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Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints players talk about short week

Saints play Falcons on Thursday night

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call Transcript
Monday, November 18, 2013

Obviously you have a short week this week and another set of eyes after looking at the film after the win?

"Yeah we haven't even gotten through the film.  Typically on a short week like this we get right on to the next opponent.  There have been snippets we looked at, really nothing has changed since last night.  We are kind of on to the Atlanta plan just with the reduced time."

What are some of the challenges that go along with a short week?  Is it helpful that it is a divisional opponent?

"I think from that aspect someone you played already I think it can make the transition for Atlanta as well as ourselves a little less hectic.  I think the big challenge is our, obviously, physically playing a game, an afternoon (3:25) game and then turning around and playing another game here in a few days.  I think (about) the toll on the players and just trying to get them as much rest as possible prior to playing another football game."

Is it somewhat helpful that it is a divisional opponent?

"Well it is just what I said, I think for both teams being it's a division opponent number one and then number two, a division opponent you have played already (it can make transition into preparation a little less hectic).  You go back to the scouting reports.  You kind of update maybe the changes because there have been some changes since week one ourselves and I'm sure for Atlanta in regards to personnel.  (We) Had our meeting already this morning with our advance team, our pro personnel team and they are going to go through recently injuries, recently who's doing what.  Some of that has changed in the last 10 weeks."

Can you give us an update on Jabari Greer?

"I don't have an official update.  We are waiting today. I know he is visiting with the doctors.   I will probably have more information for you tomorrow.  It was a significant injury, but the specifics I would rather wait to give you tomorrow.  We are just trying to keep our fingers crossed with him.  I spoke to him last night in the hospital.  It is always difficult when someone like Jabari who has been with us and has been a staple with what we have done defensively goes down with an injury like he sustained. It's a knee injury and I will fill you in with the specifics tomorrow."

Are you going to rely on your own experience with short weeks or is there a new trend or idea that you see yourself and your team trying this week?

"I don't know that there is anything new.  I think it is always about backing off any padded practices and it becomes more the mental in regards to meetings and walk-throughs and allowing their bodies to recover."

How were Jabari Greer's spirits in the hospital last night?

"As well as you could be expected.  He is a strong person and it is something nonetheless that is still difficult.  He seemed to be hanging in there and he was with his family."

You brought in kickers and safeties in last week.  With Jabari Greer looking like he is out, will you bring in cornerbacks?

"We will see.  Our guys are working hard right now looking at all of our options."

Run defense has not been a strength of the team this year, how impressed were you with how you guys were able to stop the run?

"I said after the game, what was encouraging was we were able to create those third downs that we felt were favorable.  And conversely we were able to run the ball, I thought in both of those areas against a real good 49er front, I thought we ran it very well and I thought against a very good rushing attack, one of the better rushing attacks in football, I thought we defended the run real well. Ultimately I think those two goals I would say were probably the most important keys to us winning that game and we achieved both of them."

Will you guys let Victor Butler practice?

"We will see where we are at with him."

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New Orleans Saints Wide Receiver Robert Meachem
Conference Call with Media
Monday, November 18, 2013

How do you think the offense fared in yesterday's game against a very physical defense?

"We fared pretty well. It was a good, tough matchup. They had beaten us two years in a row and we just wanted to prove something to ourselves."

Many said it felt like a playoff sort of atmosphere yesterday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. Did you guys feel it on the field?

"I don't think it was like a playoff type atmosphere. It's one of those things where we just wanted to get a win. We had to get over that hump, and I felt like beating those guys kind of helped us get over that hump."

What are some of the challenges of playing a tough game like that, then having to turn around and face Atlanta on Thursday night?

"It was a nice, tough matchup. It's going to be a challenge to just be rested and be mentally tough for this game. Atlanta has a good defense and a good offense, and when they're clicking, they're clicking. At home, they are tough to beat."

How tough is it to see a team leader like Jabari Greer go down like he did yesterday?

"That was a tough one because you kind of saw it (when he got hurt out on the field), but you didn't know it was that bad. Just seeing how he was today, knowing things are going to be a little different around here."

Did you see him today?

"Yes we talked. He walked through the locker room, so we talked to him then and were joking with him, trying to keep his spirits up."

How are his spirits?

"When he left off the field he was waving, he was smiling. That's just Jabari. He was doing the same thing (today)."

He seemed to be taking everything in stride?

"Yes that's what I meant. As he was walking through the locker room today, he was still smiling and talking. Most people would probably be down, but he doesn't look like he was down. If he is down, he's hiding it very well."

New Orleans Saints Defensive End Cameron Jordan
Conference Call with Media
Monday, November 18, 2013

How hard is it to play a physical game yesterday and turn around to play Atlanta Thursday night?

"This is a test that we're going to have to try and overcome. Honestly, why not have it? It's a division opponent, it's our rival. I mean to flip around and have a game Sunday then a game Thursday, it's going to talk a lot about the fortitude and what we have on this team."

What happens to your 24-hour rule? Does it go down to 24 minutes?

"That's what I'm saying. There's no 24-hour rule this week. We've got out of that game, we won that game, it was a hard physical fight. We're looking forward towards Thursday. We're already breaking down film for Atlanta today."

What do you see when you look at that film? The Falcons haven't been playing as well as people expected them to play. What kind of challenges do they bring?

"They have a strong wide receiving corps. Julio (Jones) has been out for the season, but they've still got Roddy White, but I heard that he went down last game. We're legitimately about to break this down in the next 18 minutes so I'll have a better feel for it (after that). We've got to get after Matt Ryan. That's the big thing for our defensive line is to create pressure." 

How big is it to have already played them this season?

"We play them twice a year. We know them and they know us. Familiarity helps in a short week, but at the same time it's going to be a physical, hard-fought battle regardless because we always play each other tough."

Where has the defensive line made its biggest strides this season?

"The biggest stride is the interior rush that we've been having. The interior defensive line has been collapsing the pocket and allowing the outside guys to really put extra pressure on the quarterback. You have to give it up to Glenn Foster, Tom Johnson, even Big Mama (John Jenkins) and Akiem Hicks. They do a phenomenal job."

Why is that? What have they done differently?

"I keep stressing the talent of the youth on the defensive line. We're all young, but at the same time there's a lot of talent that has popped up in the last year or so."

Was yesterday's game Akiem Hicks's best?

"Akiem has been going out of control for the past couple of games. I think last game he had a tackle (seven tackles), but before that he had a game that he had eight tackles. The game before that he had seven tackles. He's been phenomenal stopping the run, and to pick up a sack the way he did this past game is great. You could definitely say that that was his best game this year.

The run defense has struggled at times this year. How much of a step forward was yesterday when you knew you were going to have to stop the run game?

"That's something we put on our shoulders. Like I said, we knew it was going to be a physical game. We were ready for that; we prepared for that. Clearly I think we prepared very well for it and we got the job done.

Obviously this is a close team on the defensive side of that locker room. How tough is it to see a guy like Jabari Greer get injured in that way?

"Jabari has been great this year. He's played up to what he did in previous years and he was playing at a very high level. So for him to go down like that, you have to rely on the staff and coaching staff that has picked players for our team just to know that this is next man up. We can't replace Jabari's leadership that he brings, the spiritual leadership that he brings to the team as well as the on-field leadership. But talent-wise, I think that Corey White is very promising and he's going to be a great guy in the future."

Some of the stuff that you guys did, did you install for the first time this past week or is that some of the stuff that you did this summer when you were planning ahead to face read-option and run teams?

"We installed a little bit this summer but we installed a little bit this week(as well). It was some different changes that we hadn't seen in a long time and some changes that we never even knew were there."

Is that something you've gotten used to under Rob Ryan? A different package tailored to each opponent sometimes?

"That's the great thing about Rob. He's not set in stone; he's always willing and ready to change and adapt to different situations."

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