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Q&A with Head Coach Sean Payton

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Sunday, August 11, 2013
Opening Statement: “The emphasis was on a couple of things that were game-related. We spent a little bit more time on the two-minute situation that we had and got some good work in. Tomorrow we’ll have another installation (practice). We’ll be outside tomorrow in the morning. Well work on some short yardage, a little bit of no-back offense and defense.”
You were concerned a little bit after the game about some issues, did watching the film show you anything?
“There are a handful of things that came up during the course of the game that you’d have liked to have seen us do a better job with. I thought substitutionally we got caught a couple of times. We settled down defensively after the first series and really did some good things, and that was encouraging. I thought the kicking game struggled in coverage. We’ve got one play where we punt the ball, they’re down at the five, there’s a penalty that brings it back, and now all of the sudden you’ve got hidden yardage of 31 yards. We’ve got to be better in that area and I think we will be. Offensively I thought we struggled on third down some. We had the reverse set up and couldn’t get the exchange. (There were) enough things to aggravate you. When you put the tape on, there are some guys that I thought did a real good job. I thought we played overall pretty well in the secondary. That was encouraging. These younger receivers are getting snaps. There are some growing pains that are going with that, but fortunately they are getting a chance to get snaps with the first unit. I think that’s going to be important to how those guys come along and develop. I’m talking about Kenny (Stills) and I’m talking about Nick (Toon), those guys that are getting reps. Preston (Parker) did a lot of good things in the game for us. Overall, enough to where you’re encouraged in some areas and yet you realize that there are a lot of things we need to clean up.”
You were talking to a lot of guys individually. Is that part of reinforcing the details?
“There are things that come up on film and there are things that come up on the evaluation readings about certain players. I think the kicking game is critical for a lot of these guys making the roster. They need to understand that. We’ve got to prevent the player whose snaps go up on one side of the ball or the other, and his performance goes down on special teams. They need to, and there’s going to be a player or two that we have to keep that plays so well on the kicking team that he earns a spot on the team. They just need to understand that that’s not what serves them; it’s just how the rosters are made up.”
You guys have put emphasis on the outside zone run. How did you like that in the first live game?
“The other night was challenging in that we saw a lot of bear defense, a lot of jam front, point players. There’s certain things you can and can’t run. It kind of limits you to what you want to do in the running game. Overall I think that we’ve just got to continue to work hard and work on one element. I thought there were some tough yards by Khiry Robinson late in the game. I was encouraged with some plays, but it’s a tough front to run against to begin with. I thought we got a lot of snaps and a lot of looks at certain plays, and will continue to do that.”
What do you consider a win on the defensive side on the ball?
“I think in a normal situation, a +8 gain is not a win. In certain times in a game, we’re +8 and it’s something you’re comfortable with late in the game when they’re backed up. We’ve got to continue to work on expanding to the flat better and being able to take a play like that and make it a 3-yard gain as opposed to and 8-yard gain. I think that, situationally, within the normal flow of a game, that’s too much. That’s something we’re continuing to work on and part of this defense are these guys that are playing outside being able to not only sink to a hook, but recover and curl to a flat and be able to make a play for maybe half the yardage as we’re discussing.”
Any update on Pierre Thomas or Junior Galette?
“Nothing. What I’ll do, rather than go through all these guys, when they’re back I’ll just brief you on it. They’re all doing well. We’re being smart with the rehab and being patient. I think tomorrow we’ll know a little bit more with Pierre. Junior, I don’t think will practice tomorrow.”
How do you think Luke McCown looks?
“He has a real good rhythm to his game. He’s always very comfortable. He knows this system. He’s extremely bright. He’s got that demeanor that I think is important for a quarterback and I think he can step into the huddle and calm things down. He can spit the offense out very quickly. I thought, aside from the interception, I thought he handled the huddle well. I was late getting some calls into him and he was able to get us to the line of scrimmage and function well in the huddle. He’s been impressive and I’m anxious to see Seneca this week. I think he’s going to be back in a role where we will be able to play him and get him some work.”
Is there an advantage or disadvantage to Steve Breaston’s lack of familiarity with this system?
“When we brought him in here, we knew that first week was going to be tough. We just need to spend extra time in the meetings getting him familiar with one position. I thought he made a great catch in one of the team drills over here today. It was outstanding. The mistake would be putting him in when you know he clearly doesn’t know what to do. The key for us is to, as fast as we can, get him acclimated. I think he’s picking things up, and I think he will be able to have a role in this next week’s game.”
What has stood out about Preston Parker so far for you?
“Well he made some plays in the passing game the other night. He’s physical, and we feel like he is a guy who has shown that he can play in the kicking game. I just think he seemed to be ready to play. Friday night I thought he blocked very well and I think guys like him understand the significance of being able to help when it comes to the kick units, coverage or return game. He’s very eager and willing. He’s been in this league and he understands how difficult it is to make a roster. He’s hungry for a position.”
New Orleans Saints Inside Linebacker Curtis Lofton 
Post-Practice Media Availability
August, 11, 2013
You guys had a chance to break down the film today. What did you see from a defensive standpoint?
“It was positive. I think guys tackled well. We got off the field on third down and got pressure on the quarterback.”
How about the negatives? 
“I feel like we could have gotten aligned quicker. We were a little slow getting in and out of the huddle. We made up for that today. We came out, practiced in the situations, and finally got a good tempo.”
When you are going from doing it out in practice to doing it out in the game, is it more difficult to get the alignment up because you are looking at a different offense as opposed to your own?
“No. I think it’s easier because our offense gives us some difficult stuff (to face). (You face) Different motions, different personnel, (and) different formations. That makes us go through every check we have. Once we get to the game, it kind of makes it easier and slows it down a little bit.”
What were you guys able to do after that first defensive drive to kind of settle in and play well?
“It’s a new system. It was early on and I just felt like we needed to settle in and get the flow of the game. Once we did that we shut them down. They couldn't run the ball or pass the ball (as effectively). We got off the field and got (a) pass rush. There are a lot of positives but to say we have arrived is premature. We are far from that. We still have a lot of work to do.”
Obviously when a quarterback is trying to attack a defense and you get him to check down you consider that a win. In your mind, working with the outside linebackers, when they are throwing those swing routes or flat routes is the goal sort of holding them to three yards as opposed to eight? What is the goal with that?
“That’s the point of the defense. (We need to) Take away the big throws and force them to check down. We did a great job of that but when the ball gets to the check down, everybody has to break on the ball. We have to hold that to about three or four yards. That’s what we are willing to give up. We need to do a better job of getting off the field.”

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Topics : Sports
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People : Curtis LoftonLuke McCownPreston ParkerSean PaytonSteve Breaston
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