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

Deone BucannonJul 24 11:32a

Arizona Cardinals S Deone Bucannon was not dropped into the starting lineup during offseason workouts, as the team has faith in FS Tony Jefferson and FS Rashad Johnson. He [ More ]

Ray RiceJul 24 11:31a

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice will be suspended for the first two games of the season, according to sources. The announcement is expected Thursday, July 24.

Blake BortlesJul 24 11:22a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles' lower-body mechanics likely will be revised. Bortles' flaw has been over-reliance on his right arm when throwing; he doesn't use his legs enough. A [ More ]

Mikel LeshoureJul 24 11:14a

Detroit Lions RB Mikel Leshoure is currently believed to be the fourth tailback on the club behind RBs Reggie Bush, Joique Bell and Theo Riddick heading into training camp [ More ]

Justin BlackmonJul 24 10:53a

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Justin Blackmon was arrested for possession of marijuana Wednesday, July 23, in Oklahoma.

Jordan PalmerJul 24 10:52a

Chicago Bears QB Jordan Palmer still has the first shot at winning the backup quarterback job, according to head coach Marc Trestman.

R. Griffin IIIJul 24 10:22a

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III's designed running plays might be 'few and far between,' according to head coach Jay Gruden. He still has the green light to scramble [ More ]

Daniel FellsJul 24 09:42a

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells has received the first snap in 11-on-11 drills during the team's two days in training camp. Kellen Davis and Adrien Robinson have [ More ]

Ahmad BradshawJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck) has been cleared to practice. Bradshaw is an RB4, but he could be worth more if Trent Richardson fails to produce again.

Roddy WhiteJul 24 08:33a

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White signed a four-year extension with the team that will keep him under team control for the next five years, according to sources.

Donald ThomasJul 24 08:33a

Indianapolis Colts TE Dwayne Allen (hip) and OG Donald Thomas (quadriceps, biceps) have been cleared to practice.

Josh GordonJul 24 08:23a

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will have his appeal hearing for his one-year suspension Aug. 1.

Greg OlsenJul 24 01:43a

Carolina Panthers TE Greg Olsen said he is tired of hearing criticism about Carolina's new receiving corps, which is largely made up of journeymen and unproven commodities. Olsen added [ More ]

Aldon SmithJul 24 01:13a

San Francisco 49ers LB Aldon Smith is expected to meet with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in the near future, which likely would lead to a decision on any discipline for Smith.

Anthony BarrJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Anthony Barr was with the team for just a few days during offseason workouts due to NFL rules. Head coach Mike Zimmer is eager to see [ More ]

Sharrif FloydJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd had a good offseason, but head coach Mike Zimmer thinks the defensive tackle is trying to be too fine. 'Sharrif has a lot of [ More ]

C. PattersonJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings WR Cordarrelle Patterson will remain on kickoff returns despite an expanded role in the offense this season. 'We want our best players to get their hands on [ More ]

Montell OwensJul 23 11:23p

Detroit Lions FB Montell Owens has company, as the team will employ a more traditional fullback in the offense. They signed FB Jed Collins for the role. Owens is [ More ]

Harrison SmithJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings safeties Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo will be battling during training camp and the preseason for the starting job opposite FS Harrison Smith. 'That will be interesting, [ More ]

Matt CasselJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings QBs Teddy Bridgewater and Matt Cassel saw a majority of the snaps during spring workouts, but QB Christian Ponder has a chance to start, and head coach [ More ]

Chad GreenwayJul 23 11:23p

Minnesota Vikings LB Chad Greenway could be used as the starting middle linebacker, according to head coach Mike Zimmer. 'It's a possibility. We keep working him in there. We're [ More ]

Troy NiklasJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (hand) has been cleared to participate in training camp, and was working Wednesday, July 23.

Dan WilliamsJul 23 10:23p

Arizona Cardinals NT Dan Williams will open training camp as the team's starting nose tackle with NT Alameda Ta'amu (knee) on the Physically-Unable-to-Perform (PUP) list.

Johnny ManzielJul 23 10:23p

Cleveland Browns head coach Mike Pettine thinks QB Johnny Manziel needs to increase dedication to earn the starting job. 'I think he knows that in order to compete well, [ More ]

Theo RiddickJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick has the chance to break into the rotation at tailback, and he has drawn considerable praise from his teammates and coaches for his development [ More ]

Joique BellJul 23 10:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (nee) missed most of the offseason due to a knee injury, although he has said his condition is minor and he expects to be [ More ]

Jed CollinsJul 23 10:23p

The Detroit Lions are re-incorporating the traditional fullback into their new offensive scheme this season, and that's why they went out and signed FB Jed Collins.

Cheta OzougwuJul 23 07:23p

New Orleans Saints DE Cheta Ozougwu (undisclosed) cleared waivers and was transferred to the Saints' Reserve/Injured list Wednesday, July 23.

Billy WinnJul 23 06:53p

The Cleveland Browns placed OL Chris Faulk (undisclosed), DE Billy Winn (undisclosed) and LB Tank Carder (undisclosed) on the non-football injury list Wednesday, July 23.

Kyle OrtonJul 23 06:33p

Free-agent QB Kyle Orton (Cowboys) does not want to retire and wants to play in 2014, according to Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

Conner VernonJul 23 06:23p

The Cleveland Browns placed CB Royce Adams, LB Brandon Magee and WR Conner Vernon on the no-recall waivers list Wednesday, July 23.

Terrance WestJul 23 06:23p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns RB Terrance West (undisclosed) said on his Twitter page that he passed his conditioning test and people need to 'stop making up your [ More ]

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