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Payton's Monday Press Conference

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints coach Sean Payton's Monday press conference Monday, 4:50 p.m. Q: Can you give an injury update? A: “Mike Karney’s got a calf (injury). Right now, just from having talked to Scottie (Patton), it’s a fairly significant strain. It sounds ...

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Old 09-12-2006, 08:00 AM   #1
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Payton's Monday Press Conference

Saints coach Sean Payton's Monday press conference
Monday, 4:50 p.m.

Q: Can you give an injury update?

A: “Mike Karney’s got a calf (injury). Right now, just from having talked to Scottie (Patton), it’s a fairly significant strain. It sounds in the area of two to four weeks. Keith Joseph’s a little bit more serious. It’s an MCL, grade three. His will be in the neighborhood of four to six weeks. Obviously that’s a concern with two fullbacks and what that does to us offensively and how we go about replacing those guys. We’ll have to give that a lot of thought today and tomorrow. During the flow of the game when that happens, you guys asked the question yesterday. At halftime you’re really evaluating what stays in and what stays out in regards to the running game and the passing game. Anything that’s staying in has you wondering if this fullback/tight end had any reps at it during the course of the week and are we wasting our time trying to call it in the second half of a game. That being said, we got to decide the plan of action, we’re going to take whether we go outside or work from within. That will be something we have to decide sooner than later.

Q: Have you identified anybody you could potentially acquire to play fullback?

A: “No one specifically.�

Q: How critical is the fullback position to your offense?

A: “It’s critical. There are a handful of runs that you want to run in a game that require a lead back. Here’s a good example. At the end of that game, we’re running that clock down and we’re in a four-minute mode and we’re in kind of a one-back, two tight end set and you get limited. When they start bring safeties, at that point we’re just scrambling to make sure we get the handoff, because the fullback is able to do some things in the backfield that an inline tight end for instance can’t do. Some offenses don’t use that position as much as others. For us, there’s a handful of things in the running game and passing game that we rely on that position. We got to be flexible enough to adjust or find a true fullback. Those are the decisions that we got to make and those are the things that we got to weigh as to the direction we go. We’ll come up with the best plan.�

Q: How tough was it to make the adjustment on the run?

A: “You go through it. You quickly go through this gameplan with an orange highlighter and you just start highlighting plays that are still up and there’s a lot of flexibility within 12 personnel or 21 personnel, 12 being two tight ends and one halfback and Mark Campbell jumped in and did a good job with some snaps that he didn’t normally take during the course of the week. Then there’s some plays that we weren’t able to run and it would have been trying to force feed a play maybe for the sake of running, so we had enough offense in the plan. We had enough 12, two tight end offense in the plan, enough pony 21 with (Reggie) Bush and Deuce (McAllister) in the plan to where there was plenty for me to call. But at the same time, what you want to avoid is all of a sudden targeting a play and realizing that’s not the personnel group. There’s just a lot of highlighting and scratching off.�

Q: Have you decided if you’ll sign a fullback?

A: “We just finished meeting offensively. We’ll meet some more. I’ll meet with
Mickey (Loomis) and ultimately we’ll have a plan. Right now, it would be premature for me to tell you one way or the other.�

Q: Do you want to get it decided tomorrow?

A: “Yes, I think within the next 48 hours, tomorrow being the gameplan day, we’re not going to make this decision tomorrow night. We got to make this decision prior to getting in the course of the gameplan.�

Q: Can you evaluate how you thought the linebackers played after watching the game film?

A: “I thought overall they played pretty well. We were active. We were around the ball. (Scott) Fujita had an interception. I thought the encouraging thing looking at the defensive tape was overall the effort, enthusiasm. There were some times in that game after the first half, where all of a sudden, the momentum kind of swung back a little bit in their favor and we got off the field. In regards to the linebackers, I was encouraged by what I saw.�

Q: Can you discuss the performance of the offensive line?

A: “They were solid. There’s obviously some things we want to clean up. I thought (Jeff) Faine played outstanding. I thought the young guard Jahri Evans played pretty well. We didn’t give up any sacks and kept the quarterback clean. When you’re able to rush the ball 40 times in a game and you’re in that 150-yard area, those were some things that were positive. I was encouraged by it. When you watch the tape, the thing that’s always humbling when you look at the tape win or lose, it always brings you back to the middle. There’s a lot of things we got to clean up on both sides of the ball and on special teams, so we don’t allow some of those mistakes to creep up and hurt us.�

Q: Can you discuss the struggles of the red zone offense in terms of scoring touchdowns?

A: “I think part of that is just taking advantage of what we feel like the defense is doing. There’s a handful of things that we’ll be able to work on. I was encouraged to get the touchdown in the second half. I was pleased that John Carney responded. He played very well. Obviously, we want touchdowns down there and not field goals. We’ll continue to work in that area and maybe spend a little bit more time in practice in that area and for me as a play-caller, I got to continue to be patient and continue running the football and those are the things that I think we’ll work on. Players will see that as well.�

Q: In his chat with the media last week, Drew Brees stressed about wanting to get into long drives. Can you discuss how that worked out in the game?

A: “I think when you can do that; you can keep those guys on defense fresh. Time of possession’s important. It’s exactly what didn’t happen in a couple of preseason games, where I felt like our defense was on the field for a while and our offense it was not. I was encouraged by that. The very first possession offensively, I was encouraged . There was a little bit of momentum there. When you talk about how it was a field-position game, we were able to get a sack and kind of back them up some and then have our punt returner right at midfield, right away there’s an advantage. It’s important as most of you know to play the ball on their side of the field, so that when they make a mistake, then it’s happening in their territory. Conversely if it’s played on your end of the field and you make a mistake, generally it favors them. That’s nothing new, but I was encouraged by that yesterday.�

Q: Can you discuss Brian Young’s performance yesterday?

A: “I thought he played very well. Each week, we’ll hand out an offense and defense game ball and a special teams game ball and a couple of attaboys. He’s a guy on defense that got the game ball. He was active. He got high at times, but when you look at his production I was real encouraged. I thought he played hard and was a big part of this win.�

Q: Officiating-wise, can you discuss the play early on where the referees called an illegal formation, as well as the whistle in the play?

A: “Here’s what happened. The bottom line says that it is an illegal formation. That was correct. We didn’t have anybody covering up the ball on our sideline. You could see it as clear as a whistle on the film. Now, that being said, the ball gets snapped , gets thrown to Reggie Bush. Somewhere in that process, a whistle gets blown inadvertently. You could see it because the play all of a sudden (slows). The back catches it and kind of slows down. They get together. They got the call right. They went with the call. Now it goes to Cleveland to accept or decline the penalty. My question was that I know I heard a whistle. I know my players heard a whistle, but I’ll be honest with you, whistle or no whistle, once the penalty was declined and we got the ball right there, I wanted to kick the field goal quickly. Had the penalty been accepted, I’m kind of looking at the call sheet for a play that gets me to where he caught the football, so again, that being said, there’s a penalty there. I’m glad that we were able to get the ball and have an opportunity to kick the field goal there and it didn’t take us out of field-goal range, but I think the official who talked to me on the sideline said that there were not enough guys on the line of scrimmage over here. I saw that from the pictures down on the field. He did acknowledge that there might have been a whistle that went with the initial call in regards to an illegal formation and then Cleveland declined it. The ball was spotted where Reggie went out of bounds and we kicked the field goal.�

Q: Were you surprised at your success with Cleveland on the offensive line?

A: “You never know going into the first game how it’s going to play out. They’re a two-gap scheme that plays a 3-4 front. They got some veteran players and I was encouraged that we were able to sustain some drives and we had decent balance. The flow of the game, I think was pretty good as far as getting guys involved. I thought with the two running backs and each week, I said this to these players yesterday; coming off of a win, that balance of 40 runs and the touches for both Deuce and Reggie Bush and the amount of throws, all of those things fell into place pretty well. It’s a credit to the way the line was able to initially give us a push and created some holes. I don’t know that there’s any specific formula each week other than to try to win the game as best as you think possible. Part of that for us in this plan was to not necessarily control the line of scrimmage, but if they were going to play a lot of coverage, then we had to have some balance in running the football. What becomes difficult is when you are getting a seven-man front and struggling running it. Fortunately, yesterday, we were able to make some gains on the early downs. We stayed out of the third and longs. There weren’t a lot of third and real longs. I think our third-down conversion rate was outstanding. It got to 50 percent. A couple of those third downs late in the game were run its because we were killing the clock, but I thought the quarterback was exceptional on third down. I thought Devery Henderson stepped up yesterday in a role and made some plays that were critical for us. I was very encouraged with his play.�

Q: Can you evaluate the play out your two tackles?

A: “They played pretty solid. I was encouraged looking at the tape. There are a handful of things we’ll clean up. No real hurries or pressures. I thought the quarterback did a good job of getting it out when they blitzed us, so I was encouraged with the way they played, yet what I said at the onset is that there are some things here that we’re going to have to clean up. It’s important for week one of regular season, going into week two, that you acknowledge regardless of win or loss what’s going on that can be corrected. There’s a number of things that we got to look at to correct.�

Q: Given the amount of yardage that the defense gave up in exhibition games, were you surprised by their performance yesterday?

A: It’s hard to tell in the preseason. You’re not playing that group for a long period of time and I thought I was encouraged with their effort, their energy. I thought they did a good job with the plan. I thought the staff on defense did a good job, Gary (Gibbs) and those guys of putting those guys in good positions and I think the players responded. Give credit to both the players on defense and the plan going in. It’s hard to take from the preseason and predict how it’s going to unfold in the regular season, yet at the same time there were some things in the preseason that we saw that were concerning and you guys saw them as well. Not just for defense, but for offense as well. It’s a good start and we’ll get to the tape today and begin cleaning up some of the things that we’re talking about now.�

Q: Are you satisfied with your current grouping of linebackers?

A: “We acquired Danny Clark last week. He’s someone that we’ll continue to work with. We got depth obviously with (Alfred ) Fincher and (Terrence) Melton. We’ll continue to rotate those first three guys in there, Danny being here in week two, will get some reps as well. There’s no immediate plan to go outside the building other than the six players we’re currently looking at right now that are playing the linebacker position.�

Q: Are there any other injuries?

A: “Really looking at it nothing significant. We talked about (Mike) Karney and Keith Joseph. (DeJuan) Groce who was inactive for the game is getting better with his hamstring. Rodney Leisle, I think we’ll see back this week. We’ll have to see how it goes, but I was encouraged this morning in his progress, which is going well. (Aaron) Stecker probably could have played yesterday if we needed or if we wanted. He’ll be up this week and we’ll be full speed. Other than that, Bryan Scott will probably be listed as questionable going into this game with this hamstring. Our long snapper (Kevin) Houser has a finger that isn’t really significant. That’s where it’s at. The two fullbacks obviously are the two players of concern.�

Q: Can you discuss the bearings of how some guys might react this week in the wake of how Green Bay defeated the Saints last year?

A: “I think it’s going to be critical each week that we prepare properly. In regards to a year ago, I think a lot’s changed, not only in
New Orleans, but a lot’s changed in Green Bay. You’re really looking at two entirely different teams. I’m sure the Packers will want to respond after yesterday's game against Chicago. Not only the young players, I’m anxious for the veterans to make the corrections, because there’s some things from the films yesterday that weren’t just young player related. There are some veteran players that have to play better and they’ll see the tape here in a couple hours and I think that’s important. I think the mistake is we won the football game, let’s get onto Green Bay. Before we get onto
Green Bay, we need to make sure that we’re on the same page about what took place in Cleveland and we won, but there are a few things that have to be corrected. I think the players, when they come in today, obviously it’s easier to make those corrections off of a win, than coming in here off of a loss, but if we don’t make them then we’ll be coming in here making them someday off of a loss, because of it.�

Q: How does Reggie Bush need to improve on punt returns?

A: “It just didn’t look good. In other words, I don’t know if it was a left-footed punter or a lot of wind, but we’re going to play in a lot windier stadiums. I just think that you got to be a lot more decisive in hitting it and I think he’ll see the tape and he’ll see the same thing. Lance Moore’s back this week. We’ll get him going there as well. We’ll see. I thought he had a pretty good game offensively. I thought he and Deuce (McAllister) did some things that were real positive. I thought that at the onset, we had a pretty good flow there. I think from a spectators standpoint and certainly as you guys cover this team, you want to begin to see how that rotation will take place, how that’s going to unfold. Maybe yesterday was the beginning or at least an idea of how we can evolve both of them. I think you need two backs. I think you just watch these teams that are running the ball effectively. I watched part of that game last night and I think the Giants run the ball pretty well. I know they lost the football game, but it’s not just Tiki (Barber) in there. You got to have the ability to run more than one guy and I think with our situation, we can do that.�

Q: Can you discuss the play of Roman Harper?

A: “I thought he did some things well in the running game. There’s some things in coverage he’ll want to clean up for his first start. He had (Kellen) Winslow for a lot of those coverages, so he’s got to work better with using his hands. There’s some alignment things, nothing that maybe you wouldn’t expect from a first-year player in his first game. He came up with a big play for us in the second to last drive, a sack on the quarterback. Things for him to work off of, a confidence builder, but there are some things he’ll have to correct.�

Q: How did Joe Horn play?

A: “I didn’t think he played particularly well. I don’t know how many opportunities, probably five or six in the passing game, but also just in blocking the run. Those are things that I know Curtis (Johnson) is coaching on, finishing in the running game, so those are areas that we’ll clean up on the tape. There’s a run or two in there where we might score with just the effort down the field. When you run the football, you give lip service to running it, but when you run it effectively, you got to be able to block outside and that’s something I think we can do a better job of moving forward and I think Joe would say the same thing after he sees the tape. He had a big catch for us later in the game that they almost ruled incomplete, but it was a catch. Other than that, I think it wasn’t one of his better games. I think he can play better.


My Guardian Angel wears a hard hat.
TallySaint is offline  
Old 09-12-2006, 08:32 AM   #2
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It may be my enthusiasm for the new regime but he still sounds startlingly frank and no bs compared to the Haz double talk and rarely ever calling anyone out.
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Old 09-12-2006, 08:53 AM   #3
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Intellegent answers, even in a win he's looking to improve, and not afraid to call out a superstar for weak play. I like this guy on the mic.
BJSim is offline  
Old 09-12-2006, 10:14 AM   #4
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This guy is totally measured in his approach. I don't see him letting this team break their arms patting themselves on the back.

I really like his approach. It sounds like he digests the film really well on both sides of the ball.

He even said young, who played the game of his life, needed to work on a couple of things. Not trashing the guys, just striving to get better.

I think I've said it ten times already, when this team loses, it will be more bearable than the all or nothing we have become used to. This team played poised and smart, and i think that's all we can ask for.
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