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Sean Payton quotes from final press conference before Buffalo Bills

Coach Payton met with the media post-practice on Friday, October 25

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Post-Practice Media Availability

Friday, October 25, 2013

Opening Statement: "I thought our work today was good.  From a scheduling standpoint it is back to a pretty traditional work week.  Tomorrow we will have a small walkthrough and get ready to go."

Coming off a bye week, is it more difficult preparing for a game?

"I don't think so.  I think they've handled the schedule well.  You get an extra day.  It is one where we are playing a home game so there is not a travel day involved.  I think the schedule has worked out pretty well."

Most of the times in the bye week you want everyone to get away from football, is that hard to do knowing there is so much work to do?

"Well, I said this earlier in the week, we really just plagiarize Andy Reid's schedule.  We spent some time Monday after the game last week and then we did get guys away.  Coaches the same way and kind of came back with a plan for Monday what we wanted to get accomplished with that extra day and then got right back into our routine.  I think the bye comes and it fluctuates each season so you don't have much control over it, but it always gives a handful of players a chance to get an extra week in rehab and possibly play that next game.  I think it came at a good time for us.  It didn't come too early.  Overall I was pleased with how we handled it."

Having borrowed Andy's (Reid) schedule, did you find it better for you?

"It has been statistically.  I am trying to think of the time, we might have been 1-2 after three years.  I'd have to go back and look at it.  It was interesting to hear him talk about the rest for his players and it's worked for us.  We also have a team that has enough veteran leadership.  They understand they still have to work and take care of their bodies during that one week.  They are still staying in shape and lifting and running.  And a number of these guys are around so they would be able to come in the facility and get a lift in or get a run in."

Did you take this opportunity to study read option quarterbacks?

"Yeah it varies.  You see elements of it depending on the team.  Each team is a little different.  I think that was one of the hot button topics for every defense this offseason.  We were no exception.  But how teams run the football from those looks, play action passes from those looks can vary and so it still becomes opponent specific."

It was a hot button topic this offseason but you weren't going to face it for so long…

"Yeah, still you spend some time though just discussing and carding plays.  We got the chance to do that in minicamp and then training camp just to get guys up to speed with what it looks like and we were able to do that.  Each week it varies with what you are seeing."

Is it less prevalent this year?

"I don't know.  I think time will tell.  We are just at the six-seven week mark so, we are just a third into the season.   We have a lot of football left."

Do you see the hurry up offense having more of an effect right now?

"I think tempo has gradually changed throughout the league where offenses are looking at it as an opportunity to maybe stress defenses if you will.  At some point you are third and seven and you have to be able to convert those.  At some point you are in the red area. You have to be able to operate efficiently in the kicking game, the blocking, the tackling, all those things still win and lose games for you.  I think most importantly building a system around who you have is still what is most important and that's not just on offense." 

We saw this week that Malcolm Jenkins's fine was dropped for his hit in the Patriots game. Are the players doing a better job of place their hits legally as opposed to the coaches having to tell them?

"I think from a point of emphasis, we talk all the time about target areas. I think it's certainly trending in a direction and yet there are plays each week where you look closely at them. You pull them up, maybe, and you put them on tape and play them for your own team if it comes up even in a different game. Our guys have done a good job with that."

Do you think the hardest thing for players is to change what they have been taught for so many years?

"I think it's hard for the officials because it happens so fast. I think the players are pretty resilient. They can adjust, and they do. The key is just what we're telling them and landmarks in regards to target areas. But I think they've handled it pretty good."

How has Mark Ingram been doing? This must have been a frustrating month for him.

"He's been good. He's been upbeat this week and I thought he's turned the corner and he's handled it well. When you're a running back, or certain positions, you're going to have some injuries. You're going to have some of those things that keep you from being full speed. I think he understands that."

He's certainly not your only option at running back, but was thought to have the first crack when healthy. How has not having him effected what you're trying to do on offense?

"I don't know that we ever…there's no first crack. We play a lot of different running backs. There's situational carries, there's down and distance carries, and there's protections, play-actions. We've kind of been built that way and we've been fortunate to have drafted players playing those roles and we've had players that maybe weren't drafted, a number of them, playing in those roles. It's just to put together a plan that best suits the player. It would be the case at running back. We are fortunate to have a lot of guys that are versatile and dealing with an injury at that position isn't unusual, it's pretty normal."

This is your first home game in about a month. Does that seem a little bit odd?

"Yeah it seems like it has been a while. The last one was Miami, right? Then it was Chicago, New England, bye. There's always kind of a flow to the schedule. You can't control it and you just hope you're able to play well at home and do what you need to do. Sometimes at home there can be more distractions just in regards to people that are coming in, ticket demand, all of those things. Our guys compartmentalize that stuff pretty well."

You said today would be an important day for Jimmy Graham. Were you pleased with what you saw?

"Yeah. Today is the day we list practice participation. We'll list status and we'll keep evaluating it."

There's a lot of anxiety around town about whether he can play or not. Around here, there seems to be no anxiety over it. Can you talk about that culture?

"Well that culture is driven I think often times, and you guys do a great job of it, but the coverage of our game has changed dramatically in five years. We do a pretty good job I think of isolating ourselves from the noise, and just focus on each day the process and focus on, obviously, the players getting reps in that practice and preparing for the scenarios, in any injury, both in the event the player can and can't play. That's just kind of been our approach. We'll see this weekend."

Are you surprised at the success that Curtis Johnson is having at Tulane and how he has gone about doing it by focusing on what is in the state of Louisiana?

"I'm not surprised. I'm excited for him. They've done a great job. I know he's been able to go out and recruit. He's a worker, but just as importantly or more importantly, they're teaching and they're preparing, and their players are winning some games. They're playing some good teams, and it's good to see him have that success. He's someone that I think an awful lot of and valued as a guy that worked with us and it's great to see him doing well."

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