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Transcript - New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton postgame quotes | Saints-Panthers 2020 Week 17

Get postgame reactions from New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton

HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON

In light of what happened right before this game with players going on the COVID-19 list how has the team addressed this to prevent an outbreak before the playoffs?
"Look, what's more important right now is how we played tonight. There's league protocols that we're following each step of the way. And I was proud of how we played tonight. A lot of guys had to step into some positions they hadn't played, and that was a good team win."

But how concerned are you that with a long season, some of the players are possibly going lax with protocols?
"I'm not going to talk about COVID tonight. We'll talk about the game that we played. I was proud of these guys, kind of go from there."

Considering the timing of all this, how challenging was this week just, no preparing for as far as game plan?
"Well look, there are a lot of moving parts, it's happened to other teams. I was real proud of how some guys stepped up, Ty (Montgomery) has been working at receiver really, for the last three weeks. He came over, he's played running back before Tony (Jones Jr.), we elevated from the practice squad. We had a number of moving parts on defense because of injury and COVID. And you knit was impressive to see those guys perform tonight."

You actually ran for more yards in this game than your average on the season without your primary runners. What did you see as the reasons that you're able to have so much success running the ball today?
"Look, I think we're playing well up front, we're blocking the perimeter well. That's part of what we want to be able to do. Obviously there's an element that begins to allow you to control games a little bit more. I didn't know, but there's one element relative to the running game. But, I think one of the bigger challenges, on a short week, or in this scenario, is your protections. And Carolina is a team that's got a lot of exotic looks, they give you a lot of different third down looks. So, that becomes a little bit more of a point of emphasis. And look, Ty (Montgomery) was fantastic tonight. I mean, he played exceptionally well and I'm proud of him. I'm proud of a number of the other younger guys that stepped in."

How big of a luxury is it when you're in this weird situation that you're able to plug a guy like Ty (Montgomery) in there who's had so much experience in this league and at running back?
"Yeah, it's a credit to him. We had to, we had a little cram course yesterday. And, you know, everyone understood it was going to be a little longer practice, guys knew thatin light of what happened right before this game with players going on the COVID-19 list."

How has the team addressed this to prevent an outbreak before the playoffs?
"Look, what's more important right now is how we played tonight. There's league protocols that we're following each step of the way. And I was proud of how we played tonight. You know, a lot of guys had to step into some positions they hadn't played, and that was a good team win."

But how concerned are you that with a long season, some of the players are possibly going lax with protocols?
"I'm not going to talk about COVID tonight. We'll talk about the game that we played. I was proud of these guys, kind of go from there."

Considering the timing of all this, how challenging was this week just, no preparing for as far as game plan?
"Well look, there are a lot of moving parts, it's happened to other teams. I was real proud of how some guys stepped up, Ty (Montgomery) was, you know, been working receiver really, for the last three weeks. He came over, he's played running back before Tony (Jones Jr.), we elevated from the practice squad. We had a number of moving parts on defense because of injury and COVID. And you know, it was impressive to see those guys perform tonight."

You actually ran for more yards in this game than your average on the season without your primary runners. What did you see as the reasons that you're able to have so much success running the ball today?
"Look, I think we're playing well up front, we're blocking the perimeter well. That's part of what we want to be able to do. You know, obviously, there's an element that begins to allow you to control games a little bit more. I didn't know, but there's one element relative to the running game. But, I think one of the bigger challenges, on a short week, or in this scenario, is your protections. And Carolina is a team that's got a lot of exotic looks, they give you a lot of different third down looks. So, that becomes a little bit more of a point of emphasis. And look, Ty (Montgomery) was fantastic tonight. I mean, he played exceptionally well and I'm proud of him. I'm proud of a number of the other younger guys that stepped in."

How big of a luxury is it when you're in this weird situation that you're able to plug a guy like Ty (Montgomery) in there who's had so much experience in this league and at running back?
"Yeah, I mean, look, it's a credit to him. We had to, we had a little cram course yesterday. And everyone understood it was going to be a little longer practice, guys knew that. And his versatility is unique. And that's something we were very fortunate to have today."

Was Ty (Montgomery) in the receiver room all season or has he been in both throughout the year?
"Well, he started training camp in the running back room. And eventually, we moved him to the receiver room with some injuries that we had. So, he had been predominantly with the receiving room. Yeah, after training camp. And then a day or two ago, we switched him back."

Five interceptions. Defensively, you stopped the Panthers on some down situations, just your overall impressions of the defense today and the kind of job they did?
"Yeah, listen, we dropped three. That was, anytime you turn the ball over like that, or take it away like that, you're going to win a lot of games. So, again, we want all those key statistics that you always hear us talk about, that really tend to gravitate to winning and losing. And we were able to do that."

In situations like today, how aware are you of the other games that are going on? Are you aware of all of that stuff?
"Yeah, obviously, the game you're paying attention to is Green Bay, Chicago. You're not paying attention to it (until) second half at some point, the scores are rotating on the scoreboard. So, periodically with a lead you look at it. That's about it."

I know you always talk about how much the postseason is like a natural drug and how much you enjoy it and making another run at it. Just your general thoughts about, indeed trying to make another run at it with this group?
"Yeah, we're excited. We're excited to have that opportunity. We always know it's going to be competitive in each of the rounds. With seven teams this year, there'll be a lot of good football games next weekend. And again, we feel like we're fortunate enough to be in the tournament. And that's all, when you start the season, you start with winning your division, and then the best seed you can possibly get and kind of go from there."

Do you guys start working on the Bears, like on the way back from this one? Does the process after the game change at all? Will you still do the same?
"No the process, the only thing you wait on right now, Saturday or Sunday, of course, and then you set your schedule up accordingly. And it's not unusual that you play a team already that you might play in the playoffs. Sometimes it's a divisional team, sometimes. Maybe someone in another division, but that'll begin right away."

The whole Saturday, Sunday thing, that's just out of your hands, and in terms of who will be available to play and all that. I mean, how much thought are you giving right now to that?
"Well, if you're asking do we get a vote in it, we wait and see what day they give us."

Obviously you'd like one day over the other right?
"Yeah. Alright, thank you."

Game action photos from the New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers matchup on Jan. 3 in Week 17 of the 2020 NFL season.

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