NewOrleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call With New Orleans Media
Friday, December 13, 2019
When you look back at the San Francisco game and the way they were able to run the ball, especially in the second half, what was responsible for those big plays?
"This is an entirely different offense we're playing, but it's paramount. These guys do a fantastic job of running the football. They're physical. I think that from a personnel standpoint, understanding of what they're doing from 11 personnel, from 12 personnel and fitting the run properly with all 11 of your players. Obviously, we didn't do a good enough job of that a week ago."
If you go back to when you first started here, I think you guys are 22-6 in prime time home games. Is there anything behind that?
"Generally it's a reflection of what kind of teams you have. In other words, if you're playing well on prime time, it probably means you're playing well in the regular season. Also, the games that aren't on primetime. When we got here, there weren't a lot of prime time games. So I think part of it is the talent and the players and then also understanding the fan base. When you have a good football team and a noisy and educated fan base, I mean those are all things that can help improve that percentage in how you play in primetime."
I know you didn't get a chance to actually coach Vaughan Johnson, can you comment on the impact he had on the history of this franchise?
"I'm familiar with him as a player. I don't have a reference base like some others such as Coach (Jim) Mora would. Certainly, he was a fantastic player and a member of some really good defenses."
Have you seen any more progression towards roster expansion?
"It's back to one of those things that you can talk about it, have meetings until you're blue in the face and you begin to realize that that's beyond your someone else's deal. And it is what it is. Really, economically, there's some things that we've discussed that I think will make a lot of sense to helping some of the challenges teams have, you know, increasing the practice squad size, having some flexibility to bring players up from the practice squad. I think we may see the active roster go up a ticker. Obviously it needs to and yet there's a lot that goes into that. So, it's not something we control. It is something that really is handled by ownership, (the) management council and the players."
What kind of a challenge does a player like Darius Leonard present offensively?"We were just talking about him. He's around the ball, he's long, he is a run and hit linebacker. He's physical. He has exceptional ball skills. On third down you'll see him getting underneath routes and understanding personnel in coverages. He is a real good football player. He's fun to watch. So he presents a lot of challenges. At times you might think you have a throw and he's going to jump up and intercept it or get his hands on it. He's athletic. He doesn't come off the field."