NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - As the Saints prepare for the Divisional playoffs against the Philadelphia Eagles, coach Sean Payton, answered questions from the New Orleans Media. Below is a transcript of Thursday’s conference call.
Q. When you’ve got the experience playoff team this year, whereas last year you had a lot of young guys last year. Marshon (Lattimore), Marcus (Williams), Alvin (Kamara) who were new to the playoffs. How beneficial does that feel for a team when it goes to the to the next year and those guys have that under their belt?
SP: “I think it’s important. I think it’s something that when you look at the teams in the tournament, certainly the team we’re playing, has that experience winning a Super Bowl last year. I think that doesn’t preclude a team from having success and playing well, but I think it can help.”
Q. How much of a motivating factor do you think it might be for the Eagles just the way the previous game played out in a blowout fashion?
SP: “When you’re playing in the playoffs, I don’t know that you say ‘well, we’re going to play extra harder because the last (time this happened)’. In other words, if you’re on to another game and if you’re not playing 100 percent in a playoff game then…I think the best will come out in teams because it puts you into the championship game.”
Q. Along those lines, Drew Brees said yesterday that he has the same approach during the postseason as he does during the regular season. He doesn’t want to put any more emphasis on it. Do you feel the same way?
SP: “I talked all week. The one thing at the start of the week was everyone typically has a routine and my message was protect your routine. Yesterday, two days ago, before the weekend we were at 12 in this tournament. Now all of a sudden it went to eight. I said ‘The amount of people covering football games hasn’t changed. The amount of teams playing in them has.’ So that just means more and more and wanting more. Protect your routine. Make sure we stay the course relative to what we do in regards to recovery, treatment, the mental preparation, all of those things and playing at home. Making sure we don’t allow the people closest to us to become distractions with additional tickets. Handle that and stay on schedule.”
Q. Could you describe the initial vision for Demario Davis when you acquired him, how you feel like it’s worked out and what kind of role he’s played?
SP: “The vision was pretty clear. We felt he had Will, Mike flex (positional flexibility with him). We felt we saw him play both. We knew we had Alex (Anzalone) returning, Manti (Te’o), we knew (what we had in) Craig (Robertson). That was something we were going to let play out and kind of just sort through it as we went through the competition during training camp, but we knew we felt strong about him being an inside stack backer.”
Q. When you get a guy like Demario who has been in the league for seven years, did you get a sense of just how important this is to him to finally get a chance to play in the playoffs?
SP: “Yes, it’s a first thing he said when we spoke about the opportunity here. There are a lot of good football players that throughout their careers, for one reason or another, didn’t receive an opportunity. I think certainly he’s one of those guys. There’s a few others on the team that recognize it and are excited about it.”
Q. What would you say have some of his strengths in terms of the way he’s meshed and played behind the front and the chemistry there? He seems to be in the right place a lot of the time.
SP: “I think he’s a physical player. I think he’s a good pressure player. when he’s involved in in the linebacker dogs. I think he gives us a little pop there relative to his physicality.”
Q. In your message to the team, when you talk to some of these young players, do you feel the need to stress the opportunity that’s at stake or do you think that that’s implied and you don’t even need to bring it up?
SP: “I’m quite certain that’s been implied earlier in the process, maybe during the bye week, and yet I think the focal point really this week has been on the plan, the routine, the preparation, and winning the game played on Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I think that’s the direction that we’ve taken it and really working on being prepared. I think we took the same approach during the bye week. I think these players understand postseason in our league. I think they understand it pretty well.”
Q. What does Fletcher Cox do so well for Philadelphia?
SP: “He’s powerful. He has good leverage. He can bend. He can get he can get on your edge very quickly. I think his athleticism and with his power I think he becomes a real problematic player and a real high effort (player). He’s a handful.”
Q. I don’t know how much you want to talk about the gesture with the cash on Monday, but was that the first time you have done that since the 2009 season?
SP: “Anything we do in a team meeting…Now I know you guys got a report from an attorney and that’s what you’re following…But that would be for our team.”
Information provided by the New Orleans Saints Media Relations.