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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 12/2/20 | Week 13 vs. Falcons

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks Week 13 prep at Atlanta, effectiveness of the run game during his weekly conference call.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 2, 2020

With the way the run game has progressed, was there a tipping point you noticed in the Broncos game? Or did things just kind of fall into place naturally?
"No, in the game we just played, that plan shifted with the news of who was going to be playing quarterback for them. So obviously, we ran it more than probably we'd planned. But, the good news was we ran it pretty efficiently."

But even before that, you guys have been running it efficiently. Was there somewhere specifically?
"No, no. It's been a big point of emphasis. And it's something that we feel like is obviously important to what we do as a team and as an offense."

Do you guys have any thoughts on keeping the quarterbacks sort of separate from the rest of the group? And quarantined or anything like that?
"Yeah, our whole COVID protocol, we have in place. And I'm not going to go through it with the media."

I don't suppose you would reveal any players that would be an emergency quarterback on your team or have the ability?
"No. No hypotheticals this morning."

When you're playing a team for a second time in the span of just a couple of weeks. Does that change anything? Does that make anything more difficult? Does it make it easier?
"Well, look, it happens every once in a while, where it's this close. And right away, there's two elements. I don't know how much the film of our game last week is going to help them and then quite honestly, they jumped out on Oakland (Las Vegas Raiders with) five takeaways. And so, you are studying the overall scheme. You do feel it is a division opponent. So obviously, you know the personnel and just like they know us. It is still about mentally and physically getting ready to play. You know, a difficult game getting ready to play with emotion and all the things that are necessary to win."

You guys obviously had a vision when you drafted Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, has he made the jump that you'd thought he'd make between year one and two? And just the way he is performing and the way he's making an impact?
"He's playing at a high level. I've thought he has gotten better and better this year and he's rushing, he's taking it away, he's an important part of what we're doing defensively. So, I'm pleased with the progress he's made. Yes."

When you guys were able to use Taysom (Hill) in kind of a traditional passing role more, does that open up things in the read option quarterback power game, that maybe wasn't there when he was kind of entering the game for Drew (Brees)?
"Well, I think it, look, I think it probably matters by team. But, it's something that was pretty effective when he was entering the game. So, is it different when he's already in the game on every snap? It can be. In other words, in the past it wouldn't be unusual for a defense to play a certain defense when he's at the quarterback position. But, now that he's there on every snap, it's probably less likely to get that same defense. So, it can."

Just considering how much you guys have had to shift around on the offensive line this year, how big of a role have Dan (Roushar) and (Brendan) Nugent played in keeping that unit cohesive and playing at a high level, despite the injuries and what not?
"Those guys are doing a real good job. You're coaching everyone. You're not just coaching your five starters. And it's rare on a Wednesday you have your starters practicing that first day. So I'm pleased with how that group's playing overall. And I think those guys are doing well."

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