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Sean Payton talks about facing the Detroit Lions

Quotes from Sean Payton's post-practice press conference on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, October 15, 2014

What is the challenge of replenishing assistants especially when you lose a lot of good ones like you guys have?

"I think we've tried to not limit it to someone with NFL experience. We've been able to hire guys from the college ranks. We've hired guys that have coached in the NFL and really (are) just looking for guys that we think are good teachers and then also guys that are good staff guys, that compatibility issue I think is important. You grow to appreciate that more and more."

Do you almost keep a depth chart almost like you do for free agency?

"No I would say this though, from having done this a long time, you have certain, not necessarily resumes on file, but you are mindful as to where guys might be if a position opened up. Sometimes there's past experience (in working with the person), other times there is not. Again, you are really trying to not bias yourself one way or the other."

Can you talk about how the Lions defense sacks the quarterback a lot and on offense the quarterback gets sacked a lot?

"Starting with their defense, their front is outstanding. They get the push inside from the tackles. Both of the ends are very active players so that combination, they give you enough pressure looks where it is not just a four man rush and yet if they are not pressuring they do a very good job of quickening the pace of the quarterback with just four guys rushing it. That ultimately makes it the most challenging because now you are throwing in two coverage looks as opposed to blitz looks. Offensively I just having seen some of the tape, I think they like us, have had their share of injuries and yet you can see they are playing a complementary game. They're doing a good job with balance, third downs, some of those things. I think that topic of pressure hurries is very important especially when it pertains to a road game like this."

Can you talk about going up against two of your former running backs here in Reggie Bush and Joique Bell?

"When you watch him (Reggie Bush) he's very explosive. He's just as dangerous as a pass receiver as he is a runner. You see his explosive plays. You have to make sure you're fitting the right gaps and he's also someone that can bring a play back or create, if you will, a misdirection play he is that sudden. Joique's (Bell) someone who's really a natural runner and he has found a real good niche there. Shoot, we were counting today, there are eight different people, coaches included that are currently with them now that have been here in the last six or seven years so there is some familiarity with both the players and some of the coaches."

Does it make it more of a challenge when you face a team like that that has so much knowledge of what you do?

"Yes, I think that there is still tape relevancy in regards to looking at what is currently happening because in the course of just a year or two years a lot can change. There will some things that our defense will see that are very similar to what we do and vice versa. I am sure both defenses will be kind of seeing a similar approach offensively and yet things are still different."

How much do you value what Reggie Bush brought to the table on the field, off the field, buzz and production on the field?

"Ernie Accorsi (Former New York Giants general manager) of course said it once, when you win a World Championship, at that moment it validates every selection and decision in signing that brings you to that point, he being included obviously in that occasion. He was very good in that game and in the years that he spent with us, he was very instrumental in what we became. From the minute he was drafted, for those people that were here at that time that was a significant step for us. Very shortly thereafter, we sold out (on a season ticket basis) for the first time and so you would have had to have been here to recognize the importance of that selection and then the steps that began to take place leading up to that season. He's an electric player. We were fortunate enough to be able to sign Darren Sproles when he left and you are always looking for those types of matchup players."

Was Reggie Bush's durability one of the question marks you had about him?

"No, it really wasn't. I think really at the end it made sense. He was wanting a little bit more of a featured role at running back and I thought overall his durability with us was strong. Just go back to that playoff run in 2009; his game against Arizona was unbelievable. I mentioned the Super Bowl, the NFC Championship game; you can go on and on. I think that for us the balance, the receptions, and the way we wanted to use him fit and really kind of put things together for us."

Is it a good problem trying to figure out your running back situation with Mark Ingram coming back into the fold?

"He's doing well and we will kind of see how we handle that on Sunday. Obviously we value depth at that position."

Are you looking to expand Brandin Cooks' role into something similar to what Reggie Bush and Darren Sproles had?

"I think you stop and you separate them a little bit because he is a receiver. I think clearly when you were talking about Reggie and Darren it started with that position with a running back. Now are there some things that you can do or that we currently do that would be very similar or identical? Absolutely and yet you will see Travaris Cadet who is a running back now get some of the same type of plays or touches."

Do you have to change any audibles or anything like that because of Joe Lombardi being there?

"I think it might be simply, not so much the audibles but hand signals. You are already in a loud environment so it is not like they are necessarily hearing you but just being mindful of your hand signals that might mean a certain play. Look, based on the offense film that I have seen, I think they are going to want to do the same. In other words you can see some similar signals."

Was it obvious when you were going through the film?

"It comes up occasionally but there are certain things, look, it is no different than the West Coast offense for five years there were about six teams that if you saw the quarterback on film audible and he would get to a couple of different signals there was a period of time where they were universal and you would begin to get strains of it or different versions of it."

Is that something you change typically every year?

"Yeah, I would say we pay attention to that."

Did you do anything different on a bye week as far as self-scouting?

"No, what's different now is you have to understand that it's constant. In other words, today's information is accessible right now. We don't need a day and a half to break down film and put together statistical information when it literally changes after each game so you have it at the start of every week. That is a little different and it is much more readily available."

As far as having the start that you guys had?

"Yes, there are certain things we looked at and at the same time I think one of the things we valued was specifically for a handful of our veteran players was the time away."

What type of problems can their front four present?

"They can push the pocket and make it difficult for the quarterback to find that comfortable area. Those two guys inside (Nick Fairley and Ndamukong Suh) do a great job of doing that. They'd give you enough movement, enough stunts, they can get on your edge and then the ends the same way. Those four players without any pressure, without any linebacker pressures or defensive back blitzes can create problems when they are playing coverage and make it difficult for the quarterback."

How unique is Calvin Johnson when he's healthy in terms of matchups?

"Man, he is obviously explosive. His catching radius is rare as far as where you can throw a ball, his ability to make plays down the field. He is obviously very competitive. Clearly he is, if not the best receiver, he is up there."

Can you explain the decision to release Khairi Fortt?

"We just felt like it was in our best interest. It didn't work out for him. I will keep it at that."

What have you liked from the offense this year and what areas do you want to see get better?

"The third down numbers have been solid. The rushing numbers have been solid. Obviously you are looking at scoring, time of possession, some of those key statistics. I think more than anything else the opportunities have been a little bit less than if we took a count from last year at this time after five games, drives started. I think we have to continue to emphasize the third down numbers that is going to be important this week. We are playing against a real good third down defense and I think just from a scoring statistical analysis of taking advantage of the trips to the red zone."

How much different, if at all, is Detroit's offense with or without Calvin Johnson?

"Any time you take an elite player, and I use that term very guarded or not often, obviously that changes things and it would be the same thing in regards to Jimmy (Graham). When you take a specific player like him out of the game it changes things and yet I think we know and when you play in this league long enough that each week you're going to have to make those adjustments. We've had to do that as well, take a guy like (Jairus) Byrd who I consider to be an elite level safety. You make those changes. You have to prepare for them with jersey numbers and make sure we are ready in the event that he plays and go into the game expecting that."

Do you need to keep an eye on how Mark Ingram is doing?

"We'll look at his reps and look at the playing going into the game ahead of time."

Because it was a hand injury, does it make it a little easier for Mark Ingram to get back into the swing of things?

"It's different certainly for a running back.  It's different.  It is not like a lower body injury."

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