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Transcript: Coach Sean Payton weekly conference call - December 2, 2019

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 2, 2019

With one goal accomplished obviously and more goals to go, do you have a good feel for what the feeling of this team can be or how good it can be?
“The thing we talked about today’s a number of things we have to get cleaned up. I know we're more than halfway through the regular season and yet I feel like there's a lot we have to improve on in a short amount of time. We'll be working on that this week. We're playing a real good football team Sunday in San Francisco. The focus is going to be on this game obviously and improving in the areas that we haven't been as good.”

We know one of those things would be recovering onside kicks. Is that something that can be simulated, I guess live in practice?
“We're going to have to fix that obviously. That'll cost you a game and almost cost us the game the other day. We'll do whatever it takes to get that corrected and look closely at what we're doing and who's doing it.”

I know you said you can't really say if Cameron Jordan is playing his best football, but what do you attribute to the success he's having in year seven, eight, nine, age 30 putting up his best stats? That seems pretty rare to me.
“His play has been outstanding. To see someone excelling at this point in his career though I don't think is rare. I think he's someone who trains tirelessly, a tremendous worker, he has great stamina and he's been extremely consistent. He played big for us the other night. It was important for us. We got them kind of in a one-dimensional game and then were able to have a lot of pressure production. I think he’s worked extremely hard each offseason and he is someone that I think is an extremely versatile player.”

What do you think makes him such a matchup issue? Obviously, he's bigger than most edge rushers.
“I think he's strong and that becomes a challenge to deal with, his strength. I think he has length. I think that's a challenge to deal with. I think his bend and flexibility, those attributes that are difficult to deal with, especially playing at that position.”

Looking at this San Francisco pass defense, they’re putting up some kind of crazy numbers this year. What in your opinion has kind of made them as so good defending the pass?
“It is a combination or a handful of things. They do a great job up front getting after the quarterback. So the time that quarterback has to throw isn't as long and they're extremely talented in the back end in coverage. They do a good job of understanding their zones, understanding their mans and understanding the scheme they’re playing.”

Then on the flip side, they run the ball really well. Does that help you think in kind of setting up some of these big play action pass plays they've been hitting on?
“Absolutely. They do a fabulous job rushing the football. They, formationally, give you a lot of different things, personnel groups and you’ve got to move to these spots when you see the wide zone come and then there's change up plays off of it. And then of course the play action that comes from those same looks. Those all present challenges.”

(George) Kittle in particular, how do they use those looks to kind of best take advantage of his skillset?
“He has a real good versatility. He blocks well, he can bend, he has a great feel in the passing game, (and) he can run like a receiver. He's one of those elite tight ends right now where you see him down the field running routes that you might normally see receivers run. He has great versatility (both in) run and pass. He becomes a challenge to deal with. When you watch throughout the course of the season, he's one of the explosive guys that you have to find a way to at least neutralize to some degree.”

Going back to onside kicks from last week, the last three, can you find a common thread through them?
“Yes, I think two or three things. Number one, alignment and then assignment. We are misaligned on two of them. Assignmentwise, we don’t execute and you have what you have. We have to work more on that and we will.”

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