New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call With Media
Monday, October 27, 2014
How tough is it keeping your team on an even keel after the wins and losses?
"I think it is a challenge. I think having that balance of not allowing the lows to affect your practice week and confidence and also not allowing a big win to move you in another direction. I think a short week like this week, you really bring the players back in tomorrow and you're on to the next game. You really don't spend a lot of time on this film. I think that it's a division opponent who you're ready to play. There is some familiarity with both teams playing each other twice a year. I think that it's very important that you're looking at things that need to be cleaned up even if it's a big win and you're looking at some of the things you're done real well in a game last week against Detroit, even though we weren't able to win. The leadership on the team has been outstanding. They have a lot to do with that."
When you establish a schedule for your team on a short week like this do you modify plans based on if they are a veteran team or a younger team?
"We start with Atlanta's schedule a year ago. We played them on the road. I think number one, you're out of pads and you're more into walk throughs as you rest. Tonight will a late night in terms of gameplanning with the players off today. You will give a combined amount of information for tomorrow, the base plan along with third down and then we travel the day after tomorrow. We would normally fly out at 1:00. We will travel out later because it's a night game. We'll get two good days in of work. It will be more mental than physical."
Mark Ingram's performance with 24 carries last night lends to the theory that a running back does better with more carries. Do you believe in that theory? Obviously you guys use a committee and it's how the run game does in general.
"It can vary game to game. You really credit the offensive line. Mark going in, we felt that was a key part of winning this game last night. We wanted to execute it and so each week can take on a different plan if you will and yet that balance is something you are looking for whether it's coming from one running back or more than one."
Is Mark heavily coated in ice the next two days after that workload?
"I think he's doing well. I'm sure there's some soreness and I think he's somebody that will bounce back along with the handful of other guys. It's a physical game. The uniqueness of playing Thursday night is something new, but playing Sunday night and then Thursday night on the road we just have to make sure we're allowing their bodies to recover."
A couple offensive linemen commented that when it's one running back that receives a bulk of the carries they become more comfortable and get used to his running style throughout the game and get more productive. Is that something that you go over or realize or discuss each week?
"Yes, it sounds like that was the question asked of a couple linemen. I think this, each week depending on who we're playing, we'll look closely at who we want in the game. We've had games where we've had multiple guys with a high dose of carries, we've had games where it's maybe one guy featured and you go with the hot hand. It just depends on who you're playing."
Is it less difficult to prepare for an opponent like Carolina on a short week because you see them twice a year?
"Yes, when I say they have an even front, while their personnel has changed there are some similarities, but for them just as it is for us. I think the fact that you're playing a division opponent is a little bit easier. I think most of these games on Thursday night if I'm not mistaken are all division games where each Thursday they're featuring two teams from the same division. Quickly you have to look at this team, the changes they're making offensively and defensively and in the kicking game and be able to get organized and up to speed."
If teams are going to have to play on Thursday night do you hope teams are able to play at home at an earlier week before?
"Even if we played (earlier), that would have been our normal schedule. We're playing Sunday and then Thursday. I don't know how many Thursdays we've played, but we've played a bunch of them. Opening the season on a Thursday is different. It's not as challenging. With the last part of the question, if you're playing a Thursday schedule, you're prefer to play a normal time (12:00) and (have) a quick turnaround, but we had no control about that and nobody's interested in hearing it, so the schedule you look at it closely. Now we're on a short week. It's just a matter of making sure our team's ready to play. Our team's ready to go in there, be fresh, we'll have a plan making sure there's not too much in the plan so we can execute and play full speed."
Is this one of your more fulfilling coaching jobs seeing how you've gotten your team through the struggles and how much the team has improved each week pretty consistently until that point?
"Each team each season takes on an identity of its own. I think that obviously there's a ton of chapters here left in this story. I said to the players last night it's a credit to the leadership on the team and I was happy really for every guy in that locker room, because the way we lost to Detroit is difficult. For them to have that resolve, bounce back and respond in a fashion like they did last night was obviously positive and exciting and it's a lot easier to come to work and get ready for the next game. But I think the key point to your question is the improvement week to week, despite being a short week there is still some cleanup and things we want to do better and we have another opportunity (we) just (have to do it) quicker."
Would you expect some trades to be a possibility before the deadline?
"None that I would expect. I never say never, but nothing that I feel would be looming."
As far as corrections with the early touchdown with the breakdown in the secondary. Is that something that has happened each game and something on your priority list to get cleaned up?
"It was an extended play. You go through the clock in the head, it wasn't a true scramble, the time that is lapsed. Once you get north of that three and a half second mark and all of a sudden a play gets extended, it gets much more challenging on the back end. That's one area you point to. Going into that game it was important for us defensively and we were able to besides a few plays, keep the ball in front of us, make them have to move the field to earn any points. I thought our red zone defense was outstanding. When you look at the first half, I think both teams volleyed back and forth for touchdowns each, field goals each, field goals each at the end. It was going to come down to turnovers, giveaways and playing a team like Green Bay, they were 10 on the season, we were near the bottom of the league on that, finishing plus two, we had the fumble in the four minute drill. That ended up being the difference in the game. The turnovers. You could point to both teams defenses and so that washed out and then you look at the three turnovers, there's your seven point lead, your 14-point lead and your 21-point lead with the last turnover happening in the four minute drill, so the same will be the case this Thursday night. Obviously we are playing a different team nonetheless.""
Was it a tough decision to challenge that play? Were you relying on advice from upstairs?
"There was some time there to do. I think that I had a pretty good angle watching and yet the thing was he caught the ball clearly. It wasn't a question of whether he caught the ball or not. His momentum brought him back and that became the spot. It became close enough where I felt we had to challenge it. We were able to get the call."
As you tried to keep the guys motivated through tough times, is it good in any way that you could get back on top of the division Thursday?
"I think that certainly there's all sorts of goals, big picture, small picture. What we try to do is focus on the smallest picture and that is our team getting better. Guys pay attention obviously within the division. You're playing a game last night and you know obviously that the three other teams lost. I understand that and yet, it's so early in the season. I think the focal point has been on our team and as much as is said and written and week to week about how the league's doing, who's playing well and who's not, I think you really want to focus on how to improve yourself. I think that handles itself."