New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Monday, September 16, 2013
Opening Statement: "This morning's schedule was just a little different. These guys are in watching tape, lifting, and doing their routine that we would normally do, but on their own schedule. Tomorrow they'll be off and we're going to a normal week, getting ready for Arizona."
What are your overall impressions on how your defense played yesterday?
"I thought they played well. I thought our third down defense was good. Going in, there were two things really: a real good running back, and two receivers that can get behind you and make some big plays. The challenge is really trying to mix things up. We knew that they were going to be wanting to get into some hurry-up offense, that's something that we knew going into the game. But I thought overall we handled that well. I was concerned, going in, with potentially the heat and the snaps (and) with us being nicked a little bit inside at the defensive line position. I think the weather helped us in that regard. But, by and large, I was pleased. I thought we played with real good effort and energy. We came up with some big plays, some turnovers, and did enough for us to win the game. It especially comes down to that final series and getting that stop and forcing a field goal was critical."
Only two games in, have you been happy with your defensive performance so far?
"We've played two different teams. Each week is another challenge. We continue to talk about playing the team and focusing on the challenge at hand that week. It might be different week to week as to how we approach a game, but I like a lot of things. There is certainly a ton of things we've got to clean up though, and we see that. We'll continue to work and make the improvements. We saw a better offense two weeks ago than we did yesterday. Each week presents another challenge, so we look forward to it."
Are you concerned about how much Drew Brees was getting hit yesterday?
"Yes, I thought yesterday there were some plays that even after the pass he took a good shot. We are always mindful of that."
Do you have any update on Patrick Robinson's injury status?
"No updates on any of those players."
What are you priorities now to address with your offense coming off yesterday's performance?
"I think a couple of things. I said this after the game, (but) just having watched it again, that goal line sequence is on me. I did a poor job of really giving our guys the best opportunity. We kind of had a plan going it, and I got off of that at the one yard line with a play-action pass. That's something we will continue to work on. That was coaching; it wasn't the players. There are a few penalties that put us in some long yardage situations that all of the sudden ended up in what was a field goal or a field goal attempt, rather that a drive continuing. There's a lot that we have to look at and clean up. Fortunately, it's coming off a win. But again, we are quickly trying to, as best we can, make the corrections and look for that consistency. We will continue to do that."
Can you talk about your level of comfort and happiness with Mark Ingram? Sometimes people judge a player off of one play or sequence.
"That's a tough play. That's on me. He had some good runs in that game. I think the balance and the mix of the players we have is going to be important for us, especially at the running back position. The fourth down call, we ended up getting an over front, a different defense than we were expecting. It was one that, however it was called on the field, if it was called a score or it wasn't going to be overturned. They spotted it short, and it wasn't going to be overturned either. He, like the rest of us, is working to improve in his game. There's some looks though that I know we are going to be better at that are going to help him."
Are you concerned that coming off of the Atlanta victory, it would be tough emotionally to get your team to the level it was at a week before?
"In week two, you're not thinking about a letdown already. Obviously you play a team like Atlanta at home, but we kind of look at Tampa Bay much like Atlanta and Carolina. Those are division games. I think we wanted to make sure we were ready from the start, and the weather delay kind of changed that a little bit. I didn't feel like we were going to have any type of letdown coming off the first game."
That last drive, no timeouts, but all the passes were kind of to the middle of the field. How much chemistry does it take to get all of the guys up to the line in that situation?
"I think there is that point in which is becomes harder to do. That's a lot of time, a lot more time than you think. You can't just check the ball down over the middle of the field. They were chunks. Sproles was in one of the receptions, Graham's was obviously a big one, and then Colston's. It's something we work on a lot and something that Drew (Brees) is exceptional at. He gets to the line, he has a good feel of what he wants to get to. Prior to the game, as the week kind of concludes, he's given thought to his top two-minute calls if we're in a 2x2 set or a 3x1 set. Most of those plays yesterday were trips (3x1). After the big completion to (Marques) Colston, it's the awareness to hurry up, clock it, clock it. Time will tell us that usually 16 or 17 seconds and below, it's hard to have a play in bounds and get to the ball and clock it. We were well north of that. I thought he (Bree's), along with the rest of the guys, managed that situation very well and it resulted in a win. The kick was, regardless of how short that might appear, when you're lining up to kick something like that, you make it you win, you don't make it you lose, the execution of getting the field goal unit on the field. All that time, you're kind of in a mayday alert. There is a potential sequence where the ball is completed to Colston and you don't have the time to clock it, and you're trying to make a substitution (to) a mayday field goal. The next snap, as opposed to a clock it, is a field goal. That's all kind of going on. We work on that a lot, and yet each time it comes up, you can't have any error. Any penalties, a ten-second runoff, there's just a lot of things that have to go well. Credit our players, they did a good job of handling it."
It's hard to keep being impressed by Jimmy Graham, but please touch on his performance on Sunday between taking a hard hit and having a big day catching the football.
"That's the thing that was pretty impressive. That was a good hit, obviously a tough hit to take. But he came right back up and made a number of big plays in this game. He had an outstanding game. He was physical, changed field position for us, and was very focused. He was outstanding."
Rob Ryan's defense has allowed just 24 points in two games. Compared to where the club was last year, can you talk about how impressive that is?
"I'm not as much interested in where we were (last year). I would say this though, that our job is to build confidence. Our job is to instill a plan and try to put our players in the best position possible. I think one of the things that Rob brings is that contagious spirit. From the very beginning in the spring when we were installing the defense and of coming together as a team and getting ready for what was the offseason, the OTAs, the minicamps, that was important especially coming off of last season."
I guess safety is at a premium in regards to helmet-to-helmet hits. Do you think yesterday was glaringly excessive in some way?
"Listen, its always a challenge because you're coaching players about collision points. We try to err on the side of being low. My problem, oftentimes its tough (and) it's a bang-bang play, (is) all the other stuff that goes on afterwards: the taunting or whatever. Look, I understand playing good defense and I get all that. It was great to see (Jimmy) Graham take the hit, get back up, and end up a couple of plays later catching a seam right through the middle of their defense. He ended up really being the difference for us with the plays he made. Certainly its tough, defensively, with some of the rule changes. I think you take each one into consideration. You look at it for what it is and I think the league is probably doing that."
Were you able to look at the hit on Jimmy Graham on video?
"Yeah. I've seen it on video, I've seen it on TV, and I've seen it on coach's tape. Listen, it doesn't matter if it upset me. Certainly I get frustrated for a player, but that's nothing that I control."
How do you balance enthusiasm for 2-0 in the division with the things you're trying to fix?
"We have a lot to fix. We have a ton of football to play and we have a lot of things that we've got to clean up. Defensively, offensively, we have to be better at scoring. I have to do a better job especially when we get into those areas. The kicking game, I was hoping we could get some opportunities for a return. I thought the kicker and the punter handled the conditions pretty well. Just that simple field goal right before the weather delay, with the wind swirling the way it was, was important for us to come away with some points there. Overall, I think that part is easy for us. There's a lot of stuff we have to work on."
Roman Harper did not take as many snaps compared to Malcolm Jenkins and Kenny Vaccaro. Was that a matchup situation?
"Yes, we were in different personnel groups. A lot of it was dependent on what they were going to be in."