The New Orleans Saints improved their record to 4-1 after a 31-24 victory vs the Tampa Bay Bucs. Saints head coach Sean Payton joined Zach Strief and Bobby Hebert on Monday night to talk about the game during the New Orleans Saints Coaches Show.
Saints quarterback Teddy Bridgewater had his best game in a Saints uniform completing 26 of 34 passes for 314 yards along with four touchdowns. Coach Payton said passing the ball from the start would be key.
“Our plan in that game was to throw it on early downs, you know, look for opportunities to run more and more as the game went on. The players did a good job of executing the plan. I thought we had really good energy for a noon game. I thought it was important we played well early.”
No matter the quarterback, Coach Payton is comfortable with whoever is behind center.
“Each week, the traits you look for at that position…it’s such a good room with Drew, Teddy and Taysom. They all have the respect from their teammates and they’re great leaders. From a coach’s perspective, you want to be able to coach guys like that.”
Another standout from the game were the Saints defensive backs. The defense held Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston to just 204 yards passing on the day, which included zero connections to his number one wide receiver Mike Evans.
“I think going in, the key was to eliminate big plays in the passing game. Somehow changing up the looks for Jameis Winston, whether it was enough pressure or enough things for him to pay attention to, to throw off the timing of the passing game. The coverage and the front go hand and hand, and I thought we did an excellent job in that regard,” Payton said.
The man guarding Bucs WR Mike Evans, CB Marshon Lattimore, shadowed Evans 43 of 53 total snaps, according NFL’s Next Gen Stats. Payton was complimentary of not only Lattimore, but former Buckeye and Saints teammate Eli Apple.
“Marshon a lot of times is going to grab the number one guy in the man situation. Eli across from him did an outstanding job and had an interception. We’ve had five interceptions brought back this year either from penalties or delay of game. We’re getting our hands on the ball and I thought we contested a lot of passes as well.”
Back over to the Saints offense, TE Jared Cook finally got his first taste of the end zone on Sunday. Cook scored the Saints second touchdown of the game putting them up 17-10 in the 2nd quarter. He finished the game with 4 catches for 41 yards, and Coach Payton thinks there’s more of the same ahead.
“We as coaches have to look at ways to get him the ball. He made some big plays yesterday. He’s had a really good camp and he’s someone who’s picked up what we’re doing. He’s a big target for the quarterbacks and his run after the catch is outstanding. We just have to continue to find touches for him especially on 3rd down and the red zone.”
Finally, the one miscue from the game was punt returner Deonte Harris’ fumble issues. Payton knows the rookie is still learning the ins and outs of the NFL and says he’s willing to correct those mistakes.
“He’s a tough critic on himself. He’s also a smart player. All of these reps for him are firsthand experience. Ball security for him is first and foremost. I know he’s trying to make a play. The most important thing is to get rid of the last bad play and on to the next sequence. We think he has a ton of ability and we’re anxious to work with him. Fortunately, we can coach off of win and not come off of a tough loss because of a turnover like that. I think he’s going to bounce back strong and he’ll have a chance to do so this weekend.”
The Saints will travel to Jacksonville this Sunday for their third road game of the season. The Jags come in at 2-3 on the season. Kickoff for that game can be heard at noon on WWL Radio.