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Saints Head Coach Sean Payton 9 25

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    <span>              <span style="">Opening Statement:</span>                  

"From an injury standpoint, Marques Colston did not practice and he'll be out. Aaron Glenn (ankle) did not practice and he'll be out for this game. Randall Gay (hamstring) was limited today; Mike Karney (ankle) did not practice; Mark Campbell (hamstring) was limited today; David Patten (groin) did not practice; Jeremy Shockey (hernia) did not practice and he'll be out. Those three players – Colston, Glenn and Shockey will be listed as out. Troy Evans (ankle) did not practice today; Jonathan Goodwin  (hamstring) did not practice – he wasn't on the report yesterday, so that's the one change. Aaron Stecker (hamstring) was limited; Jammal Brown (hip) was limited; Terrance Copper (hamstring) was limited; Antwan Lake (groin) was limited; Scott Fujita (knee) was limited."

What exactly is wrong with Jonathan Goodwin?

"It's his hamstring. Yesterday he tweaked his right hamstring at the end of practice. We waited to see how it was this morning and we held him out."

Because of his position, might you have to bring in someone else before the game?

"No, I don't think we would do that. Matt Lehr would be our two center."

Who would back Lehr up if Goodwin couldn't go?

"We have Zach Strief who is a guy that could take snaps. We're going to go into the game with seven linemen like we have, but hopefully we don't have to go down that road."

How was practice today?

"We cut it a little short today, but I thought we had good work. It was third down emphasis with nickel. We got a lot done and I think our guys will be focused and ready. This is an important game for us coming back home and we need to play well."

With all the injuries and having lost two games in a row, is there a lot that changes this week?

"I don't think so. You look at the gameplan and when it comes to injuries, certain things will change based on personnel, but the way we practice and the way we prepare and how we gameplan and how we go about our work during the week in preparation for the game doesn't change. The key is just the personnel."

Has Reggie Bush been very consistent so far this season?

"He has played well. He's healthy. He has been explosive. He has played well in the kicking game with the big punt return. I think he has been as sharp as I've seen him since we've been here and when you watch the tape he's grading out the same way. He's running well inside and outside and he has been outstanding in the passing game and that's a credit to him. He had a great offseason."

Your philosophy since you arrived here has been to play the best players and everyone needs to be ready to play. Does that help in a time like this with so many players out due to injury?

"When you have a roster, it's a little bit different than college where you're not 90-deep so your roster are guys that are going to have to be able to play whether or not they started the season out as a starter. I think that's the case with a lot of teams in our league. Obviously you hope to get healthy quicker than later, but these other guys are NFL players that we're counting on to play and to play well."

Do you think this team is reacting differently than they have in the past?

"It's a mature group. I think they understand the things that we need to improve on and I think we've had good focus. It starts with leadership and accountability and I think we have that."

What are the main things that you focus on this week?

"You try to focus on the things from a week ago that you need to improve on. We've talked about our goal-line situations, short-yardage, we've talked about tackling and continuing to create the turnovers, the pass rush. It's all the little things that go into a good game. There were a lot of things to build from last week in regards to how we played and yet there are some things that we have to clean up, and then this team is a different opponent so we have things that are much different. That's what you do in the workweek."

What do you think you have done best as a team?

"I think the quarterback is playing real well. I think we're doing a lot better job on the back end of coverage. That's something that with some young players like Tracy Porter that you're going to see improvement week-to-week on. Those are some of the things off the top of my head. We're throwing it pretty consistently and I think our third downs have been good. But that being said, it's another week now and it's a different scheme defensively and it's a different scheme for us in regards to what we're seeing from them offensively."

Do you think the Saints' run defense gets enough credit?

"It starts with hoping to make a team one-dimensional. Usually if a team is two-dimensional – having success running it – then it becomes that much easier to throw the ball because you're committed to stopping the run. Early on, I think it's important for us to have a handle on (Frank) Gore; he's an exceptional player and we have a lot of respect for him. What they're able to do now is that they're able to throw the ball a lot more effectively than they have in the past and that's why you're seeing their success."

With all the changes on offense, is this a game where the defense has to step up?

"We never turn and say that it's one side of the ball or the other. We have to play our best game and that means eliminating some of the penalties, looking to still create the turnovers that we were able to last week – we had two and that was encouraging. Overall, I think the team feels that all aspects are extremely important. The kicking game is important because it can come down to one play; it can come down to one return. Those are the things that we're trying to stay focused on. The turnover ratio and the importance of that when it comes to wins and losses – that hasn't really changed. Each week you hear me talk about it but it really is something that's important in the outcome of the game. Last week was an exception in that we finished plus in the turnover ratio and still lost the game. Normally that pays off for you, so that's one of the big things."

Do you feel like the defense may have turned a corner in the second half of last week's game?

"They played a good offense and obviously there was a lot of back-and-forth in that game, but I thought that in the second half we did a pretty good job of slowing things down and I thought we had the momentum. I think we're playing better on defense and as long as we continue to work on improving from week to week and understand that we can improve – not just on defense, but in all areas – then I think the team gets better. I think it's important that you work to improve within each week's gameplan. It's not just that we're on to another game, but we're looking to improve ourselves."

Do you worry at all about Martín Gramatica after him missing those kicks?

"No, it's a little unlike him. He has been very consistent for us and I think the biggest thing he needs is my support and our support and I think he feels that he has that with this team in this locker room and he certainly has it with me."

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