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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 12/3/20 | Week 13 vs. Falcons

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton talks about the Falcons' defensive unit during his weekly conference call.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Thursday, December 3, 2020

What have you seen that has been the big turnaround for the Falcons defense in particular since Raheem Morris took over, but certainly last week?
"Last week, they took the ball away five times. And it just looked like they were a tick step faster to the spot than Vegas. They did it with pressure, they did it with ball disruption, they intercepted it, they recovered fumbles. I think they're playing with confidence, I think you're seeing a little bit more pressure from them than in past and you have a veteran, experienced group that I think is playing exceptionally well."

Particularly with your defense, do you notice that a rise in the confidence from the guys, because it seems like they're all very, particularly the last few weeks, playing with a lot swagger?
"Well, that goes hand in hand usually with success. When you play well. You begin to expect to play well, you have confidence. And then you repeat that, because you've demonstrated it over and over again. And so it's good to see, it's good to see this time of the year. We've got another challenging opponent this week in Atlanta, but it generally is born out of having had success."

(David) Onyemata has already set a new career-high and sacks. Have you noticed just an improvement in his overall pass rush ability or is that just kind of a product of the guy who's been in the league for five years now?
"Well, you've got a couple things. He's playing very well, man, it's good to see he's healthy. Number two, he's played a little bit more, Sheldon (Rankins) has been out and he's just someone that bends well. He plays with such good leverage. And so I think when you factor a couple of those things together, you're seeing the results."

You mentioned the defense building off the success, earlier in the season when it was trying to find its footing, is that a matter where they can reflect to some of the success that was last year, or just kind of getting into a gel and groove together?
"Look, I think it's this year, really, and I think it's making the corrections. And I think it's, you have a game in Chicago, you play well, then you follow it up in Tampa Bay. I think it can happen on one weekend, it can happen in the second half of the game, and then you begin to see, this is what it can be like and then certainly as coaches what can we do to help them more. I think all those things."

What goes into effectively running that quarterback power?
"Well, it's a gap scheme so you're getting some double teams at the point of attack, you're pulling a guard, you go either way with it. You get an extra guy in your count because the snaps going directly to the ball carrier and you're able to spread the defense out a little bit. But it's not a new design. I mean, it's relatively old and when your ballcarrier is the person receiving the snap, you're back to playing 11-on-11."

And with Taysom (Hill) just being as big as he is and as strong as a runner, does that kind of go into what made that successful for you guys?
"Yeah, that is part of it. Obviously you can run that scheme with someone that is not as comfortable reading and he does a pretty good job of reading it. Breaking through a soft tackle and there's a physicality that comes with that run."

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