Saints quotebook: Sean Payton (December 24, 2018)

Head coach talks (sort of) about plan for resting players against Carolina

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Monday, December 24, 2018

Can you to evaluate Mike (Thomas’) play yesterday and specifically that touchdown he scored for you guys at the end of the game and what he kind of did to set that up?

“He played extremely well for us. The touchdown was kind of a run-pass option where it's a handoff and we've got a built in route, Drew (Brees) extended the play, and Mike's physical enough to create some separation and make that catch. Each week there's challenges relative to trying to get him off a double or off a safety lean and I thought he and Drew did a good job of handling that yesterday.”

Does the mindset adjust now that you’ve clinched the number one seed, you have got the first round bye, and you can I guess take a little time to heal some guys up a little bit?

“That's not the approach we're looking at it like. I said yesterday when I was asked that question we're going to prepare to play Carolina and continue to work on getting better in the areas we need to.”

Going back to the Mike (Thomas) and Drew (Brees), how much of this stuff do they do in game and try to see how teams are playing them?

“There's to two topics here. The first topic is in game within the framework of the route. The second topic is the plays that are off schedule like that play that all of sudden drew kind of flushing really quick to his right and then a quick adjustment. A smaller version of the scramble drill. So depending on the type of coverage and depending on the situation, it's not usual that we have… we'll have some runs with built in throws back side or play side. That's a case where we did, but I know there's a great deal of trust Drew has in regards to the radius and location that he can take advantage of with Mike and vice versa.”

Ted Ginn Jr. obviously made the clutch play late in the game, but how did you evaluate everything he did in his first game back?

“He played well. It was good to have him back out there. There was a huge play he makes on the third down and it was real good to have him back in our lineup.”

Just to specify, will you hold any starters out of the game?

“I’m going to specify for the fourth time. You ready? I can't be any more clear. We are going to approach this game just like we would a regular season game and if there's any changes to the lineups, I'll keep you posted. I'm done answering that question. That's four in the last 24 hours.”

Could you go over your general philosophy on rest?

“No. I don’t have a general philosophy. Each team is different.”

I feel like it at 13-2, a lot of people might look at this team as dominant and certainly there and certainly there have been some dominant performances, but how much do you think that this group has shown resiliency in specific games like yesterday overcoming some adversity?

“I think it’s repeated itself. I think it's a good question relative to the difference between your 13,12 win teams and the difference between your nine win teams. You have a tough, hard fought road game at Baltimore that you could go either way. Then you have the game at Carolina last week. The home game against Cleveland early in the season. (and at) Atlanta. That's kind of our league and the thing that I'm encouraged about is this group, each of those, each of those moments, each of those times were challenged and found a way to come up on the on the right end for the most part of games in our league that you know each week when we watch them they come down to the last possession or two. That's really more the norm than the other.”

I think the first half yesterday Alvin (Kamara) only had four touches. Was that just kind of a flow of the game?

“Our time of possession and our snap count yesterday in the first half, if you looked at how many snaps we had, it was low. I know this though, the one touch he had in the two-minute drill ended up being important.”

On that specific play, was he just kind of knowing the situation there? When you beat that guy and making it seem like he was going out of bounds and getting those few extra yards and having those three points before the half with the field goal, how big was that?

“I just said it. Obviously, we win you win by three, it was significant. The situation I think is advance as much as you can and get out of bounds. Alvin was elusive enough where he made a tremendous play. Looking back on it, getting points there at the end of the half before we came in after they tied the game ended up really being the difference.”

I know you say that the confidence comes from a demonstrated ability, but do you feel a sense of calm in fourth quarters when you guys are in the position that you're in and that it's going to get done?

“You're always competing hard. Guys are going out there. Understanding that we need a stop or we need to score and you get used to it after a while and yet there's certain things you never get used to and that's just operating under those situations the more you can do it. I think the more experience you feel in doing it.

There’s been a lot of talk out there and not just your game about officiating lately. Is that real? Do you think it's just the emotions of the moment or have you noticed something different? Have you received more calls from the league about mistakes than you used to?

“No. We cover it so much more now. Over the next five to seven years you are going to see a lot more of the technology involved because it is so challenging. The crews are working their tails off to get the calls right and yet you have seven different angles and every specific play, every ball mark. I think we are going to see in the next five years a lot more technology infused to our game just like we have other sports.”

Is this how to envisioned Demario Davis’ role on the defense?

“It’s not different than what he's been in the past. I mean he's been a WILL and he's been a MIKE. We saw him at either one of those two roles. The question was, how much third down and he’s first in that area. He's a guy that certainly is a good leader for us. But we envisioned him as one of the stack positions ,either will or Mike.”

Has Demario Davis been better in all those areas in year one than you expected?

“Yeah I think that comes just with his exposure. He's worn the headset before. He’s wearing it here and I think the success and how he's been playing it's worked and there's been a good transition.”

How convenient is it to have Christmas on the player off day?

Yeah, it's not often that happens. With young kids, I can think of a lot of December 23rds that they thought were Christmas for 20 seconds or 24. But I think from a schedule standpoint or calendar standpoint it's good for the team.”

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