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Sean Payton: "We are going to have to play better."

Quotes from Sean Payton's press conference on Wednesday, September 17, 2014.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Is Evan Baker a guy that you had your eye on?

"He is a guy that we worked out two weeks ago.  One of the challenges is at the running back position, is having enough healthy bodies obviously to get through practice.  He is from Michigan State.  Our running backs coach (Dan Roushar) happened to be there and coached him.  We had three guys in a week and a half ago and so he was on the short list for that spot."

How do you game plan knowing that Adrian Peterson is not playing this weekend?

"With him out obviously we treat it no different than an injury.  He is a significant player.  Does it affect our game plan?  It can to some degree and yet every week we are kind of faced with some of those scenarios be it one reason or another.  We have to adjust and for us coming in the morning, I think we all knew that before our meetings began.  From a scouting report, personnel standpoint, all the things that we would do on a Wednesday we were able to handle with the idea that he was not playing."

Where do you think Adrian Peterson ranks among the best running backs?

"I haven't even thought about it.  I don't know.  Look, all of us are kind of biased to our time.  I grew up in Chicago and watched Walter Payton.  He was something.  I am not sure.  Obviously he is an elite player though.  He has been very consistent.  I think it is always kind of difficult to compare 20, 30 years ago (to now)."

Do you think Adrian Peterson is the best running back today?

"He is certainly is one in the top.  He is one of the top backs."

What is your reaction to the charges against Adrian Peterson?

"In fairness to the question, I have not been as on top of the specifics (of the case) and I say that not to escape the question. I understand the debate with corporal punishment versus abuse.  I get all that.  We're kind of locked up in this building right here trying to figure out a way to win a football game.  That is kind of been the approach (I took) when I spoke to the team this morning.  It's hard to know all the specifics and often times I find it is better to not come out with a quick opinion especially in my case not knowing really any of the specifics, only hearsay.  I haven't seen pictures or all the other stuff that maybe you guys are privy to.  I am sure the Vikings, I am sure the NFL, and those parties are all doing what they feel like they need to do."

This isn't the first time you guys have lost two games in a row in a season, do you change the way you do it because it is the first two games?

"I think you have to pay attention.  There is a way we lost those two games.  If you would have told me we were going to rush for X number of yards week one and 170 week two and find ourselves losing both those games statistically that would be something that would be a little bit of a surprise.  That being said, and I mentioned this Monday, it is in the details and the preparation.  It is on us as coaches, everyone collectively, the players.  I thought our practice today was outstanding.  I think you can't bury them under the rug and pretend it never happened.  You have to look at it.  I think we are trying to make sure we uncover every stone and look closely at how we can find ways to make the corrections and hopefully we can get that done this weekend."

Would you say the run production is so far ahead of this point last year?

"Number one it was a point of emphasis in the offseason.  I think a lot of times it is a result of what a defense is trying to stop or what they are trying to take away.  I don't know necessarily that both Atlanta and Cleveland were committed to taking deep throws away or preventing a big play, but I think the guys up front have done a good job. I think the backs have done a good job.  In order for us to have these runs we have to be able to block the perimeter and I would say we are doing that a little better than we have in years past."

Can you say anything about Mark Ingram's status?

"I'll just say he had surgery.  He had two screws placed right above his thumb and we'll just handle it week to week.  There was a fracture.  It was displaced, so it was not something that he could just put a cast on.  Everything went well and he will be a week to week player (in terms of status)."

Did it happen in the first half of the game?

"It did.  It happened on a reception where he ended up getting hit and putting that hand down.  It is obviously impressive that he played that long with it.  You could see on film that his exchanges were a little different in how he was taking the ball.  He's a tough player."

With how well Mark Ingram has been running, how much do you think the success of the run game can translate to other backs carrying the ball?

"I think it is something we preach with regards to a depth.  Khiry (Robinson) is another back that we feel like is young and is someone that will be ready for the work load.  It is not just one thing.  I would agree with your point though, he (Mark Ingram) has been sharp.  Fortunately with regards to his procedure I don't expect it to be a long period of time."

Is this one of those things that you can compare to Julio Jones when he played with the pain?

"No, to answer your question because I understand that and I have had players with a fracture in their hand or arm. Because it was displaced you have to actually repair it.  The screws were put in so it will be X amount of time. Without speculating, it won't be this week, but I think the procedure went well then it is just a matter of the swelling, the wound, and all of those things with the bone healing properly."

A couple of players in the locker room after the game called this a week of crisis.  Is that a message that filtered down to you?

"Yes, it probably was filtered down from me because that is the game we are in now, week to week.  Now the good news is we receive an opportunity this week to correct that and sure up some things.  We are going to have to play better.  It (also) happens on the other way when you start the season 2-0 (and) people start talking about seeds.  You start a season like this and we just have to find a way to play our best game this weekend.  It's important we do that, especially coming home."

Can you put your finger on why more turnovers haven't been created?

"In two games, we came up with a real good strip fumble in Atlanta, but since then it generally is more than just one specific area.  It is obviously applying the right amount of pressure, its population to the ball, it is all of those things and the same thing applies to the kicking game.  You have those opportunities; they are like defensive snaps when you are covering a punt or a kick.  Getting numbers to the ball and I think that specific area is one that was the major topic this morning.  With regards to offense and defense is the importance of that statistic alone."

Can you talk about your relationship with Mike Zimmer?

"I would say he is probably one of the closer friends I have in this league.  We were (there for) three years in Dallas together.  Before that I was in the NFC East when he was in Dallas, (and I was) with the Giants and the Eagles.  I was very familiar with his work.  I think he is an outstanding teacher.  Of course we had (his son) Adam (Zimmer) when he finished school in Texas and we hired him on that first (coaching) staff (in 2006).  Our families have been close and he is someone that I am excited for.  He has received this opportunity, it came a little later for him but if you go back and look at his track record, you look at his defenses, in Dallas that first year we were one or two in the league defensively and in Cincinnati.  I think he is a great fit because he is someone that cares about the players.  He's a real good teacher.  I think that is a good hire by them."

It's tough for him to have to go through something like this his first year.

"In year one, obviously as a head coach you're trying to eliminate the distractions as best you can.  But he will handle it. He will handle it well."

Have you two spoken this week?

"No, shoot no.  Not that we wouldn't, but no I am sure just with everything that is going on with him and with us here, a catch up call is probably the last thing on the priority list.  I know Adam (Zimmer) is there doing a good job for him.  We will see them pregame and kind of go from there."

Is there anything you said to Marques Colston this week?

"He is a veteran player.  I think he's been here long enough and he's had weeks where he's seen the touches heavy and he's had weeks where the touches have been low.  No, I think that's what makes him pretty special.  I would say he is a very unselfish player.  Obviously he wants to be involved and have those opportunities but he is someone that always cared first about winning.  And he understands the offense and how sometimes balls would come opposite of where he is at."

What have you seen with Rob Ryan's demeanor this week?

"What makes him such a good coach is his passion.  That passion's something you need to have.  Every one of us goes back upstairs and we start working on third down tonight.  You quickly have to get past (last week), not ignore, get past and understand why.  I think that is important, (for us to) understand why we lost and then get on to the next plan.  I think his passion and his ability to teach, he is someone that, shoot, he has been through tough times and I think his response and all of ours as coaches is get back to work and put together a better plan.  He is outstanding that way."

What are some of the things that stood out to you about Cordarrelle Patterson?

"I hadn't really seen a lot of him.  You see some of the SportsCenter highlights and last night I put on a little cut up.  He is as explosive player with a ball in his hands as there is in this league (as there is).  He is obviously a receiver.  They do a great job of getting him in position to touch balls, not just in the passing game, but in the running game. He can run.  The other thing is he is extremely physical.  He's a player that you have to get numbers to because he is hard to take down.  He is rangy.  I would say the other thing is you can see it on tape that he loves to compete and play.  It was impressive.  It was impressive so we have to be well aware of where he is at, when he goes in motion, when he is in motion, all of the places they put him and then certainly when we are covering kicks."

Last year Khiry Robinson got the ball and ran as hard as he could is one direction.  Do you think he is showing a little more patience?

"Towards the end (of the season) there he had a hot hand with regards to just the idea of measuring or grading his run decisions.  Certainly he is further along here in year two with the whole game.  He understands fronts more, where plays are designed to go more and also the protections.  That has really been the area that you notice the most.  He is a physical runner.  He has really good balance.  He will be fired up for the opportunity and he has already been in part, really a big part of our plan just depends on how the game goes with regards to the rotation but obviously he will have more carries."

How would you characterize what you are seeing with the Vikings defense?

"They are extremely well-coached.  I think they are athletic.  I think they are always in the right position formationally if you get in slot or you get in pro, you kind of have an idea of where the techniques are going to be and how they are going to align.  I think they are very disciplined and I think that very quickly they have acclimated to Mike's (Zimmer) style of defense.  You can put on Cincinnati cut ups and we have this week because you just don't have as large of volume on the cut up reel right yet but you can see the same alignments, the same pressures, the same coverages and played by a group that had been there quite a while.  You can see that now in Minnesota and I would say they are very disciplined but they have a handful of Pro Bowlers too."

Can you talk about coming home and playing in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome this weekend?

"I think our players are excited.  We are.  I think more importantly you get excited just for the next opportunity. It can't come quick enough when you have a tough loss.  So now it is just the preparation in the work week and making sure you are doing everything you can to put together the best plan possible."

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