New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Friday, September 24, 2021
How do you think about both you and Bill Belichick being in place for so long in the same place and having the same message not become stale?
"I can't speak for Bill, I know you evolve. There are some things you try to stay consistent with. When I was hired in '06. We had already had a chance to see…We spent a great deal of time looking at New England. Anyone in business and there was someone having that success that they'd been having, you'd be foolish not to look at it. But we really tried to pay close attention to the right type of players that we were bringing in, makeup, intelligence. We valued those traits. We tried as best we could with every bit of information relative to how they worked, how they trained. We had three or four joint practices. He's (Belichick) always been someone who's been a bit of a mentor, someone that I feel I have a good relationship with. That started really with the respect factor and what he's been able to accomplish. To have the staying power that he's had is obviously remarkable and then myself here for the time we've been here. There's certain things that are non-negotiable and there are certain things that I believe you adjust and adapt to over a long period of time. I think there's probably a number of things that go into it."
Has the definition of going against a Bill Belichick team changed or are there some things that stay constant?
"Take a peek. I gave you the statistic for their turnover (ratio) wins at home. Take a peek at the all-time plus-minus statistic. When the season ends, you want to plus whatever, plus 15, plus 20, you want to be in the plus. What's really impressive when you look at that statistic. Then you look at the defensive statistic. They've been consistent throughout. His kicking game has been fantastic. He's placed a high value on certain players if they have a trait like (Matthew) Slater, someone that he has a vision for and that goes all the way back to Troy Brown or someone that can do multiple things. I think he really looks at it and appreciates good football players regardless of where they come from. Yes, it's been the benchmark and that's as easy as a statement that you can make."
You guys obviously place a lot of value on special teams as well, but do you think it's somewhat unique about what they do with Matthew Slater almost exclusively playing him on special teams and keeping him as an important team as a part of that?
"I liked (Justin) Hardee, a guy like J.T. Gray, or somebody who's very, very good who's going to play 15, 17 snaps, and there's a value in that. They're generally players who are very smart, tough, and reliable. I don't think it's unique but I think you can begin to build your core units around them. This is one of your better special teams that we've seen on film, not only from film but their scheme and willingness. They play fast, with great tempo, it's a really good unit."
The past four years you have lost some games early but then gone on runs of long win streaks. Why do you feel you've been so successful doing that?
"Any team that's had a winning season, a winning season used to be nine wins…Any team that had a winning season has stacked some wins together, so a team wins 11, 12, 13 games, you need to stack some wins together. In other words, you just do the math, you can't go back and forth. I think to answer that question, it's details, execution, being able to do the little things well and if you took a look at any of those strings then the last four years, you're going to see some games in that stretch that were close, hard-fought, you found a way to get a win. It's just a real fine line in our league. I think each week you need to find an edge to prepare to play."
How do you guys emphasize this week not being as behind the sticks as last week?
"It was one of the keys that we talked about, how many third-and-ten plusses, but it's certainly been part of the emphasis this week and being more efficient on early downs."