<span> <span style="">New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton</span> <span style="">Saturday, January 9, 2010</span>
"We had good work today. We'll go again tomorrow with a similar schedule. The players will be off on Monday and then we'll be into our normal weekly routine with a Saturday game."
What was today's schedule? What kind of practice did you have?
"There were no carded plays, so it was offense vs. defense much like we would have in minicamp or training camp. We went through a bunch of different situations and got base work and third down work. We really went against each other without really game-planning for an opponent."
Would you change tomorrow's work if Philadelphia wins tonight since you would know your opponent?
"I think tomorrow we'll still be at the tempo we had today, which was good. We'll get that practice planned this afternoon, get it all shelled up and stay with that format."
How will you watch tonight's game?
"We'll all have a chance at some point to get around to watching it and then tomorrow with the way it shakes out schedule-wise, we'll practice and then from a staff standpoint we'll be here late with the beginning of a gameplan, knowing that at some point tomorrow we'll have an opponent."
How would you describe the atmosphere at today's practice?
"It was good. There was good tempo. It was lively, as it is when you go against each other. The guys were good. We were in pads and then we conditioned afterwards. Overall, I was pleased."
Are you disappointed that Drew Brees didn't win the MVP?
"I've said before that when you look at the season that he's had, he's had an MVP-like season. Ultimately, his goal is more of a team goal. There are a number of postseason awards that he's going to receive but none would be as significant as winning a championship."
Do you think it will be difficult for the players to get back into the routine after this time off?
"We have a good team, in that we understand what's at stake. I think guys had a chance to get away and are responsible enough to understand when they travel and are away from the building what they have to do in taking care of their bodies. They're back and our schedule is pretty clear and the focus is pretty clear."
How much will Charles Grant's injury change things for you guys?
"We added Paul Spicer to the roster; he was with us in training camp. Certainly you don't like to lose a starter, and yet we have enough depth. We had to handle this last season with a similar injury against San Diego in London for Charles, so we'll make the adjustments and move forward."
Since you hired Gregg Williams, how much of an emphasis have you put on creating takeaways?
"It's pretty significant. I think anyone who has covered us and has been at practice on a daily basis has seen the difference. Fortunately for us it has paid dividends and it's something that has contributed a lot to our success and where we're at. I think protecting the ball and the turnovers in the postseason will be equally as important."
How have the guys that were banged up come back from this bye week?
"All those guys are doing well. They all did well. We had good work today. I think that's why you work so hard to put yourself in that seed."
How does having had success in a similar situation with the bye week in 2006 help you this time around?
"It just helps from a scheduling standpoint. There are a handful of players that were on that team and enough coaches here where we understand the routine. It was a Saturday game in '06 as well. It was an evening game, but nonetheless, there is some familiarity with the schedule and how we approach it. But it is a different team. Anytime you have playoff experience, though, it's helpful."
Did the coaches have any days off?
"A couple days during the week when guys got away and ended up coming back in and getting started for practice, looking at tape of three potential opponents and getting the initial breakdowns done of all three teams, beginning that process so that when we do find out a lot of that legwork is done from a computer/breakdown standpoint."
Did Drew spend a lot of time here?
"You'd have to ask him. I know he spent time here watching tape and we also had a chance to look at ourselves closely well from a self-scouting standpoint."
Did you spend any time after the last game self-evaluating?
"We spent time on our self-scout, really studying both offensively, defensively and in the kicking game things we have done well and things we haven't done as well and the thing we emphasized in today's practice and what we'll emphasize tomorrow is having a chance to go back like we did in a training camp fashion and working on those things from a technique and scheme standpoint, basic fundamentals."
How does the self-scout concept work in terms of what sides of the ball you look at?
"Self-scout means you generate reports, look at tendencies play by play and you do the same on each side of the ball and just pay attention to the percentages. There are going to be certain tendencies that are going to be healthy and you just want to make sure you don't have every time you do this, it's this. We're trying to avoid those. There's two phases to it, what you're doing well from a scheme standpoint and your predictability and tendencies."
Did you change up the schedule slightly from the 2006 postseason?
"I'd have to go back and look at it. I think this is a little different from a schedule standpoint, but not a whole lot. Where we're at as a team is different."
Will Bobby McCray slide into Charles Grant's spot?
"We'll see. We have flexibility certainly where Bobby is one of the ends. Jeff Charleston and Paul Spicer are ends. Anthony Hargrove has played end. We have some flexibility and we'll play with that."
What is your biggest concern offensively from the last few weeks of the season?
"I think overall, it's being efficient, getting the ball down the field on third downs, making sure we're looking closely at our efficiency. All those things we'll work on this weekend and next week as we approach the whole thing."
Is there a specific skill you can point to for third down success?
"The first thing you always look at is down and distance. We break it down into categories of two-to-three, four-to-six and you work your packages versus the various down and distances. That's something we have a lot of tape on and a lot of things we've done well in that down and distance from a statistical standpoint, it's something we've been able to operate efficiently on. It's been one of the reasons for our success offensively here, not just this year but in the last four years."
Are the third and short and third and long categories across the board?
"You're hopefully operating in your game management of third downs. There have been weeks this season where you play a game – the first half of Miami – we had way too many third and longs whether it was from penalties or minus plays. That's typically how we break it down."