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Transcript: Head Coach Sean Payton weekly conference call - December 30, 2019

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, December 30, 2019

What do you think about being the three seed and having to play this weekend?
"It was a crazy game last night. I think all of us who watched it just saw the first half and the second half and it was good for football. We're excited about it. I like that we're playing on that Sunday. We'll have, I would say a fairly normal routine relative to the schedule we're used to. We'll get on the tape and start working heavy on Minnesota these next few days and get ready to put together a good practice week and a good plan for Sunday."

Does prior knowledge of the Vikings help at all, you last played them in 2018. They're probably a different team now, but you have back to back years playing against them.
"We know this, there are some similarities in their structure defensively. (Mike) Zimmer has been there that whole time and actively involved in what they do defensively. I am sure there's some nuances offensively (that are different with a new offensive coordinator in Kevin Stefanaski). I felt they have rushed the ball real well this year and there is all the tape from this season, (and) last season and (you can) go back as far as you want to. And a lot of it is just a matter of the plan that you are putting in place for this game. But, it does feel like a team we played pretty regularly."

Do you think this team is peaking at the right time heading into the playoffs and why did you want the bye so much for this team?
"No, I think they are two completely different scenarios and it gets back to the question last week, relative to why we were playing starters. It was fairly obvious. We have always taken that same approach and it was a meaningful game. Each year is different and I think with a handful of guys that were out with injury, we got a few of them back yesterday (and) hopefully, we can get a few more back heading into this game. Trying to go into it with some momentum was important."

What did you think about the rotation and the secondary play yesterday?
"I thought we handled it well. I thought some of the guys we have just brought in did a good job. Janoris (Jenkins) played outstanding, he was one of the players that received a game ball on defense. A.J. (Klein) had a pivotal play for us early in that game. Overall, I was pleased with how we played."

Is there anything that Drew Brees is doing particularly well recently?
"I think he's getting the ball out. I think we're getting it down the field more than we had earlier the season. That's the one thing you see statistically."

With him playing at the level he's playing does that give the team additional confidence heading into the postseason?
"Yes, I think just the momentum relative to us scoring. I think overall the team kind of heads into this postseason with some confidence based on how we've been playing. And yet I think they understand the type of tournament this is."

Is there anything particular about this team compared to some of your other playoff games in the past?
"It's unique. I would say we've dealt with some adversity this year, maybe a little more so than other years. We've had a lot of guys injured throughout the year at a lot of different positions and I think we added some depth and guys that were able to step in and do a good job, good enough for us to win. I think this season was different that way. There's a lot of similar faces on this roster relative to the last two years. That would be the comparison."

Why is it so difficult to replicate what Josh Hill brings to this offense?
"He's a guy we use in the run game and pass protection. He does a lot of things well. He plays on special teams, he plays a lot of snaps each week and he's done so for quite a while. He's someone that has real good athleticism and it's difficult because a lot of different personnel groups might run through him. He might be in the base, he might be in 11 (personnel). Certainly, Jared (Cook) is playing a lot of snaps. The two of them together will play a lot of snaps. He's one of those guys that does a lot of things well."

How is Taysom Hill's technique as a receiver relative to the other guys at that pass-catching positions?
"We give them a hard time because sometimes he runs like Barney Rubble, but he runs fast. I think he has real good sense and awareness of coverage. He's smart, he understands how to set up routes and I think he had a big play yesterday but, but I think he has real good football intelligence."

When did you think he would become a weapon as a receiver?
"Yeah, I think it's just continued to expand. I think that we've seen him in special teams. We've seen him block on offense. We've seen him run down the field vertically and each week it's just expanded relative to his role. I think he's handled it well. He has a lot of hats. He's in a special teams meeting to start the day. He's up with the quarterbacks, he's basically playing several different positions throughout the course of a game and handles it well."

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