Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
It's a tough one to start off the season with. I don't know where to begin. First off, obviously we settled for too many field goals offensively and then all of the sudden got into catch-up mode. I thought early on, defensively, we did some good things and then there was a series that breaks it open in the second quarter. I felt like when we got into the second half we were having trouble stopping much of anything. So, you got to do a better job coaching. Certainly when we watch this tape it won't be pretty; credit Minnesota. Mike and his staff did a good job and they were better than us tonight. Any questions?
Q: Why were there so many miscues in the secondary?
A: Well listen, there was good play action on one of the plays; that was the one miscue I saw. They made a few big plays; we didn't play well on the back end. We didn't do a good enough job rushing but I'm sure when we watch the tape with each specific play we will be able to see the breakdown. The one where the receivers come wide open, is coming off of play action.
Q: Did you consider swapping out De'Vante Harris with Sterling Moore after he was not playing well?
A: No. Listen, there were some one-on-one match-up issues outside but I will tell you that when we watch this tape, there are going to be a lot of dirty hands – not just him.
Q: The injury to Zach Strief*: was taking him out hard to do?*
A: I thought [Senio Kelemete] held up pretty good. I thought he held up. You know, we went through the scenarios of the week; who do we want to play with each injury, like we normally do.
Q: How much did Zach Strief leaving impact the play calling?
A: I don't know that it altered it that much. Listen, the play calling begins to get altered when you fall down three scores. You know we went in with the idea that we wanted to be smart with the field position. We weren't going to turn it over in this type of environment. But, unfortunately we settled for field goals and defensively we hit a stretch there where we pretty much had trouble stopping whatever they did.
Q: You were animated in discussing with the official that holding call, what did you see?
A: Well look, the call was for holding and Gene [Steratore] felt like if the ball was out of the quarterback's hands it would have to be interference, so he pulled it up. Obviously I saw Brandon [Coleman] on the ground, that's just one call.
Q: Did you go into this game wanting to be balanced?
A: Yeah. Listen, we wanted to be smart. When you play this team on the road there are some numbers we play attention to in regards to pressure and sacks. You have to be mindful of the match-ups and we felt like we knew there were certain things we weren't going to do in this game, but we just didn't do it well enough.
Q: Is Zack's injury long term?
A: No. I'm not going to get into any injuries. Next question.
Q: Was crowd noise an issue?
A: I didn't think it was too bad. I thought it was a good environment, a good stadium. I think we had one false start in the first half, but nothing that stood out.
Q: How much did that drive that they had with two minutes to go in the first half have?
A: Significant, significant. Next question.
Q: Did you guys script out how you wanted to use the three running backs?
A: It only becomes difficult when you become one dimensional, and that happened too early in the fourth quarter.
Q: The cameras caught you and Peterson in a heated exchange?
A: There wasn't any heated exchange.
Q: Was there any frustration with him and his role?
A: No. Listen, I'd tell you if we were in a heated exchange, so why don't you ask him. But, I think he was into it, we were all into it. There was not one that I could recall, and I'm being honest.
Q: Three personal foul penalties…
A: Two of them came early. Look the one drive was 30 yards in fouls. So, not good enough.
Q: Did Zach Line get the first carry of the game because it was Minnesota, normally you had been using Mark ahead of him?
A: No listen, it's the first game of the year. There isn't a normally. We were going to pay attention to what we want to do each week and obviously try to have a good balance with those two players and I think we will be able to. We didn't run it well enough. We'll see when we watch the tape.
Q: What was the message to your team after the disappointing effort? Short week coming up.
A: This stretch here, from this game to the next one. We are in a sprint now to improve. We are in a catch 22 and there are some glaring things that need to be seen. Before we just turn the page to New England we've got to look at some things on tape. We've got a short period of time to do it. Honestly, that's the way this League is now. You've got to put your chin into the wind and get ready to work.
Q: it's a young team you've got… Do you worry mentally about this at all?
A: No. There is a toughness element that this League challenges you with. I thought some of the young guys played pretty well tonight. I think that when we look at this tape you're going to see some of the veteran players that we got to clear some things with. We'll see, without naming any names.