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Transcript - Sean Payton Conference Call 12/30/20 | Week 17 at Panthers

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton addresses local media on Wednesday, December 30, 2020.

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 30, 2020

We know throughout this season and others Terron (Armstead) battles through injuries, he says he wants to be there for the guys. But how do you feel like he's played and held up this season?
"I think, overall, well. I mean, there's been, obviously, he would be able to answer that better relative to how he feels week to week. But man, when you look at the tape last week, it's as good as he's played in the running game in as long as I can remember, I mean, he finished some plays where guys were in the end zone or 10 yards downfield, it was outstanding."

When you look at some of the guys you've had to kind of plug and play on that offensive line, how big of a role as Dan Roushar and Brendan Nugent played just having some continuity there.
"Good. Couch Roushar and Brendan Nugent, I think have been outstanding. I think the depth we've had has helped us, continuity and I think it's, look, that group can permeate throughout your whole team in a good or a bad way. And I think that it's helped us to be consistent, we've had a number of different starting lineups. Those guys have done a good job relative to the teaching and preparing for different scenarios."

You mentioned the other day that drive efficiency is one of the things you look at the kind of quantify how you guys are doing. Is there something that would make one scoring drive more efficient than another one? Or is that kind of situational? How do you evaluate that?
"Well, look, if you were trying to put weight on certain scoring drives, I guess you'd say, I mean, until you get to a point in the game where the lead is such or the deficit is such, they would carry the same value. The drive that starts on the 20 and scores is relatively different than or different than the drive that starts on the 40. I mean, it's one area, one I'd say stat we look at. I think first downs on the first two downs are important. How many times, what's your efficiency on first and second down of getting a first down without getting to third down? I mean, there are a number of things that you are looking at. It can vary based on your opponent or what the stats say based on your opponent. But it's trying to pay attention to, and we get this late in the season, I would say better data than maybe early on."

What do you think with the rate of overall scoring across the league this season? Any indication as to why it's that way?
"I think from a game perspective, it's been set up a little that way, rule wise. I guarantee offensive holdings are down. I think the health of the quarterback position in our league is a positive. What I mean by that is, it seems like every other two or three years, where are the next good group of quarterbacks coming from? I mean, we see it. So that position is coming into our league talented, just as much as it has been ever before. And I think we've seen a gradual shift into more of an explosive passing type of game than the latter. But I think there's a handful of factors that go into that."

What about communication? Is it possible that communication on both offenses every game is better?
"Yeah, 50 percent of our game, 50 percent of the games played for each opponent, for each team are typically played with noise or crowd noise. And so I think the visiting team is I'm sure probably winning a little bit more than in normal years. Yeah, I would say that has something to do with it as well."

You have connected on quite a few downfield passes to Emmanuel Sanders the last couple of weeks. What makes him good at those types of plays, just the kind of downfield passing game?
"I think a couple things. I think he has got really good transition and hips. The other thing is there's a savvy about how he plays and he understands the holes in the seams and sometimes the two high look is different than a single high look or a quarters look. And he's someone that understands that and understands what to do with that in some of these shot plays. That is very quarterback friendly and I think that's something he reads and sees well. He had one called back earlier in the year vs. Atlanta, but I think that overall he's got real good awareness down the field."

And that's something that you can take advantage of as a coach, like understanding a guy has that?
"Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, yeah, definitely. Look, there's an ebb and flow to how a defense plays and a lot of times they'll give you one look and snap the ball move to another. Some guys can see that a little bit cleaner than others. He's someone that I think sees it."

What have you thought about Jeremy Chinn, the rookie safety in Carolina?
"He is having an outstanding year. He has good savvy, awareness. He's a real good tackler. So you feel his length. You don't see people step out of his tackles. He has good instincts. I think he plays the pass equally well. He has good ball skills. He is impressive to watch. And his transition, he's an impact player in their defense. And if you just put on their defensive film and watch the game, and said, aright, pick a player, there's good chance that you'd be picking his number."

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