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Saints Head Coach Sean Payton QA Sept 28

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

"Much was said yesterday in regards to the win we had. After looking at the tape, I was pleased with our effort. There are a number of things that we can do better and clean up; the penalties were discouraging. Defensively, I thought we played real smart and as the game wore on, we got better and better and you could see that when you watched the game in person and you could certainly see it on film. It was a good win for us. Now we'll get rested up for a day and a half and get ready to have a good practice on Wednesday for a good team coming into town this weekend."

Do you have to discourage your team from listening to the comparisons to the 2006 team?

"Number one, it's a different team than the '06 team from a roster standpoint. I think what this team accomplishes and what they do will be clearly different than any team that has come before them. I think their expectation level is high for themselves, and yet we're talking about three weeks into the season so we have a lot of football left."

What single thing impressed you the most about the defense yesterday?

"I thought we played hard. Up front we won that battle in the trenches. We hit the quarterback a lot and hurried him a lot and I think that was important."

Is there something special you're doing for the first drive of the games?

"We try to put together a set of plays that we want to run to start each game, but to answer your question, that's something we've done here going on year four now. I think most teams try to come up with a handful of plays that they want to run. We had good execution in that first series, made some plays and were able to punch it in when we got down to the one. I don't know that there has been any additional emphasis, other than the timing and the rhythm of what we try to do to begin with."

How much does jumping ahead early hurt your opponent?

"Historically, it's always better to play with a lead and yet we know that that's not always going to be the case. I thought the drive to start the second half was equally as important. Although we didn't score, we took the ball off our goal line and changed field position and ended up putting them on the one- or two-yard line. I thought that was an important drive."

Where you do guys stand health-wise?

"There are some bumps and bruises today. Wednesday we'll have a better idea of where these guys are at. Guys are getting treatment and doing all the things necessary to get healthy."

Do you remember affecting an opposing quarterback as much as you did yesterday?

"I'm sure going back we could probably look at some games – I thought that game at New York, defensively we played real well on Christmas Eve (2006). But yesterday was real good."

Do you know how many hurries you had as a team?

"I don't have that number off the top of my head. I know we were credited with four sacks and more so than not, if he was throwing the football there was some kind of duress. I thought we handled the no-huddle part of it well, got our coals in and got guys aligned and executed and that was positive."

Were you pleased with the play of the running game?

"It was good, especially in the second half. We controlled the clock and the field position and those things were important in this one."

What has been the key to getting the running game going?

"You start with the fundamentals; guys are blocking well and we're hitting our landmarks and protecting the ball as well. There's no earth-shattering secrets; it still gets back to blocking and protecting the football and the landmarks by the runners. I feel like we've improved on all of those things."

Was yesterday the kind of performance you want to see from Charles Grant and Will Smith?

"They answered the challenge. That was one position group that we talked about needing to play well in this game. We felt like we had an advantage there and they answered the challenge."

Was there something that came together for your offense in the second half?

"I thought Buffalo did a good job of pushing the pocket. Those guys are pretty talented on defense and they did a good job of pushing that area in front of Drew and getting a couple of tipped balls and really making it difficult. We think they're a good team."

What type of challenges will the Jets present?

"We're getting ahead here on Monday, but I think they're a team that is playing with confidence. They have won three games; they have a young quarterback who's playing well; they have a defense that is playing outstanding. All those things that team are doing when they're winning are pretty consistent if you look around the league, and they're certainly one of those teams that are doing those things. They're protecting the football, they're creating turnovers – they had two big turnovers in the kicking game yesterday that led to two touchdowns for them. They have beaten good teams and they feel like – as they should – that they're one of the elite teams. We're going to have to play better this weekend."

The national media will jump on this match-up of two 3-0 teams. What will you do to downplay that?

"We just try to play them each week. This is the fourth game of the season. That's really where the focus has to be in regards to getting ready and the preparation. I think our players will understand that, as will the Jets players, I'm sure."

How would you assess Gregg Williams' defensive game plan yesterday?

"I thought it was good; I thought it was effective. We came after them and gave them a variety of pressures. I thought it really handcuffed (QB Trent Edwards). As an offensive play-caller, as the game is unfolding you understand and appreciate the importance of field position. With the way we were punting and the way we were playing defense, we were gaining field position each time that occurred. I thought (Thomas) Morstead played well again. Those are all things that take their toll in the outcome of the game eventually and they did again yesterday."

Was it your plan to use Pierre Thomas more in the second half?

"We went into the game with the idea that Pierre and Lynell Hamilton would get touches along with Reggie (Bush). Prior to the game, Pierre had some issues with dehydration; he had been sick the night before and had to get some IVs before the game started and was really unable to go through pregame warm-up. That concerned me some, so I wanted to see how he handled the special teams snaps. At halftime, his response when I asked him how he felt was the one I wanted to hear so we began to give him the ball more in the second half and he did a good job with those carries."

Did his performance answer any questions you might have had about the health of his knee?

"No, we felt pretty good about the health of his knee and yet there was still some rust involved when you look back at how many full snaps he has had going back to the injury. You still want to see the player go out and execute, and I think he's getting to that spot. Like a said last week, he's close to 100 percent and that's encouraging."

What did you guys to do contain Terrell Owens?

"It's a team effort. Generally when you have success in pass coverage, you're probably rushing the passer well and guys are staying disciplined on the back end. I thought the covers played well with good safety help. There were times where we singled him up; there were times where we played with coverage over the top. I thought we understood the scheme well on each play. It's usually a combination of those things."

What do you feel about the play of this running back group?

"I think it's versatile; they have different skill sets and I do like the fact that we have some young players in that room. I said in the spring that we felt pretty confident that some of our answers might be in the building, and again it's early in the season, but I'm pleased with how that position group has come along. It's always a battle of attrition when you look at the long season that you have. Fortunately we have some depth there and some guys that we have confidence in and are gaining confidence in. Take a guy like Lynell Hamilton who made a big play on special teams and had a touchdown and did a good job when we called his number yesterday – those are all valuable snaps for our team."

Are you getting to the point where you're expecting Malcolm Jenkins to make a big play on special teams?

"The good players just seem to find those opportunities and he has done a great job there. That's 14 points by my count when you look back at the first three weeks of points directly related to his play and that's pleasing."

Do those special teams plays contribute at all to his playing time on defense?

"He continues to impress and he'll continue to get the looks – first in the kicking game, but also the looks in the defensive end of it. I know Gregg (Williams) is confident in the group that he has back there and we are as well. He has done a good job in his first year so far."

Were the two penalties called on Anthony Hargrove warranted?

"Those are always tough day-after decisions and I really don't want to get into penalties that were or weren't warranted. I know we had a handful on offense that put us in longer-yardage situations, but overall I think that's an area that we can improve on. We were better the week before against Philly in that statistic."

Do you feel you might have to make a move at offensive tackle?

"Right now I don't envision any move. We'll continue to work and get these guys treated and healthy. Like a lot of players this time of year after the third game, there are some nicks but we'll keep battling."

Did the wind affect the way you played yesterday?

"I don't know that it was that significant. Considering that you draw Buffalo on the road, I think every one of us would take a day like yesterday. Obviously there are a lot more difficult days in that stadium than what we had. The games unfold in a certain way and you pay close attention to how the game is unfolding. I think the balance helped us yesterday and certainly the way the defense was playing. All those things factored in."

What does a win like yesterday's do for the team's confidence?

"We talked all last week about the team we played having a great tradition there in Buffalo – especially at home. It's a team that is well-coached and is very much improved. You know you're going to get a certain type effort. You know you're going to get a game from them with the confidence that they had coming off of two weeks where they very well could have been 2-0. The focal point really had to shift toward us and how we were going to prepare and how we were going to play. I think our guys handled that real well in the workweek ahead; we had a good three days of practice and we were ready to adjust in a game like that and understand the type of game that was unfolding. What's most important is just finding a way to score more points than those guys and we were able to do that."

Do you give your defense credit for a shutout since the touchdown came on special teams?

"I'm not worried about shutout credits and all that other kind of stuff. The score was 27-7 and that's what is most important."

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