New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post Practice Media Availability
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Opening Statement: "Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We in a little different schedule. We used today much like we would our base Wednesday practice with the other day being really an intro to Seattle. Most of today was first and second down. Tomorrow we will be back on to what would be a normal nickel or third down schedule. Any questions?"
How much do you see Drew Brees in Russell Wilson in how he projects himself?
"I was asked that question by the Seattle media yesterday and then had a chance to see those same questions asked of both Drew and Russell. Look I think, the thing I said yesterday is you see in Russell a very competitive, driven player who has number one, a very gifted skill set. And then number two, certainly a guy who would prepare tirelessly and work tirelessly to be as good as he can. I think he is a guy that knows how to win. Not really knowing a lot about his background, he has played close attention to players that have come before him and I think he is a very good leader. You can see that on tape. I think there often comes a chip on someone's shoulder like that. Our league is a product type driven league. I use this analogy with the quarterback in Tampa Bay with (Mike) Glennon coming out at six foot seven, was fighting his height no different than a guy like Russell or a guy like Drew. I found over the years that that position really really good one comes in different shapes and sizes and certainly there are measurables you look for and yet there are certain things that need to be measured first. I think I would start there."
What does their pass defense do to be so good?
"They are very very good at playing bump and run outside. I would say it is complementary to what they are also very good at and that is rushing the passer. When you play the amount of man coverage that they do, and there are times where it is more of a three deep zone, but the complimentary element of it is that the clock that they are able to challenge offenses with in regards to getting the football matches often times their ability to stay on a receiver in tight, very tight coverage. You mentioned (Richard) Sherman, the free safety (Earl) Thomas, the strong safety (Kam) Chancellor, they have a lot of talented players, not only in the back end. They have a young linebacker core that runs extremely well and a front that is very physical and very active. Couple that with a crowd noise and an environment that is uniquely different, you have a formula that is successful in your scenic right now."
Are they are as dedicated to the run with Marshawn Lynch maybe as San Francisco was with Frank Gore?
"I think so. I think there is a formula that they look closely at. I think they have a really good offensive line and obviously a very good scheme. They are well coached and have an extremely talented running back and it sets up the down and distances they look for just like a lot of us do. Those third down and shorts, they lead the league in big plays both in the run and then they come off a play action pass. When you look statistically, I think it is a very physical group that understand exactly what they are doing and how to win."
"I am thankful for these players. I am thankful for you guys, all that cover us on a regular basis and I mean that. The biggest thing, and I told our team a few minutes ago, when you are away a year it is not the ancillary things, but it is the interaction that you have as a team. I think it is a close group. Obviously there are a lot of changes every year, but that is the thing I am thankful for, is this family, my immediate family, also with my children. That is why I liked practicing today."
Have you seen much from Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane, the next guys up?
"Yeah, they have played so we have film. I think the thing, and I told our players this, they are going to come in and play the same type of technique. You don't see something change differently in regards to how they play a certain coverage or how they play a technique. They are very well coached on defense as well and so those are confident players that come right in and have experience."
Do you feel fortunate today with it being cold and practicing outdoors?
"We did it the other day. It was good. In fact the other day was probably even colder and damper. It will be I'm sure by the time we play, it will be in the 30s or low 40s. so having that similar environment a few days ago and to some degree, cooler weather today is helpful. Getting the crowd noise work done is critical as well because the communication and the ability to focus with all those other things going on is where you are challenged."
You mentioned it is a unique environment, how much of an appreciation did you get for it the last time you were there?
"I think this, for me probably, just during my career as coach, is probably the fifth or sixth time maybe back there. (In) Dallas we played there a few times, but it is a passionate fan base. You hear stadiums building a way where it keeps the sound in. It is a neat part of the country as well. You land in a small airport. You see the water. Each trip we take somewhere else there is something different about it, but right now especially throw on top of it a team that is really playing well, one of the top teams in the league and that is something you've seen take place during a period of time dating back to the playoff game. That was a wild card game."
How is David Hawthorne doing?
"Number one it starts with being healthy and that would be the first thing. Secondly, I think he has good instincts. He tackles well. He has quickness to the ball and I think with the scheme he has fit in very nicely in the base and the nickel."
How do you prepare for the weather?
"One thing that we look at is wind. That can impact a game a little more than participation. But I think the elements you try to look at closely and then part of that comes on game day when you are actually out there. We have been in places, this was a while back now, I think it was a Monday night game and there was a significant amount of wind in one direction and so understanding what you are trying to do with the wind and what you are trying to do against the wind, extending the clock, trying to move the clock against it. We saw it the other night with New England and Denver, obviously there was an advantage in one direction. It was hard to appreciate when you are watching it on television, but all that factors in to the thoughts of going into a game. How does that impact? A lot of times you pay attention to what you are seeing and what is taking place. We've had cold games that went in a certain direction that you didn't expect. I can go back to 2006 in New York on Christmas Eve that game unfolded a little differently than we anticipated. We were outstanding on third down defensively. We made enough plays offensively. Look, I think the environment will be extremely loud. I think it is a big game because it is the next one."
The temperature and the rain don't affect throwing as much as the wind?
"Wind would be the first and obviously the participation, depending on the amount. It can if it is pouring down raining."
Is it true that the team physically succeeds in those conditions?
"Well those conditions aren't necessarily conducive to the same conditions you have when you throw the football. To this day, good defense travels, a good running game and a good offensive line and all of those things are able to handle some of the elements when it is more challenging to throw the football. I think that would be fair to say. We look for balance each week in what we are trying to do. Some weeks, more than others, it is easier to do that, other weeks it is more challenging. We will pay close attention to how we want to prepare for this game and what we want to do during the game."