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Week 13 postgame quotes: Coach Sean Payton

Payton: 'I thought it was obviously a significant win'

Carolina Panthers vs. New Orleans Saints
Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Opening statement:
"I thought it was obviously a significant win. I felt like there were points in that game where we have to be smarter. That sequence where we turned the ball over and we have possession with momentum, all of those things kind of get them right back in the game right before the half; even toward the finish there but we'll learn from the tape. I thought overall all three phases played well. I thought we had some big plays from the kicking game that were significant. Defensively, we did a real good job, third down especially after that first series. Offensively, I thought we did a better job on third down in the second half rather that the first, but we ran the ball well again against what I think is a really good run front and a good team."

On decision to go for it on fourth down right away for the rushing touchdown by Alvin Kamara:
"Just a gut (feeling). I think we did that against them a few years ago against them. It's just the timing, where we were in the game, and I felt like we had a good play as well. I felt confident in the play we had." 

On Taysom Hill's play on special teams:
"I thought it was outstanding. My only concern was when we sent specialists out for pregame he stayed in with the quarterbacks and I told him, 'listen, you are a specialist right now'. He did a great job. We had a couple spots for our gameday roster because of a few injuries. He's big and he's strong and he can run. He had a good week of practice. You just do not want to be lining up next to him on kick coverage because you are going to look slow if you do not get going. I thought it was a credit to his effort. He made a few big plays and I am sure when we watch the tape, we'll see it."

On how long Taysom Hill has been working with the team on special teams:
"This week. We were looking at the inactive portion of the roster and you get over to that list and say alright, who can help us in the kicking game? He was the one guy that we felt like ran and had good size and once he started working there on Wednesday it really jumped out. He did punt and a few of the units and I think he did well."  

On how surprised he was at how quickly Hill adapted to being a specialist:
"We saw it in practice, but this is a guy that is 6-2, 235, and runs a 4.42. That's pretty good. I think it's probably the fastest quarterback time in the last 20 years coming out of the combine, if my memory holds it. This guy was explosive, and it just made sense. He plays with a passion. We saw it in practice during the week and it just came up in the game." 

On if he has ever had a QB play as a specialist:
"No, this will be the first one."   

On a play where Mark Ingram was just short of a first down and Max Unger helped push him through:
"It was significant, I saw it. We always talk about finishing with the ball and the offensive lineman doing that just epitomizes that. It was a big play. I agree it was going to be right there and all of the sudden there is an extra yard and I am sure when we see the snap, we will see the effort on it. Ultimately, it is playing each down like it was your last and he is someone that does that. We are coaching that you're following the ball, you're getting out the stack on defense, you are finishing the play and it was a real smart play by him. You are trying to get a block and then you are down there with him and you are stacked up and you're moving him."  

On if he thought the defense did a good job of keeping Cam Newton in the pocket:
"I thought so."

On Ken Crawley's improvement:
"Him coming back healthy, he can run and he made a big play over his head early in the second half when they tried to go on top of the post, but he is doing well."

On getting approximately double yards per carry than Carolina has been giving up:
"I think it's significant in the division against a good run defense like that. It was significant toward time of possession; it was significant toward us being better on third down, all of those things. It's a divisional game and an important game for us. The guys up front did a good job, the runners had some big plays and its part of playing well as a team."

On practice effort improvements this week:
"It was better this week. Guys did a good job and I thought we played better."

On if this team is smart:
"I think we're playing good football. It's a young team so I think we are learning each week. As coaches, our job is to keep teaching." 

On if play-calling becomes more challenging later in the season and coming up with new ways to use Alvin Kamara:
"It was not 'it's third-and-10, we have to get Alvin (Kamara). The thought was more let's keep the clock moving here, let's be mindful of field position and the ball is out quickly. Had we not thrown the earlier one to Mike (Thomas), he could have very easily been another (target). There was a design and Alvin (Kamara) was able to get man coverage. He's smart, he is a guy that understands football and knows how to line up in some different spots and he works at it. At that point, Senio (Kelemete) made a good play getting out and its one of those receiver screens."

On if the opening drive decision to go for it on fourth down was made early on:
"No, you don't think like that. You think about scoring a touchdown on your first drive, or execution, and when you get down to the two you are still considering where are we at here, so it wasn't until it got to fourth down."  

On the short turnaround leading up to the Atlanta game:
"It is what it is."

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