New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Monday, October 6, 2014
Opening Statement: "(We) Just finished with our team meeting and we will go through the tape (of the Tampa Bay) with the guys. Obviously today is a lift day and a run day and we will get some early work on Detroit. Players will have most of the rest of the week off and come back Monday and we will have a bonus practice day and then get back on our schedule next week."
Can you talk about the reaction to how well Jahri Evans blocked on Pierre Thomas' touchdown?
"I think it reinforces the important of finishing a play and then there is a play later that is going to come up where he is on the backside and so often times you look at the point of attack in the running game, generally the longer runs involve a receiver who is blocking pretty well down field and it involves a tight end, tackle and guard combination working well on the backside. There are a handful of those plays on tape that are encouraging."
Does that have a lot to do with how successful the run game has been this year?
"That is part of it. In order to be consistent and have the success you want, defensively in this league it's pretty easy to insert that eighth player, that safety. If you can't control the force or block the force or handle the force you are going to end up with two or three yard runs. There were a few plays yesterday where conversely you guys see (Kenny) Vaccaro making a play in the running game at the line of scrimmage and there is an example of what can happen if you are not blocking the force correctly, if you are not handling the safety or the cloud, if you are not handling the back end that defenses are good enough where you are going to be dealing with a lot of second and eights and tens. We are doing a better job with that. It is not perfect by any means but we are getting better."
Do you guys do a lot of self-scouting this week?
"Absolutely, last week we did a bunch coming off the loss in Dallas. We will do the same. We have the ability now, it used to be where you had to wait, file a report and then wait for a total, and we have the technology now where it is constantly in our lap updated. We will look closely at what has been effective formationally, what are we doing by tendency and same thing defensively and the kicking game."
When you are self-scouting, in general what do you think is the biggest issue with wide receivers generally not having a lot of production?
"We were just talking about the running game being more effective. We obviously have more than just two receivers or three receivers, some of it can be what's taken away. We go in with each game plan with certain players featured in a route and yet coverages can really change or dictate that. There are probably a number of things."
Does the bye week give you a little extra time to decide what you are going to do with Jairus Byrd's roster spot?
"Yes. We didn't have to work on or act on that immediately because whoever we sign would not have played in the game and so when that comes up you always wait until the weekend is over with. If there was an injury for instance that took place yesterday we might have used that spot to fill that. We will look at it closely and look at what we want to do but you have time, yes."
Will it be someone on the practice squad?
"Could be, it very well could be someone on a practice squad from another team."
Do you think it's good to have your bye week this week because of injuries?
"There were a few guys nicked up that I think we will have back. I think from a timing standpoint that way, yes. Then outside of that it is really out of your control but it does fall right after we had a few guys nicked up yesterday."
Is there a different feeling going into a bye week off of a win?
"We talked about this last week, (where) when you come off a tough loss and certainly we did a week ago you can't play quick enough, you can't get back to playing quick enough. Everything the week after winning is, I don't want to say (it is) easier, but it is easier to come to work, easier to prepare, easier to get ready and last week was a tough week. I thought particularly defensively we had a couple of good days of practice. Third down day I told them, on Thursday, was outstanding. I thought we were good on third down yesterday. We will take this time. We will get these guys rested some and then come back Monday with a bonus practice day."
Did you like the energy and aggressiveness of the defense this game?
"Yes, I thought that big series where we had them backed up was significant. It was the one time where I felt like we had some crowd noise. I thought overall we had the momentum early on. We had to settle for some field goals and then fortunately our red zone efficiency offensively got better, but I thought that sequence was important."
Last week you talked about concentrating on what you do and not what the other team does, do you feel like that played out well?
"Yes, I thought in some cases we did a very good job with that. I thought we defended the run well. We still gave up some big plays in the passing game. I thought the turnovers offensively are something that we have to look closely at in cleaning those up. I thought the running game particularly when we needed it late was big. It was good to see Pierre (Thomas) play well. He was one of the game ball winners on offense and he had an outstanding game."
How did you feel John Jenkins did against the run?
"It was his first game back and receiving 25, 26 snaps, I thought he played pretty well coming back."
Did you think the first five games would be this difficult?
"You never know. You don't go in and anticipate. You really aren't surprised by anything. It is always challenging to win in our league. I say that honestly, it is hard. And you learn about your team and then you quickly go into making the corrections and trying to improve. I would still say this, we are still at that early part of the season where it is going to be critical that we continue to make the improvements necessary to catch up and put ourselves in a winning position. I think that is where we are at right now."
Will you study this road thing anymore?
"Yes, we will try to look at everything, but I think the road thing goes into playing better football. It is not so much that we are playing somewhere else. I said this last week, we could have played the Dallas game here, (or at) old Tulane Stadium and the result would have been the same. The point being is I do not know that generally when you are playing good football and you are able to reduce turnovers and create them and you are running the ball well, that travels pretty well. If you are not, that does not travel well. I think it's more about our team playing good football and playing well enough to win. I think the home and away thing is not as big a part of that as just being productive and understanding what wins."
The fact that you are running the ball really well, averaging over five yards per carry, is that a reason for optimism going forward that gives you a chance in a lot of these games?
"Well it is encouraging because it has been a point of emphasis and I think that yesterday was a case and point. It wasn't the four minute, obviously, it was an overtime situation. There's an attrition with the run game that oftentimes takes place and then really reveals itself later in games and I feel like yesterday was a good example of that. I think that is an important component to winning, and it has been when we've been real good here."
You said you were hoping to get guys back that were nicked up yesterday, does that include Jimmy Graham?
"We'll see where we are at. We'll see."
Junior Galette said yesterday that he and Cameron Jordan had communicated the rush on the safety in the fourth quarter. Do you find there to be a lot more communication going on between the players between plays as opposed to on the sideline when the offense is on the field?
"I don't know that that's anything. In other words, there are assignments in how we rush, there are assignments as to what we are supposed to do. We did a few of those things well, we missed a few of those yesterday as well with regards to handling formations."
As you go into the bye week, do you accentuate the positives or do you dwell on the negatives?
"I think from a teaching standpoint we really try to look at both. I don't know that we dwell, I think we try to look at where we've got to be better. One of the messages today was to make sure that when we are looking at the tape we're looking at it with the same fine eye we looked at it with last Monday, a very critical perspective on how we can be better. Not only players but coaches as well, how can we correct these things that we're seeing. I think one of the things that offset the turnover differential yesterday, we went into the game and we knew the (officiating) crew that we were seeing was at the top of the game in regards to penalties called and I think the thing that offset the minus-two in the giveaway/takeaway area was the penalties and the amount of penalties. Then when you take Tampa's penalties and you looked at yardage negated, it was well over 150 yards negated because of penalties and I think then all of a sudden the pendulum swung back to an even keel. If that doesn't swing in our favor we lose that game. If the turnovers don't swing against us I think we win the game without needing overtime. When you see the penalty yards differential and you're able to calculate those, it was pretty substantial."
Do you see a difference in players who come from big college football schools and guys like Khiry (Robinson) who probably had only played in front of a few thousand people before he came to the pros at West Texas A&M?
"You might notice it early in their rookie season, certain things they'd be accustomed to or used to, but very quickly you begin to just see jersey numbers and just players. His transition was not smooth initially. He went through a workout camp, then the offseason and fortunately he got to training camp. When the pads came on for him, he became a much different player than we envisioned, just in regards to his style I would say. I don't know that we saw, it's hard to see when you're not in pads, he's a physical runner and it was hard to see that at all. You get all sorts of impressions."
What about the illegal hands to the face penalties? Is it overkill through five weeks?
"It doesn't matter what I think. I think it is tough quickly to make those calls, for instance Junior's (Galette) call. The only thing we can do is really profile the crew and the one thing we did know when we profiled these guys on Friday was that there is a crew that was tops in the league in penalties called and a distant gap between second, third, fourth and fifth. That's the case this year and we had that crew yesterday. It was a big point of emphasis with regards to you name the penalty; holding, they were calling two times the average of crews across the league. You pick it and they were double. So we knew going in that was going to be the type of game and yet some of those are tough calls and I'm sure tough to make."
Do you guys scout the officiating crews weekly and adjust your play?
"Well we scout them out. I don't know that we adjust the play but we become aware of that this might be something that they really look closely at. Every once and a while you will get something statistically that will just jump out at you. We will profile the crew, we will profile last year's numbers of that crew, we will profile this year's numbers with that crew, and then the head referee and his history. It's a three page report we do on Fridays."
Is it important for the coaches to get away and get some time away from football for a little bit during the bye week to recharge mentally?
"For all of us, it's a short window and really since training camp you are going, going, going with preseason games, final cuts and the start of the regular season. When that bye falls, again, you can't control, I think it does allow that."
The NFL overtime rule really worked to your advantage yesterday, do you think it is the best way to do it?
"I don't know that it worked to our advantage. In other words the old rule would have ended that way. To our advantage would have been (had) they won the toss, kicked a field goal, we got the ball back and then marched down the field and scored or tied it up. I don't know, since that change has been made which was after the NFC Championship Game (where the Saints defeated the Vikings), I was kind of a proponent of what was the old rule. Nonetheless yesterday though we were able to put together a drive and score a touchdown and really not leave it to chance. I think statistically when you look at it I don't know that much has changed, even though the rule has, I don't know that it really has impacted the game the way I think the (competition) committee thought it would."
Did you reach a point where there a dilemma to just take the field goal?
"No, that situation exists more under the old rule and then you are looking at where you are at, the hashmark, how long is the field goal, but under the new rule I think you are looking to put together a drive and score a touchdown because then it is sudden death. If not, it is not sudden death and you give them an opportunity."
On the last run by Khiry Robinson, two safeties came up to tackle him…
"I thought we had good effort. You saw, and you guys will see it, you see I mentioned Jahri (Evans), you see a ton of effort. When I say the second level, past the initial line of scrimmage, and it was hard for me initially from the sidelines because you get blinded by the bodies and then Khiry is someone who really can get his pad level down and leverage through some of those tackles and actually almost piggy back off some of those blocks that he was getting but it was an impressive run."
Corey White said that he knows he is being targeted by opposing quarterbacks. How do you balance that and giving a young player some additional help?
"I think it's back and forth. Look, he's played well. There are some underneath throws, and obviously some throws that you go back and you grade in man to man, but it's really that decision as to run or pass. If you're deciding to defend run, knowing that you're going to have some single coverage or at least a little bit more of an island than it would be if there were safety help over the top so you kind of go back and forth with that and you try to be good in your disguise."
As far as where they are in their rehab, could you see Mark Ingram and Khairi Fortt…