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Payton discusses running back situation, win over Giants

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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) -

The New Orleans Saints were able to pick up the win over the New York Giants, Sunday, but the team suffered a big loss. During the contest, running back Khiry Robinson went down with an injury and will be lost for the remainder of the year. 

During a conference call, Monday, Coach Sean Payton talked about his running back situation and picking up the thrilling win over the Giants. 

Below is a transcript of the conference call with the media, provided by the New Orleans Saints:

Was the outpouring from teammates for Khiry Robinson just the nature of the injury?

“I think so. Look one of the tough things for our players and certainly our team is the injury factor and then when there is an injury that takes place and they’re able to see that type of injury, he basically has a tibia fracture down in the lower part of his leg. He had surgery last night and they were able to repair that and he is recovering right now. I think when an injury like that occurs and the players see that the first thought is just the amount of work that a guy like Khiry has put in and all of a sudden knowing that his season has come to an end. So fortunately the procedure went well and we will go from there.”

When that happens does that increase the likelihood that C.J. Spiller will get more carries?

“In Khiry’s role, he’s a guy that we feel like can handle both the running game and the passing game. Certainly though the group as a whole and it happened after the injury yesterday.”

Talk about C.J. Spiller as a clutch player?

“Absolutely, it’s always tough when you’re out for most of the preseason and he’s healthy now and obviously comfortable with the terminology in the system. We used him quite a bit yesterday in empty packages and one back packages and he ends up with the game tying touchdown. He did a really good job just on kind of a choice route on the weakside linebacker, but he is a smart player and a competitor and he obviously in those big moments is comfortable making a play and understands that the quarterback is going to find him in the right coverage.”

Did it take a little longer for Drew Brees to get comfortable with his receivers since you replaced a lot from last year’s yardage?

“I do not know that yesterday marked the breakout game certainly statistically by far from all accounts there were a lot of things in regards to throwing the ball that we did well. I said this after the game sometimes games take on a flow to them. I do not think New York or New Orleans went into the game thinking it was going to be a game in the high 40s, low 50s and yet it began to unfold that way. The key was the play at the end our ability to come back off a couple tough breaks. A turnover that they returned for a touchdown. We find ourselves in a deficit and the situational play at the end of the game with them in a two minute offense. Defensively, getting a stop was big especially at that end of the field with enough time left. After the first down play immediately we are looking to use our timeouts and they called a timeout after the second down play so we didn’t need to. So it was kind of back and forth. To your question, look there are times on task that takes place with a guy like Willie Snead or either Brandin Cooks and certainly Marques (Colston) and Drew have worked together for a long time. I think you are seeing that production take place and I think you’re also seeing it take place at the tight end position. Each week we try to look at the best way to attack somebody and we did feel like we wanted to be in some empty yesterday and spread that team out and make them defend the field and being at home it allowed Drew to get a picture of what was going on.”

What is it like to work with Drew in a game like yesterday?

“I think all during the week there’s a lot of time spent on, alright this is what we’re looking for, but if it’s not then what’s the answer? These guys we played yesterday are a big pressure team and they are not afraid to bring safeties and blitz. There not afraid to play cover zero and so it’s not like all week you see all these matchups. You are really just preparing and staying focused on what the answers are going to be verse their coverage looks and what the answers are going to be when you get pressured and then applying them and so when those things that you work hard on during the week. When they come to Fruition like Marques Colston’s touchdown it was a blitz look and Drew got to the right check and they had a bust in coverage and all of a sudden in cover zero Marques is catching a ball and scoring a touchdown. Those are the things our preparing and grinding on Thursday and Friday and trying to iron out all the details. That’s the challenge each week knowing this week brings a different challenge. A completely different one and we turn the page here today and began looking ahead to Tennessee.”

Tennessee is ranked third or fourth in pass defense; what do they do well?

“I know their front seven plays very well and I know that they get after the passer very well. I am sure when we put the tape on, we are going to see a real good pass rush, which is really one of the first parts to defending the pass. I think it is a very good defense in general.”

Does Tennessee change its playbook, depending on (whether they start) (Marcus) Mariota or (Zach) Mettenberger on Sunday?

“I think there are elements that are different, not having seen much of their offensive film yet, but I am sure that there are some things that they might want to do a little bit more of with one than the other. We’ll have to put the tape on and see if we can get a profile.”

Is that a big challenge?

“We will prepare for both. It is our job to know who the offensive players on the roster are and what they can do well. We’ll prepare accordingly.”

You guys are similar to last year in that you have been able to climb back to 4-4. Last year, you kind of tailed off in the second half; are there any lessons learned from that?

“This is a different team than a year ago. I think that we’ve had good focus week to week. We’ll get the corrections made. This group will come in and I am sure that we will get an early start and be ready to go Wednesday with our base plan. Back in ’07, we started off 0-4 and then won four in a row and got back to this juncture. Each team is different. I think, for us, the focus internally is on how we have to improve and (looking to improve) the things that are showing up on film, like the penalties for instance. (We have to focus on) the other things that we have to clean up in order to play the next game well.”

Without having a running back on the practice squad, is that position something where you might have tryouts for this week? Does somebody like Tim Hightower get an opportunity?

“A lot of times on gamedays, teams will carry three (running backs). We have been carrying four. Marcus Murphy is someone that we haven’t played there only because of our depth. He is someone that is not just a returner. We view him as a runner and he had experience for us playing in the preseason. That is not to exclude the idea of working some guys out as well.”

Will Khiry Robinson go on season-ending IR?

“We are waiting right now but I think that would be the case.”

Can you explain how the Giants offense was one-of-eight on third down? Normally, that doesn’t go along with (scoring 49 points).

“That is deceiving because there were four third down penalties, three of which resulted in (first) downs. If you were counting three of the third downs and add the penalties that were accepted, then that number would be different. You see one-of-eight but there are three more first downs as a result of a penalty.”

What was your overall takeaway with the defense? Do they get credit for their resiliency?

“Absolutely. It was the way that the game was being played. Certainly, there are a lot of things that we want to look closely at, and how we can play better. I thought the way that they played on that last drive was critical. You give up a few plays on that last drive then, all of a sudden, they’re kicking a field goal to win the game and you go home with a loss. Instead, we get the three-and-out, we get the field to our advantage, we get the return and obviously, the penalty, and now you’re kicking the field goal for the win. We will make the corrections and again, that is how yesterday’s game was played out.”

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