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Saints transcripts: Sean Payton conference call with local media | Monday, Dec. 13

Head coach recaps Week 14 and looks ahead to Week 15 against Tampa Bay

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Local Media
Monday, December 13, 2021

What stood out from the tape of the game after reviewing it today?
"I thought our energy was good yesterday. I thought we did a good job blocking and tackling in space. There we're a lot of extended pockets and a certain way we wanted to defend him and I thought we covered guys when the quarterback had additional time."

How comfortable have you been with the team's identity this season?
"Yeah, look that was the case yesterday. We'd certainly gone through a stretch where we had lost a few and I thought we had a good week of preparation, maybe a real good week, or (a) good feeling as a coach going in just, you know, the significance of players like Terron Armstead, Marcus Davenport and then Alvin Kamara. Alvin brings so much not just to the field, but there's an element of confidence that he brings with him and that carries over to the offense."

How do you think Taysom Hill's decision making been the last two games?
"Yeah, I thought it was one of his better games. I mean, I can look back on last year's four starts and then this year and I thought it was good. I thought it was good. He had a couple throws (you'd take back). But just relative to where he's throwing and the design and the defense, I thought it was good. I thought he played well."

How impactful has Marcus Davenport been when he's on the field?
"Yeah, look, he's long, he's strong, plays hard and with the absence of Cameron Jordan, as one as one came back, with Cam going out the timing of that for us with Marcus being ready was significant."

Did Terron Armstead return influence the team to run more to the left yesterday?
"Yeah, listen, I can't tell (emphasize to) you the significance of a player like him or player like Ryan Ramczyk. Now some weeks were running left or right based on the defensive personnel and other weeks maybe based on our personnel. We weigh all those things into account, some weeks we're going both ways. But Terron can landmark an end and if the end tries to come maybe underneath he can capture that and the ball can go outside and so because of that athleticism the horizontal width to holes gets increased and if you don't have that it can be decreased."

Would you say that even by Terron's standards this was a good game for him?
"Yeah, good game. He has high standards. We all, just having seen him and just his grit and toughness, and yeah, it was good game for him."

You mentioned Cam Jordan's absence yesterday. How impressive was his streak just for a guy playing that position to not miss a game for that many years since coming into the league?
"That is pretty remarkable, right? I mean, pretty unbelievable. Especially considering that position. I just, it's one of his many great traits is that durability, staying power, conditioning level. It's a testament to the type of player he is and how he works."

I know we hear a lot of the cliche about bulletin board material and stuff. I know that this week you're in 11 and a half point underdog, it would probably be the biggest, I think it is the biggest since you arrived in 2006. Is that something you could potentially use as motivation or something that you don't want iota about?
"Honestly, I wouldn't. There's certain times. It's a great question, but I think that each week, there's reasons. I don't know that we all pay close attention anymore to like, who's the favorite? Who's the underdog? I mean, you get a flavor during the week as to hey, we know we're playing a good team, we're playing the team just won the Super Bowl that's playing outstanding and playing very well at home. And it's always been, we've had some battles, but I don't think, I'm pretty sure that's something that I'm not going to bring up like, Hey, guys, no one's respecting us. I mean, part of that is how we've played recently, and the injuries we've had, and there's a number of things and so I don't see that being a factor in how we prepare both for the game mentally and it's a division game that's significant."

A follow up on Cam Jordan. So I guess it took the worst global pandemic in a century to get him off the field. But in terms of actually how sick he was, like, if he had anything other than COVID-19, do you get the sense that he would have also been able to play through that?
"Well, I don't. He's not in the building. Occasionally, there's a tweet I'll see that sounds like he was fairly without symptoms. So I think that's going to be his question (to) answer when he gets back. He appeared to be like anyone really, you're a little frustrated because you can't help. We can't do any, you're just kind of waiting."

It looks like these COVID numbers around the league are starting to go up with what happened to the Rams today. Are you all really putting an emphasis on that? Especially in this critical stretch of the season?
"Yeah, you cross your fingers each day when they come in. We've seen it all, I mean, last year, one in the morning waiting to find out if we had a fullback and then we saw what happened to Denver and then our Carolina game. Hopefully the league, ourselves and everyone's kind of on the on the right half of the dial where it's going to gradually decrease but certainly it hasn't gone away."

In that sense, do you modify what you've been doing or do you just continue to do what you've been doing?
"I think you pay close attention to it, especially when you come off of (how) we played a Thursday game and then guys had a little bit more time. It's not our bubble you worry as much about as what is going on outside the bubble before it comes into our bubble. That's the big thing."

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