Following a two hour practice on Thursday, Saints head coach Sean Payton met with the media. In the session, he spoke about the potential for cold and windy weather in Cincinnati, the role of Reggie Bush and his viewpoint on players and twitter:
"We'll first hit the injury report for today; it's the same as yesterday's: linebacker Anthony Waters (ankle) was limited and Pierre Thomas (ankle) was limited. Ladell Betts (neck) did not practice. Most of today's work was on third down and nickel preparation."
Do you get dividends now from having those bad games against Arizona and Cleveland? Can you learn from those losses?
"The thing that we try to do after each game when we to put closure it – in wins and in losses – is to look closely at the things that we didn't feel like we did particularly well. I the key is our consistency to the workweek and our paying attention to the game we just played, making the corrections, and then getting on to the next opponent. That process needs to take place just as importantly after a good win because generally there are a lot of things that can be better, and it needs to take place the same way after a tough loss. You build on the things that you're doing well and then you move on to the next game. You hope that you're doing that after wins more than you are losses. I think our players have grown accustomed to that and making sure that we're cleaning up the things that need to be fixed."
When you say you put closure on it, you can always go back and look at things again, right?
"Once the game is done, it's done. You can rehash plays and things that took place, but generally you're wanting to make the corrections, make the improvements and make sure that everyone understands the things that we didn't do well. That comes with a loss or a win."
We talked a little about the weather yesterday. Do you recall your reaction to seeing the schedule when it was released and seeing games at Cincinnati and Baltimore in December?
"I think the thing that we probably pay a little bit more attention to is those oddball games on Thursdays and Mondays and the travel, either in the back end after the game or on the front end. When I recall getting the schedule, I remember initially looking at the Thanksgiving game. You look and you know it's going to be a short week, but we had the bye a week-and-a-half prior to that, which helped us. Again, we knew the opening game was coming on a Thursday with the schedule and then we didn't play again until the following Monday. Those are the things that I think you look a little closer at, and yet you're mindful of those December games. Other than just observing them, you know that each year you're going to have play a couple of those games that won't be in warm weather or inside. When you look at our division, you know you're going to play eight in the Dome and nine counting at Atlanta, and then you have at Carolina and at Tampa Bay, so this division lends itself to warmer weather and indoors. Outside of that, you make note of it but understand that it's just the way it shakes out and you know you're going to have to play well."
Is there any way that you might be able to prepare for some of the elements that you might face in these games? Would you wet the balls here?
"Yes, if you felt that rain was in the forecast. We've done a wet ball drill in training camp and that's part of the process. With the wind and the temperature, it's not as easy as going inside to prepare to play inside. More than anything else, it's understanding that it still comes down to having that balance; being able to rush the football if wind is a factor. That came up this year at San Francisco. I use that game as a good example because the wind can affect your passing game more than temperature. That was a game where the way we played those quarters was different because of the significant wind. You just have to as a coach be ready to adjust if the elements call for it."
Would you bring a bunch of different types of cleats?
"This is a field turf field, so it's a little different. It's a surface that's artificial so there's a little bit more consistency than if you were going to be playing on a grass field where you might bring a few pairs. But we've been on this field before in the preseason and played games there before so you know the surface is a little bit more predictable."
You used Reggie Bush in a limited role at Dallas. Is that the plan, to phase him back into the offense slowly?
"I think so. Each week we'll try to get him more and more work. When we went into that game, we knew that it was going to be our plan. You don't know how many snaps you're going to have or how many that will involve him, but we'll continue to do that and definitely add more to his plate."
You had a player earlier in the year with some tweets between Darren Sharper and members of the Minnesota Vikings. Have you had to monitor any of his messages this week?
"No. I've paid a little bit of attention to it this week, but I don't think it's been anything like what we had preseason. It hasn't been a real big issue."
Do you have a policy on that at all?
"When our players tweet, or when you guys tweet, those are statements, those are announcements. Those are small press conferences and that's all we say. It's no different than if they were sitting right here and addressing the media. When they tweet a message, it's no different than sitting down in front of a group of reporters. That's all and we'll just be smart about it."
Would you fine guys for tweets?
"We haven't had to. By and large it hasn't been a big issue."