New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Post-practice media availability
Friday, Oct. 29, 2021
How big of a role do the linebackers play on Tampa's defense?
"A significant role. It starts with that front. They're real instinctive. They run well and they tackle well. Coverage-wise, they do a real good job of matching up with the running backs and the tight ends. They're real good football players and it's one of the challenges of playing that defense."
Is Mark Ingram II well liked in the building?
"Yeah, I think so. I think that's accurate. He brings positive energy and I'd say that's definitely the case."
Does it help that he's been here before and knows this offense from his past experience here?
"Yeah. Look, the other thing is that he's been playing football. It's not like we have to get him in game shape. He's been practicing daily, been playing in games, and yeah, he's pretty smart. All of that comes back to him pretty quickly."
Has the rivalry with Tampa Bay picked up over the past couple seasons?
"It's kind of what I said back when people used to talk about Atlanta. Typically, the games mean more when they're better teams and competing to win the division. I say that, but we've played hard fought games against Carolina, Atlanta, and Tampa Bay. When we first started in 2006, that was the team we had to beat. They had won a Super Bowl. In the NFL, I think division games are important because your first objective is to win the division."
Do you want modification with the Injured Reserve rules moving forward?
"I think, currently, we've received more flexibility. I think if you polled each team, they'd be encouraged by what we're doing."
Does it help successfully having a longer season with the current Injured Reserve rules in place?
"You are adding a game, but I think on the outside, I do not think it has anything to do with that extra game. I think it has everything to do with added flexibility. It's cost effective. If a player can come back in four, five, six weeks, the fans want to see a starter getting paid (playing) and not someone else sitting on IR getting paid. So, it makes a lot of sense."
Is Mark Ingram's pass protection ability a strength of his game?
"Yeah. I think he's good at blocking pressure. He's physical, strong, and smart."
Is that one of the toughest aspects to learn in this offense, the ability to pass protect?
"I would agree with that."
Is it pretty rare to see two teams match up against each other with such good run defenses?
"If we did a 20-year study, we would find that there have been one, two, or three teams maybe that have been really stingy against the run. The uniqueness of it is that both of these teams are in the same division. I think that's an important part of playing defense. It is hard to rush the passer if a team runs the ball well. You're typically able to get into more favorable third downs. There's so many things that begin to happen when you can run the football and there's so many things that happen when you're not. Having worked with Todd (Bowles) and knowing a number of those guys on that staff, they've done a great job of making that a priority."
What's the most difficult part of not having Taysom Hill in this offense right now?
"I think he's a physical player. There's a physicality and obviously not just at quarterback, but in protection, the run game, and his ability in space. There are a number of things you don't want to lose when a starter goes down. I kind of view him as a starter."
Is there a concern for Taysom Hill's health at this time?
"No. I think if you just track concussions around the league this year, I think it would be fairly normal. You just wait for all the symptoms to be resolved. We are going through all the proper protocols. It is what you have to do. He is progressing (and) feeling better and better. It's more of just a time thing."
What's the stat of the week this week?
"Not yet. I mentioned it to Mickey (Loomis), I mentioned that the crowd was going to be very important this week. I felt like we didn't play very well against the Giants, but I'd also say I didn't think it was anything from a noise factor that we are used to. I don't think there are any (mask) mandates now. I think this is the first time we're playing (Tampa Bay) with crowd noise (since 2019). We didn't have it last year in week one or during the postseason. Getting back to what we're accustomed to with the crowd is going to be important. That's the stat."
What's your thoughts on the stat that you've never lost a game as an NFL coach on Halloween in three attempts?
"Hopefully, we can make it four."
Is there a candy related reason for that?
"No. I certainly make up for it long before we get to Halloween. Honestly, I say this every year. The hardest thing, especially for coaches and also players, but you get into the season and there's these holidays that require time, but it just happens to be during our season, and that's challenging. I've never looked at Halloween, scheduling wise. When I had younger kids, if it fell on a Wednesday night or something and I was game planning, I've missed some Halloweens."
Are you a fan of candy corn?
"Not a fan. Totally not a fan."