SAINTS HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
Opening comments: "Obviously, it was a hard-fought game by both teams. And, I'm sure that when we look at the tape of tonight, there will be a number of things that we want to improve upon, and yet it's a win against a good opponent. We will play in a lot of those close games. I thought that our guys finished well."
(On if it would be this type of game)
"Yeah, sometimes you think that going in and it's the opposite, and then other times (it is). So, I think that you are really focused more on the things, the keys that we feel like (you need) to win the game, (like) winning the turnover ratio, that was a key to victory; winning the rushing battle, that was a key to victory. If you win both of those, you have a really good chance of winning the game. I thought that both of those were important stats."
(On the significance of being 3-1 without Drew Brees)
"I think that it's what you said it is, we are 3-1. You get back to work. You work on improving. It's still early enough in the year, and I say this, I can't get into all of the things that we are still not doing well, and yet we are doing enough to win some of these close games. That's encouraging. There's a lot of things, fundamentally, that we have to improve upon. Fortunately, we are coaching off of a win and not a loss in making those corrections."
(On winning a close game)
"I get angry at myself because it starts with me, relative to things, maybe, that we are putting in that we think will be easily replicated. Yet, we get in the game and recognize there are some challenges. It is a different group. It's different than a year ago. We have to adjust a little better. I think that really starts with me. I was pleased with how we ran the ball in the second half. I thought that was significant. I hated my call at the end (final offensive drive) on third down where we took a sack. I know better. I put him (Teddy Bridgewater) in a tough position there. We were thinking field goal, obviously to make it a touchdown game. I thought our special teams did a great job of controlling the field position. Obviously, defensively we were outstanding."
(On if he remembers when was the last time that the team won a game without scoring a touchdown)
"No, I can't recall (when). We did what was necessary tonight. I was proud of how we played to win this game."
(On the timeout before the last play)
"It was just a look timeout just to see their alignment."
(On if he decided to blitz before the timeout)
"It's a zone pressure. I wanted our guys to get a picture of what the last play was going to look like. We had two timeouts. We will do that once in a while just to get a snapshot. They have to go back in the huddle. They were short in their protection. The ball came out early."
(On if it's been tough for Teddy Bridgewater to get into a rhythm with the offensive line)
"Listen, I don't know who you can put in there, and it will be hard to overcome some of those penalties. Those have to get cleaned up. They are going to get cleaned up, I promise you. It's been too difficult to overcome. We have to do better in that area."
(On the defense during the final drive)
"Our crowd was great. Our crowd was fantastic. I thought that we hit the quarterback. We defended well. We had to overcome some tough calls tonight. That's part of the deal. We can't control that. I thought that our guys, defensively, that was something else."
(On the team's nine-minute drive)
"Look, I would love to feel like I can dial up a nine-minute drive any time that I want to. You know that you are going to have to have some balance there, so I think, certainly, that kind of put the advantage back into our court, relative to the time."
(On the Saints recovering a fumble late in the first half)
"I thought it was big. I think that they (the officials) are just more judicious relative to make any changes in New York. I thought about challenging the call in the second half on their touchdown drive and I just (decided against it) unless it is egregious. (The fumble) it was significant. It was one of the turnovers I referenced earlier. My take, as I evaluate preseason and early into this season, I just see a much more conservative approach in New York. So, we have to pay attention to that."
(On holding Ezekiel Elliott to minimal yardage)
"I thought that we populated him well. I thought that we tackled well. He is a really good running back. I thought that we got hats on him. I am anxious to watch the film, but I thought that we did a really good job."
(On if Alvin Kamara is a stronger runner this year)
"I think that he is more experienced, but I think that he's had great strength and balance since he arrived. The type of games that he's in right now are a little different than maybe the type of games that we've been in (his first two seasons). Again, there is an old saying that it doesn't have to be aesthetically pleasing to be effective. I think that we did what we needed to do to win tonight, but we are going to have to improve in a number of areas."
(On being able to be 3-1 at this point)
"That's the record right now. That's what it is. You keep going. There is no stopping. Acknowledge where we are at, take a bow. We are 3-1. We have to get ready to play the next opponent."
(On if this is the type of game that he anticipated tonight)
"I thought that the type of teams that we are playing, I didn't expect it to be a high-scoring game. I probably felt like both offenses might have had the opportunity to score a little bit more, and yet it unfolded that way. I was really pleased with how we played defensively against a good offense."