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Saints transcripts: Sean Payton Conference Call with Local Media | Wednesday, Dec. 8

Head Coach Sean Payton looks ahead to Week 14 against New York  

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with Local Media
Wednesday, December 8, 2021

What are your early impressions of the Jets?
"Look, they're one of these teams that, obviously, has been up and down, they've beaten some good teams, (have) wins versus Tennessee, Cincinnati and the film we're looking at is a one year study, obviously, with the new coaching staff. The focus as much as anything else is internal, relative to us, how we practice this week, our preparation, and how we handle the workweek and getting ready for this game."

Does the approach change a lot when it is a first year coaching staff and there's not a lot of history to look at?
"Preparation, there's some history when you look at maybe where a coordinator's been or designed by a defense, but generally speaking, it's better, call it week 14,15, whatever week we're in here, then it would be week two, where you don't have a whole lot of tape period. But (what) you're always looking at is there a history with either coordinator relative to beyond just this season. In other words, sometimes this season doesn't provide every answer (as opposed to a past of a coordinator), it's short yardage, fourth and one, midfield and what have you send goal line offense out there. Will they play goal line deep? What will they (do)? Every once in a while you're looking for some things you might not find in a season, you might have to go back more than one year."

What have you seen from Zach Wilson this year?
"He likes to get the ball down the field. He has real good arm talent. He can get outside the pocket, he can evade, he can extend plays and you see that. We saw it when he came out of college. So being good with our eyes, understanding the coverage, what we're trying to take away and staying on top will be important."

Do you think with so much emphasis on the passing game, that a good physical running game can be a big advantage in today's game, especially taking a look at the New England-Buffalo Monday Night Football game?
"There has never been a trend that suggests the running game is bad. It has not gone anywhere. It's important. Now the other night was an extreme, obviously, with just the elements, but it's vital and I think it allows you to control the game and if you're just throwing the ball, sometimes you don't have that same control."

Is there anything different you're doing this week from a practice standpoint, scheduling standpoint?
"Well, we were on a stretch there, no good question. We were on a stretch there three games in 12 days and so you had to be really mindful of what you were doing in pads and there were a number of practices where it was a little bit more walkthrough. This will be a little bit more conventional, will be in shoulder pads today. It'll be more physical today, taking advantage of the time off. Different than that stretch we just went through."

When you're when you're going through a late season losing streak like this, is there any where anyone you look to for inspiration or guidance to figure out how to get through it?
"Well, there's people that you're close to and yet all I have known is it obviously has to be hard work. It has to be a commitment. You look at everything, trying to get enough players healthy, all those things. And so we have been in tough stretches before. 2007, the first four games of the season and so if it happens earlier or it happens (later), the point is it's adversity and I think collectively, that's the great test that all of us (face) in this game."

Do you see any difference in a later season losing streak like this trying to make the push to turn it around or if it happened earlier in the season where everything's ahead of you?
"They both feel the same. It's different if you're late in the season, all hope has disappeared, you are out of the postseason race, have been eliminated and (are) just playing games. But I think when you are winning, you are doing all the things you are hoping to do. Sometimes you might be winning and not playing well, but yet, you are still winning. Getting it flipped around, starts with getting your first win and it's been a minute. I don't know if it feels any different. Honestly, I think it feels pretty much the same, it's dark earlier in the day."

I guess I'm asking if there's more pressure when it happens in November and December rather than early in the season?
"There's that sense of urgency. Let's go. All of us collectively. That's the way you have to approach it. There's nothing walking through the entrance or doorway here that is going to change it. It has to be done today in the practice and the meetings and leading up to playing on Sunday."

What have you seen in the growth of Marquez Callaway and where do you think he needs to grow in consistency?
"I think the one thing he's able to do is catch balls in traffic. I think route transition is something that he has to continue to work on because he is a little bit more linear, (getting) in and out of his cuts to create more separation. We're seeing a lot of man coverage. Understanding how teams are playing many whether it's an inside technique or outside technique, but I think that we've kind of seen that at the end of last year and now there's room. He's someone that I think has obviously demonstrated that he can make plays above his head, one that will high point balls well, he'll catch balls in traffic and it's just the route definition and all the details."

Have there been any additional COVID-19 cases in addition to Cameron Jordan?
"When we receive them we post them."

With Taysom Hill in his first start, how do you matchup the 365 total yards of offense and the four interceptions, as well as with the finger injury and the foot injury dealing with?
"You need to look at it specifically to plays, specifically to situation, what is it a byproduct of, whether it's a turnover…Your question is the good with the bad. Can you win, but the bad has to be better and we don't have to be great, when I'm talking about him. There are elements that you watch where you are excited. There are things where you get into a game late like that that you want to improve on. That's the process, those are the starts, the next opportunity for him. I think he'll do well."

Has your team's tackling been where it needs to be the last couple weeks?
"I wouldn't say so. I don't think so. Just put the tape on, all of you have the copy. I don't think the effort's where it needs to be either, just watching the big plays and see what you think. I challenged them this morning in the meeting. It's hard to play good team defense if all 11 aren't playing. If ten are on the screen and you do not see number 11 or 11 shows up 20 to 30 yards downfield, it is hard to play good defense. That needs to be improved."

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