Opening Statement: Much of what I said yesterday, I think holds true to some degree here. There are a number of things we have to clean up and do better as we move forward. This tape will provides us an opportunity to look closely at areas we can improve on. You have to start by crediting Washington, like I said yesterday. They did a good job coming in with a good plan. There are some things we can be better at and we will have to be better at. We got the win and in a tough spot with a short week, but we were able to manage that and find a chance there at the end of the game to win it. We were fortunate to win it. The focus shifts now this week to Atlanta. Wednesday I'll have a better idea of we are with injuries.
Q: What does it say about taking advantage of opportunities?
Q: Was Gregg Williams trying to take credit for the Meachem play, given all his strip drills?
A: I think all of us were proud of Robert and certainly that will be something that Gregg will put on his takeaway reel. It was a good effort play. It's a hustle play by a young guy who just keeps getting better. He had a great game, the big catch he makes in the fourth quarter was significant to help us tie the game and send it into overtime. I was pleased and have been pleased at how Robert's played and he just keeps getting better and better.
Q: How much of Meachem's play is related to awareness?
A: I think that's a good point. When we spent time on turnover drills, Robert's spending a lot of his time on tuck, secure, high and tight, all the things you would coach someone handling the ball and then in a brief instant, the challenge always with the turnover is you don't always have the correct guys on the field to tackle what has become the offensive player. That's what our defense has done such a good job with this year. The minute there's an interception or a fumble recovery, there's a number of guys on offense that aren't really suited to chase or tackle a ball carrier and fortunately for us, ran down a play, stayed on it and thought more than just tackling the player, but tug, stripping the ball. It happened real quickly. That's great to see with a young player. That for us yesterday was one of a handful of plays that meant a lot, but that certainly kept us in the game and gave us a little life at halftime.
Q: What are you thinking when you see that on the sideline and the upcoming review?
A: I think it was clearly a stripped fumble score. I think what we're thinking like everyone else is the specifics in regards to the interception. Was it an interception or did it hit the ground? Initially without knowing, it looked like it was close. Was it down by contact? Those are the things. When it goes to review, you just sit. You know that what's being reviewed is not necessary Meachem's play, but what happened prior. At that point you wait.
Q: Have you been a part of a game where so many crucial plays have been decided by a review?
A: There was really two that come to my mind; Meachem's play and obviously the overtime play. The overtime play was upsetting because we almost missed that. We can't challenge that and I shouldn't have gotten a timeout back or any of that. Replay goes upstairs in overtime and you get two timeouts. That's the deal. It's a play that happens quickly on the field, he's ruled down by contact and they're back on the ball, it's third down. They're getting ready to run a play and I think, if it's close you have to be thinking, let's buzz down. All I was trying to do was slow down that process and hopefully give someone a chance to look at that closely. That's why we used the timeout and fortunately they were able to take a peek.
Q: I read a quote this morning where you stated you were opposed to resting players along the way even if there is no greater postseason seed to play for. Can you talk about that?
A: I didn't read his (Peter King's) story. Our focus is like it has been. We're still playing for games that matter in a lot of ways. We're trying to put ourselves in the best position possible in the postseason. The only thing I would say to that is that we're going to focus on the Atlanta Falcons. This is a place where we struggled a year ago and didn't play well. I think this is a very good team we're playing. Our focus is going to be on winning this game and doing everything we can to play well in this game. Past that, I'm really not looking ahead. We have a number of things we have to do better. There were a lot of mistakes we made yesterday; too many penalties, we made some mistakes and key errors on both sides of the ball and in the kicking game, that are going to cost us. We'll sit here after one these losses and talk about why we did this and that. Our job right now is to hopefully eliminate those mistakes. The players will have two days. Wednesday they are back in. We'll start in on Atlanta and begin our preparation, but before that preparation starts with Atlanta, we need to make sure that we look closely at some of the things we didn't do a good job with yesterday.
Q: Was some of the sluggish play due to the abbreviated practice schedule?
A: I brought up mistakes made. You brought up sluggish play. I thought we played with effort and energy. I didn't have a problem with our wanting to go out and play hard and all that. I thought on a short week we handled that aspect of it well. The penalties, field position, some of the mistakes we made are concerns that I have. Those are the things we need to look at and clean up. We had a handful of them yesterday. We had too many penalties yesterday in a game I think we could easily lose and so those are the things that us on this next week on a normal schedule are things we're going to have to look at.
Q: Why was it so hard to run the ball?
A: I thought they got a lot of run fronts. Credit Washington. That's a good defense. This was going to be a team that put up a good challenge. This was a team that had played good defense if you looked at the games they played recently with Philadelphia, Dallas or any of those teams. It's one of the better defensive teams in the league. We had better success throwing the ball than running the ball and yet, we still didn't want to get away from running it. Yet, what was encouraging was we needed to run the ball at the very end and we did. That secured field position for the field goal.
Q: Can you talk about your reactions in personnel when Washington tried to ice Garrett Hartley for his last two field goal attempts?
A: The first case is when we sent the offense back out there. As we're observing and looking through the situation and you're paying attention
I was glad we were headed in the direction we were headed. I had asked Drew (Brees) right when we went to overtime
Obviously we were going to take the ball, but there's a part of me that was really wanting to make sure we were headed from our left to right, because I think that there was a fairly decent breeze going in that direction. A lot of the scoring was going that way and so, when they won the toss, obviously we were going to head in that direction. The point I'm getting at is as we were moving the football, we wanted to see if we could get this closer. We were going to kick the one field goal. They called the timeout. While that was taking place on the sideline, we decided let's keep going, put it back on the offense, ball security here. You have to be smart enough with the ball. We got more yardage and that's when we chose to (kick) at the one yard line to kick and they tried again to call a timeout right before he kicked it, but we left it alone.
12/07/09: Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
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