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Sean Payton's Thursday review

Quotes from Sean Payton post-practice press conference on Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Thursday, January 2, 2014

Did you call in a favor to dial up some weather like this?

"No, it was good. It was good conditions, good wind. They handled it well."

Pierre Thomas popped on the injury list. Do you have an update?

"Nothing specific right now, his chest from last week's game."

If needed to play a bigger role, Mark Ingram looked pretty good in recent weeks. Are you happy with his recent progress?

"Yes, I think all of those guys. What Mark's done, what Khiry (Robinson) has done, we have good depth there."

Do you think the run defense statistics are really indicative of how they've played?

"I think there are a couple of things that are misleading. I think number one – we talked about it as a team – when you really study Philadelphia, statistically the pass defense numbers suggest that they're in the bottom part of the league and yet, a lot of those numbers come from teams being behind and throwing the football. That's pretty common. With regards to the run defense, I thought that's something that as the season has gone on, probably the last half of the season, we've been real good with. This is a unique offense though in the type of runs you're receiving compared to maybe a more conventional run list that you might see on a week-to-week basis. Finding your gaps and being on top of where the runner is, all those things are important."

How much of what you guys are able to do in Chicago – take care of the football, create early turnovers – how much is that what you guys are looking to do as a blueprint for this game?

"The blueprint every week is obviously to win the turnover battle. That's important, especially in playoff football games. That's something Philadelphia has been outstanding in. I think that will be extremely important. Now, what leads to turnovers? It's duress by either quarterback when they're hurried (and) ball security for those that are carrying it. So there's a lot that goes into that, but from a turnover standpoint that blueprint is pretty conventional and especially this time of the year."

How much have you picked up the pace in practice this week?

"Well one of the challenges is trying to simulate the offensive scout team and so we have been able to do that.  What you find is you get through the plays quicker and practice is over quicker.  We are sitting here ahead of schedule again.  They have done a good job handling that.  Luke McCown and those guys, the receivers, that part of it is a challenge."

Can you talk about how you didn't give up on the run game and you figured out what worked well?

"Well each week, there are some weeks where what you are seeing defensively make it more challenging.  Other weeks where you have real good opportunities, Dallas was an example.  You never want to become one-dimensional.  I think that is important especially when you are on the road it is a bit of a challenge.  Being smart though and having that balance and understanding the conditions, all of those things."

Can you talk about the many things Jimmy Graham allows you to do offensively?

"He is a big target and he is someone that understands leverage.  Obviously a former basketball player, but he can go up and make plays above his head and so he is not only a threat on the field but a threat in the red zone.  He is having an outstanding season for us.  I know there is a lot of confidence in his route tree.  It is a little more expansive than what would be a conventional tight ends route tree but he is playing well."

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