New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, November 11, 2020
When you see the kind of defensive performance that you guys had on Sunday, and I know players had felt like they were pretty much on the cusp, is there something you sensed during the week, or early in the game that you kind of get a sense of this can be one of those kinds of games?
"Yeah, look, I don't know that you go into a game like that against an offense like that and feel like, it's going to go that clean for you. But there's just that much respect for what they do. And so I was happy we built on the momentum, I was happy we got the early three and outs. I thought that was significant into the way the game unfolded and getting a quick lead. And then from there, it was just one of our better efforts."
Was that as clean a mental game as you guys have had this season?
"Yeah, listen. There's a coach in you, though, when you watch the tape that there's a number of things that I feel like we've got to clean up. And hopefully we've done that already. We'll practice today and, obviously, our prep now is all on San Francisco."
It seems like a lot like you guys have been getting home to the quarterback a lot in the second half this year, is that a product of your defensive line depth and just being able to rotate guys in and out you think?
"Hopefully, that's part of it. I think Ryan (Nielsen's) done a good job, we've got a rotation going. Most of these weeks, we've traveled with eight. And so it's part of the goal. A lot of it the other night was, very quickly, it was a one dimensional game. And that can certainly benefit you as well."
With the amount of people that San Francisco has out, does that make them a little bit more unpredictable? Or do you just kind of trust in the system that they run and go from there?
"Yeah, I think there's a system and Kyle (Shanahan's) done a great job. His staff's done a great job with it. Offensively, they do as good a job as anyone in our league at presenting run and working the mechanics of the run game and getting an edge, a half a step formationally. That's something that you just notice right away. They get the ball off of that action to their playmakers. Defensively, they're very impressive when you watch them. They've had a few injuries no question, and yet when you watch the tape, they're extremely well coached and (are) one of those teams that you can obviously have that tradition and that way about them. They're used to winning."
Have you gotten the chance to meet with Kwon Alexander in person yet?
"I just did."
What's he like? What was that first interaction like?
"Yeah, it really good. Brief, but it's good to see him. He's in the building and is doing well. He'll be working on this game plan and yeah, good to finally really meet him because we've, over the years, seen him in Tampa and of course in San Francisco. It's good to have him here."
In what way have you been able to evaluate Jameis Winston and see what he's about in season?
"Well, you're seeing everything daily. He's done a great job of coming in here, actually provides that daily, upbeat attitude, there's a smile on his face. He loves football. He loves competing. You see him throwing every day. He's got extremely, extremely good arm talent. And, man, I'm glad he's here. There's something about him. I think he's a very good leader. He's been a good addition for us."
On Emmanuel Sanders, could you just share your recollection of his performance the last time the Saints played the Niners? And also maybe if that contributed to your evaluation of him as a free agent?
"Well, I think it was a small part. I remember him if I'm not mistaken, thrown a touchdown pass. Correct? Right? And then he got the long sting. He was a pain in the butt that game. And he's one of those real smart football guys on the field, he can track the ball down the field. Hopefully, we can find him some of those explosive plays as we move forward, but he had a handful of big plays the other night and is a big part of what we're doing."
The games with Mike Thomas and without him, is there a major change the way you go about playing the game or setting up the reads or anything like that when he's on the field versus when he's not?
"Well, good question. The reads aren't necessarily changing. The designs we might mix it up a little bit. But certainly the targets get spread to a bunch of different players, Callaway himself in that role when he's playing at the X is getting targeted. So it's a little bit of a mix relative to how we put each week's plan together. I know it's easier when he's back and it was good to see him back last weekend."
Does the way things get defended change? I know in the red zone a lot of times he gets bracketed and stuff like that, but in other areas of the field like when he's out there, does it help open things up for other guys?
"Yeah, listen there's a byproduct sometimes of what he gets. And so that sometimes forces us to move him but that's not unusual."
Taysom (Hill's) production has risen the last few games. Was it just a matter of kind of settling in and finding the right rhythm for him and the right matchups?
"Well, this team was different. We got him a handful of throws, especially early on, we hit the scene with Jared and then if we can get his body moving forward the right ways, he's a tough out. I thought we blocked him well up front and his numbers had a lot to do with how we ended up with over 150 yards rushing against a team that's hard to do (That against). Obviously, it was one of his better games."