Saints Coach Sean Payton and Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan spoke with members of the media on Friday before this weekend's game against Tampa.
Coach Sean Payton's Opening Statement: “This has been our first normal week routine when you look at the schedule. Today was a lot of red zone work and goal line short yardage.”
Can you talk about how this weekend will be your first time back in Tampa Bay since you got injured on the sidelines in 2011?
“I think more than anything, I have paid more attention to staying behind the play. If there’s the line of scrimmage and you are behind it, you are usually in a good position. I think we should be alright.”
Can you talk about Garrett Hartley’s consistency?
“With that player, I don’t want to say it’s streaky, but he is hitting the ball just like you want, clean right now, much like a golfer. He had done that as well in the preseason. To start the season the way he did was a great sign and even in practice this week he has been consistent and that’s encouraging.”
How much easier is it to make a decision when you know he is hitting the ball so well?
“There are certain areas on the field, when we are going inside, we look at a certain yard line that is pretty consistent. When we go outside, somewhere during pregame, he and I might visit and if there is a little breeze, it might be hey, 32 yard line this way and 35 yard line this way. I think it’s the latter really. I think when you have a good kicker and we have had a number of different kickers here that you are confident in, you just know those range spots and you just make those decisions. Periodically if someone at that position that you are really struggling with, then it becomes a bigger problem, but he has kicked in big spots and he has been real consistent now.”
For the last couple of weeks, Curtis Johnson told his players at Tulane that the more desperate team usually wins, do you implement the same kind of philosophy here?
“I think the one thing in our league that we always pay attention to, especially when you are playing in the division, when the schedule comes out, you tend to look at games and trips and the first thing you look at is travel or primetime as it pertains to a short week or a long week. The thing that is in flux is always teams coming off a tough loss and that’s a tough loss that they came off last week with the position they were in. Playing at home, in the division for them (the Buccaneers), they are a much improved team and we know they are going to be a tough challenge. I think educating your players on that is important.”
Does the thought of Tampa Bay going 0-2 creep into your mind when gameplanning?
“I think it is too early in the season. I don’t think that. I just think it’s the sense of urgency to win, especially a division game. Everyone wants to play well at home so there are a number of things. I don’t think we look at it that way but that is just from experience.”
Can you talk about facing two division opponents in a row and how going 2-0 is so important?
“Last night at the end of that game, they interviewed Vince Wilfork from New England. Three or four different times during that interview he brought up the importance of playing division games and how they matter. It (New England) was an example of a team that went on the road and then came back home and won a game. I just finished talking to the players about that same topic and understanding that when you are playing in the division, they are all tough games. When the season ends and you look back on even Atlanta’s team a year ago with as many wins as they had, they split with New Orleans, they split with Tampa Bay, and they split with Carolina. It’s hard to win in the division. Certainly, it is hard to win on the road in the division.”
What have you seen from Jimmy Graham?
“I think that he has been consistent. I know that he has worked on all the details. He is still a young player. He is someone that works very hard on his trade and prepares like you would expect a professional, but I think the consistency (is important) and it’s good to see him (have it). There are a handful of players, Zach Strief is another who is in really good shape who came to camp in good shape and it’s a first time in a while for him that he has been able to go through an offseason without a lingering injury (to rehab). I think it helps a player.”
Do you think that temperature will be that big of an adjustment for you guys?
“It’s typically warm. We know it’s going to be a warm game, (stressing) hydration, getting all the fluids in us, the salt, all the things you would do. I think it helps us practicing in it here and we have some familiarity with it.”
New Orleans Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan Friday, September 13, 2013
When your brother (New York Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan) plays the Buccaneers and you play them the next week, is that the first phone call you make?
“Not really. I think we are both big believers in our systems. We respect the league. I always think I’m going to do a better job than he does and he always thinks he’s going to do a better job than me. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Was the last play against Atlanta exactly how you drew it up?
“Pretty much. Absolutely (laughter). That play, our guys executed a little better than theirs. We had a great pass rush with just three guys. As a staff, we thought that was the best thing we do, and we went with that particular coverage which we thought was going to be our go-to call and it worked out great. We’re excited about it, but that’s a lot of preparation and a lot of hard work on our players’ part.”
Are you a believer that it’s more about personnel than scheme that makes you successful on defense?
“I think our personnel rose to the occasion, absolutely. I think we just want to have a little tiny bit of our success. I think players make schemes, so our guys came through in the end we had a couple of plays. We weren’t perfect, but I love how hard we played. We just want to try to get better each week and work hard. We are working hard to get better and to be a little tiny part of our success.”
What’s something that you have really hammered into your players’ minds about Tampa Bay’s offense?
“They are physical. They want to be physical. I think their back (Doug Martin) is a hit and roller. He’s tough; he’s a genuine guy. We have to get after him and wrap him up. He’s a hard tackle in this league. Obviously, (there are) big play threats that they have in their wide receivers (Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams) and that quarterback (Josh Freeman). We got our work cut out for us. We are going into a hostile environment, and we’re looking forward to the challenge. We’ve been working hard and we know it’s going to be a great challenge.”
How do you accommodate a rotation along the defensive line?
“We have a rotation there. We rotate our D-line in and out. It’s going to be hot, so you have to do that at every position. All of our roster (of active defensive players) will play on defense. That’s how we do it each week, and especially in a road game in the heat, you have to play everybody on your roster.”
Your son is playing football at Newman High School, has he been getting advice from you and his uncle and how has it been for you to see him as a fan?
“Actually, I haven’t seen him play yet, which is typical in this business. We are waiting for a Friday night when we can attend. I think it’s a great tradition out there with the Mannings’ coming from there. It’s a wonderful school. I think the coach does a tremendous job out there. He’s really enjoying (the) school, as well as my daughter is too. It is a wonderful school and I can’t wait to actually see a game. It will be nice.”
Is there any chance we will see him on the sidelines one day?
“I hope so. That’d be great. Let’s get him into college first on a scholarship. That would be awesome.”
How has Parys Haralson looked coming over from San Francisco and not having had the benefit of a full training camp with the Saints like most of his teammates?
“Parys has done great. He’s a great veteran. He’s smart, he’s very well prepared, he’s very detailed oriented, and he’s precise. He’s the type of guy you want: a genuine tough guy that brings high character and toughness to our room where we have a lot of that. We want to try to prove that every week, and this will be a great week to get after it and to play physical.”
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