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Sean Payton reviews Atlanta Falcons game

Quotes from Sean Payton's Monday review on September 8, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Monday, September 8, 2014

Opening Statement: "This is our first true Monday (schedule) after a regular season game where we are meeting with the players (and) going through the film with the players.  A lot of it I hit yesterday on.  It was a tough loss.  There's obviously an ebb and flow to that game from a momentum standpoint and it became one of those games where obviously the scoring opportunities were more frequent than you might expect.  We weren't able to make enough plays down the stretch.  Again, credit Atlanta that they were able to do that. Quickly we will try to make sure we are paying attention to the details of all three phases and then get ready to play Cleveland."

What would you caution the players on overreacting?

"I caution our team on Monday's period because I think the competitive nature of your business now is such where I've said this before, after a big win it can be too much and after a loss it can be too much.  I think more importantly is, for us internally, is paying attention to things that we have to get corrected from week one to week two."

Is there one aspect from the loss yesterday that is the most concerning?

"I don't know if you can point to one area.  I think overall obviously there were a lot of yards in the game and so when you look at the tape defensively I thought as the game wore on the tackling wasn't as good as we'd expect.  And I also think the communication was an area that needs to be better with regards to what we are playing.  I think offensively up front we did a pretty good job of handling the rush.  I thought we did a good job with our protections.  I think there were opportunities for us, maybe a little bit more opportunities that we would have liked to have taken advantage of to get in the red zone or towards the end of the game.  But again, those are things that we will quickly address and make corrections on."

How much better are the Falcons protecting the passer?

"He (Matt Ryan) has always been a difficult sack.  Matt is someone that gets the ball out in rhythm.  We had one sack and I would say one hurry and with the amount of times he threw the football, we'd like to see more disruption than that.  Based on just a game like that, I'd say they were more effective in this game than they were in other spots last year.  I think we need to be better in that area."

Are the tackling problems usually effort or technique?

"It can be a lot of different things.  The game was played more in space than it was in close quarters so your angles and your technique all have to be clean."

Is it fair to say that tackling and turnovers were two huge factors in this game?

"Well turnovers were probably, I would say, the number one thing that comes up in this series, typically this series. I think the third down numbers, I don't know if you would just look at the third down numbers and guess who won the game.  The turnovers though had been a key indication of who wins and losses.  The timing and which they occur can take a smaller mistake and make it a bigger one so that would be the first one."

How big was the sequence before the first half?

"I think like any other, it is three points and a lot of yardage traveled in a short period of time. We can't allow two big plays to put them in field goal position in 20 seconds.  We have to be better than that.  You watch that game and there are certain things, it is going fast but we settled for a couple of field goals early and you think we have to take advantage of that opportunity when we get down to the red zone.  And all of a sudden that sequence at the end of the half takes place and right away you think, there's three points now.  So all of these things, not one specifically, but all of those things can be the difference and generally are."

Do you feel like you handled the noise well?

"I think so.  I think overall we had one false start.  Our penalty numbers were solid.  I thought that was encouraging. I would say overall because probably for a better part of a half it wasn't that noisy and then the second half when they got back in it after their scoring drive, then it became more of a factor.  But I thought they handled it pretty well."

Can you talk about the balance of the run and pass game?

"We're looking for that.  We feel like it helps us.  There was a series or two that I thought it was necessary based on the amount of time our defense was on the field.  There was one drive that was 16, 17 plays.  They had the third down interference or holding call that extended the drive, that was a long sequence so it is going to be important that we answer and possess the ball for at least a certain amount of snaps.  Week by week that can change, overall, we did some good things running the football."

It looked like you were trying to break some tendencies with the run game in the beginning.

"Some of the roles we had built in each week are different and yet where the ball goes maybe on a pass play is not as predictable.  Whether Travaris (Cadet) catches the first one, that wasn't a surprise and yet he wasn't primary.  Some of that can come up."

How different is the tone on a day like today?

"I think the level of attention in both cases (win or lose) needs to be the same.  We try to make it the same.  I think more than anything (the emphasis is on) educating the players as to the length of the season, the importance from week one to week two to make corrections.  It requires a certain amount of mental toughness to be successful in this league and that is coming back and having a great week of preparation, (and) practice after a tough loss.  All of a sudden you have some adversity, you're coming off a loss, I think today's focus and the focus this week needs to be that much sharper.  I think they understand that."

Can players be too hard on themselves after a loss?

"I think each player is different. The important thing is looking closely at the mistakes, identifying what they are and then cleaning that stuff up.  There's a lot of that that's not just player-related.  Some of it's coaching-related.  Every one of us needs to do that."

Parys Haralson saw some action on offense in goal line situations yesterday. Is there a reason for that?

"Mainly, because of his weight (and) his size. There are going to be a dozen goal line snaps in a season. Generally, to finish with a few of those, it was just a decision we made based on the team we were playing. You might go three weeks and not be in a goal line set. He did a good job for those two plays and we'll have him ready."

Do you think you had a chance to take control of the game early and maybe missed a few opportunities?

"I just alluded to those two field goals where you go up six to nothing. The first thing that goes through everyone's mind – you don't dwell on it because you're going, you've got to get on to the next one. There's a point at which you're onto the next series, but I don't know if 'take control' would be the right words though. When you're playing on the road, you know that it's going to be a game that takes every minute, four quarters. However though, when situations come up – and I think, situationally, there were a handful of things we didn't handle very well – the end of the half with twenty seconds, and they're able to get themselves into field goal position in basically two plays…that wasn't very good. A couple of the red zone sequences weren't very good, both offensively and defensively, then at the end of the game just having an opportunity and looking for a way to come up with a stop. It's hard to point to one specific thing. You really can't in a game like that, but you want to clean up as many things as you can so they don't repeat themselves."

Were you happy with the defense against Julio Jones and Roddy White?

"Look, it's hard to say that you were happy when all of the sudden there's that much production. I think you have to pay attention to Julio Jones. He's a guy who can disrupt the game very quickly and almost did on the wide receiver screen. We were able to come up with a good strip and recover the ball. He's explosive; you have to be mindful of him and you've got to pick your battles of when you're going to single (cover) him. I think a call or two that we play for the most part kept the ball in front of us, and yet it wasn't complete. There were, as that game went on, too many runs of seven yards. All of the sudden, plays that were an underneath throw to the running back that turns into 48 yards. There were too many of those things for us to be as good as we want to be defensively and as a team that we've got to get corrected."

Do you think the front four are putting too much on themselves about not being able to pressure Matt Ryan?

"I like the fact that we have got players that – all of us, coaches the same way – are willing to look at it and say, 'We have got to be better in these areas.' When you rush four, you hope to have some disruption at times. You hope to have a little bit more pressure. He's someone who gets the ball out in the shotgun; credit him, he played very well. That being said, you just want some disruption. The challenge when you play a good quarterback like that is no different than defending Drew (Brees)…if they're able to have time, they are tough to cover."

He didn't look like he had all day (to throw) though. It looked like he barely got a couple of throws off.

"Listen, we've got to contest some of those better too in the secondary. He had two or three plays where he flushed the pocket and made the throw. All of that we will look at."

What is your message to the team in regards to domestic violence and your reaction to the increased penalties recently announced by the NFL?

"I think, number one, the thing we are aware of is the policy change with regards to the penalty now for any player or any employee. We're all aware of that."

What has the message to your team been on this issue?

"I think it's pretty crystal clear. We're always educating our players, There's really zero tolerance for it,' and I think it's the right thing, absolutely. I think it's a little surprising that it hadn't been identified more clearly that this is what we're doing, but I definitely think it's the right thing."

Mark Ingram really seemed to pick up a head of steam in the fourth quarter. Can you talk about his overall performance last night?

"He ran hard. I thought the (offensive) line up front blocked real well for him. Those were important drives for us, scoring like we did. I thought that was encouraging, especially in some of the spread sets."

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