We heard a lot about Sean Payton’s motivational efforts to pump up the New Orleans Saints ahead of their playoff run, but for the first time, we’ve been given a chance to see it.
Payton wheeled the Lombardi Trophy — plus the equivalent of each player’s $225,000 Super Bowl bonus — into the locker room last week to rile up his players. It apparently worked, and now you can see what they got to see.
That’s a pretty unbeatable presentation. It’s pretty easy to see why the Saints players loved it so much. Now the big question is whether it will work or not.
The New Orleans Saints are one of the Super Bowl favorites, and just to drive home the point, head coach Sean Payton had a bold way of motivating his side.
Payton wheeled in the Lombardi Trophy on Tuesday along with $225,000 in cash — each player’s Super Bowl bonus — and told his players to win three games if they wanted it.
It may sound like a tall tale, but Saints running back Mark Ingram confirmed that it happened.
Payton’s players will love that, and they should. Of course, rivals who have already jawed with the Saints coach this season will probably have something to say about it, too.
There are a number of people who feel the Green Bay Packers should have waited until the end of the season to fire longtime head coach Mike McCarthy, and it is safe to say Sean Payton is among them.
Payton was hired as the head coach of the New Orleans Saints in 2006, which was the same year McCarthy landed the Green Bay job. When reporters asked Payton on Wednesday about McCarthy being let go, he seemed genuinely distraught.
“Don’t get me started on that subject,” Payton said, per ESPN’s Mike Triplett. “He’s a close friend, a fantastic coach. … I hate it. I hated to see how it happened. He was the last one in our class, the year we were hired in ’06. But that’s the business.”
Payton added that seeing someone like McCarthy lose his job is an unfriendly reminder of the age-old cliche that the NFL is a business.
“As a head coach, the first thing you realize — winning, losing, wherever you’re at, it’s a business,” he said. “Just like it is for the player.”
Green Bay’s home loss to the Arizona Cardinals was one of the most embarrassing for the franchise in recent memory, especially since they were — and technically still are — in the playoff hunt. The timing of the McCarthy firing was more of a surprise than the decision itself, and even one member of the Packers’ coaching staff seemed to think McCarthy took the fall for issues Aaron Rodgers helped create. Not surprisingly, that coach has also been fired.
Payton knows how it feels to have the media calling for your job during a rough season, but Drew Brees has never openly criticized Payton’s offense the way Rodgers had done with McCarthy’s this season. Regardless of what Rodgers says about his personal relationship with McCarthy, that was a factor in the team’s decision to move on from the coach.
The New Orleans Saints were outplayed by the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday night, but a few coaching blunders by Sean Payton sure didn’t help matters. One mistake made by Payton at the end of the 13-10 loss was inexplicable.
With just under three minutes to go, the Cowboys and Saints traded turnovers. First New Orleans forced a turnover with a strip sack by Cam Jordan. The Saints gave the ball back to the Cowboys two plays later on an interception thrown by Drew Brees.
The Cowboys got the ball with 2:08 left and the Saints only had one timeout. Dallas ran Ezekiel Elliott on first down for two yards. At that point Payton inexplicably burned his only remaining timeout with 2:03 remaining.
Why was that so dumb?
All Payton had to do was wait three more seconds for the 2-minute warning to stop the clock. The Cowboys likely would have rushed two more times after that — once to get the Saints to burn their final timeout, and the next to run time off the clock. Dallas then probably would have kicked a field goal, and New Orleans would have gotten the ball back down six points with no timeouts and around 45 or so seconds left. They would have had a chance to win.
Instead, because Payton had stopped the clock at 2:03, the Cowboys knew their next play would be stopped due to the two-minute warning. That means they could attempt a pass rather than a low-percentage run aimed at killing the clock. Dallas of course took advantage of the opportunity and called for a pass. The Saints were flagged for pass interference, giving Dallas a first down. That ended the game because the Cowboys could kneel out the clock.
The Saints’ chances of winning wouldn’t have been great, but at least they would have had a chance had Payton handled things the way he was supposed to. Between the terrible timeout usage and burning his challenges early, it was not a good night for Payton.
Sean Payton called letting one of his former defensive players get away the biggest mistake of his time as head coach of the New Orleans Saints.
Payton has made a lot of correct decisions during his 12 seasons in New Orleans. On Sunday, he shared one that he wasn’t particularly proud of.
The Saints improved to 9-1 on the season thanks to a 48-7 dismantling of the reigning Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles. Among the players on the Eagles is Malcolm Jenkins, who began his career with the Saints and spent five seasons with the franchise.
When Jenkins became an unrestricted free agent in 2014, he did not receive a contract offer from New Orleans. He ultimately signed with the Eagles. Jenkins may still have some ill will towards Payton over that decision, because he flipped off the coach during Sunday’s game.
After the contest, Payton said the two were on good terms and called letting Jenkins go the biggest mistake of his tenure with the Saints.
Jenkins was a member of the Saints’ Super Bowl XLIV team. Since leaving New Orleans, he has gone on to win one more Super Bowl and earn two Pro Bowl selections with Philadelphia.
Coaches and organizations face tough decisions when it comes to which players to keep and which to let go. Jenkins is clearly one Payton wishes he could have kept around.
Los Angeles Rams cornerback Marcus Peters is fired up by some trash talk from Sean Payton and can’t wait to face the New Orleans Saints again.
Payton’s Saints came out on fire in the first half of their game against the Rams last weekend. They led 35-17, but only wound up winning 45-35 after a second half comeback by the Rams. Saints wide receiver Michael Thomas was a monster in the game. He had 12 catches for 211 yards and a key touchdown in the win.
Thomas’ touchdown was the difference in the game, and Payton said the Saints got the matchup they wanted on that play with Thomas against Peters. Peters was asked about that on Thursday and responded.
“Tell Sean Payton to keep talking that s—. We’re going to see him soon,” Peters said on Thursday, via the OC Register’s Rams reporter Rich Hammond.
Here’s the video, though it contains a bad word:
The Rams and Saints are among the best teams in the NFC, so it’s possible they will face each other again in the playoffs. That’s what Peters is hoping, though the Rams will have another weapon they’ll be forced to cover next time.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton was suspended for a full season over his role in the “Bountygate” scandal, but he claims that the NFL wanted much more than that.
In an interview with ‘In Depth with Graham Bensinger,’ Payton said that former Saints owner Tom Benson had told Payton that two other league owners had called encouraging the owner to fire the coach — which Payton believes was a directive straight from the league office.
“When you say a year and you’re not able to talk to any coach and you’re not able to talk to any other player and you know that the league office actually contacted two other owners to talk to Mr. Benson about finding a way to have you fired,” Payton said, via John Breech of CBS Sports. “Like, they are trying to break you.”
Payton ended up serving a suspension during the 2012 season, but kept his job and remains coach of the Saints. The whole episode clearly sparked some bitterness toward the league office that doesn’t seem to have entirely disappeared in New Orleans.
The New Orleans Saints are going to spend a portion of training camp trying to figure out who will return kicks and punts for them this season, and head coach Sean Payton says the competition is about as wide open as a popular reality dating show.
When asked about the return game over the weekend, Payton said the Saints have around a dozen guys they are considering for the job. He then compared the candidates to contestants on “The Bachelor.”
“Our return game, it’s kind of like ‘The Bachelor’ right now,” Payton said, per Joel Erickson of the Williston Herald. “We’ve got about 12 contestants, all with roses. We don’t know who our returner’s going to be, and if she doesn’t like any of them, we’re bringing in more.”
Alvin Kamara was the best kick return man the Saints had last season, but they can’t be putting him at risk of getting injured with Mark Ingram suspended to start the season. Even when Ingram returns, Kamara is too important to the Saints offense to have him returning kicks. Ted Ginn Jr. has plenty of experience returning punts, but Erickson notes that he has had issues with ball security.
Kamara may not be one of the Saints players holding a rose at the moment, but special teams coach Mike Westhoff says that could change later in the year.
“I look at him right now, as a kick returner, in my mind I see Thanksgiving,” Westhoff said. “After Thanksgiving, he might be our guy, because with him, oh my goodness, look out.”
Judging by what Payton has already said about Kamara this offseason, he’ll probably be hesitant to use him in that role. Sorry, Alvin — no rose for you.
Mark Ingram has been suspended for the first four games of the 2018 NFL season, and many assume that means fellow running back Alvin Kamara will carry a bigger workload to start the year. Not so, says Saints head coach Sean Payton.
As explosive of a playmaker as he is, Kamara never received more than 12 carries in a game last season. He had nine or fewer carries in 11 games, and Payton indicated on Sunday that Kamara won’t be getting a ton of extra touches in Ingram’s absence.
Kamara racked up more than 1,500 yards from scrimmage last year, but more than half of them came in the passing game. While he has shown he can be effective running the ball, his specialty is getting out into space and making defenders miss. Ingram is more of the power back, and the Saints probably don’t want Kamara taking those types of hits.
The Saints have a pretty favorable schedule to start the season, as they host the Buccaneers and Browns the first two weeks before traveling to face the Falcons and Giants. Payton has said the team is open to a reunion with a certain big-name veteran, but that seems unlikely to happen.
The New Orleans Saints are down a running back, but that won’t spur them to action in the free agent market.
Coach Sean Payton said Saturday that the team wasn’t aiming to sign a veteran running back to replace the suspended Mark Ingram, but didn’t rule out a reunion with Adrian Peterson, who had a brief stint with the team in 2017.
It doesn’t sound like the Saints are chasing a running back, but won’t object if the right option falls into their lap. Peterson’s tenure with New Orleans was somewhat tempestuous, though, so Payton may not be as eager to bring him back as he seems.