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Sean Payton talks about roster moves, facing Aaron Rodgers

Quotes from Coach Payton's press conference after practice on Wednesday, Oct. 22, 2014

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Opening Statement: "For the active roster we waived Todd Davis, inside linebacker and we signed tight end Tom Crabtree. We placed Glenn Foster on injured reserve and signed center Eric Olsen. With regards to the practice squad, we terminated center Alex Parsons and signed tackles DeMarcus Love and signed back Todd Davis, linebacker to the practice squad. Today was base, first and second down install for us."

Is Olsen someone you were familiar with considering he was with the team before?

"Yes, he was here just a couple weeks ago. He has experience having played center. He's a versatile player, so definitely."

When Drew Brees makes a comment where he says he let the team down, you know he will bounce back and his preparation and practice will show that. What do you expect from him?

"He's such a complete player, obviously an excellent competitor. When you come off a tough loss like that, everyone players, coaches, look internally and see how can we do a better job, each one us. That's just the way he handles it. He'll be more than ready. His preparation and routine this week won't change. It will be good we're coming home to play a home game."

What is going to happen to Glenn Foster?

"Glenn ended up with a knee (injury). He's having two things with it, but he's having a surgery done here in the next two days."

Is Aaron Rodgers as locked in as anybody right now?

"He's playing outstanding football. We put up the numbers today. You can study this team as of recent their last four games and four wins for them. The number one thing that stands out is protecting the ball on offense and taking it away on defense. They lead the league in the takeaway-giveaway ratio. His location, his command of the offense, he's got exceptional awareness. He's great at getting them in and out of plays. Obviously they are in an uptempo system and are able to get a look at the defense and find advantage plays. He does an awful lot of things outstanding. He's having one of those seasons. You can see the play of everyone around him in these last four weeks. It's been pretty impressive."

What's been your overall impression of cornerback outside of Keenan Lewis?

"We've had a handful of guys in there in Patrick (Robinson) and Corey (White). We've been in some safety packages as well. The big thing and it's no different than the rest of our team, is looking for some consistency. You're mixing up coverages, so there's times where there's a little bit more stress on that position and then there's times where maybe you're playing a cloud or safety help over the top. But, everyone of us, we're all looking to have that consistency week in and week out."

How much do you feel that consistency is not there?

"I think it's no different than a number of positions on our team. We're looking to sitting here right now with basically three tough losses of just a few points. We're looking to improve. We're looking to be better. But I would say the same thing applies to more than the corner position. There are a handful of positions and certainly with us as coaches (we also need to improve)."

Numberswise Curtis Lofton seems to be standing out. How well is he playing?

"He's playing very well. He had what I thought was one of his better games of the season last week. He's been an outstanding tackler. He has real good awareness. He spends a lot of time with preparation. Half the battle oftentimes in that Mike position is to key and diagnose formations, backfield sets and begin to get comfortable with what look you're seeing run or pass. He's been playing at a high level. He played one of his best games last week."

Are you worried about your guys trying to hard on Sunday and to do some things they ordinarily would not do?

"I think the key in this process during the workweek, you spend more time out here making sure you receive the right looks during practice. Those guys are doing everything in regards to their preparation. The process is important. The focus. I think even after last week going into that game and the way we practiced, there are a handful of things that we want to be able to clean up. It's a lot easier for us to do that after a win. It will be important for us to have a good week of preparation. This team we're playing, like we were just talking about is playing at a high level."

What is it about Prime Time home games that always seems to bring out the best in your team?

"I say this and I mean it. If you're playing well as a team and certainly expect to play well and win at home, one of the byproducts of that is you play more of those games. So we've played a lot of Sunday night, Monday Night Football. We've been flexed quite a bit. Everyone plays a Thursday night game now, so I think when we first got here back in '06, we had a lot of 12:00 starts except for one Monday night game, so your goal is to build your program where you're competing each year. One of the byproducts of that is playing on prime time. The other thing I would say is uniquely different here, our fan base here, especially at night games, is something else. We'll need every one of the 72,000 helping us Sunday."

Do you see more of a propensity for the road games in these prime time games to lose by double digits such as Cincinnati at New England a couple weeks ago after losing in Kansas City by double digits before that?

"I don't know. I think you probably factor it into the percentages and then each week you're looking at an away team winning. We were able to win some big prime time games on the road a year ago. We had a Thursday night game in Atlanta where we played well. Generally the timing in the schedule. There is that momentum built when you're playing at home and so we have to take advantage of that. All that being said, I think the focus has to be on the workweek and putting together our best week of preparation."

Do you think it's a big disadvantage to be playing late on a Sunday night and then to have to turn around and play a Thursday night game on the road?

"Here's the thing. I don't envy the job those guys have putting together the schedule together. There's a lot that goes into it. I look at it more just from a standpoint of the players being healthy, making sure they have enough rest. We're going to have to be smart next week obviously with the practice schedule and yet every year, you're waiting, the 16 games are released and you look for oddball things like that. I think it's a challenge to put together a schedule for 32 clubs. Once you say every club is going to play a Thursday night game, those are among the things that become challenging. We've hosted a lot of Sunday and Monday night games. We haven't had that many Thursday night games, considering the number (of prime time games) we've played in. All that I'm sure will come around."

Are you a fan of these Thursday night games?

"There's pros and cons to it. It doesn't really matter if I'm a fan of it or not. I understand it. I think if you're able to use the time wisely, keep guys fresh, you kind of get that additional weekend. The key and the trick is from Sunday to Thursday these guys having a chance to recover."

You talk about the momentum if the team wins. How much could that go for their confidence if they pick one up against a team like Green Bay?

"It's a real good question and a win like that gives you a good shot in the arm. Which made the loss last week so difficult, because you are this close. We have to find a way to play our best game and win this game. It cures a lot of things and I think that the key right now is recognizing the focus has to be on this game. It can't be in the division or it can't be towards next Thursday or any of those other things and I don't think it will be, but we have to find a way to get our third win."

How do you think Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Vinnie Sunseri handled their red zone snaps and is it hard to find situations to get them in when all your players like Patrick Robinson and Keenan Lewis are healthy and on the field?

"It's easy to start on special teams. Vinnie's received a lot of work in that area, Stan some. What you try to do is reduce a role or give a small role and you get them acclimated. We do it on offense the same way."

In the receiver corps, stats can be misleading, productionwise, have you received the consistency and production you expected from that particular group?

"Yes, I think this, one of the challenges is we feel like we have a handful of guys, all of them competing for touches. So, there's depth there, a lot of depth. Oftentimes the challenges is mixing the personnel groupings and giving them all the work they want. Back to the question earlier about the corner position, sure there are times where we are looking for more touches for one player or another. There are opportunities that those guys might want to have back and yet, it is what it is right now. We're working on making sure that we're preparing for the next game and receiving that consistency.  Last week, third down, the numbers were pretty low. Our down and distance on third down, we were in some those longer yardage situations. We scored on a few plays, that came on other than third down. If I'm answering your question, I think like anything else, just like the rest of the team, there are some areas we want to work on and get better. I think it was encouraging last week we got the ball down the field a little bit and we had a couple of those big plays we were waiting on. Part of that's me, giving them the opportunity."

Is that matchup-based because of the defense or did you try to make a point of it?

"No, that specific play to Kenny (Stills) was Drew (Brees) in a no-huddle offense. That was really an at-the-line adjustment."

Why doesn't your team go no huddle more often?

"There are times in games when you want to. We felt like going into the Detroit game we wanted to just with the slowing down the (pass) rush, trying to tire them out some. One of the positives is we can get in and out of plays we want to. One of the challenges sometimes in it, you might not be controlling the tempo just like you want or you may not be controlling the flow of the game like you want. In other words, if you're based on that run-pass based on what the defense gives you, then pretty soon if you're not careful, the defense is dictating what you are doing. We'll be smart with it. I think certainly it's something Drew (Brees) has good command with. Just the series at the end of the half was significant in regards to getting a field goal. But I think having those possessions, having those opportunities, all of those things give us the opportunity to do that."

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