NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — The New Orleans Saints (5-6) host the Dallas Cowboys (7-4) this upcoming Thursday at 7:20 p.m.

Head coach Sean Payton spoke to media via conference call Sunday morning:

Some of the early impressions of the Cowboys?

“I think you see the speed on (defense on) tape. They are getting a lot of takeaways defensively. I think they do a great job with their rush and coverage plans relative to who they’re playing. Offensively, I think they have really good balance. When they run the ball for 100 yards or more they are an unbeaten team this year. They have explosive players at the receiver position. They have a quarterback who’s playing at an outstanding level and one of the better offensive lines we’ve faced. The first impressions when we’ve watched them, their talent, their coaching, defensively Dan’s (Quinn) done a great job in his first year getting that group to play fast, play hard, they really get after the passer and you have to defense when you see their offense.”

What have you seen from Dak Prescott’s growth over the years?

“You see the leadership, you see the decisionmaking. He’s someone that makes all the throws. I think he also does a great job of extending plays. He’s been fun to watch.”

What is your relationship with Mike McCarthy and what is it like having him back in the league?

“I think good. He and I were hired in the same year way back in ’06. I have a ton of respect for him. I would call him a good friend. I think he’s done a great job. It’s good to see him back on the sidelines. He’s certainly deserving. The league meetings, things all of us are together at, it’s just been a friendship that’s lasted over the years.”

What has been your impressions of Micah Parsons and the job he has done with that defense?

“He jumps off the tape at you. I think more recently at the end position. He’s impressive when he rushes, obviously when he plays at linebacker the same way. I think when he gets on the tackles though and is rushing, he’s a handful. You see in different games where he’s playing at different spots. Obviously he’s fit into their system well.”

Was Kaden Elliss playing on the defensive line as a function of guys missing and how did he play in that role?

“He was fine. It was a backup sub rush role really. There weren’t a ton of snaps to it.”

{Transcripts provided courtesy of the New Orleans Saints}