New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Monday, January 11, 2021
Question for you about the slime. What did it feel like when the goo got poured on you yesterday?
"I think it was pretty cold and a little bit, yeah kind of cold. Cold and like jello that's not quite finished being jello."
I think a lot of times people talk about quote unquote playoff football. But what were some of the things that stood out in yesterday's game, whether it be I guess, time of position or third down defense? What were some of the things that kind of stood out?
"Yeah, there's that added sense of urgency, because, you know, you have to win to continue playing. I thought in the second half, I thought, defensively, we played very well throughout the game. And then in the second half, you know, we were able to put three drives together that really took up most of the second half. We receive still photos of each drive and when you get those, they are like a little booklet and I can tell when we have had a long drive when that is pretty thick. So, those first two scoring drives were important. The third drive that resulted in a play down at the one yard line, it kind of really swayed the time of possession. Defensively, we did a real good job with third down and then offensively there were a number of things that we're going to clean up or have to clean up and yet, the third down numbers weren't poor."
When a guy like Sheldon (Rankins) is able to get back after what he's been through and get through a playoff game. I guess, is that kind of pleasing to see or, you know, is it pride? Or how do you feel when you see him able to kind of finish out?
"Yeah, look, there's a long history with these guys, talking about our players, and you don't know how the injury bug is going to hit your team at times, guys have missed some big games and through no fault of their own. And so, you're trying to be as healthy as possible this time of the season."
Coach, was the last time you guys played, are you and Tampa Bay an outlier, in your opinion? It kind of got away, do you think that was more of an outlier?
"I think that happens in this league occasionally. And yeah, look, you're typically playing hard fought division games, certainly we understand how good they're playing right now, looking at the film and the way they've played in the last month, really, month and a half. And so, when the playoffs come and you're playing a division opponent like this, it's a whole new season. It's entirely different."
What has Antonio Brown added to that offense? I think the first time he played, that was against you guys. What has he added?
"Yeah, look, there's an explosive element you see each week now, in the last four weeks, three weeks, as I've studied his touchdown reels and looked at these big plays. He's really begun to find his rhythm in that offense. And they've done a good job of getting him the ball."
If there's something that goes into, I guess, coaching the psychology this week of playing someone in the mystique of Tom Brady, or when it's all said and done, he's just another guy and another player on the team?
"Well, listen, he's not just another guy or another player on another team, but you have to play and design and look at closely his strengths, weaknesses. You have to study a ton of film, (because) he's going to prepare just like we're going to prepare. But you're playing a team game and you obviously have respect for the type of player he is and the type of team that they've had, the season they've had this year. But you're doing all the things you can to prepare for situational football, early downs, the red zone, the third down, that, you're not completely changing schedules or anything like that."
After you guys drafted (Alvin) Kamara in 2017, and you mentioned that he had been in the quarterback meeting that you guys did down there, I assume with Joshua Dobbs and showed off some knowledge of the scheme. What exactly went into that? Is that normal for other players to be in a meeting like that, and what did he show?
"No, it varies. When you go to a school, and you're bringing your staff and it's not an official, it's not their Pro Day, these guys are in different offices, the DB coaches in with a couple of DBs, linebacker coaches in with a linebacker. And Alvin was in there with Josh. Pete (Carmichael) was in there, I poked my head in a little bit, I just remember. And then, it gravitated to walking down to the field turf for workouts. So, that was really about the gist of it."
But that story about his workout has been told so many times. But, did that really make an impact on you, what he was showing in the classroom that day as well?
"The whole day made an impact. He is smart, and you came away knowing that had someone that was really, really intelligent. It wasn't just the physical skillset. You were dealing with a smart player."
Alvin (Kamara) had to miss Week 17 and the past week of practice. Was that beneficial in any way?
"It's not beneficial. It's beneficial to have him at practice and not at home. He did a good job handling it. We had the zoom meetings, zoom camera at practice, all those things. But, yeah (it wasn't beneficial for him to have the time away from the team)."
Mike (Thomas) obviously made some plays. When you watch it back, was he able to just step back in? Or is there still like an element of him and Drew (Brees) knocking off the rust and getting on the same page?
"Well, you receive a lot of cloud coverage, (and) shell coverage. So, there were some tough looks relative to his alignments. I thought he played well. I saw it in the week of practice, his preparation, you felt his presence and it was different. The first touchdown was big, so I was encouraged."