Sean Payton: "I didn't see the effort we hoped for"
You said yesterday that reviewing the game tape would not be fun, but would be revealing. What did you see after review?
“I thought number one, I did not see the effort and energy we would have hoped for. Part of playing well consistently requires all 11 and that’s really in every phase. The first time you put it on and we watched it as a staff, every phase of the game together. I think that’s one thing that stood out. Obviously the turnovers, some of the protection issues early on, I thought we were outplayed in the kicking game. I thought defensively we couldn’t get off the field on third down and we went another week without creating another takeaway. It was disappointing. Our players are in there now watching it with the coaches. It’s our jobs very quickly here with an important game coming up to make corrections and also we look closely at who we are asking to do certain things and so I think it’s a tough day when you come back after a day like that, you put the film on and I think it’s important film for everyone to see though.”
What’s your thought process on where Charles Brown stands in terms of a starting role?
“There’s not going to be any specific decision. We’ll look closely at our options. In fairness to him, I think there were a lot of other things we didn’t do well in that game. We didn’t run the ball particularly efficiently. Defensively we struggled giving up some big plays. You had the one pass that goes up the sidelines with eight guys watching. You have a couple long runs, missed tackles, the kicking game. We can’t kick a field goal. We have one blocked, which was a low trajectory. The other one was shanked to the left. We get an onside kick against us. We’re alert all week for that possibility. It’s hard to say or pick out one specific play here. Obviously when you’re at left tackle it becomes more glaring, because it results in a pressure or penalty, but we’ll put a lot of thought into the best way to approach this week as we get ready to play Carolina.”
Will you consider a change at kicker?
“I think we’re looking closely at every element. I told the players today at the team meeting we’re looking closely at each aspect of this team. I think in not trying to read into my answer, it’s important for us to do that. I think that whether it’s a tackle position, whether it’s a player on defense, I think the one thing I know I don’t want to do is repeat the process over and over again. We’re going to look closely at what our options are and what gives us our best chance to play this coming week and one week remaining.”
How do you determine the difference between a guy having one bad game and not being the right fit for you at that position?
“It’s a good question. You spend a lot of time looking at body of work and production. If it’s something that’s repeated itself and you feel like it’s not going to change, I feel you look closely at what are your other options.”
Speaking of Charles Brown, what do you need to do to make sure there’s not mental snowball after a game like that?
“That’s the confidence in winning and losing. It doesn’t just exist with the players, it exists with the coaches, the play-caller, the head coach, the confidence of playing well or having that adversity. So, the first thing you point to is a good work week and week of preparation so that come gameday you have eliminated some of the indecision and some of the gray area. I think this week is going to be very important for us.”
In regards to the offensive line I imagine Zach Strief is not a part of that equation of potential changes or is he?
“I didn’t say either. We’ll consider and look at every option.”
Is what happened with Charles Brown a comparable analogy to a hockey goalie getting pulled after giving up four goals in the first period?
“It was one aspect that we needed to change in the flow of that game. There are some position groups where maybe it could happen, wide receiver, defensive back, running back and you might not even be that much aware of it because of substitutional patterns or various guys playing, but there’s that one position, the quarterback and the five offensive linemen that each week receive the same snap count and then there’s a handful of players defensively the same way, so there’s more attention devoted to it. I felt it was the best thing to do at the time. At the beginning I mentioned there were a lot of things we didn’t do well besides handle the pass protection at left tackle.”
Drew Brees said something to the effect of the mentality on the road being a part of when you guys get down early. You reference that it’s a younger team, despite some veterans. Maybe they haven’t bounced back yet in a situation like that. Is that something you’ve seen?
“We were just talking about that subject. A good example was Atlanta Thursday night where our first series we were three and out and then they’re able to drive the ball and score. We feel behind 7-0, but a critical juncture in that game, be in the first quarter was that drive we had to tie it up. I think how the game starts off and I do think it’s a younger team and it’s not any one specific player, but I think momentum or us being able to answer the call when that momentum shifts (is important) because in our league that’s pretty common when momentum goes back and forth. Obviously when you’re home, you have that other element with the crowd noise and the other things working to your advantage. I think the example of Atlanta and us being able to tie the game up and go ahead, I think that you can’t take for granted that it’s the same team as you had in years past. It’s a different team for the most part if you look at the overall roster.”
Can you pinpoint why this team has seemed to struggle on the road and also discuss the challenge you guys face having to go on the road and needing this win on Sunday?
“I don’t know. I’d like to be able to pinpoint one specific thing and say we’re going to change this one element and all of a sudden play better. Historically during our years here we have been a very good road team. Obviously we’re currently 3-4 on the road this season. That’s something that is below average. It is what it is. The challenges Carolina present, they’re a real good football team. We played them just a week ago and both teams have a lot at stake. I think it’s important that we have a good plan going in and are able to handle the challenges of noise, weather, whatever it is, we’re going to be tested with it.”
With Charles Brown being a young guy still will this week go a long way to telling you what he is made of?
“I think it will be very revealing for a lot of us, not just one position. You have a game like that and all of a sudden you’re coming down the stretch here with two games left and an important game this week, over a period of time, I think these experiences are very revealing for all the players and the coaches.”