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Saints Transcripts: Coach Sean Payton, Jameis Winston, Terron Armstead, Alvin Kamara press conferences | 2021 NFL Week 2

Saints dropped 26-7 decision on the road to Carolina Panthers

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton

Opening comments:

"It's a disappointing loss. Give Carolina credit. We did a number of things, and things that you just can't do to win a game. Offensively, in particular, it's as poor as we've been in a long time around here, and that starts with me. We've got to do a better job going in. Our protection plan wasn't very good. It had nothing to do with us being shorthanded with coaches, or us being away, or the Covid. All of those would be excuses. They played better than us today and deserved to win the football game."

On the problems caused by the Panthers blitz packages:

"It's a zone pressure. We knew coming in they'd have a couple different pressure looks. We didn't handle the communication well enough, we didn't handle the pressures well enough, and we didn't coach it well enough."

On how the Saints adjusted to being without several coaches and if he had to adjust some responsibilities:

"A little bit. As far as game day, we had a few new guys up in the booth, and then we handled the substitutions a little differently. None of that really was a big issue. I think, and I mean this, I think, starting with me, we've got to have a better plan with some of the stuff that we saw. We'd seen it on tape and obviously, we got more of it and didn't handle it well. We clearly didn't work on it well enough and effectively enough, and it kind of bit us in the butt today."

On how much of the offensive issues had to do with Saints quarterback Jameis Winston:

"I think we've got to be careful. We're not assigning responsibility, blame. It starts with me, right now. We'll look at the tape tomorrow. It starts with our plan and us as coaches, and that's where it starts. And that's just the truth."

On if the Saints were able to generate enough pressure on Panthers quarterback Sam Darnold:

"Let me give you this scenario, and you guys I think are smart enough to see it. It was the exact opposite of last week. We became the team that was on the field for however many snaps. We were the team that didn't have any snaps or enough snaps offensively. So therefore, there is an attrition defensively. It's hot. We hung in there. We're going to watch the tape. I'm sure there's going to be a number of plays we're close to making that we've got to clean up. But ultimately the time of possession was way slanted the other way this weekend, and it's hard to win games that way. I'll be honest with you."

On the difficulty of generating any momentum offensively when the Saints only had 11 plays halfway through the second quarter:

"You're constantly looking to pick up some momentum. Despite where you're at in the game and how you've played, you're still in it. You're still trying to generate a drive, but we just weren't able to do that. And again, clearly, that performance starts with me. And I say that. I'm just telling you, we're going to watch the tape and there's going to be a number of plays that we wished maybe we had approached it differently. Start by giving credit to Carolina. But struggled to find any rhythm."

On the play of the Saints defense:

"I thought they battled hard. They were on the field a lot. And if you were down on the field, you felt the temperature. And the amount of snaps that they had early, it's not the formula that you need to win games."

On his message to the team after a game like this:

"It's a long season. We've certainly got to see this tape and make the corrections. I say this all the time, and it's the truth. After the full day tomorrow, we've got to refocus and get on to the next game. It's that simple. We've got to be able to put this one behind us the same way we had to do it last week and get on to the next game."

On how close cornerback Marshon Lattimore and defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson were to playing:

"We kind of went through the week. We just kind of went back and forth. We'll see where they are at the start of next week."

Saints quarterback Jameis Winston

How difficult it was today with the rush?

"Just got to get better. Get us better protections and just communicate better out there."

How loss of coaching staff affected game?

"Not at all. We just have to push forward, man, put this one behind us. Build on the positives and eliminate the negatives and come back next week ready to fight and compete."

If it was difficult to find rhythm on offense

"I think rhythm is a big part of offensive success so we will find that. We will find a way to play the football that we like to play. We are going to learn from this one."

Thoughts on interceptions

"Still got to make good decisions. They came at inopportune times. I don't want to have us in that position in the first place, but still have to take care of the football and do our best to win the turn over battle."

Adjustments to slow down defensive pressure.

"I think the biggest thing is just playing the football that we play. Being efficient on first and second downs. Not being in long down and distances and just getting the defense off rhythm and making sure we are in the best position. Staying ahead of the chains and executing."

What the Panthers were doing to pressure and if anything caught the offense by surprise

"I have to communicate better. I have to be louder. Our first time on the road. Definitely have to be able to use my voice to communicate to the offensive lineman the protection and what we want."

His message to the offense

"Just keep fighting. That is the biggest thing. We are going to put this one behind us. We will get better. We will pick up our tempo. I will get better from a communication standpoint and get more efficient on first and second downs."

His level of frustration with offensive play by third or fourth quarter

"I've just got to a better job communicating. I think that is the biggest thing. We have to continue to push forward and like I said eliminate the negatives and just build on the positives man. I have been a part of these games before. A lot of people have been a part of these games before. We can't let this game affect us heading into next week."

If they expected the amount defensive pressure

"We definitely just have to be on top of communication. I think that is the biggest thing. They did a good job over there on their side. But we have to be, I have to be able to take full responsibility of communicating to the offensive line and making sure we are in the right place at the right time."

Experience with his first real road game in two years

"It plays just in terms of temp, but I am happy that we were able to experience that. Their fans were definitely into it. I am excited when we get back home because I know our fans are going to bee rocking a lot more than this place. But man, our focus right now it is putting this one behind us, seeing how we can improve and get better and show up next week."

New Orleans Saints Offensive Tackle Terron Armstead

On where he thinks things went wrong with the protection today:
"I think our problems were in communication. They did a good job throwing out a lot of different looks and the crowd noise was a factor too, I would say. You know those small things played a part. Few plays where it was a factor, but we just have to improve our communication."

On whether this is bad as an offense effort he has been a part of:
"No I do not think it was a bad effort. We put the time in, the work in throughout the week and we came out ready to go for sure. I have to give credit to the Panthers for what they were able to do. Being able to execute their gameplan, possess the ball for an extremely long time. No, I would not say this was bad offensive effort, I would say more so props to those guys for executing."

On if some of the communication issues with new personnel is something that takes more time than we on the outside give credit to:
"Just in a race to improve from last week to this week. That's a broad amount of things. Communication is definitely one of them. We've got a lot of things to get better at, and as we go and hit the work week, communication is definitely one of them. But we've got a ton of things we need to clean up if we want to be as good as we feel we can be."

On what was the plan for protection coming into today's game:
"It varies depending on the look. I wouldn't be able to give you a general protection."

On what does he attribute the unblocked rushers to in today's game:
"Communication. Being able to diagnose what they are doing. But like I say, credit to those guys for disguising coverage, variation, and personnel. They have got a lot of guys that are doing multiple things. Whether they are rushing or dropping. So, it becomes a little more difficult to diagnose who we want to include in that protection. It's a variation of things. But on our behalf, and what we can control is our communication."

On the steps they will take to clean up communication errors:
"It goes to the gameplan, the guy's up front, the quarterback, it's a collective effort. That's our number one priority to protect the quarterback and have our protection plan for those third down situations. But, once again I'll credit the Panthers for just having a fast majority of variations, personnel to be able to switch and change, and keeping us on our toes. Credit to those guys but, we'll be better."

New Orleans Saints RB Alvin Kamara

On not getting too high or too low after games:
"It's early in the season. Coming off a win last week that doesn't matter. We had a game to play this week and obviously didn't get the result we wanted, but we know there's a lot of football to be played. We take responsibility. We have to come out better and we have to be better."

On the Saints struggling to find rhythm:
"It was hard for us to get a rhythm. We left our defense out on the field too much and you can't do that. It is not conducive to winning games. We have to do a better job of finding the rhythm and finding the flow and being more efficient on first and second down. We have one game under our belt where things went well and now looking at this week you've got some adversity. It's our responsibility to do better."

On impact of missing assistant coaches due to Covid-19 protocols:
"It wasn't about anybody not being here. I think it was our responsibility to still come out and play without coaches being there. It is still a game to play with or without. The whole coaching staff could have been gone and they wouldn't have cancelled the game. You have to keep going."

On what Panthers did to stop the run game:
"I do not think we ever got a run game going really. I do not know how many attempts we had, but we have to get in a better rhythm. I think it starts up front with our O-line. We have to have opportunity for It to start up front. It is what it is."

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