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Saints Head Coach Gets Set for Big Blue Invasion


New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Opening Statement:

"Let me first go through our injury report for today: Jahri Evans did not practice with a big toe; Leigh Torrence (hamstring) did not practice; Malcolm Jenkins (ankle) did not practice; Rod Harper (foot) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (hamstring) was limited; Will Smith/Kendrick Clancy.aspx">Kendrick Clancy (knee) was full; Darnell Dinkins (foot) was full; Mike Bell (knee) was full; Jermon Bushrod (knee and ankle) was full; Jason Kyle (knee and ankle) was full. Garrett Hartley is back with his suspension being lifted and we waived quarterback Chase Daniel and that leaves us with our correct number count. Mostly today was base for us with some third down."

How will you handle the kicking situation going forward?

"We'll see. Obviously we have two kickers and a punter now. We'll see as the week goes on. John (Carney) has done a good job with location. We're not announcing anything yet, but we feel good about the combination that we've been working with so we'll see as this week progresses."

What was Garrett doing during his suspension and what contact were you allowed to have with him?

"None really. I think he traveled some and stayed in shape and worked on his kicking, but that's really on the player's own time."

What entered into your thought process to keep both kickers?

"Just with the way that John was performing, we felt that his consistency and Thomas (Morstead's) kickoffs have been encouraging."

With having your running backs all healthy now, will you work out a rotation before the game or kind of ride the hot hand?

"That's a good question. Mike Bell is back and we want to see the progress of how he's doing, and how Pierre (Thomas) is doing. Lynell Hamilton has been healthy and doing a good job. It's unlikely that we'll take four running backs into the game, yet this is the first week where all of them are healthy."

Did Pierre Thomas' hamstring injury come before the bye?

"He's had it nagging for a little bit, but he got work today and he looked pretty good but we limited the amount of snaps that he had."

When did Jahri Evans hurt his toe?

"His turf toe was from the Jets game. We'll see where he's at tomorrow. We held him out today."

Is this going to be the best defense that you've faced this year?

"They're certainly right up there. We played a good Jets defense last week and these guys have played real good football. We do a pretty extensive study on the opponent and when you look at all the categories that lend themselves to winning, this is a team that has done most of those things real well. This is a good challenge for us and a real good football team. Not only looking at the film and looking at all the numbers in all phases, they're very well-coached and very talented."

Is there any concern in coming off the bye week that the rhythm you had going could be interrupted?

"We haven't done real well off the bye week so we tried to change the routine up a little bit. That being said, we had good work today and I think our players will be ready."

What did you feel that you needed to do differently from previous bye weeks?

"Really the routine just changed up a little bit. We got a lot of film work done on ourselves and then we got an advance day on New York. Some of these guys needed to get healed up on some nicks and hopefully we've been able to do that. We probably practiced less than in years past."

Do you see yourself having to possibly tone down Jeremy Shockey as he's going against his former team?

"I think everyone gets excited to play each weekend. Every weekend with the way the rosters are now, there's somebody who has been with the other team. Last week it was Jon Vilma with the Jets and the same thing takes place with the opponent. The rosters change so much now that it's fairly common. It gets back really to the team thing and getting prepared and getting ready to play a good team and eliminating mistakes. That's really the focal point."

How can having two big games back to back like this help you out later on in the season?

"I've said before that in each week you play, they're all big. You want to play well each week. The second week of the season after we played Detroit, the Philadelphia game was a big week and then last week against the Jets and hopefully there will be more games like this. I think the interest level is generated with two teams that haven't lost a game yet, and I said the same thing a few weeks ago as it pertained to the Jets game. For us, it's our fifth opportunity and that's really how we're looking at it."

Would you consider the Giants one of the standard-bearers in the NFC? Could this game be a measuring stick for your team?

"Having come off a Super Bowl not too long ago, they're certainly one of the teams and they have been a playoff team and a team that has had a lot of success when you look at their record from the last three or four years. It's a real good challenge for us."

What have your impressions been of Eli Manning, both early in his career and now?

"I think with any real good quarterback, there have always been growing pains. I think he's playing at an extremely high level in the system now. He knows exactly what to do with his protections and what to do with his run checks. He does a great job of really orchestrating the offense. He's very accurate and he does a great job as well in the two-minute. He's had a lot of two-minute success. He has certainly established himself through a lot of hard work; you can just look at the numbers. The most important job for the quarterback is to win games and he has been able to do that as their starter."

Would you say this is the most physical running team you've faced?

"They are certainly one of them. They take pride in running the football. It's an offensive line that has been together for a long time and you can see a lot of cohesiveness in this group. The backs run hard and that's something that has been part of their success, not only as a team but also offensively."

How would you assess Shockey's season so far?

"I the key is his health now. A year ago he had some nagging injuries with the sports hernia and then recovering from the injury he had when he arrived here. His health has been a plus for us and he's a big part of what we do, not only as a receiver but as someone who blocks for us. Those are all pluses."

Some fans view the team's success as a metaphor for the city's recovery. Is there any added pressure that it might feel like more than just a game you guys are playing out there?

"There has always been a unique relationship between the fan base here and this team. Following Katrina that attachment grew some. In a lot of NFL cities, there's always a better Monday for people at work after their team wins a big game and certainly that's the case here. I think our players understand that and they feed off that. Our support at home has been outstanding. The environment that we play in here is significant."

How do you think Eli Manning will be treated in his first game here in his hometown as a pro quarterback?

"I think there will always be an attachment to the Manning family, starting with Archie's success and then Peyton and Eli's success. For a city like New Orleans, when one of their own goes on to have success, I think people take pride in that."

Did you see anything from past bye weeks that you wanted to do differently this year?

"One difference is that it came after week four. So you have a limited amount and yet still enough to begin to look at yourself tendency-wise. We tried to focus on that and then get a jump-start on this game and then lastly get them away. Having four weeks – when opponents break you down, it's generally off of three or possibly four games – and we tried to pay attention to those tendencies and find the ones that jumped out at us and then get some advance work done on New York."

Did you get away at all?

"On the weekend. I just watched a little football and that was really about the extent of it."

Are you seeing that the Giants are able to bring a lot of pressure with only a four-man rush?

"They do a good job of mixing in the pressure with more than four players and certainly their front is very active and very athletic. They're a handful and that's going to be an important part of this game. Both with a four-man rush and then with additional players in their pressure packages, we'll have to do a good job with our protections and then do a good job with getting the ball out."

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