New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, Oct. 1, 2014
Would you say that score was indicative of the last game?
"We always try to not kid ourselves when we are watching the tape. Sometimes that can happen in wins and sometimes you can lean the other way in losses. Obviously, in that game we just played there are a lot of things that we need to do to get better. Forget the score, it was pretty lopsided and there was something in all three phases and I think our players recognize that."
Can you talk about how Tampa Bay got drilled two weeks ago and played real well last week in beating Pittsburgh?
"I think they played real well against a good team on the road. I would say now they have had two quarterbacks so you are looking at the start of the season and Mike (Glennon) obviously played well for them last week. I think the Atlanta game was one that got away and was certainly different then. If you look at their three losses one of them obviously was a big differential but the other two weren't. They played some pretty close games to start the year and just didn't come up on the winning end."
What did you change in regards to the practice schedule this week?
"Just with regards to periods and how we approached it. We did some offense versus defense but it was mainly the base emphasis though, first and second down."
Was it minor tweaks?
"Just within the framework of the practice. The schedule was very similar and yet I think that obviously there is that sense of urgency that needs to be present. We get prepared now and work our way through this. This will be a tough challenge playing Tampa especially when you watch the confidence they played with finishing up at Pittsburgh."
How do you juggle sense of urgency to panic?
"It is easy because there is never panic. That doesn't exist. But each week as you prepare in this league there is that sense of urgency. Each team regardless of who you are playing it really becomes more about focusing on the things that we can do, recognizing and paying attention to your opponent and their strengths and weaknesses but paying more attention to the things that we have to do to win."
Do you still look forward in playing Lovie Smith?
"I think that in the past it was the Bears versus the Saints (when Smith coached the Bears) and now it is the Buccaneers versus the Saints. It is not a chess match. I know sometimes that analogy is used but I think that it is about getting our team ready to play and play a better game than obviously we played in preventing the things that are keeping us from winning from happening, eliminating the turnovers, creating the turnovers, doing a better job on third down, all of those things specifically, creating field position in the kicking game, those are the things that our focus is on now. It is much more than who the opponent head coach is."
In 2007 you went through something similar to this in starting 0-4, is there anything in those notes that you go back to?
"That was tough starting off 0-4 and then battling back. I think every year in this league you don't know when you get hit in the mouth. Probably for the most part each team at some point goes through a stretch. It is important that you respond, all of us, players and coaches and right now we have to be able to do that. We have to be able to toughen up and be a little bit more detailed in what we are doing, look closely at what we are doing during the week and how we are doing it. There is no secret to playing better. It is in the grind of preparation, the details of getting ready to eliminate some of those things we've been doing. I think that is the key here."
Are there things on offense that you would like to clean up?
"We've turned the ball over too much. Our third down numbers have been good. Our rushing totals have been good. Our big play numbers have been down. The two specific things would be the turnovers and the big plays."
What is the relationship between creating the turnovers that you want and tackling or populating the football defensively?
"That's a good question, there is always that happy balance. You have to get numbers to the ball and often times that turnover is caused with the second end or that third end. Those are also caused by a good pass rush and they are also a product of winning on the early downs and getting to those third and medium and longs."
Looking at how the first quarter of the season has played out across the league, has it seemed abnormal in anyway?
"No not really, we have done this long enough where in our league it's hard to predict the outcome of games or how they will unfold and who all of a sudden is going to be improved or who will slide. That is the case every year. What is more important is the focus on this team and our job to get these things corrected and play better football."
Are you guys seeing teams drop seven and eight in coverage with a higher frequency?
"No I wouldn't say so. We saw a little bit more zone look last week but no. Seven would be pretty normal right? Eight would be a prevent and occasionally we will get eight and some empty or no back looks or red zone looks. I wouldn't say that's been anything different than the normal looks we've gotten."
How hard is it to overcome the fact that your average starting drive is taking place on your own 21-yard line?
"I don't think the starting position has been as challenging as just the lack of possessions. Going into last week's game from an efficiency standpoint with the possessions we were scoring. When you're looking at the scoring efficiency but the lack of opportunities is something that when we get to talking about a complementary game trying to have more possessions and what contributes to that, a turnover obviously does. It potentially takes away time off the clock and a chance for you to lose a possession. Not getting off the field third down defensively can contribute to that. That's part of some of the residuals of the things we're talking about, the lack of possessions, starting field position, all those things go hand in hand. With the way the kickoff rule's set now, unless you are playing outside or into the wind a lot of these kickers are good enough to put that thing deep enough into the end zone and it appears to me every time I am watching the game and I see one that comes out that ends up at the 17 or 18-yard line. I know there are exceptions to that but I think that is part of a residual of other things we need to be better at."
Is it just circumstances of the game that Travaris Cadet got more touches than Pierre Thomas?
"In Dallas, if you watch we were in a hurry up empty set which was a little bit more of a package for him than Pierre. A lot of that was playing from behind."
How has Brian Dixon done that past couple of weeks?
"He's doing well. He's young. He can run. I like that he's playing well in the kicking game as well. Obviously he gets a lot thrown at him but he is handling it well."
Do you have any specific expectations from the veterans or team captains at times like these in a season?
"I think that one of the things that we just talked about is this is when you get tested a little bit, not just physically, but you get tested mentally, emotionally. When we go into selecting players, drafting players and signing free agents, we look closely at those intangibles not for when we are 4-0 or 5-2, you look closely at those intangibles when you hit that adversity so the response is what you get."