New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Monday, January 8, 2018
When you looked at the film, what stuck out today?
"I thought we played with good energy. I thought the red zone stops for our defense were huge. I felt that way yesterday, holding them (Carolina) to three. We hit some big plays in the passing game. We had a lot of loaded fronts and I thought we took advantage of that. Those are the initial things."
Were there any issues in the secondary that stood out?
"No. We had a couple drop coverages with formations, with adjustments or assignments, but we will get that cleaned up."
Normally when you have a second game against a team, you have a lot of film to work off and prepare from. Is this different considering the fact that Minnesota has new starting quarterbacks and running backs?
"I think it is different in a couple of ways. It has been a while, obviously it was the first game of the year, so a lot of football has been played. They are playing very well and they are tops in most categories defensively. I think total defense, scoring defense, second in rush and second in pass. Offensively, they have found great balance. It is a different type team you're preparing for now and we're spending a lot of time, we will all week on the more recent games and quite honestly the games throughout the season."
Can you talk about the passing game stepping up yesterday when it was a much more balanced offense in the regular season?
"I think that there's a lot of confidence here that you can do either and the key is quickly and efficiently to get into some of those plays. I thought Drew (Brees) played exceptionally well. We had real good production from the receivers. Michael Thomas, Ted Ginn, Brandon Coleman came up with some big plays, and Josh Hill (made some big catches). You don't know whose number it is going to be, but those guys made enough plays to score what we needed."
How different is the Saints team from that season opener with changes on defense, running back rotations and some other changes?
"I think a lot. I think both teams are different. There are some similarities in regards to scheme, but I think when you go through a course of a NFL season and you look at the attrition that takes place, there are eight or nine of our starters that are playing in that game that aren't playing in this game and I'm sure the same exist for Minnesota and you begin to take shape as the season progresses to who you become and I think both teams have done that."
We talk a lot about the success of your rookie class this year? How about your free agency process and acquisitions?
"Yes. I think the vision for each player was clear. We wanted to bring in smart guys that we felt were team players. So, whether that was the kicking game, defense or offense, our vision was clear on how we wanted to use them and how they could contribute."
Did you plan to sign the guys under the radar in free agency or would it have been possible you would have signed a big name?
"No part of it is paying attention to where you're at. We've been in a I would say average to below average with cap space so I think you have to be smart in regards to what you're looking to do, in regards to, supplementing your team with free agents."
Where did you learn your dance moves?
"I can't say I learned them anywhere. The guys really enjoyed that environment after a game is special and it is the thing you enjoy about been a part of a team and now we are here on Monday and we are kind of on to the next week. I cannot say I have had any teachings."
In the second quarter you called a timeout before the Zach Line touchdown run. What did you like there?
"Well, it kind of went through a few different things. We had plenty of time. Down in tight, it was one of our feature runs. Rather than move the ball off the goal line six to eight yards to the halfback, you know something that was hitting the gap quickly. The guys did a good job working on it throughout the week and it was one of our calls."
How good can it be when you give it to a guy like that as a reward for the unrecognized work he does?
"These guys are a tendency team and they do a good job studying. Too often our fullback will go the direction of the play and this case you have the halfback one way and the fullback the other way and it was one of those plays that you are not going to have minus yards."
You mentioned how teams evolve. What are the most striking things in your team's evolution since week one?
"I think one thing would be the amount of guys we had to replace and the new faces that are stepping up, whether its Craig Robertson, Manti's (Te'o) role, Josh Hill's role, Senio Kelemete's role and P.J. William's role. Whether it has been the safeties, and that has been the most encouraging thing. Zach Line wasn't on the team at the start of the year. I think that the resiliency and the fight is something that is great to be around."