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Saints transcripts: Sean Payton media conference call | Monday, Nov. 1  

Head Coach on the win against Tampa Bay and the quarterback room

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Conference Call
Monday, November 1, 2021

Do you have an update to the injury situation with Jameis Winston?
"Yeah. We got the images back and they confirmed an ACL tear and in his case there's also damage to the MCL, which is not uncommon. It's the ACL tear that puts you out for a longer period of time. That's basically where it's at right now."

Having a chance to look back at the game where do you see how Trevor Siemian played yesterday?
"He did a good job. There were a number of plays where there was a free rusher, and the ball was getting out on time. I thought he played with poise and made good decisions. It's what you want someone to do when they're coming into a game without having a lot of work. I thought he handled the situation well. Listen, the tape was good for him."

What were some of the strengths and traits with Trevor that attracted you and the team to him?
"We knew he was someone who had a quick release, good feet, and heis smart. I remember him coming into the league starting with Denver. I think they opened the season up against Carolina that year. He has good athleticism and we had a chance to acquire him last year to get to know him more. I would say he picks things up very quick, the ball comes out quick, and that served him well yesterday with the pressure we were getting."

Do you remember the game against Denver in 2016 that Trevor started?
"Yeah, with Denver, I think. The blocked PAT game. I didn't have as much recognition then with him, but we have more now with doing the tape studies on him."

Had Jameis Winston done what you were looking for up to this point?
"Oh yeah. We definitely were encouraged. We felt like we saw the arm strength, the leadership, all of those things. Remember, the thing we talked about all the time is that they'll evaluate you by your record. He was 4-2 and it wasn't always perfect, but absolutely. He's someone who had become a vital part of what we were doing."

Does anything change this year as opposed to when Drew Brees was sidelined last year with him expected to come back or will you tailor things differently?
"We'll see."

Are you looking to add to your quarterback room?
"We're satisfied with our quarterback room."

What goes into the decision making process between Taysom Hill and Trevor?
"We'll see. This is going to be the six-million-dollar question and honestly, we're going to look closely at what the best thing is for our team this week (vs. ATL). As the week progresses, we'll see how we want to play it out and we'll be ready to play on Sunday."

Can you talk about how you felt the defense managed the passing attack and if some of the big plays were due to the more aggressive rushes?
"Obviously you hate seeing your quarterback go down. But at the end of the day, it's football, there are injuries in football and it has to be a next man up mentality. We had a ton of confidence with Trevor (Siemian) coming and I think he played really well. We have confidence in him and whoever's back there, so we got to go out and do our job at the end of the day."

Any update on Taysom Hill?
"He's doing well. He's progressing. He's on schedule and all of that is good."

Is he going to play the next game?
"We'll see."

Does the situation with the uncertainty affect how you gameplan the next two days for Atlanta?
"It doesn't. It doesn't complicate it. Usually, the first phase of the game plan is in by tomorrow night around midnight. But we'll grind away at the game plan and pay attention to the information we're receiving from the training room and all that. We'll be ready to go."

What is the hard part of this situation given how hard that Jameis Winston worked on everything?
"I think the hard part is, to some degree, they're all personal. Not just Jameis, but we have had a handful of guys go down. When you see these guys go down through the process of training camp, each guy has a different journey. Certainly, Jameis' journey is more visible and he is a great example. As a coach, you get disappointed personally for the player. The investment and the time spent on getting to this position of 4-2, you're starting, you took a year to wait for the opportunity, those are the things that are hard. You look at his injury, that was a classic field turf (artificial surface) injury. I do not think that happens on grass. I know right now the data says there's a 28% chance more likely we'll have an injured player when we play on artificial surfaces, and this was one of those cases."

Are you looking to bring a quarterback from another team?
"I think I just answered that question."

Has Taysom Hill been cleared about the concussion protocol?
"We'll keep you posted on that. I know he's doing well."

Have you talked to Jameis Winston today?
"I haven't spoken to him today. He'll be back in our building this afternoon and I'll see him then."

Can you talk about some of the looks you got from the Tampa defensive line?
"Yeah, it's a tough look. We got a lot more base defense on first down than we expected, especially in the first half, but we hung in there and battled. There's a few plays and protections we need to clean up going into next week, but overall, I thought we did a good job."

Your impression of David Onyemata in his return?
"Yeah, the number one thing is trying to move the pocket. David, I think had just under 30 something snaps, maybe 33-34 snaps. I thought overall he looked good. He's in better shape than some might be after that long of a layoff, but it's great having him back in the lineup."

How comfortable would you be if Ian Book had to be a primary backup or be called into action?
"Well, if we were comfortable with the quarterback room, we would be comfortable with him being the backup as a rookie. Otherwise, we would be uncomfortable with the room and would probably look outside."

How hard would it be to bring in an outside quarterback at this point midseason?
"Hypothetically speaking, it's a fair question, it's been done every year where a team needed to bring someone in during the middle of the season. In our league, it happens all the time at different positions. This guy was not with us, he is with us next week, now he is playing in a game and everyone is saying, "holy cow". When it happens at quarterback, it us more significant because of all the nuances relative to learning the position. So, typically if that happens, that player would have to be pretty smart, a quick study, someone who can learn the system, but it's not unusual. What's more unusual is someone who's not with the club has to come in and play very soon after he hasn't been with the club. That would be a hypothetical situation. I think it's a challenge."

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