New Orleans Saints_
Head Coach Sean Payton_
RE: Defensive performance with three takeaways.
Each week we make an emphasis on takeaways and ball security offensively; but if you looked at this series specifically, this team, it was probably going to be one of the most important stats in the game. It was good to get some takeaways. Offensively, we were smart with the ball. We had one pop, one play where we almost turned it over. I thought we had pretty good balance, it's a pretty good defensive front that we were playing. I thought we played a pretty good complimentary game. I felt like the first half, most of it, was spent on their side of the 50. When mistakes were to come up, we were able to benefit from it, so that was good.
RE: Being better on third downs
It is something we worked on, we have to be. The guys did a good job, we spread the ball around a little bit. I thought Drew (Brees) played well. I thought we did a good job of running against a good front.
RE: Able to create some favorable looks through pre-snap motions?
I don't want to answer that before looking at the tape. We are hoping to, because there's an adjustment a lot of times that takes place when we move someone. Tempo was going to be important in this game on the road trying to implement some of that. Hopefully when we look at the tape we will see what was the goal.
RE: The fashion in your win
It was good to get one. Obviously there is that sense of urgency. Often times in our league those are important things to know. I think we had a good week of practice. I thought we had some good things early on to happen. The first drive was good. Defensively, the first turnover resulted in a touchdown. There will be a lot that we have to clean up but I was pleased that the players were able to get a win.
RE: How encouraged were you by Kenny Vaccaro*'s response to being benched last week and then coming in today with some big plays?*
First off, it wasn't an official benching. I know that that is perfect for ESPN but he and Vonn (Bell) are playing. It was fantastic. I thought we did a good job defensively against some of the different personnel groupings that we got. They have some different looks when you are facing (Jonathan) Stewart and then (Christian) McCaffrey, then both of them are in the game. So I thought that we settled into some of those personnel groupings and defensively made some plays.
RE: What do you think about some of the players that decided to protest?
We just talked about it. For our team, obviously it was a little different because we are on the road and generally we would talk about something like that. You know I am proud of every one of those guys. I felt like this morning coming in, it would have been rushed for me to meet with guys. I spoke to a few of the players and I am sure we spoke about it in the locker room and we'll have a chance to talk more. I would say, personally, I am disappointed in the comments that were made. I think we need a little bit more wisdom in that office. That's being a little blunt but that's how I feel. I want that guy to be one of the smarter guys in the room and it seems like every time he's opening his mouth, it's something that is dividing our country and not pulling us together. And that has nothing to do with my feelings about the anthem but it's just my take in 24 hours. That's how I feel.
RE: Did you know beforehand how many would participate?
No. Listen, I am proud of every one of them. Generally, it was just something, by the time we got in here last night and had our team meeting, we didn't have that same time. I talked to a few of the captains about it. That's the beautiful thing about a locker room, you have a lot of different personalities. I think Bill said it best in his Hall of Fame speech; north, south, east and west, all colors, the first question is, can you help? That's the only thing that we get concerned about or we worry about.
RE: Did you want to make sure that Drew Brees was ok with it after his strong words about Colin Kapernick last year?
No, I read his comments. I would disagree with you. Many feel strong about the anthem and I understand that but I wouldn't pit the two together. You can visit with each one of these guys in regards to the statements made the other day and get their opinion. I think that would be wise. You heard my opinion.
RE: When Michael Thomas gets going like that on that first drive how does that set things up for the rest of the game?
It was big. We got a match up on a linebacker a couple of times. They have some off ball coverages. He's just one of those guys that I think is really good after the ball in his hands. So you saw, I think, a fair amount of run after the catch yards from him. He converted a third down. He had a number of big plays and I think it helps to get him going, certainly, early on.
RE: How did Cam Newton look to you?
I think it's easy to look at that from afar but then when you take away a guy like (Greg) Olsen and then you take away a guy like (Kelvin) Benjamin, it becomes challenging in the offense that you are used to running. We'll have a chance to look at all of the tape and really focus on our players.
RE: Do you feel like you saw a jump from the offensive line having the same guys being able to play in the same position?
I think so. This is a good front, like really good. I was pleased that we were able to run the ball like we were and provide the protection, it wasn't always perfect but that was a good group that we one against.
RE: Sheldon Rankins in the sub rush
I think they were in a rotation, in fact I'm fairly sure they were. We knew it was going to be warm and we were going to play all eight of the guys, Perry we lost early but part of it was just playing a bunch of guys.