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Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Sept 4

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Opening Statement:


"On the injury report, Hollis Thomas again did not participate, Troy Evans (ankle) was limited today, Mark Simoneau (back) was limited today as he was yesterday, Brian Young was full, Mike McKenzie was full, Deuce McAllister was full, and then Aaron Stecker has a slight hamstring. He was not on the report yesterday and did not participate today. We'll see where he's at tomorrow. He would really be the only change along with Troy Evans getting some work."

Do you place more importance on the division games like this one against Tampa Bay?


"There's a lot that goes into it. Certainly it's a divisional game and from another standpoint, it's our first game of the season and getting off to a better start than a year ago has been one of the things that we've talked about. Another thing is that it's our first opportunity to play at home in front of our city. I think every team in the league as they get ready to play this weekend is wanting to put their best foot forward and play their best football game. It's going to come down for us minimizing and eliminating the mistakes and turnovers and playing against a good football team in Tampa. We'll have to be ready."

So having a good start and a better home record are both high on your priority list?


"Yes. We get such a great environment to play in – it's loud, it will be a loud crowd this weekend – and we have to take advantage of that. That gives us an edge when it comes to what Tampa Bay likes to do. There's a lot of communication offensively with the way they run their offense and so the crowd noise can become a factor and I think our fans understand that. We're looking for a packed stadium; one that will make it real difficult on the opponents and that's the advantage of playing at home. We need to thrive in that environment."

What's your opinion on the defensive player now being allowed to wear a speaker in his helmet?


"I like it. I like it because it eliminates the effort and time and energy wasted on trying to see if you can get signals. I think it's efficient. I'm sure there will be some quirks in the first year with it, just like there was with the quarterback system however many years ago that was implemented, but we'll sort those out. I like it."

Your record at home over the last two years has been around .500. What do you need to do to improve your record at home?


"Hopefully we can correct that. One of the things to winning championships is playing well at home and we have a great home audience and we certainly appreciate their support. We're looking forward to improving that; we've changed some things in regards to our routine and we have to do a better job when we're playing with that noise advantage in our favor."

What has made Jeff Garcia so effective against you guys?


"He's a guy that can extend plays; he does a good job moving in the pocket. You see a lot of times when something might break down and he has the ability to create and do so with his feet. He's a dangerous player. He had a real good season for them a year ago. I think he fits with what they're doing system-wise and I think he's a good leader as well."

Would the changes that you've made to your pass rush possibly not help that much against a guy like Garcia?


"I think it always helps if you're rushing the passer better. Part of being successful in stopping an offense in any week is being able to hurry the timing or disrupt the timing in which the quarterback operates. If you can do that, it becomes difficult to play that position regardless of who you are. We've seen that on our end. We have a great deal of respect for him and what they do and we're going to have to be at our best."

Is something that's even more important with Tampa limiting yards after the catch?


"No question. Eliminating the big plays is one of the things that we're working on right now."

What are some of the things you changed about your routine for home games?


"Just from a scheduling standpoint and how we practice. Some of the challenges at home sometimes are other distractions outside the building that pertain to your own family members. When you travel or when you come here for the week, your focus is football and meeting and then when you get home you have to be able to adjust that and handle your schedule away from the building accordingly. I think we'll improve in that area. I think we'll do a better job of defending our home field. We rely so heavily on the fans and they truly have an impact on how we play and an impact on how the opponents play. With as much audibling as teams do now, it becomes that much more challenging to do that in a loud environment."

Are you making a uniform change at home?


"I'm not sure what color we're wearing. We vary it. The first half of the season we might be in the white and later on in the black because of the warm weather and the sun."

Do you see this Tampa Bay defense as sort of a reloaded unit?


"You see a group as a whole that has played outstanding football. Last year they were one of the top defensive units in the league. They have a good mix of young players and veteran players. They have a great tradition there. Monte Kiffin has done a great job with his staff of implementing a system and coaching it year-in and year-out. When you look back at the last seven or eight years, they have been predominantly one of the top defenses in our league. They do a great job of tackling. They know where their fits are. They know the defense very well, and certainly they've added some young players that have helped them."

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