Metairie, La. - The Saints did not practice Wednesday as they normally do when preparing for a game Sunday but coach Sean Payton says they are right on schedule, despite travel delays leaving Seattle.
The following are quotes from Payton during a teleconference with the media Wednesday, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Can you talk about this week for your team?
"From a schedule standpoint, we had planned ahead of time kind of treating today much life a Tuesday where they are in lifting and watching tape. Tomorrow will be our Wednesday. That is something we had planned regardless of whether we flew back after the game or flew back the next morning. It is just something we have done when we played on a west coast trip and came back and play a Sunday night game after it has been flexed. So it is a little further away. I think from a schedule standpoint, we should be fine. I think it is important to have that time (off) from your last game to when you first start practicing. We have kind of done this before. We will treat tomorrow much like a Wednesday, obviously Friday much like a Thursday and get a little bit more work done on Saturday than we normally might."
What did you see after re-watching this game?
"It is what I said afterwards; there are a lot of things we have to improve on. Credit Seattle, they played a great game. We did a lot of things that kept us from winning and I think in a lot of areas. It wasn't just one area. Offensively we struggled to find any rhythm, any time of possession. Defensively when we needed to get off the field we couldn't. they made the plays they needed to and look, it was clear we didn't play up to our standards and yet, like I said, we didn't do a good enough job coaching, playing. We will get those corrections made quickly here and get ready for another real good team."
Can you talk about the challenges of playing Cam Newton?
"His versatility (is a threat), (and) he is very athletic. He is strong. They are one of the, probably one, if not the top team on fourth down conversions, (and) short yardage conversions. Not only he is a very good passer, but he is someone now that does a very good job of extending plays. He does a very good job of deciding when to run and when to look for the throw down the field. There is a difference. Some guys will scramble the run and some guys will scramble to throw. I think he is very confident with either option. I think he's very dedicated and has improved just as you have seen his growth especially in our division. You have seen him grow with confidence and you have seen the players around him playing with that same confidence. There are a lot of things that he brings to the table that make it very difficult to defend."
In the last short week, you were playing a division opponent (Atlanta Falcons), does that help this week even though you haven't played Carolina yet?
"I think it helps that you have the same (coaching) staff in place and the same scheme in place, just as they do with us for the most part although we are a little different defensively. To answer your question, I think that does help that there is a familiarity of your opponent. I think, look it is an important game and I think both teams will be anxious and understand the significance of the game, then throw on top of it it is Sunday night. I think there will be a real good build up to it and for us it will come very quickly."
Despite the stature, how similar are Cam Newton and Russell Wilson?
"I think obviously there are some similarities in their ability to hurt you with the run as much as they can with their arms. They are different types of offenses and yet I think the key ingredient would be competitive players at the position. The guys that have won football games when you talk about Russell at Seattle and when you are talking about Cam now in Carolina, they are the hottest team in the NFL. They are playing with a lot of confidence and playing well on defense and the kicking game and playing outstanding on offense. Coach (Ron) Rivera and his staff do a great job and you can see that confidence show up on tape."
Can you take us through the plane ride that didn't happen and the stay and everything you guys had to go through in Seattle to get home?
"I'd rather not. Someday I will, but right now I don't have time to take you through the whole trip when we are sitting here getting ready to get back into meetings. It ended up being seamless. It ended up being an issue with the plane. We have a great advance crew, James Nagoka and Jay Romig, those guys do a great job planning. They quickly made some audibles and we were able to get out to some hotels and get up the next morning and fly back."
Does modern technology allow you to do all the scouting and game planning there that you would normally do at home?
"Yes, everything is on the iPad's now. Any time you play a Monday night game, you don't have the time to go back through and necessarily cover that opponent, the game you just played like you normally would because you are on a short week. The iPad's and all that stuff are available. We got in (from Seattle) around 3:00, 3:30, came over to the offices and started our work. But the iPad's had all the games of Carolina, cut ups, everything that you necessarily needed. I don't think there is a big adjustment or a big deal about getting back in the next day as opposed to 6:00 a.m."
Can you talk about what stands out the most about Carolina's defense?
"I think they are physical. They run well. They are very good at rushing the passer. Their linebackers are guys that tackle extremely well. They do enough things scheme-wise that cause you problems. But I think the fundamentals of rushing the passer, playing good coverage and tackling are things that you see. You've seen them kind of blossom as the year has gone on. They have new faces there, some younger players, veteran players, it is a good mix."
How good is that coverage?
"It is going be man or zone so hopefully teams that play man or zone don't have success. I think they are tied together, the rush and the coverage. I think that when you are able to speed up the clock in the quarterbacks head it becomes more challenging to throw the football. I think they are doing that right now very well."
Can you talk about the cards that you brought out? Were you happy and what was your intent with those?