New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 20, 2017
*To have six guys announced as Pro Bowl members, what does that mean to the team or is that something to even be thought about right now?
*“I think over time generally, and I said this in the morning meeting, when you have team success, I think it enhances (the case of players) or allows more players to have those opportunities (to be elected. I think, typically, that has been the case and we are proud of all those players that are representing.”
*When you look at the Falcons roster, how many similarities do you see to your team’s roster, speaking of big physical receivers, a pair of productive running backs and speed on defense?
*“I think there’s some, specifically with some of the skill positions you talked about and yet I think they’re two entirely different teams.”
What kind of season do you think A.J. Klein had for you guys?“I think he played well. I think he was a big part of our success and our improvement defensively ((with) his makeup, understanding (of the defense). I think he was running well, (he) really good with key and diagnose, and one of our captains. I think he was a really good addition.”
*What are some of the challenges of replacing a guy like that who has meant so much to the defense this year?
*“It’s from the very beginning of the communication, the understanding of what we’re doing, being half a step ahead of the play. There’s a responsibility to understand all the alignments and the formations, and understand the amount of film work it takes that he put it. All of those things are things that fall on whether it’s Manti (Te’o) or Craig (Robertson) or whoever is specifically in that role.”
What do you guys like about John Phillips to have brought him back?“There’s some versatility. We know the player. It gives us flexibility if we want to be in some heavier packages.”
*How odd do you think it is that you guys have four players from the state of Georgia and around Atlanta?
*“I think it’s a coincidence. I had to ask the follow up (differentiating between the state of Georgia and the University of Georgia) so I wouldn’t have known. I think it’s a coincidence where guys are from. That’s the best thing about what we do. We are looking at players and history has told us they come from everywhere.”
*How much did losing (Alvin) Kamara in the first game impact some of the things you wanted to do against Atlanta in the game there?
*“It changes a little bit, your packages, and yet we have to play better than we played in the first game. Certainly you want to be healthy and be able to get to your packages that you have, but that wasn’t the reason.”
*Have you ever been in a situation like this where you’ve played a team twice within the time frame of playing the Falcons on December 7 and now on Christmas Eve?
*“It’s a good question. I don’t know. We’ve had the other week. That’s come up before, so probably not.”
*What are the challenges or benefits to that playing an opponent so quickly a second time?
*“It’s the same as the other week. In other words, the cutups are still fresh in your mind, the plays that you were seeing, you quickly get back in touch with your plan that you had because you just dived into another defense or offense. Today is Wednesday. We’re are clearly prepared and transitioned from one game into this gameplan and that starts on Monday. I think it’s more just the uniqueness of a division opponent, and a quick turnaround, and putting together a good week of practice.”