New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Conference call with local media
Wednesday, Dec. 15, 2021
How do you see Tampa playing right now, especially on defense with their secondary a little bit healthier?
"They're playing well. Todd (Bowles) does a good job with the pressure packages that he uses. Those guys understand them. Certainly to have (Sean) Murphy-Bunting and (Carlton) Davis back, guys that were real important players for them in their run last season. They're doing a really good job of forcing you to get rid of the football quickly. You can see the pressure applied to the quarterbacks each week and how it comes, preparing for it and simulating it is another challenge."
How different is your team without several players from the first meeting?
"It seems like in this case, it's been a while since we played last. Obviously both teams have changed since then. It's a division opponent. There are some things that you understand about personnel, how they align and those types of things, but nonetheless, there will be a lot of new faces in this game."
You've been complimentary of Leonard Fournette in the past, but it seems like he's found a new career in Tampa. What have they done so well with him?
"I reminds me a little bit of when the Giants…This comparison is different in relative to where he was in his career. They signed O.J. Anderson and went on a Super Bowl run. He brings stamina, power, balance, he can run fast. I think that the things that he does well, it's not just first and second down. He can play well on third down. He can play a lot of snaps. That one-two punch of being able to throw the ball coming off a play action, to throw the ball and also have someone big and strong enough to block the pressure looks, I think it's turned out to be a real good addition."
You've talked about how you find a way to win whatever game you are in, but overall this season, how foreign or challenging is it to you to have the passing yardage numbers lower than what you were accustomed to for so many years? Is that something where you want to have more balance in that category? Are you perfectly comfortable with the passing yards?
"I think it depends on the game you are in. There are some games where you are going to have to be proficient throwing it. We're going to have to have a good throwing game this Sunday based on some of the things that Tampa does so well. It's more a matter of what that plan is in that game. You want to be efficient at it. You want to be able to execute when you want to, especially when it comes to your third down numbers."
Tampa's defense has been very good against the run the last couple years. How much does that translate to the read option run, which is different blocking?
"The read option is an element where you can basically turn one loose and then try to play a read off of him. You haven't seen a ton of that against Tampa Bay and we quite honestly haven't done a ton of it."
In the past you've talked about the game of football being a game of emotion and bringing a lot out. This game brings out a lot of emotion on both sides. Is that something you talk to your team about?
"I feel like the same with Carolina and Atlanta to some degree. I think it's division games against good teams. I think generally speaking, you watch the film of the game versus Buffalo who Tampa played and that was emotional. I think a lot of it has to do with the game and teams rather than the series itself. But, yes, we talk about all of that during the course of the week. This is going to be a night game. Crowd noise will be loud. All of those things."
Is there something new that held Ryan Ramczyk back considering you had not put him on Injured Reserve similar to Alvin Kamara needing another week?
"No, he's still working through the same knee (injury). Hopefully sooner (rather) than later because he's important to what we do."
In this new era of being able to put players on Injured Reserve for three weeks, are you just taking a gamble or guessing in certain instances of whether or not to put a player on the list in certain instances?
"Sometimes you are forced to make a decision, maybe you need roster flexibility. Other times, you're predicting the injury, forecasting the time the injury's going to take."
You've talked about Tom Brady a lot and I know you know him very well in this league, something you mentioned in the past was his ability to raise the bar inside the building. I think Drew Brees did that as well. How did he do that?
"It starts with demonstrating it on the field and then there's that persona, that reputation of someone who's won, been there, respect, you begin to cling to that. Pretty soon someone like him can touch not literally but figuratively everyone that's on that roster, all the people in the support (staff). It's those special traits of winning, preparation, attention to detail and we talk all the time about how we're in such a detail business. They're all very important. I think those types of personalities, they're far and few between now. You've seen that happen in such a short period of time in Tampa."
When the news came out that they were getting Tom Brady, did you envision this rapid rise or are you even a little surprised?
"Look, it's been remarkable, the impact you've seen right away. I can't recall what I envisioned. In your division you don't want to see players like Tom Brady arriving, nor do they arrive often."
Is Chris Godwin a tough player to defend inside in the slot?
"He is tough. He is physical. He is one of their go-to guys. He is a tremendous blocker. I am not going to say he's one of their more underrated players, but certainly someone we think highly of. He does everything you ask of a receiver. He's physical. He's smart. He's an important piece to what they do offensively."
What did you think of the movie trailer that came out yesterday?
"It was fine. I haven't really paid that much attention to it. I've seen it before."