New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Monday, October 7, 2013
Opening Statement: "We will be back to a normal schedule this week. We have another road game on Sunday. The players for the most part came in, watched the tape and lifted on their own. Tomorrow will be their day off. Wednesday will be base."
Can you talk about how adaptable this team has been so far?
"I thought yesterday was a good example of it. We felt there were a handful of things besides ball security. We were going to have to play that game maybe a little differently than we have played some other games. It was the first team we played in a while this year where we received a lot of spot drop zone which meant that we were going to be patient with the football. I thought we were. I thought when we threw the ball underneath I thought the runners or receivers who caught it, secured it, advanced it, so a simple check down maybe that you think you are going to get four yards from you got six yards. I thought we handled the short yardage situations in those critical situations pretty well. Late in the game we drew some penalties. I thought overall I was real pleased with the penalty numbers. I think the one thing we tried to preach all year is each game takes on a different, not a different meaning, but they are not necessarily played the same way. Understanding as a team what it takes to win that specific game is something that if your team gets and I think we are beginning to is an important trait. We felt like we were playing a good team that could take the ball away. They were explosive. The quarterback (Jay Cutler) has a strong arm. They had some balance with (Matt) Forte. I thought the early part of the game where we forced the three and outs and we had them in the long yardage situations and forced them to punt (was significant). The whole first half seemed to be spent on their side of the field. That was significant. The score before the half was significant. But again, that game was much different than other ones we have won earlier in the year. I think it is just understanding and being able to play smart football."
Can you talk about how harped all week about not turning the ball over and you had zero turnovers this week?
"Our numbers without any turnovers, we are not the only team that is like that. Clearly that hasn't been the case when we lost there. When you go on the road, when we play on the road it is tough to get wins when you play on the road against a good team like that. There are going to be certain things you have to do that give you a chance to win and that was one of them. I felt throughout the course of the game, I never felt like the ball was loose or out there. I think there was one time on Pierre's (Thomas) touchdown that the ball kind of came free and he recovered it, but I thought we handled that element real well."
Can you talk about you are winning the time of possession battle but only running the ball for 80 yards a game?
"I don't know that there is a formula to explain it, it's just being productive with down and distances. Third down numbers were decent offensively, (but) they were better for us defensively. How you get the first downs, how you move the chains, I mentioned the type of defense we saw yesterday was predominately a lot more zone and so it meant taking advantage of a checkdown as opposed to an incomplete (pass) down the field. It meant when you did run it of trying to have success. We took a few shots. I thought we, look the one to (Robert) Meachem was set up well and I know it wasn't a penalty called but it very well could have been. It is complementary football. If we are on the field for x number of minutes, just take the game time and then you can tell exactly how long we were on the field defensively. I think both sides of the ball are doing that well. I felt the kicking game was outstanding yesterday. I mean, Garrett (Hartley) in those conditions did a great job. The surface was difficult. Obviously if you are a kicker with wind kind of gusty a little bit and then I thought (Thomas) Morstead did a great job and when we had to cover we did with an elite returner. All those factored in, but the time of possession was significant."
Can you talk about how you contained Matt Forte?
"He is one of those players that does a lot of things well and so he is not only a threat in the run game, but he is a threat in the passing game. He is very good in protection. When you get on the field and you actually see him you forget he has really good size and I thought we contained him pretty well. He had some runs especially in some of the nickel stuff but by and large I thought we did a good job with him."
Is time of possession becoming a theme for you?
"We talked a lot in the offseason, a lot about just playing a complementary football game and understanding what does that mean. Part of that is possessing the football and you want to score every time you have it. So we are not purposely trying to create long drives, but be efficient with your plays and if you are winning on third down for instance then you stay on the field. If you turn the ball over conversely then the drive ends and all of a sudden that possession time just kicks the other favor. It is protecting the ball. It is doing a good job on third down and getting off the field defensively. There are a lot of things that factor into it, but it is an important statistic though."
Is the trust in the defense growing each week?
"We have always had trust in defense in other words, I thought in the offseason and training camp we felt like as a team the guys were working hard so that really hasn't been a factor."
Can you talk about Pierre Thomas's good run on fourth down that he had?
"Yeah, I was pleased. I thought the guys up front played well. They graded out well. I said yesterday; Pierre plays well on that field. Obviously he is from there but he is somebody that gets to the cavity of the defense the right away. He finds the crease. He had the two scores. The screen play was a big play for us before the half. In those short yardage situations, even in Jed's (Collins) case, look I like these special situations we work on that come up in the second half. We will go for it on fourth down and then other times we will try and draw you offsides. Twice in the second half in critical situations we had first downs result in that."
Is Malcolm Jenkins showcasing what he is all about?
"Yes, he is one of those smart guys that understands the game very well so when he has a free hit on the quarterback, we had three or four rushes in that first half where we were unblocked, a guy like Malcolm can do that especially we spent a lot of time on the tape with where the ball sat with Jay (Cutler) and that was one of our goals."
Why does Pierre Thomas run the screen so well?
"I would say two things, I think number one there is a patience involved. The other thing is, each one is a little different and so a player who is pretty consistent and excels at running screens is able to sort through some of the games that might take place up front. Each one presents a different challenge so someone that can make good decisions within a matter of a second and a half, two seconds, with regards to entering the defense or where we want to enter the screen. That for some players comes easier and for others it is more challenging because it happens fast. Sometimes it happens into a straight rush, sometimes into a twist, sometimes it happens into a pressure, teams that defend screens well do a good job with those defensive tackles feeling the guards getting light or like almost feeling the guards letting them win and then right away work flat down the line. There are a lot of things that defensively teams do, but the screen runner has patience and he has pretty good football, I don't know if it is IQ, but pretty good football instinct because each one can change a little bit. It is not just a consistent, everyone is rushing up the field and then I step up and we would all be able to do it if that was the case. He is pretty good with those quick decisions."