Audio: Sean Payton reviews New Orleans Saints 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panthers


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 30: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts during the first half against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

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NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke with media Monday about his team’s disappointing 26-7 loss to the Carolina Panther Sunday.

Here is the complete transcript from today’s interview:

Were there any areas after watching the film that stood out and alarmed you more than others?

“I think the number one area was in protection. Offensively, our communication and being able to handle some of the pressure looks we received from Carolina. There were just a number of things that we need to clean up. That would be the one thing that stood out. Secondly, the big pass plays we limited fairly well and yet we were allowed run after the catch. The yards after receiving for Carolina was something that stood out. We didn’t tackle as well in space as we had the week before. Overall in the kicking game, I thought we were solid there. We had a blocked field goal and we covered well. Offensively, there was really no rhythm there and that’s something we will spend a lot of time on this week.”

It was hard to tell from the tv broadcast, but how did you feel that the receivers were able to create separation?

“I don’t know that the separation was more of a problem than having a chance to set and be protected. There were too many times free rusher, too many times when our communication wasn’t on point. So I wouldn’t look at that as the first thing.”

As far as those protections go, is that more on the center than the quarterback with Jameis Winston now as opposed to Drew Brees?

“It’s the group in its entirety. It’s our offensive line, our quarterback. It’s also us relative to a game plan of having good answers instead of some of the looks we received and quite honestly, once we struggled to handle a look or two, we got more of it. We need to have a better plan and that starts with me. We need to have a better plan to put our guys in a better position, but it’s not just one group.”

When you see something like that, you assume the rest of the league will look at that trend. Does that concern you?

“Absolutely. That’s the way the tape is. We have to be prepared and be able to handle some of those double-A gap walkups more efficiently and we need to be able to handle the communication more effectively, relative to our gameplan. Being able to make those adjustments and understand ways in which we want to attack that.”

You referenced it as finding a rhythm on offense, taking for granted the synergy between you and Drew for a long period. What types of tactics or practices or changes do you make to find that rhythm?

“The one thing that stood out yesterday if you just looked at our third downs and the distance to get the first down. When you have as few snaps as we had, there’s generally one common denominator. Your third downs were third and long situations, whether it was third and long situations, whether it was a minus play or a penalty, but the negative plays whether it be through penalty or sacks or anything that’s going backward, puts you under a much more challenging predicament on third down. That is the one thing, our early-down efficiency has to be better.”

We’ve talked about Jameis Winston’s turnovers and decision-making. How do we balance those two things and how they were connected yesterday?

“There are so many things that go into analyzing a turnover. Obviously, we don’t want to turn the ball over. Each one we look at specifically, talk about it, discuss it and then make the corrections.”

Were any of the assistant coaches able to test out of the protocol today that were sidelined?

“No one today. The only coach that’s come back off it was Brendan Nugent right before we traveled. He came back off of it at the end of the week. Obviously Ryan Nielsen and Brian Young went into it. Nothing new to report on that front.”

The roughing the passer call on Christian Ringo, was that the appropriate call in that knee area?

“I don’t think so and I don’t think when they look at it it’s something they’re wanting to call. When you really look at all the circumstances around it, I think it’s one of the more challenging penalties for all the crews. We got one last week that was tough if you’re Green Bay, not necessarily one you would want to call, and then this week we got one against us. Hopefully they even out in the end.”

Would you say it has been a positive for Taysom Hill how he’s been incorporated with Jameis Winston as opposed to Drew Brees and can you discuss the thought process on the fourth and five play where a timeout was called?

“The fourth and five play was us trying to get them offsides and feeling comfortable with a timeout to use. Kind of a no-brainer freeze where you’re trying to draw the opponent offsides from an obvious run formation that we had used, so that’s all that was.”

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