close to where you want to be in the return game?
“What makes you say that, we had one opportunity that had a chance to be a decent return, but I think I’d like to answer that question after we’ve had a good return and I think that would be an appropriate time for the question, but we have to be better in that area and I think and I said this this week, hopefully we’ve been able to add some guys that can help us in that area. I do think the addition of the three players, the safety (Shiloh Keo), the linebacker (Sam Barrington) and the tight end (John Phillips), with the idea that Josh Hill’s always been a good special teams player, but it’s challenging when some of your core teams players are now in starting roles and we have to be better in those areas.”

Have you learned something from the way you have run the ball the last few weeks?
“No, you just have to go back to 06’, go back to 09’, go back to any one of those years (when we were successful as a team and successful running the ball). When you have that kind of balance there’s a lot of things, here is the misconception, well if you just run the ball 30 times you’re going to win, you have to really look at how you got 30 rushes, you get to 30 rushes because your early down efficiency is good and you’re probably playing with a lead in the second half and otherwise we’d rush it 30 times every week the first 30 plays and the point is you have to have some efficiency with it, you have to have success with it and in a 12 or 13 possession game it has to happen with some efficiency and we’ve been able to do that and that’s a good thing.”

What are some of the things that make Zach Strief so consistent?
“He’s smart, he knows leverage anytime when you’re typically talking about a player who plays as long as he has they probably have good football instincts that’s helped him and I would say he does.”

Vonn Bell and Roman Harper both came from elite schools, how do you think that has helped them grow together?
“I don’t know because they were second round picks that came from big schools that that experience is helping them now. I try to understand what you’re asking, but I think they come from good football programs and I think that serves you well in this league.”

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