New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Media
Thursday, October 28, 2021
What you see from the Buccaneers so far?
"They're playing at a high level in all three areas. I just did the numbers for our team and you go through what they're doing offensively and defensively. They've been near the tops of the league in turnover differential. Pick an area. It's quite a run when you look at when they started winning last year, that adage about confidence and demonstrated ability, you're seeing it now week in and week out. They're playing at an extremely high level."
What stands out to you from the Buccaneers' loss to the Rams?
"I feel like two things, the one thing, defensively (Rams) they made some real big plays, offensively through the air, they had an 80 or 70-yard touchdown pass (75), some explosives. I think the big plays in that game stand out as I'm watching it. I'm going back through it watching it my second time around right now. I thought they ran it okay. This (Buccaneers) is a pretty good run front. Here's another thing, on third down that day, the rams were 10-of-15 and when you compare that relative to what Tampa was, it was a huge differential, those are third down numbers we will be looking at tonight when we install third down tomorrow. The big plays and third down are some of the things that stick out at you when watching tape."
What were you guys able to do last season during the regular season to be able to handle them?
"That seems like ten years ago. It's just a long time, two games that were totally different. We had the first game of the regular season, COVID, Tom Brady game, where they were obviously a much different team. Then we had a couple of hard-fought games. We got ahead on the Sunday night game in Tampa and then the playoff game, we were just going through that. There's a stretch there, they do a great job of turning the ball over (forcing turnovers). (Antoine) Winfield (Jr.) makes a great play on Jared Cook, we're kind of moving in with a chance to go up by 10 or 14. That kind of flipped the game around. Overall, it was a hard-fought game. It was a division opponent, right now it's someone we see as who has played at a really, really good level."
Did you foresee the possibility of bringing Mark Ingram back at some point or even shortly ago?
"Not initially at all really when the season began and then after Latavius Murray left, Tony Jones Jr. was receiving the work at the number two position when he got injured and created a void. Devine Ozigbo we brought in, we're real familiar with him. He's done a great job. But a player like that it's hard to gauge if a team has any interest (in trading him). Mickey (Loomis) and I talked about it in Seattle and we felt it was worth calling them and kind of poking around. Alvin Kamara and he are obviously real close and once that momentum began…I was still kind of skeptical just because of the role he was playing for them and then yesterday (we) kind of went back and forth and fortunately we were able to work something out. He arrives like right now. His plane landed. He won't be able to practice today, but he'll practice tomorrow."
Did he reach out to you given how close you guys were since he played for this organization so long?
"He can't really (protocols) and he didn't, but his little partner in crime did (laughter), Kamara. Alvin said something to me somewhere, I said catch up, we're already down that road. There's a leadership element, a toughness element, a respect element. He does a lot of things well. He knows this system and I think he'll be an important addition for us."
Any chance we see him this weekend?
"Absolutely. That's a good chance. That's like a high chance."
What does David Onyemata bring back to this team?
"He's one of our top defensive tackles. He's athletic, he's strong, he has heavy hands. You're getting one of the starters back. We were eight (down) at one point and we are slowly getting these guys back. He's a real important piece to what we do."
Were you able to communicate with him throughout the suspension?
"Yeah, there's an early part, then there's a stage where he's in the building and so yes, we went through the complete protocol. He's in great shape, he's been training. I'm excited for him."
I know it happens a lot in the league, but do you feel you need to talk to Jameis Winston about facing his former team and not getting too worked up and concentrating on his game?
"That's a good question, because it seems like it's been a minute. I think he's smart enough and mature enough to focus on the things you need to do to win. There's a handful of players that were teammates of his and there are probably a group of new faces as well and at that position, you want to play well. Obviously you want to play well against a team you were a member of. I think the task at hand and we preach it all the time. How do we win this game. What's the formula to win this game. I'm sure he understands it and is focused. It's not like he's playing defense end and they smashed his care in the movie Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Do you guys remember the scene? He decides to take over the game. He's (Winston) playing quarterback, so he needs to be precise, on point and I think he understands that."
Given the fact you like to motivate your team are you going to bring in a car like the one from Fast Times at Ridgemont High?
"No (laughter). It was just an analogy relative to the player. There's a handful of…I don't want to say myths, the classic stereotypes. Playing hard is at a minimum. You need to be able to play hard, it's technique, being smart and there's so much that goes into it. I wish it was that simple or I'd have a car right in the middle of the practice facility."
What do you like about Jameis Winston's approach in general as he is seen as uber positive?
"He's definitely a glass half-full guy and Drew Brees was that way and I think I to some degree am. I think that he dives into the preparation. He's seen it. He knows the workweek and so, today for us is really our first day with our schedule change. There's always, I don't want to say stress, the formations are coming at you today, the personnel groupings. Right away you're in a race to get this week's notes if you will and there's always that beginning of the week, I got it, middle of the week, yes here I go, end of the week I have it down pat. That process exists each week for the quarterback position. It exists for every player, but it's at its pinnacle for the QB position."
Did you like what you saw out of Jameis in terms of some fiery emotion with Tre'Quan Smith on Monday night?
"I generally, as long as it's real, it happens and is over, they were trying to sort through a formation, I myself was trying to figure it out and yes, you're in-game, so on to the next play. It was a third down formation where we busted a formation and busted a route and that's really in essence what's going on. I think it's natural and real."
When Marshon Lattimore is going at it against someone like DK Metcalf, do you want to see that aggressiveness?
"I think he's extremely competitive. When you watch the whole game…I said this and I need to be careful in how I word this, I didn't agree with all the calls that were made in that game. I did not think it was officiated well. When you go back and put the tape on and watch not just his matchup, but the offensive pass interference call on Tre'Quan, there were some calls where you just scratch your head. You can't control that. I don't get in early Monday or Tuesday morning and send that to the league office. I don't even bother. It's still about winning. There's an edge to how he plays. I think that's what makes him one of the better corners in this league."
When you watch the tape of Tom Brady, do you see a 44-year old quarterback?
"Stop. No. I finally got his (marketing) emails to stop coming to me as well. He's real nice about the TB 12 Hydration product. Every third day, I get these emails and pretty soon they were coming more frequently. I'm trying to block them, it took me a while (and) we got it straightened out.
Seriously what is impressive about what he does?
"Overly impressive. It's impressive when you watch him after a game. He looks like he's 32, not only on the field. It's really amazing. I know there's a ton of work that goes into that, sleep, the regimen. It's interesting, everyone will marvel at it and talk about it. There are very few in the end that are willing to do every little thing that he's willing to do to excel. It's really impressive. He's playing some of his best football and this will be the seventh time that I've coached against him. You don't see much difference. I remember when I was at the Giants and he was drafted by the Patriots and we had joint practices. Then he seemed young and that was before he became the starter. He would go on and be the starter that year and win his first Super Bowl, but he seemed young then. Now it's rare. It's super-impressive.
Can you share anything on Michael Thomas' timetable?
"No injury information. I appreciate you asking."