2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Payton says his return alone doesn't fix Saints

    2013-03-20 20:30

PHOENIX (AP) - Sean Payton is trying to guard against anyone in the New Orleans Saints' organization thinking the team will return to its playoff form of recent seasons just because he's back.

``That's a dangerous mindset for a team to have. That's not real,'' Payton said when NFL coaches met with reporters Wednesday at the NFL owners meetings. ``We could turn around and win five games.''

Payton returned to work a little over two months ago following a full-season suspension - which lasted about nine months - in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation of the Saints.

Since then, he's made several substantial changes, most notably firing defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and hiring Rob Ryan to not only replace him, but to overhaul the defensive scheme from a 4-3 alignment to a 3-4.

Payton also has hired several new assistants and taken part in key personnel decisions, including ones that brought in cornerback Keenan Lewis in free agency while allowing four-year starting left tackle Jermon Bushrod to leave for Chicago.

Payton said he is well-rested and ``fired up'' to be back on the job, but also cautioned that the Saints have ``a lot of areas we have to improve on.''

``The one thing we have to avoid is perception that they'll be right back in the swing of things,'' Payton said. ``The way we played a year ago and some of the things we have to correct, we've got a lot of work ahead of us. ... We did a lot of things that prevented you from winning games.''

Payton said Spagnuolo wound up in a situation that was ``unfair,'' because he was hired only a couple months before Payton was suspended, and the two never coached together. Still, Payton emphasized that he was concerned by the Saints not only ranking last in the NFL in defense, but giving up more yards (7,042) than any team in history.

He also was bothered by New Orleans ranking 25th in rushing, averaging 98.6 yards per game.

Payton pinpointed those two statistical trends as reasons why Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees appeared to struggle at times, completing what for him was a relatively low 63 percent of his passes while throwing 19 interceptions and getting sacked 26 times.

``When you tell me a team is last in the league in defense and last in the running game, I'm telling you the quarterback's job description is entirely different,'' Payton asserted. ``I'm telling you he's having to play and press and try to do certain things that his counterpart may not have to do based on the way that team is running the ball or playing defense. ... You get one dimensional, you find yourself in these games where you're not controlling the game.''

Now Payton is trying to find a new left tackle and bolster a pass rush that ranked 29th in sacks per passing attempt.

``If you ask me what keeps me up at night,'' Payton began, ``there would be two areas: how are we going to improve our pass rush and how are we going to be at left tackle?''

Charles Brown, a 2010 second-round draft choice, could be the answer at left tackle, but Payton is concerned about his history of being injury prone.

``He has to be available,'' Payton said. ``Year after year, if you're unable to (remain healthy enough to play), then it becomes as a coach, `Do we have him? Do we not have him? ... It's hard to game plan then.

``I look at that spot like there's a magnet with no name on it.''

Payton said it was painful to watch from afar in frustration as his team struggled, and to be barred from even talking to people about it. And even as Payton said he tried to make the best of his suspension by coaching his son's sixth-grade football team and even going to the dentist more often, he also made it clear that he will never agree that his punishment was justified.

When asked if he subscribes to the notion that everything happens for a reason, he responded, ``I don't know that I would say everything happens for a reason; I would say everything happens.''

He went on to say that his approach to his suspension was to focus on what it would take to get reinstated, rather than allowing his behavior to be governed by his bitterness over the fact that, for nearly a year, he could not have conversations with colleagues to which he was closest.

``I could scream from the rooftops how screwed up I think that is, but that's not going to matter, all right?'' Payton said. ``So there's a discipline and a focus and you just make sure you get yourself in a place where you're able to handle the challenge and you're able to come back stronger, tougher, wiser, maybe more skeptical than ever.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Terrence ToliverAug 1 05:02p

Free-agent CB Brandon E. Smith (Bills), WR Terrence Toliver (Bears), TE Brett Brackett (Dolphins) and OG Jared Smith (Seahawks) all officially cleared waivers and became free agents Friday, Aug. 1.

Allen RobinsonAug 1 11:52a

Updating a previous report, Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) will miss at least two weeks with a hamstring injury.

Tandon DossAug 1 10:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Allen Robinson (hamstring) and WR Tandon Doss (undisclosed), DT Jordan Miller (undisclosed) and LB John Lotulelei (leg) will miss an extended period of time.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 08:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will make $6.5 million in base salary this season instead of $5 million, according to a league source. Lynch will now be guaranteed an [ More ]

Jonathan GrimesJul 31 05:52p

Houston Texans RB Jonathan Grimes (undisclosed) and LB Trevardo Williams (undisclosed) have been activated from the Non-Football Injury list and Physically Unable to Perform list, respectively.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 05:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch arrived in Seattle Thursday, July 31, according to a source. Lynch officially ended his holdout from training camp.

Jared SmithJul 31 04:52p

The Seattle Seahawks waived OG Jared Smith (undisclosed) from the Reserve/Injured list with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Terrence ToliverJul 31 04:52p

Chicago Bears WR Terrence Toliver (toe) was waived with an injury settlement Thursday, July 31.

Steve GregoryJul 31 04:32p

The Kansas City Chiefs signed free-agent SS Steve Gregory (Patriots) Thursday, July 31, to an undisclosed deal.

Matt SlaterJul 31 03:32p

The New England Patriots have activated WR Matthew Slater (undisclosed) from the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.

Chris WhiteJul 31 03:32p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce (leg) and LB Chris White (undisclosed) participated in practice Thursday, July 31. Both players sat out practice Wednesday, July 30.

Peria JerryJul 31 03:22p

Atlanta Falcons DT Peria Jerry announced his retirement Thursday, July 31.

Marshawn LynchJul 31 03:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch will not receive a new deal and added money, but the team is expected to add some financial concessions to his contract.

Ronald JohnsonJul 31 01:52p

The Seattle Seahawks signed WR Ronald Johnson (Eagles) Thursday, July 31. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Anthony McCoyJul 31 01:42p

Seattle Seahawks TE Anthony McCoy (Achilles') was placed on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

Frank AlexanderJul 31 01:42p

Carolina Panthers DE Frank Alexander said he will not appeal his four-game suspension, because he was guilty of violating the NFL's policy.

Chad HenneJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Chad Henne is in no danger of losing his starting job at this point, according to head coach Gus Bradley. Henne has looked comfortable during practice and is performing well.

Blake BortlesJul 31 01:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles worked on his development and has progressed faster than originally anticipated, according to offensive coordinator Judd Fisch. 'I think that one of the things [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 31 01:22p

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith will meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell Friday, Aug. 8. Smith is facing a suspension for three felony gun charges and a DUI.

David WilsonJul 31 01:12p

Doctors for New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) are very hesitant to clear him to return to football after suffering a neck stinger in practice.

Tony RomoJul 31 01:12p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) said he is not sure if he will play in the team's preseason opener Thursday, Aug. 7. 'You're constantly evaluating it and you're [ More ]

Rueben RandleJul 31 12:32p

New York Giants WR Rueben Randle (hamstring) said his hamstring is feeling better and he expects to practice Thursday, July 31.

Donald ThomasJul 31 12:32p

The Indianapolis Colts placed OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) on the Reserve/Injured list Thursday, July 31.

David WilsonJul 31 12:01p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) 'needs a miracle' from his surgeon's evaluation to be able to continue his playing career, according to a source.

David WilsonJul 31 11:52a

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) attended team meetings Thursday, July 31, and appeared ready to go, according to RB Rashad Jennings.

Brent UrbanJul 31 11:42a

Baltimore Ravens DE Brent Urban (knee) suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament during practice Wednesday, July 30, and will miss the entire 2014 season.

Lance LouisJul 31 11:32a

Indianapolis Colts OG Jack Mewhort appears to be the leading candidate for the starting left guard job. OG Lance Louis is also considered a candidate for the job.

Donald ThomasJul 31 11:22a

Indianapolis Colts OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps) is scheduled to undergo season-ending quadriceps surgery and will be placed on the Reserve/Injured list, according to head coach Chuck Pagano.

Nick BarnettJul 31 11:12a

Free-agent LB Nick Barnett (Redskins) is still an option for the Atlanta Falcons depending on what happens with the team's linebackers. The Falcons worked out Barnett in June but did not sign him.

Josh GordonJul 31 10:42a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon is not practicing Thursday, July 31, and presumably will miss practice Friday, Aug. 1, to attend his suspension appeal hearing.

Eric BerryJul 31 10:32a

Kansas City Chiefs SS Eric Berry (leg, foot) was carted off at practice Thursday, July 31, with a right leg or foot injury. SS Jerron McMillian has taken his place.

Jordan TodmanJul 31 09:52a

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Toby Gerhart is expected to be spelled by RBs Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Storm Johnson so he doesn't reach the 300-carry plateau.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group