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

Luke WillsonOct 24 10:44p

Seattle Seahawks TE Luke Willson (groin) will play in the team's Week 8 game, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Crockett GillmoreOct 24 10:32p

Baltimore Ravens rookie TE Crockett Gillmore will receive the start at tight end in Week 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals, and the Ravens appear to have plenty of confidence [ More ]

Golden TateOct 24 10:12p

Detroit Lions WR Golden Tate will be facing the league's 29th ranked pass defense in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons.

Steve JohnsonOct 24 10:08p

San Francisco 49ers WR Stevie Johnson has played only 20 percent of the snaps in the last month, but he's been the team's most effective receiver in that time. [ More ]

Reggie BushOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush (ankle) is expected to be inactive for the Week 9 game against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source Friday, Oct. 24.

Calvin JohnsonOct 24 10:02p

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson (ankle) is unlikely to play in Week 8 against the Atlanta Falcons in London, according to a source. The team has a bye in [ More ]

Ryan MathewsOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Ryan Mathews (knee) missed his sixth consecutive game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he could return to practice as [ More ]

Donald BrownOct 24 09:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Donald Brown (concussion) missed his third straight game in Week 8 Thursday, Oct. 23, against the Denver Broncos, but he might be able to return to practice Monday, Oct. 27.

Alan BallOct 24 07:02p

The Jacksonville Jaguars are extremely thin at cornerback heading into the team's Week 8 game, with CBs Alan Ball (biceps) out, and Dwayne Gratz (hip flexor) questionable. There is [ More ]

Kevin WilliamsOct 24 06:32p

Seattle Seahawks FB Derrick Coleman (foot), DT Jordan Hill (ankle), CB Byron Maxwell (calf), TE Zach Miller (ankle), C Max Unger (foot), LB Bobby Wagner (toe) and WR Bryan [ More ]

Khalif BarnesOct 24 06:32p

Oakland Raiders OT Khalif Barnes (quadriceps) is expected to start at right tackle in Week 8, but head coach Tony Sparano would not say if Barnes or OT Menelik [ More ]

LaMarr WoodleyOct 24 06:22p

Oakland Raiders DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) are expected to be placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Dion SimsOct 24 06:02p

Miami Dolphins SS Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) is listed as doubtful for Week 8. LB Koa Misi (ankle) is listed as questionable, while OT Branden Albert (elbow), LS John Denney [ More ]

Billy WinnOct 24 05:52p

Cleveland Browns WR Rodney Smith (hamstring) and DT Phil Taylor (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8. DE Billy Winn (quadriceps) and SS Jim Leonhard (ankle) are listed [ More ]

Justin TuckOct 24 05:42p

Oakland Raiders TE David Ausberry (foot), WR Vincent Brown (hamstring), CB Keith McGill (groin), DE LaMarr Woodley (biceps) and FS Usama Young (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, [ More ]

Derrick ColemanOct 24 05:32p

Updating a previous report, Seattle Seahawks RB Derrick Coleman (foot) had surgery to repair a foot injury this week. He is expected to miss at least six weeks.

Brandon BrownerOct 24 05:32p

New England Patriots DE Chandler Jones (hip) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8. OG Dan Connolly (concussion), DE Dominique [ More ]

Johnathan JosephOct 24 05:32p

Houston Texans CB Darryl Morris (ankle) and LB Jeff Tarpinian (knee) have been ruled out for Week 8 against the Tennessee Titans. LBs Jadeveon Clowney (knee), Brian Cushing (knee), [ More ]

Frostee RuckerOct 24 05:22p

Arizona Cardinals TE Troy Niklas (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles. DE Calais Campbell (knee) is questionable, while S Rashad Johnson (knee) and [ More ]

Morgan BurnettOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers DE Datone Jones (ankle) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the New Orleans Saints. S Morgan Burnett (calf) is questionable, while CB Sam Shields [ More ]

James StarksOct 24 05:12p

Green Bay Packers RB James Starks (ankle) was limited in practice for the second straight day Friday, Oct. 24, but is probable for Week 8 against the New Orleans [ More ]

Lance BriggsOct 24 05:02p

Chicago Bears LB Jonathan Bostic (back) and LB Lance Briggs (ribs) were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are doubtful for Week 8. S Danny McCray (knee) did [ More ]

Ryan ClarkOct 24 05:02p

Washington Redskins CB Tracy Porter (hamstring) and FS Ryan Clark (ankle, shoulder) were limited during practice Friday, Oct. 24. DE Chris Baker (thigh), OT Tyler Polumbus (knee), LB Perry [ More ]

Jack CrawfordOct 24 04:52p

Dallas Cowboys OT Doug Free (foot) and DE Jack Crawford (calf) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24. Anthony Spencer (knee) was limited during practice, while LB Bruce [ More ]

Ronnie HillmanOct 24 04:52p

Denver Broncos RB Ronnie Hillman continues to run with confidence in the absence of RB Montee Ball (groin), and Ball will likely find it hard to win his starting [ More ]

Jonathan GoodwinOct 24 04:32p

New Orleans Saints C Jonathan Goodwin (ankle, knee) and LB Kyle Knox (ankle) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and have been ruled out. DT Brodrick Bunkley [ More ]

Nick MangoldOct 24 04:32p

New York Jets LB Trevor Reilly (knee) and WR Greg Salas (wrist, ankle) both were limited in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and are questionable for Week 8. OT Oday [ More ]

Cyrus GrayOct 24 04:32p

Kansas City Chiefs CB Christopher Owens (knee) has been ruled out for Week 8 against the St. Louis Rams. WR Junior Hemingway (hamstring) and S Eric Berry (ankle) are [ More ]

Khiry RobinsonOct 24 04:22p

New Orleans Saints RB Khiry Robinson (forearm) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

Jo-Lonn DunbarOct 24 04:22p

St. Louis Rams C Tim Barnes (shoulder) and CB Brandon McGee (foot) are both out for Week 8 against the Kansas City Chiefs. CBs Janoris Jenkins (knee) and Trumaine [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIOct 24 04:12p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III (ankle) said he won't rush back to play until his ankle is fully healed. 'It's our job to help this team win, and [ More ]

Pierre ThomasOct 24 04:12p

New Orleans Saints RB Pierre Thomas (rib, shoulder) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 24, and has been ruled out for Week 8.

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