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Sean Payton talks about Wild Card Saturday

Quotes from Sean Payton's post-practice press conference on Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Saints head coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Opening Statement: "A couple of roster moves: we waived safety Eric Frampton, we signed linebacker Kyle Knox from the practice squad. We moved him up, he is number 58. Then we added to the practice squad number 36 Eddie Whitley."

How much have you been changing up?

"We got a lot of good work outside on the grass. Kind of what we have done this year, we did some of the teaching progression to start off in the walkthroughs and then moved it outside.  I thought today was pretty smooth."

What was the idea behind the music at practice?

"Just a little juice.  I told them I brought my playlist in.  Some of these guys have to get their iTunes up to count.  They have to pay their bills.  I got a lot on there."

How would you describe the playlist?

"A variety, a good mix."

We are trying to figure out how serious you are about the changes.

"Those are significant changes.  When you change your Gatorade color, that's a big deal.  The night before, what you eat is a big deal.  Sweatsuits, the only ones were getting kind of raggedy to begin with anyway.  We are trying a different name brand."

What has Nick Foles brought to the Eagles?

"I think number one, you see someone that is playing with a very good awareness, confident, gets rid of the ball.  I think he is very accurate.  When you start seeing the big plays they've had and the play action passing game, the screen game, then there is that juice that every player involved in the progression believed I can get the ball on this play.  I think he has done a great job of delivering and keeping receivers on the move with the accurate location as opposed to stopping him with a throw that maybe isn't located as well.  I think you see all those things on film, his poise.  I think that has been significant when you watch him."

Can you talk about how Nick Foles has not turned the ball over much?

"He's extremely accurate.  He makes very good decisions in regards to not necessarily impulsive or discriminate throws in traffic.  He knows where he is going with his progressions.  I think he has done a great job."

!Is it complimentary when you hear people comparing Chip Kelly to you?

"First off, I feel like you are piling it on.  I just turned 50.  I take offense to that.  I think every year there is an influx of new coaches.  Every year there is an influx of new design and the one thing about our league is every game is downloaded and available within basically 24-48 hours on every team's computers.  We studied a lot of film looking at first downs, a lot of film just finding a way to convert third and five.  Obviously, the system he is familiar with and what he was very successful with at Oregon he has applied to his talent in Philadelphia.  I think the first sign of good coaching is taking the pieces you have and building a system around that and I think he has done that extremely well."

When you have a guy like Drew Brees, how comfortable does that make you feel going into a big game like this?

"His experience and his durability and all of those things are helpful.  I think not only for the head coach, but I think the other players in the huddle on any given play.  He is someone who is constantly reminding players about certain looks, check downs, what is going on right now at post practice.  It is that veteran leadership, that consistency, all of those things are helpful."

Can you talk about some memories you have about starting your career in Philadelphia?

"I grew up there up until 7th grade.  All of my elementary education, older brother and sister both graduated high school in Newtown Square and then we moved to Chicago.  There are a lot of friends and family back there. Most of my relatives are not far in Scranton.  The first pro football game was at the Vet.  The first baseball game was at the Vet.  The first college game was Army-Navy, the stadium that no longer exists.  The Flyers winning back to back Stanley Cups, all of those things were a part of my childhood and so the sports fans are amazing there, very passionate and a real diehard fan base.  That presents challenges when you play, especially in the playoffs."

Can you talk about your first playoff game as the Saints head coach in 2006 against Philadelphia?

"It was a home game here and you don't forget it.  It begins to kind of dissipate a little bit.  I remember Deuce McAllister was exceptional.  Andy (Reid) was there at the time, the late Jim Johnson who was arguably one of the best defensive coordinators our game has seen.  I had just been in that division for so long, starting in Philadelphia for two years and then the New York Giants for four years and then the Dallas Cowboys for three years.  I have been everywhere but the Washington Redskins.  It just so happened that there was a period of three to four years where we played Philly in the regular season and then in 2006 we played then in the postseason, played them in 2007, lost a game at the end of the year.  You become familiar with a lot of the personnel and a lot of the coaching staff.  Obviously, years later now, a lot of that has changed."

Drew Brees has only thrown 12 touchdowns on the road this season, do you have any thoughts on that?

"It's the beefy mac. Gatorade, but I think it's the beefy mac a little bit more I would say."

Does it need a little more beef?

"A little more zing, a little zest to it. Spices. Beefy mac."

Talk about the play and growth of Junior Galette who you found as an undrafted rookie.

"We've been fortunate. Our scouting department has done a great job. We had six free agents make this team, so this is a young team. Junior was a player that had come in and shown a specific skill set: speed, agility, being able to rush the passer. To his credit, he has gotten stronger, bigger, and he has also really become a pro. His attention to detail ( has increased and) he is a film study guy. I would say a lot has changed for him, leaving college and the transitions he had in college, some of the challenges that he had, and then taking advantage of this opportunity. He is a guy that I am real proud of."

What have you seen in the transition from last year to being a full-time starter this year?

"He's handled that transition, but the biggest transition was in his rookie year or in his second year of making a name for himself and earning a roster spot. We try to rotate guys as best as we can. He plays with a lot of energy, he is very sudden, and he can rush the passer."

Do you have to tell a guy like that who plays with so much energy not to get too amped up or worked up in the atmosphere?

"Not really. With every game you play, it is usually someone's hometown, or someone is from there. Jahri (Evans), Junior, those guys will have ticket issues. It's pretty common with the makeup of a team like we have. I think they handle that pretty well."

How concerned are you with guys on this team overthinking playing on the road?

"It's the playoffs and I think the focus isn't so much about road and home, this is the path. This is the schedule. The big thing as a coach is trying to cover every detail regarding your opponent, trying to cover the specific situations that can come up in a game, making sure you are prepared that way."

Jahri Evans made his fifth straight Pro Bowl. Can you talk about his progression and what has made him a dominant player?

"His was immediate. The challenge always with a small school player is just trying to watch the tape and evaluate sometimes who they're blocking. He was extremely dominant in college. His transition into our league happened immediately, (he) started as a rookie. He is strong, he is very smart, he too has been very durable, and I think he likes playing. He is powerful, he is good in his pass protections. He fit a lot of the characteristics outside of just the skill set. Between the ears, he's smart, and it's important to him."

It will probably be below 20 degrees when you start playing on Saturday. How do you get your team prepared for the elements?

"That is the heavier sweat suit. Heavier sweat suit. Beefy mac for Drew (Brees). Gatorade. Heavier sweat suits. It will be cold. We've played in cold weather before, we will get used to it. We can't control the weather here. We can go outside and practice on the grass, but our guys will be able to adapt to it. We have a lot of players who have played in cold climates in college."

Do you think players can get it in their head when they constantly hear that they lose every road playoff game?

"Once they try on the sweatsuits I think they are going to realize, man, the way they fit, you ought to see them, pretty special."

Yours is probably a smaller size this year, huh?

"Mine is smaller. Smaller than Chip's (Kelly), I know that."

This is the fifth playoffs for a group of long-tenured players on the offense. Does that say something special about that group?

"Listen, there are a few players that were here through Katrina, the 2005 season. There is a bunch in that first draft class. We were talking the other day, that first draft class in 2006 was extremely important for what was the beginning of success. When you look at Reggie Bush and what he did here, Roman Harper, we acquired Jeff Faine, Rob Ninkovich who is playing (in New England),  the one that got away, and then you continue (Zach) Strief, you continue with Jahri Evans, you continue with Marques Colston. That first pick is very important, but those good drafts are ones where you are getting players in every round. I think that class had a lot to do with the success you're referencing. There are some players that weren't in that class. Lance Moore has been a part of a lot of games here. Those are guys that you share a lot of wins with."

All of this joking about the sweat suits…

"Wait until you see them. Seriously. Have you seen them?"

I haven't.

"I'm going to get you one. What size are you?

I'm probably a 40. But is that your way of deflecting or is it your way of saying it doesn't matter?

"Listen, I think the game is set for Saturday night and it is set on the road in Philadelphia. Like I said, we play in all different environments. Our road record since 2006 is pretty good. I think our road record since 2009 is pretty good. But I think it would have been better if we had been wearing these sweat suits too. We will be ready."

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