Saints Coach Sean Payton reviews Lions game

Check out the Saints vs. Lions action at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 5, 2016

When you looked at the film anything jump out at you that didn’t after the game?
“A few things. I think first off I thought offensively seven snaps in the first quarter. We had some early third and one opportunities. We got a fumbled shotgun snap or we don’t get the shotgun snap on the first third down situation. The next one we come up short on a running play and here we are after the first quarter with seven snaps. First half we are at 19 snaps before we get to the two minute. Our third down numbers in the first half were two of six, which wasn’t good. Defensively, there were some good things on tape. Now, the thing that was a concern was the third and long situations. They were three of six on third and 10 or more with a touchdown and a 28-yard average and that down and distance for us defensively we’ve got to improve on. I thought the special teams covered well. (Thomas) Morstead I thought up until the last punt did a good job changing field positions. There were some things that were encouraging, but mainly offensively we weren’t able to generate any type of momentum or rhythm. That was evident and when you play a game like that you look down at your call sheet and two thirds of your running game you haven’t gotten to or your play action passing game. The time of possession was tilted heavily in their favor and that really was clear when you watched the game in its entirety.”

Why did you spike the ball with two seconds left?
“I think you’re trying to score. We’re in a mindset that when that drives starts we’re going to try to score and get back an onside kick. I think that’s clearly the competitive nature of everyone on the field.”

How do you think Dannell Ellerbe has played since he’s been out there?
“I think there are some things on tape now that I think that were real encouraging. There were a handful of plays we can clean up, but I think I has (his return) definitely benefited our defense. He is back in the lineup and he runs well. He hasn’t had the snap totals the rest of these guys have had, but he has been a reason we’ve played better on that side of the ball.”

That energy conversation is so hard to quantify.
“Yeah, the think you have to be careful with that is defensively I thought we played with energy. I thought offensively there is an element in there and I told the team today when you’re watching the tape there is an element of execution that shows up more than energy. That all being said it’s frustrating when it’s sloppy. When you don’t get a shotgun snap correctly, you fail on a third down and one. I’d describe more of it as the execution early on, especially on those third downs. Which led to the time of possession in the first half.”

So in review, you don’t think lack of energy was a big reason?
“No, I don’t. I was frustrated certainly with how sloppy it was. But watching the tape and watching us play defensively, in the kicking game and offensively, guys are playing with great effort, and yet it was sort of the antithesis of how we wanted to look. It wasn’t sharp. We did a number of things to hurt ourselves. We had eight penalties offensively. Those are things we’ve got to have cleaned up by this time of the year. When you have those penalties and you’re first-and-20, you’re putting yourself in a hole. All of a sudden, there is a drive where you’re starting backed up because of a penalty or because of a delay. Those are all things that hurt your chances of having a successful drive.”

What about Sheldon Rankins’ talents made him a fit for a few plays on the edge yesterday?
“He is playing defensive end in a three-down package when you look at where his rush goes. That being said, we see him as a real good versatile defensive tackle. You get in some situations where you play a three-down package, you rotate basically a linebacker there to become the fourth rusher. I like the way he is playing.”

With Tampa Bay winning yesterday, it becomes a situation where if you guys don’t win this week, you’re three games back with three to go; how much is that presented to the team?
“I think right now there are some understoods and some givens. What is understood and what is a given is that you’re left with four games. The focus will be on Tampa Bay and we’re going to have to play well, not only in this game, we’re going to play well on the road down the stretch. That is really where the focus is.”

What has this offense missed without Josh Hill?
“I would say a handful of things – there is versatility that he gives you at the tight end posiiton (and) there is versatility that he gives you when he is playing inline at the Y. There are a handful of things.”

Do you feel comfortable with the guys you have on your practice squad like Garrett Griffin or Jake Stoneburner?
“We’ll see. I feel comfortable with the tight ends we have on our active roster right now. We started the season with two for the early part of the year. We’ll see how the roster shapes up and what we want to do.”

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