New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Is the lack of passing distribution for the second straight year with Michael Thomas getting so many of the targets and catches, is that a concern at all?
"No. Look, I think more importantly is in the situations. Red zone in the situations, third down, obviously you want balance and yet I think the thing that I've been encouraged with is we've improved each week relative to those situational areas. I think we've got to continue to force the ball, get the ball down the field, but I like situationally what we've done relative to our numbers. Obviously, you understand opponents are going to find a way or try to find a way to lean double Mike certainly in certain down and distances and we've got to have other ways to get the ball down the field or other receivers. I think we'll handle that all right."
Whenever Jared Cook does come back, did you start to see signs of promise?
"Absolutely. Look, we've seen it all during training camp. We've just got to continue to look at giving him opportunities. I think he's one of those players that can help with your first question."
What is it about Drew (Brees) that allowed him to step in and just be himself with no kind of visible drop-off?
"Coming off the injury, look he was extremely diligent throughout rehab and his preparation and was ready to play. Physically, mentally there's a whole process that goes into it. It's not like you just went just back out there. There's a lot that goes into it. When you see the preparation during the week leading up to the game, we were confident just watching him practice. He looked really good."
You've seen the Falcons a lot of years, has this been one of those seasons where it's just one play here, one play there were things have just kind of gone against them continually?
"They're throwing the ball more. Sometimes that's a product or byproduct of being behind in games. The third down for them defensively has been a challenge. And so offensively, having played them as many times as we have and knowing each time how these games have finished, it really hasn't mattered, the records heading into the game. They're outstanding in a lot of the skill areas. They're playing well in the front. I think that they've been in some hard-fought games and they've had some injuries and our league can be like that where all of a sudden after five or six weeks you can look back and four those games or three of those games where they easily could have won."
*Are there any areas you've kind of identified as places you want the team to improve in the second half of the season? *"We really started week two and week three with some specifics. Back to the situations I referenced, I've been pleased there. I think we need to be better in certain areas offensively relative to what we're trying to accomplish by scheme. So it's more specific. It's not just let's run the ball better, but how can we find more explosive plays in the running game and in the passing game. Defensively, how can we take the ball away more efficiently? We've had five interceptions that were called back via penalty, or one was a penalty on the offense for delay of game. Those are the specifics relative to the details. In the kicking game, how are we with our location? How's our operation time? They're more narrow or much more specific."