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Sean Payton reviews the Vikings game, talks about Cowboys

Quotes from Sean Payton's Monday review on September, 22, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Monday, September 22, 2014

Opening Statement: "Much like every Monday we are in the process of meeting with the players right now and going through the tape.  I said this yesterday, I thought in a number of areas situationally we were better.  I thought red zone defense was real encouraging. Being able to hold them to the field goals I thought was very important in this win.  I thought red zone offense efficiency was good as well.  We were 2-3, really the third opportunity being the last series where we took a knee.  We kind of get back now in a normal week schedule and get ready for a road game at Dallas."

Was it understood from you and the coaching staff that the secondary was going to create continuity throughout the season?
"I don't know that it was understood.  It was just certainly part of the transition and part of getting that group together as quickly as possible.  Like anything else, there are some changes that take place personnel-wise and that was an area where there were a handful of guys that were here a year ago and we will continue to build and learn from some of the mistakes.  I thought the communication was better yesterday in a noisier environment obviously because being the defense at home it is louder.

Guys weren't too low after the first two games and they weren't too high yesterday, is there a specific message that you have to give because there are so many new faces or do you let that come from your veterans?
"I think hopefully it goes hand in hand.  I think when you look at the tape there are some things that we can clean up obviously you are searching for the perfect game.  I thought from a starting point it started well and then we went through the middle part of the second quarter.  Defensively we were playing well.  We had a few penalties offensively and some drives got stopped.  From a snap standpoint, this was one of the first games where it was really tilted more defensively so the opportunities or possessions offensively were smaller than they have been.  But again, each game can kind of play out in its own way and I thought when we needed it toward the end there we were able to come up with some big scores and come up with the stops we needed defensively."

On the defensive communication, you guys talked about simplifying the checks and going with the first calls especially with the noise.  Is there a fine balance with wanting to be sophisticated and being too complicated?
"Yes, it's a fine line but it can be blurry if the ends don't justify the means.  It needs to be clear (and)  it needs to be simplified.  With that you reduce variation, you reduce the variables that go into execution.  I thought we did a good job that way.  I thought Rob (Ryan) and his staff did a good job.  I thought it was important."

Anything you can tell us about Jonathan Goodwin?
"No."

Some of the secondary mentioned that you went back to doing some of the things you did last year. What were some of the things that you were doing differently in the first two weeks of the season?
"I wouldn't know what they are referencing.  In other words, I don't know what they are referencing in regards to things we did a year ago compared to the first two weeks.  One thing we tried to do going into this game was just try and look at reduction and making sure guys…"

What do you mean by reduction?
"Reduction, reduce the total calls.  But with regards to your question, you would have to follow up with them.  I don't know specifically, but I think the whole emphasis during the work week was the situational play, obviously the communication and us being a smarter team and trying to create those situations.  And the same thing offensively, the same thing applied."

How did Ramon Humber do in replace of David Hawthorne?
"He did well.  He graded out well."

What about Brian Dixon?
"He stood out in special teams.  He didn't have as many snaps on defense.  He and Patrick (Robinson) both stood out in the kicking game.  That was real encouraging.  They've got a really talented returner (Cordarrelle Patterson) obviously and he brought a lot of them out, eight deep, seven deep, and I thought the early one Patrick (Robinson) makes a play on.  He kind of hits the edge and is able to trip him up.  (Brian) Dixon had a lot of snaps in the kicking game and then he got five or six on defense."

Did you figure out what happened on the first snap with Tim Lelito and Drew Brees?
"The snap was a little big high left.  It was a little hot.  He played well.  He settled in and did some good things."

How close did he (Tim Lelito) make the center decision in traning camp?
"I think that competition, shoot, existed for at least half or two thirds of training camp.  I think like anything else, we felt like we had a younger player who played guard for us a year ago, can play guard.   When you take seven linemen to a game hopefully one of those inside players or one of those backup linemen are able to play both center and guard.  We felt that way.  We feel that way with Tim (Lelito).  The snaps obviously that he's had, the work that he's had certainly helped him yesterday."

Was the last drive one of the biggest takeaways from yesterday?
"It was one of those situations where we talked about finishing offensively.  When we're defending a two minute (offense) in the first two weeks of the season and now we have a chance offensively to keep our defense off the field and we were able to do that.  It was something that we did not do very well last year I don't think.  It was good for us to get the yards we needed.  There were a lot of solid plays executed.  I thought the running was good.  That's pretty significant when you can burn up five, six minutes like that and then end up ending the game taking a knee.  I think that's something we've been working on."

Mike Zimmer said he was surprised by some of the things he saw from you guys. Would that be running out of certain formations? Do you know what he was referencing?
"No I don't. We tried to mix things up. We felt third down was going to be an important snap for us.  It always is but we felt it was going to be complicated against their defense.  We had a couple of things we worked on during the week. I thought overall it was pretty effective and it was a key for us offensively converting the way we did."

What was the most significant thing you learned about your team yesterday?
"I would say it was the very thing we talked to them the night before the game about.  We are going to have success in this game and then we're going to be able to reference Wednesday at practice).  We are going to be able to reference Thursday (at practice) and we are going to be able to reference Friday and how it was different with regards to not only the attention to detail but the sense of urgency.  Then we are going to have an expectation level going forward.  It's that preparation.  It's that deposit you make on those earlier days that pays the dividends you are looking for on game day.  I thought that was what we practiced really well last week.  I thought our Wednesday and Thursday was as good as I'd seen in a while.  It helps when you are reinforced with a win following those two types of work days."

Zach Strief talked about how each week you have identified a problem and the next week it is fixed.
"It's our job, no different than a teacher. You're looking to see where we're deficient?  Where do we need to improve? I think there's a lot of room for us to get better.  I say that in a positive way.  When you watch the film, you get a little frustrated because this is something we should be doing by now, just some small detail that we have to obviously correct and improve upon."

Does takeaways feel like a small correction?
"That goes with population to the ball, the pass rush, there are so many things that go into that that I don't think you can just hand out a tip sheet and say we need more takeaways. The better question is how do we create more takeaways? There are a lot of things that go into that."

Do you feel that the sense of urgency started last Monday lead to the team having a good week of practice?
"You come off a loss, a tough loss again in Week 2, and you see it happen a lot in our league. Each week a lot of teams have good practices but for us I think our attention to detail and all of the little things were a little sharper."

Is it tough to manufacture that when the circumstances aren't as urgent?
"Yes, you could argue that, if you win two, three, four games, those were practice weeks with Bill (Parcells) that were the hardest, the idea that we were doing well. Each week is different. This week we have a new challenge and we will kind of get on that today."

Is one of the biggest challenges to keep that sense of urgency each week that the team had this week throughout the season?
"I think for us, with our team, I think more importantly than just that is the improvement in a lot of areas just fundamentally.  I think fundamentally that there are some things that we can be better at and we will."

Can you pinpoint why there was a bit of a lull in the offense in the second and third quarters of the game?
"I think it was just what you saw: there is a penalty that brings it to second-and-20, there was another minus-yard play, I think a sack in there, one third down that we didn't convert, and there weren't really a lot of possessions."

Can you explain why you are happy with the run game while it was the lowest output of the season in terms of yardage?
"Each game is different. Our snap totals this week were different. Here's what I was happy about, I was happy that we were able to finish the game running the football and taking a knee because that is oftentimes challenging in our league. There are some little things that we have to clean up that would have helped us more and yet I am encouraged with the way we are running, the (running) backs, the way we are running and carrying the football. There are some things that are encouraging, like anything else."

You didn't have Mark Ingram and still went over 100 yards…
"Yes. We feel like Khiry (Robinson) is a guy that can do those things and certainly a guy like Pierre (Thomas) is experienced and Travaris (Cadet). Yes it changes but the next guy steps up and I think Khiry has been in that role or felt like he has been in that role."

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