New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Post-Practice Media Availability Thursday, January 9, 2014
Opening Statement: “We are finishing up our third day of work, some red zone, short yardage, goal line. We will get packed up here, we are leaving this evening and we will get there later on tonight. Any questions?”
Running the ball more than passing it this past weekend, how much was it an effort to do that and could we see that again this weekend?
“I think to your first question, in Philadelphia, we wanted to have balance going in. We didn’t know what the weather was going to be like and I think starting off all of a sudden we felt like we were pushing them pretty good. I think with regards to this game there is obviously a high chance of rain it appears and winds. Each game is different. We will try to have that balance and make sure that we are not one dimensional either way. Just paying attention to how the game is unfolding, the conditions, all of those things are important.”
What do you do when you know the forecast is going to be like that?
“Listen, it has been colder here and so we have been outside. I think from a temperature standpoint, it sounds like it is going to be fine. It is just dealing with wind and rain. It has been windy here a couple of days we were outside. I think we will handle that just fine.”
Darrell Bevell (Seattle Offensive Coordinator) said he doesn’t know what to expect from your defense. Is there any satisfaction from that?
“Look, any time you play a team the second time, you’re spending all week long, extra hours on the whole season, on the last game but that is part of 15 other games in the study, going back to even last year. There are always some nuances that take place in the framework of a game.”
You can simulate the noise and the logo, but how do you simulate the wet conditions?
“Wet ball drills, all of those things that we have done during the week earlier.”
Is there any ‘us against the world’ mentality in the fact that this team is rarely the underdog?
“Listen, this is a Divisional playoff game. That mentality of playing your best game, it’s the playoffs, that’s reason enough. We don’t, and honestly I think in the last 20 years our league has done a great job of paying more attention to fantasy football than who the underdog or favorite is. It is just a lot different. I wouldn’t be able to tell you. Certainly when you are playing the number one seed, a team that is outstanding in all three phases, they are well coached, they have a ton of Pro Bowl players and they are exceptional. We are going to have to have our best effort.”
Is Seattle’s secondary as physical as any you will see in coverage?
“They do a great job. They play a lot of bump and run. They are very confident corners. They have a deep position group, but three of the starters are first team Pro Bowl players. Kam Chancellor is extremely physical. He has size, range, and you see that on tape. They have a scheme and they play it extremely well whether they are in their zone schemes or in their man schemes. Often times one look might appear to be one but it’s the other. (Richard) Sherman has great, they all have great ball skills so they all can catch a ball that is not just right. (Earl) Thomas is the same way. He is 100 miles an hour on the back end. He is very sudden and quick to key in diagnosis and very smart. They are extremely good.”
Do you find out as the game goes on how refs are going to call the game?
“I think that to some degree. I think a little bit maybe like NBA Basketball, how it is officiated. I think you get a feel for it.”
How do you keep Drew Brees clean compared to the last time you played them?
“We just try to block them a little bit better, try to keep the third down scenarios to favorable down and distances, looking at the matchups, where are you going to help your protection, all of those things.”
With them playing eight in the box a lot, how much of an advantage can Jimmy Graham be in a matchup?
“He lines up in a lot of different spots so hopefully we can get him his touches in this game, and I think that whether it is zone or whether it is man, they may come in the base, they may come in the red area. He is an important part of what we do.”
For Jimmy Graham playing through the pain this year and with the numbers he has produced, how impressed have you been?
“He is doing well. He is doing extremely well. He is an explosive player. He has great range and size.”
It looks like Percy Harvin might play, how does he change them offensively?
“He is a dynamic player. He can run exceptionally fast. He can change direction very well. You have to pay attention to where he is anytime he is on the field as a returner and clearly as someone that can line up in a lot of different spots that we’ve seen as a player on offense.”
Why should your team be more confident going into this game than it was going into the last time you played them?
“I think we were confident going into Seattle last time we played them. Obviously we didn’t play well enough. It is not about should they be more confident, we are in this tournament where you win and you continue and if you lose, you don’t. That’s pretty simple.”
Did any of your assistants get offers for other jobs or interviews for other jobs?
“I’m not aware, nor would I share it right now anyway.”
What do you think of the way Rob Ryan has managed unexpected changes on defense?
“I think it is very important for us. Look, there are three potential starting outside linebackers in Will Smith, Victor Butler, Parys Haralson, two starting corners, a starting strong safety. That is a lot of attrition. That is our game though. That is the nature of our league and I think our players and coaches have handled that real well and guys have stepped up and played a lot. Developing those players that are working with maybe predominantly special teams and yet they are getting reps in practice. That is very important and it has been pretty good for us.”
Is it open-mindedness and versatility that helps them do that?
“I think you have to develop the next player in. The starters typically wouldn’t get every rep in each period. I think the most important thing we try to do as coaches is say hey, who’s in? Who are our best 11 for this situation, red zone, third down and then let’s try to put them in the best situation possible.”
How much did their deafening noise hurt you in Seattle last time and how much better prepared are you this time?
“I think the noise level is significant. I think experiencing it the first time for a lot of these guys, there are some veterans on this team that were there back in 2010. We’ve got the speakers. I think we blew out two different speakers in here. We will be ready for it.”
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