New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
*Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, November 20, 2017*
What does it say about Marshon Lattimore that he tried to get back in the game after the half?"Number one, he is tough, he is competitive and I think he felt like he could go or else he would not have tried to and yet he was smart enough to understand that he was not at full speed. He was going to be smart enough to (where we could) get the next guy in there."
How has Trey Hendrickson grown throughout this season and what has grabbed your attention?"He's played quite a bit. He gives you flexibility outside and inside. He's a good rusher inside, very quickly in training camp you just saw a sense of urgency and someone who had some natural strength to (complement) his play."
Is it safe to say Trey Hendrickson would get the first shot to replace Alex Okafor*? *"Like I said at the onset, I'm not going to go through any types of scenarios."
*What have you seen from Hau'oli Kikaha this season being in and out of the lineup this season? *"A lot of it is based on the type of team where we're playing with regards to pass, run, were they a heavy 21 team (personnel wise) or were they more of an 11 team (personnel wise). A lot of it's been gameplanned that way."
What did you think of the way Vonn Bell played at the end of the game?"Those were significant and yet I think that today was a good day for all of us to come in here and make corrections. There's a lot of things that we didn't do well in that game. Fortunately, in the end we made enough plays to give ourselves a chance and he was one of the players that did some things there in the end that helped (force overtime).
*What do you think of Vonn Bell taking responsibility for struggling early and bouncing back late in the game? *"He was accurate. I think that he bounced back and made a few plays. There are a handful of things that have to happen to get back in (the game) and you can point to all of them as significant and yet (they were) necessary and he was involved in a few of those plays."
*How tough was it to see Alex Okafor go down in the middle of such a good season for this team? *"Yeah it's real difficult, He's a great teammate here, a part of our team and he'll continue to be a part of the team and it's always tough. You do not like to see that. You hate to see it."
What did you think of the way Coby Fleener played down the stretch?"He sure did. Those were significant and (he had) a couple of them. One was improvised, he got into the seams real well and the play he makes on our sideline to (set up) tying touchdown to put us in position was really good."
*The league supposedly reached out and told the Redskins that play at the end of the fourth quarter was not intentional grounding on Kirk Cousins. What did you see on the on that play? *"You go back and forth on it. There are four or five calls in a game each week that take place (that are in question). There were 12 in the huddle twice that I felt never was called. We are kind of on to the next game."
*What specifically has Jeff Ireland done that has helped revamp the scouting process, since you have mentioned his efforts recently? *"Just the overall (department) structure and how we put together our board, the typing (of players), how we value players. The reports and what's necessary on a report. A lot of (those) things we did in Dallas."
*Anything you can point to that Ireland did that help shape this draft class? *"Just what I mentioned, first off reducing the draft board from 500, 400 players, 300 players down to a manageable number and then at that point really paying attention to the profiles we set up for each position and then the typing that we've set up for each position and then also the attention to detail with how we read a report and what has to be included in a report. All those things would be things that I think have really helped."
*When did the team give him a previously reported extension? *"I'm not really aware. I have no clue where he is at contract wise. I just know I'm glad he's here."
A couple of years ago in Charlotte you took detail to a newspaper photo that showed the excitement of your younger players at a game in terms of pulling for each other. What can we take from that you and Drew Brees dove into with the defensive team picture in the locker room?"I do not know that I realized it was a defensive team photo as much as it was just a bunch of guys excited about a game and being real spontaneous. It is one of the things I said after the game. We talked Friday and we'd played in nine games and quite honestly it was a little unusual. We had not played in a game that finished within a score or a two-minute drive to win or defending a two-minute drive. We talked about this on Friday, we have had some two-minute drills at the end of halves, but to go nine weeks into an NFL season that's I'd say very unusual and sure enough just after talking about it Friday, here is was. We were really in it twice offensively in a two-minute drill to hurry up and score. There is just that level of excitement after the game and celebrating as a team."
*What is it like to be in a game similar to the Redskins game in 2009, with Robert Meachem in attendance at this game representing the Legends group? *"I have no idea who (handles) the decision when we bring back players. I'm sure someone is looking at it. I don't think it (the thought) was let's bring Robert back because we are playing the Redskins. I think we've had Devery (Henderson) here, we've had (Jonathan) Vilma, Carl (Nicks), we've had all of these guys back. I think that was more coincidence, but I think over the years you play in some games where you have a big lead and then all of a sudden it gets away from you or you have a significant lead and you come up short or vice versa. Yesterday, you're down, but not out and then you get back in it and find a way to win. You just hope to be on the positive side end of those more than the negative end and yesterday was one of those games where there's a lot of things that we have to get cleaned up and yet there was enough mental toughness and grit to climb back in and make the plays down the stretch and then finish with a win. That says something about the guys on the sideline and in the locker room and then obviously we come in today and look closely at cleaning these things up."
*What vibe do you get when you are in the city when the team is playing as well as they are? *"I don't get out much. Honestly in-season is kind of crazy and then I'm back to Dallas to see Connor play (football) each weekend. His season just ended and there's not a whole lot of time maybe to experience it or enjoy it. Occasionally, it will be a dinner on a Friday night or yesterday after the game (to) go out and get something to eat and people are excited, but I think the fans are passionate and I think they feel like we are always in a game and there's that resiliency and maybe in years past they didn't feel that way, but that excitement that's generated from a game like that at home is something certainly you sense especially if you're out amongst the fans."
Were you worried Alvin Kamara may not get back down from the stands for the two-point conversion?"I was not aware he was in the stands honestly. Maybe in the offseason we can reduce the size of that wall. We can put that on Doug Thornton's list, maybe pad it, kind of make it like a (John) Kuhn wall, if Kuhn can get up and into the fans then (it is safe). That would be a good idea actually, but I didn't realize he was up in the crowd. I saw on film and it's a pretty significant jump so that we'll hopefully be on our renovation list."
*Who did you give the game balls to yesterday? *"It's something we do. We gave game balls to players today and Alex (Okafor) received one on defense and on offense (Mark) Ingram received one, (Coby) Fleener, (Alvin) Kamara got one, special teams I thought Wil (Lutz) was outstanding, Tommylee (Lewis) was outstanding (on) punt returns, really to put us in (good) position even in overtime."