Saints quotebook: Sean Payton (December 26, 2018)

Head coach talks about what's still important in this week's game after clinching No. 1 seed in NFC

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Conference Call with New Orleans Media

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

What do you do to obtain knowledge on Kyle Allen? Just go to go to preseason tapes and see what you can glean from that?

“I think you have to. And then most importantly you have to defend the offense and what you're seeing from a scheme standpoint, what you're seeing in the run game, passing game, third downs. I'm sure there'll be some tweaks, anytime you're changing players at that position. There almost always is and yet, at this stage of the season, you have to look at the entirety of what they've done offensively.”

With the evaluation of him, what were any strengths that you guys saw before when he was coming out?

“He is smart, he locates the ball well, and I think that quickly we're going to have to watch as much tape on him as possible. We were just talking about him in the staff room. He is one of a number of players that you remember and yet it's where we're at. It's trying to pay attention. He (had) limited snaps this past weekend. What did the preseason look like and then go back and read the (draft) reports.”

We asked you right after the game, but now that you've had a few days to think about it, what benefit is there to you guys that a homefield advantage at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome?

“It's significant, when you play these games, as important as they become, having your crowd affect the communication. I thought we got we got pretty loud this past game and I know we'll be louder in the postseason. It's what you work for it at the beginning of the season when you set your goal on winning the division, the next goal then is getting the best seed you can possibly get. Knowing that you're going to have a chance to defend your own field in your environment it's been a big plus for us. If you went all the way back even to 2006, our record at home has been significant.”

What do you try to do motivate these guys for this game?

“Number one: it is our job. We have a chance to win more games in the regular season than any team in Saints history. Number two: it is not like when you are playing in the preseason (when) you have 90 players and you begin to look at how you want to sit all these different players. You can't do that. You have 46 on gameday (in the regular season) coming out of your 53. Anytime you line up to play and any time we prepare to play there's really only one way to go about doing that. I think that there's a lot at stake relative to some individuals, but also the evaluation process and then also as a team being able to hit that 14th win. I think that that's a lot.”

How important is it to look for ways to continue to get better and it be able to accomplish what you want?

“I think that process never ends. It is still, and always has been about the procurement of talent either through the draft, or in free agency, or during the season. And we're constantly looking to bring guys in that we feel I can help us, either for a specific game or for a number of games. And that's part of our jobs.”

Did you actually take any time off for Christmas yesterday?

“Yes, it was good to catch up on a lot of sleep. That part of it was great. And (I) had the family in and they've been in for a number of games now, so it's always good to spend some time away. It's (the) first time in a while where I can recall where Christmas actually fell on a Tuesday, which is the player’s day off. And you go a long time in this league – when Christmas falls on a Tuesday after you secured a one seed and won a big home game, a lot of those things just fell into place.”

Chris Manhertz comes down against you with probably the biggest play of his career, but what have you seen him adding to the Panthers since he went over there after his time with the Saints?

“Well, the first thing that stands out is his ability to block. He’s big, strong. He's always had a great temperament and (is) eager to learn. (He is) A real good teammate and a guy that I think has played well for them. He's a real good player, but just as importantly a great guy.”

Why are you guys on a later schedule today?

“A lot of it had to do with just where we were at relative to the end of the game Sunday. We were in the second slot and then, obviously with the holidays, we were able to do that with our team.”

Where do you think Sheldon Rankins has improved the most this year and how has that influenced the play of the defense as a whole?

“Well I think it's been significant. I know he's healthy. He's a guy that you can just see his impact plays go up. The confidence level he's playing with now (you can see) and he's having fun playing. When you watch him, I think he's in real good shape. And I think overall, he's a great example of a guy who's improved not necessarily just from year one to year two, but later in the process and he's a fantastic worker.”

How would you describe the way he is able to move relative to other defensive tackles? Is there anything distinctive about that?

“He's light on his feet. So, you saw that in his college tape. He can bend and those are those are real good traits when it comes to shedding a block, playing a gap, rushing the passer, but that flexibility and his ability to bend I think would be a couple traits you notice.”

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