Payton: You Have To Have An Attitude

Sean Payton didn't back away from his defensive coordinator's comments when asked about the impact Gregg Williams has had on the Saints. Payton agreed, Williams brings "attitude" to the defense.

(opening comments)
“From a scheduling standpoint, we’re back outside over at the University of Miami. I thought our work yesterday was good. The conditions were good…the two fields we’re working on over there are in great shape. The people have been real hospitable to us. Today, we’ll spend a little more time in the nickel. We’re just finishing up meetings right now.”

(on how he decides what motivational tools to use with players from game to game)
“Sometimes in a given game, there’s a point of emphasis that you want to make depending on the game. There are games where you don’t feel it necessarily applies, and there are other games where you may definitely have a thought on how you want to bring a point across. It can vary, but usually you’re trying to send one clear and concise message.”

(on how he reacts to being the underdog for Sunday’s game which is an unusual role for the Saints this year)
“We have probably been in that role a couple of times this year…I can’t recall. Both teams are battle-tested having played a full season, and played from behind and been ahead. When you win 13 or 14 regular season games and then win two in the postseason, there are certain things you learn to deal with. Whether you’re playing with a lead or you’re playing from behind, you have to stress the importance of finishing with your players. I think our guys understand that and I’m sure Indianapolis does, too.”

(on where he is right now in installing the Saints’ game plan and how the extra week of preparation affects that)
“We’re probably 85 percent in. There are some things that we’re going to give them tomorrow. Not a lot. Today we’ll work on a few new things third down-wise. I think the extra week really affords you a chance to get their legs back. We were careful not to install too much last week. We got them on the field and off the field, and really gave them a chance to kind of catch their breath, if you will. The routine here is a little different and yet we got good work in yesterday with pads. Today we’ll be in pads again. I was pleased with the schedule, and today will be very much the same.”

(on the evolution of his offensive system)
“I know that Jon (Gruden) worked under Mike Holmgren, and my first years in Philadelphia were really coming up in that system and cutting my teeth on the terminology. The systems in our league and how you call plays vary. There’s probably three or four different strings, if you will. And yet they end up being more just like computer programs. You can get the same play design, the same type of play. One system might call it a word and the other system might use a number. In the end, that just becomes merely the language. The key to a good offense is deeper than that. That being said, Jon was with Holmgren in Green Bay, and Mike was with Bill Walsh. When a terminology carries through coaches, there are always tweaks and changes to it. I would say there’s a portion of it there, and some of it from Dallas.”

(on how the Saints’ defense has acclimated to their new system under Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams)
“I think from the very beginning through our mini-camps and training camp, Gregg and his staff have done a good job of instilling that approach. Gregg said this yesterday or the day before, but you have to have an attitude and create somewhat of an identity to play good defense. I think he has done a good job of that. Just looking at the takeaways and the pressures and all those things that can help you, not only defensively but as a team, are things that they worked hard on.”

(on the role of LB Jonathan Vilma and what challenges Vilma faces against Colts QB Peyton Manning)
“He’s the middle linebacker, he’s the quarterback, if you will, of the defense. He communicates with Gregg (Williams), he gets the call and gets it communicated. Certainly in a game like this, there’s that whole aspect of trying to play certain looks. Jon’s responsible for a lot and he handles that responsibility real well.”

(on the most challenging part of being a coach in today’s NFL)
“The challenges often times are many things that come up outside of your building, things that you try to control as best you can. For me, (the challenge is) the schedule with duties as a head coach and trying to keep on top of and keep up with the guys in the offensive meetings and not hold them up. Dealing with the media—we’ve got a good group back in New Orleans. In-season, getting the right rest and trying to take care of yourself, those are challenges. I think the key with any job is trying to surround yourself with good people and I’ve been able to do that with this staff that does a great job. Finding ways to delegate and have balance in your day-to-day routine is important.”

(on being described as a players’ coach)
“The whole players’ coach thing…I cringe a little bit. I’m not going to describe myself—it would probably be better for a player to (do so). I think it’s important that you’re demanding. I think it’s important that you’re fair. I think you don’t want to settle for anything less than exactly what you’re looking for. It’s not our job to be the players’ friend. It’s our job to teach and motivate, give them a plan to be successful and make tough decisions. I think what’s important is that at some point, we are also selling a game plan offensively and defensively and kicking game, and selling a system and creating that confidence within the team. I think those are all things that are important. So I don’t know how they’d describe me.”

(on the year he spent as a player in Leicester, England)
“There’s a book called ‘Playing for Pizza’ written by Arthur (John) Grisham, and there’s some similarities when you go over there and you’re playing. (I was there for) Six months during ’87 that I shared with a lot of good people before I came back and got into coaching. It was an opportunity to live somewhere else and experience that, and I really have a lot of good memories. And also I really had a chance to reflect on where I wanted to go professionally and what I wanted to do. It was good to see some of those people back there last year when we played in London, played the Chargers.”

(on if he would prefer that Sunday’s game be officiated in a “let-the-players-play” style)
“No, I think you want the officials to do their job. I think we get good consistent calls from these guys in the postseason. Listen, it’s not perfect but I think these guys work extremely hard at their job. So I wouldn’t say that. I’d hate to have a play that should be a penalty not be a penalty. I think the thing that’s always nice is that these are guys who have graded out the best all season. I know they look closely at those grades and those evaluations to determine who gets the Super Bowl, the (conference) championship game, the divisional game. There’s a lot of evaluation and time and effort that goes into that. I’m sure this crew will do a great job. The difference in the Super Bowl and the (conference) championship game is that you get somewhat of an all-star crew rather than a group that’s been familiar working together. So there are some nuances with that. I think we’ll research and study the referee and look at his background and make sure that we have a good idea of his tendencies.”

(on how his experience as a replacement player 23 years ago shaped and influenced him)
“That first year out, I was up in Canada, back here in Chicago and then over in England. Ultimately when you’re only spending about 20 to 21 days per stop, then you’re quickly thinking about what you’re going to do next. I think that first year out of college, I knew I wanted to coach, and I certainly was grateful for the experience of the tryouts and the workouts. It was clear that I was going to have to get into this profession in a different area. So I had some opportunities. I was very fortunate to get on as a graduate assistant at San Diego State. And certainly being from Chicago, that was a good experience as well.”

(on his “amped-up” demeanor on the sideline during games)
“You don’t know until you’re a head coach how you’re going to handle it. There’s certain times where maybe you’re more engaged than others. It just depends on the game. It can vary.”

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