New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Conference Call with Local MediaMonday, December 9, 2013
There was a play in the game where you had a penalty in your favor from Carolina and you chose to accept the play instead of taking the first down, was it just a matter of liking the play you just had?
"Yeah, I am trying to think. I remember the call and I saw it from a spot standpoint with the yardage we ended up taking rather than the first and five. You can go back and forth. I think typically we would accept the flag and back up a little bit as opposed to the three yard difference. We ended up having to punt on that series. I know the sequence you are talking about."
Is it nice to be back on a normal schedule this week?
"Yes, I think our players look forward to it. I know we do from a preparation standpoint. Today we will spend a good majority of the day on St. Louis as well as all day tomorrow and start back Wednesday with a good practice. So, yes to answer your question getting on that schedule is helpful for them especially this late in the season."
Can you walk us through the progression of the young defensive line?
"I think number one, we have a good rotation going. It is hard to play 60 snaps in there. Cam (Jordan) and our starters are in good shape but we really believe in getting a rotation and I said this last evening, those are earned sacks when you get a guy like Cam Newton, he is a gifted player, but he is a strong sack. If you can get a hand on him you can kind of arm tackle his waist or his leg, along with (him) being elusive. I thought we contained him really well. I thought he held on to the ball at times, struggled with his progressions, and forced some throws. I think that is a credit to how the guys up front played."
How satisfying was it to see your team get back to playing the way you feel like they should be playing?
"Any time you have a tough loss the next game can't come quick enough. You want to get back on track. I thought we did the things necessary to win and I thought it was a good team win." !(http://www.neworleanssaints.com/media-center/photo-gallery/New-Orleans-Saints-Locker-Room-vs-Panthers/96a3a2d2-edd1-4a2d-8afb-a34166695c3b "new orleans saints")
Can you talk about the play of your secondary last night and how instrumental their play contributed to the number of sacks last night?
"I thought it goes hand in hand. I thought we did a good job of keeping the players in front of us number one. I mentioned the big plays that Carolina has the potential of hitting you with where they get behind you on defense in the passing game. They do a good job of running the football and you can all of a sudden get consumed with forcing the run and there is a Ted Ginn or a (Brandon) LaFell, Steve Smith, splitting your secondary. But I thought we kept the ball in front of us. I thought we contested a lot of throws, broke up a lot of passes and that was pleasing. I thought overall it all goes hand in hand and I think there are coverage sacks just like there are hurries that help the back end."
There were a record number of touchdowns in the NFL yesterday despite the snow, are there aspects to offense that are easier in snow and cold and not as complicated as we tend to make it out to be?
"It is pretty simple, if the footing is bad, alright and I am not talking about wind because that is a different deal, but if the footing is bad, it benefits the team that wants to throw the football. It is just harder to rush the passer. When you are in coverage you don't know the route that is being run so just that reaction time is more difficult. Now if it is windy or there is precipitation or heavy rain, it kind of shifts the other direction. Seeing some of the highlights and some of the games yesterday with the snow on the field and all that, I think you saw a lot of big plays."
Is there something to be said when there is snow or there is precipitation on the field, the receivers in patterns know where they are going and the defenders don't?
"Yeah, absolutely, I think it is like when you are a kid out on a frozen pond. Some of you guys probably can't relate to that down here, but you are in tennis shoes and you inch your way along without slipping and so when you are playing defense with that type footing it is awfully hard."
You did a lot of things before the game to maybe emphasize the importance of the game and trying to make it bigger. Do you think that kind of got the necessary response you wanted?
"I think our fans are passionate and I think our job in giving them the best opportunity to enjoy the experience at the Dome. It is all hand in hand and I think it is an area that we need to work on quite honestly. When you go somewhere and you take Seattle for example, you have a tough loss and you come away from that game, but you notice other things just than football. Actually, the environment is extremely difficult to play in and there are a lot of things that have been well thought out. Your mind starts racing in regards to improving your home field advantage with the speakers on the side lines. There is a lot that goes into that and I don't think you can just roll the football out there and do the same thing year in and year out. I was pleased last night. I thought the fans were outstanding. Look, we are at the point in the season where these games are important so any edge that we can get, I thought they gave us that especially on the third downs."
So a lot of those ideas maybe came about following the loss to Seattle?
"It is not just that. There was one specific idea with regards to the crowd noise and the speaker systems, but it is just about giving thought to and creating an edge each week and not just accepting the status quo. You are either improving or you are not and that just means being around passionate people that want to make the atmosphere great for the fans."
Can you explain what you mean by speakers on the sidelines?
"It is just during the pregame. They are giant speakers that help the pregame music and obviously we weren't blaring them during the game. You go somewhere and it is like the NBA. You go see an NBA game and you can travel to eight different cities and it is the same game day format. You might even catch the same balancing gymnast at halftime if you hit it right. I think having a unique game day experience is important and I think it is something we look at to work on. You have the half court shootout. You have the teacups in a race around the track, blue, green or red. It is just being creative. It is just being a little different and unique. I think we are in a league that is always looking for edges like that, competitive edges. I think our fan base is outstanding and it's a great atmosphere. I thought last night was fantastic and so having some of those changes, doing some of those things I think helps."
Is there anything in particular you want to focus on with your team with your next two games on the road?
"Just the details of fundamentally improving, working on all the little things that help you win. This will be a road game inside and the following week we will be outside."
Do you want to work more on communication or noise?
"Nothing in particular."