2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Saints say Payton's presence a factor in victory

By BRETT MARTEL - AP Sports Writer
    2013-09-09 18:32

METAIRIE, La. (AP) - From his bright orange shorts to the smile with which he greeted reporters, Sean Payton looked about as cheerful as a man in a high-pressure job can be on a Monday.

It helps when you win on Sunday, which is exactly what the Saints did in what also marked their head coach's first meaningful game since his one-season bounty ban ended last winter.

Payton downplays his role in whatever success the Saints may have this season, but his players tell a different story.

``It's less about him being on the sideline for the game and more about him being here for an entire offseason and a preseason,'' right tackle Zach Strief said, adding that Payton's approach this year has resembled what he did when he first arrived in 2006.

That year, Payton took over a team that had gone 3-13 a year earlier. He wanted to see a significant culture change. One way he did that, Strief said, was by giving players the sense that just about all of their jobs were up for grabs, creating more competition. He also pushed players physically and mentally, sometimes by making them run more sprints than usual when they seemed to be allowing the grind of camp to render them more sluggish.

``When you as a player get deep into camp, you get this feeling of: `It's too much, it's too hard, we went too many days in a row.' And as soon as you felt that way in camp this year, he pushed - harder,'' Strief said. ``It's not even for conditioning, but what it does mentally is says: As soon as your mind thinks there's no way, you train your mind that, yes, there is a way and yes I can do it.''

Several players also commented on Payton's intense sideline demeanor on Sunday, particularly those like new tight end Ben Watson, who hadn't really seen Payton's piercing game-day glare, his highly animated body language or the commanding way he barks orders.

``He's like a player. He goes into his different zone. I was warned about his zone that he goes into, so I was prepared,'' Watson said. ``He's intense, very intense, very focused.''

As far as conditioning goes, Payton is walking the walk. The gray workout shirt he wore Monday hugged the contours of his torso, chiseled from the CrossFit workout routine he adopted in the past year. That routine also inspired some of the competitive conditioning games he set up between groups of players during the offseason - and it is hard to find a player in the locker room who doesn't say he didn't end up working harder to get in shape this year than last.

Payton's emphasis on physical and mental toughness resonated with players who were part of the 2012 Saints. That team lost five games by eight or fewer points in what wound up a disappointing 7-9 season.

Sure enough, the Saints found themselves in a tight game with Atlanta on Sunday which tested their resilience in the fourth quarter. They narrowly escaped with 23-17 victory, thanks in large part to a defense which held firm deep in its own territory in the final minute.

Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks saw more action in that game than he anticipated because of an injury to fellow lineman Tyrunn Walker, but said he was prepared for it because of Payton's approach to the offseason.

``Not only can you feel your body in better shape and more conditioned, but mentally you know you've been through more strain than that,'' Hicks said. ``So you're saying to yourself, `I've been to this plateau and I can exceed that.'''

Added cornerback Jabari Greer: ``Ultimately, coach Payton is the leader of our team. ... Having him back - his leadership and his practice habits - it definitely prepared us for finishing in the fourth quarter.''

The indoor practice field where Payton met reporters was warmer than usual, and Payton seemed to be joking when he said with a smile that it was because his team needed to become acclimatized to late summer conditions in Tampa Bay, where the Saints will play this Sunday.

Several minutes later, however, he delivered a comment in a more declarative tone that left some doubt about whether he really was kidding.

``We will get a good test here this week, going on the road in a place that, at this time of the year, can be pretty hot.''

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

LaMichael JamesSep 18 11:32p

The Miami Dolphins have expressed interest in free-agent RB LaMichael James (49ers) and it is believed that he has some interest in the team. James is expected to take [ More ]

Knowshon MorenoSep 18 11:32p

Miami Dolphins RB Knowshon Moreno (elbow) has been telling teammates that he hopes to return after the team's Week 5 bye.

Eric DeckerSep 18 11:14p

New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan wants WR Eric Decker (hamstring) to test his injured hamstring in the coming days. The team would like to see him participate in practice Saturday, Sept. 20.

Dez BryantSep 18 11:12p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant (shoulder) said his injured shoulder is sore but fully expects to play in Week 3. Bryant said his shoulder will not affect his performance or style of play.

Devin HesterSep 18 10:12p

Atlanta Falcons WR Devin Hester left the game early Week 3 because of cramps and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:12p

Updating a previous report, Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (foot) suffered a foot injury in Week 3 and is considered questionable to return.

Josh McCownSep 18 10:12p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB Josh McCown (thumb) suffered a right thumb injury in Week 3, and is considered questionable to return.

Harry DouglasSep 18 10:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas (undisclosed) was helped off the field after suffering an undisclosed injury during the team's Week 3 game.

Robert WoodsSep 18 09:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Robert Woods (ankle) would not be able to play in Week 3 at this point because of his injury, according to head coach Doug Marrone.

Justin SmithSep 18 09:32p

San Francisco 49ers CB Tramaine Brock (toe), OT Anthony Davis (hamstring), C Marcus Martin (knee) and TE Vance McDonald (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB [ More ]

John AbrahamSep 18 09:02p

Arizona Cardinals LB John Abraham (concussion), TE Rob Housler (hip), LB Alex Okafor (thigh), DE Frostee Rucker (calf) and P Dave Zastudil (groin) did not participate in practice Thursday, [ More ]

Scott WellsSep 18 08:42p

St. Louis Rams CB Trumaine Johnson (knee), C Barrett Jones (back), TE Cory Harkey (knee), CB Brandon McGee (foot) and OG Rodger Saffold (illness) did not participate in practice [ More ]

Shaun HillSep 18 08:22p

St. Louis Rams QB Austin Davis or QB Shaun Hill (thigh) could come down to a game-time decision in Week 3 against the Dallas Cowboys, according to head coach Jeff Fisher.

Zach MillerSep 18 08:22p

Seattle Seahawks LB Bruce Irvin (rib), TE Zach Miller (ankle), LB Mike Morgan (hip) and CB Tharold Simon (knee) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Christine [ More ]

Kedric GolstonSep 18 08:12p

Washington Redskins DE Kedric Golston (groin), LB Akeem Jordan (knee) and CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) did not participate in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Kory Lichtensteiger (groin) and PK [ More ]

Adrian PetersonSep 18 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's case for child abuse could take six to 18 months to go to trial, according to a source. Peterson is on the Exempt/Commissioner's Permission list and is out indefinitely.

Johnny ManzielSep 18 07:42p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel's playing time is decided during the game, according to offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan. Shanahan said using Manziel makes the defense have to think more [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictSep 18 07:42p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (concussion) looks unlikely to play in Week 3 against the Tennessee Titans after leaving each of the first two games of the year with [ More ]

Shane VereenSep 18 07:22p

New England Patriots RB Shane Vereen (shoulder) was limited in practice for the second straight day Thursday, Sept. 18.

A. Seferian-JenkinsSep 18 07:12p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have declared TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, RB Doug Martin, DL Gerald McCoy, OT Kevin Pamphile, CB Kip Edwards, LB Mason Foster, OG Rishaw Johnson inactive for Week 3.

Jerome SimpsonSep 18 07:02p

The Minnesota Vikings have released WR Jerome Simpson Thursday, Sept. 18.

Roddy WhiteSep 18 07:02p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White (hamstring) is inactive for Week 3 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday, Sept. 18.

Doug MartinSep 18 07:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin (knee) is officially inactive Thursday, Sept. 18.

C. WhitehurstSep 18 07:02p

Tennessee Titans CB Jason McCourty (groin) and LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) were limited in practice Thursday, Sept. 18. QB Charlie Whitehurst (finger) participated fully.

Cliff MatthewsSep 18 07:02p

The Atlanta Falcons have declared DL Cliff Matthews, C James Stone, CB Javier Arenas, WR Roddy White, OT Ryan Schraeder, QB Sean Renfree, LB Tyler Starr inactive for Week 3.

Brett KeiselSep 18 06:52p

Pittsburgh Steelers OG Ramon Foster (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. RB Dri Archer (ankle) was limited. WR Martavis Bryant (shoulder), DE Brett Keisel (non-injury related), DT Steve [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinSep 18 06:42p

New Orleans Saints S Marcus Ball (hamstring), LB David Hawthorne (ankle) and FB Erik Lorig (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. C Jonathan Goodwin (elbow), LB Kyle Knox [ More ]

Xavier RhodesSep 18 06:42p

Minnesota Vikings DT Sharrif Floyd (shoulder) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. LB Chad Greenway (hand, rib), OT Phil Loadholt (ankle) and LB Brandon Watts (knee) were limited. LB [ More ]

Alfonzo DennardSep 18 06:42p

New England Patriots DE Michael Buchanan (ankle), LB Jamie Collins (thigh), OG Dan Connolly (knee), CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder), S Don Jones (hamstring), DT Sealver Siliga (hand) and C [ More ]

Charles RogersSep 18 06:42p

Oakland Raiders LB Sio Moore (ankle) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. CB Chimdi Chekwa (knee), OT Matt McCants (knee), LB Nick Roach (concussion), CB Charles Rogers (knee) and [ More ]

Ryan CladySep 18 06:32p

Denver Broncos LB Lerentee McCray (knee) and LB Danny Trevathan (knee) did not practice Thursday, Sept. 18. OG Ben Garland (ankle) was limited, while DT Marvin Austin (non-injury), S [ More ]

Tony RomoSep 18 06:22p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) returned to a full practice Thursday, Sept. 18, after skipping practice Wednesday, Sept. 17, with tightness in his back.

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