The 2018 NFL Draft is one that is considered to be loaded with quarterback talent, but Kansas City Chiefs fans are going to like what a rival coach thinks about the guy they were able to nab at this time a year ago.
In an interview with “The Dan Patrick Show” on Monday, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton was asked for his thoughts on this year’s QB class. He took the opportunity to praise Patrick Mahomes, whom he says the Saints had rated very highly in last year’s draft.
“With regards to the quarterback class this year, this is just us, the Saints, the guy we had graded very high last year was Mahomes,” Payton said, as transcribed by Joel Erickson of The Advocate. “I don’t know that I see that player in this class.”
The Chiefs traded up in last year’s draft to take Mahomes, and New Orleans ended up taking former Ohio State cornerback Marshon Lattimore at No. 11. Payton claims the Saints would have taken Lattimore even if Kansas City passed on Mahomes, but he’d probably say that even if it weren’t true.
Payton doesn’t seem particularly high on this year’s QB class despite all the buzz, as he also told Peter King of The MMQB that teams at the top of the draft should feel “uneasy” about which signal-caller to take. Payton said he does not believe the next Andrew Luck or Carson Wentz is in this class.
As we know, the Chiefs also think very highly of Mahomes. They moved on from Alex Smith this offseason even after Smith had a career year in 2017, and some key players in Kansas City have already made their feelings on Mahomes clear.
Drew Brees is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent this offseason, and some have wondered if the 39-year-old’s future with the New Orleans Saints is in doubt. According to head coach Sean Payton, the veteran quarterback is not going anywhere.
At the Pro Bowl in Orlando on Thursday, Brees was asked if he plans to be back with the Saints next season. His response was similar to the one he gave after New Orleans was eliminated from the playoffs.
As far as Payton is concerned, the contract situation is just a minor speed bump. Payton, who is the head coach of the NFC squad at the Pro Bowl, expressed certainty that Brees will be wearing the same uniform in 2018.
While his passes don’t have the same velocity that they used to and he missed some throws this year that he normally makes in his sleep, Brees is still better than most quarterbacks in the NFL. He threw for more than 4,300 yards and completed 72 percent of his passes this season, which was a career high.
If not for one of the worst missed tackles in NFL postseason history, Brees would have led the Saints to the Super Bowl. New Orleans can address the quarterback position in the draft, but they need look no further than No. 9 as their starter in 2018.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton has a sense of humor about his team’s playoff disaster against the Minnesota Vikings.
A Minnesota furniture store made a show of offering Payton a free couch so he could be comfortable when watching the Vikings play in the NFC Championship. The Saints coach would have been well within his rights to simply ignore the trolling, but he responded — and made sure someone got good use out of it.
After an ending like the one he witnessed in Minnesota, it would have been easy for Payton to simply ignore the trolling and try to move on. Kudos to him for making something good out of it.
Minnesota continues to have fun at Sean Payton’s expense.
ESPN’s Darren Rovell shared to Twitter on Friday a funny advertisement by a Minnesota store that trolled the New Orleans Saints coach. The International Design Center, a European-style contemporary furniture store in Minneapolis, offered Payton a free sofa to watch Sunday’s NFC title game from, referring to him only as “the head coach of the New Orleans pro football team.”
Of course, the Minnesota Vikings pulled out a miraculous victory against the Saints last week to advance to the NFC championship against the Philadelphia Eagles. Payton, in particular, angered Vikings fans by mocking their famous “Skol” chant late in the game, something that came back to bite him when Stefon Diggs hauled in the game-winning touchdown on the final play.
Payton also drew the ire of another NFC rival recently with his derisive antics from the sideline during a game (coincidentally, in what ultimately wound up as another loss for the Saints). As such, you can probably bet that there are a lot of people who are happy to see the veteran coach getting dunked on again.
Sean Payton took some heat for a pair of questionable challenge decisions in the fourth quarter of Sunday’s divisional round loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and he offered an interesting explanation for them afterwards.
Following the 29-24 defeat, the New Orleans Saints head coach said that a faulty monitor in the team’s booth was partially to blame for his challenges.
“Our monitor was down; our booth was the only booth that didn’t have a feed to it,” said Payton, per the New Orleans Advocate’s Joel A. Erickson. “You just gotta go with your gut, and fortunately it wasn’t an issue with the timeouts.
“The feed was out for a handful of plays,” he continued. “Listen, that happens, though. We didn’t get a look at any of those, and I felt like they were significant-enough calls. Like I said, fortunately, the timeouts didn’t affect us.”
Payton made two puzzling challenge calls within a minute of each other on a crucial Vikings drive late in the game. The first was on a 27-yard Jairus Wright catch that he bobbled before coming down cleanly with, and the second came on an incompletion by Case Keenum where his knee came close to touching the ground before he got rid of the ball. Neither play seemed like it had any chance of going in the Saints’ favor, and indeed neither did, leaving Payton with just one timeout the rest of the way. Vikings kicker Kai Forbath capped the drive with a 49-yard field goal that proved crucial in such a close game.
Faulty monitor or not, Payton will have a hard time living down those head-scratching challenges now that his team is headed home. At least he wasn’t the only losing coach on Sunday who found himself with some explaining to do.
The NFL’s divisional round was wild, unpredictable, and featured three incredible finishes — including one that will go down in NFL history. With that much drama, there was no doubt that there were going to be some glaring, high-profile errors and mistakes from players and coaches alike during crunch time.
That is exactly what happened. From curious coaching decisions to bad plays that will haunt certain players for a long time to come, the weekend really had everything.
Here are the 10 biggest disappointments from the divisional round.
1) Marcus Williams, safety, Saints
Williams will probably have nightmares about the final play of this game for the rest of his life. He had the opportunity to wrap up Stefon Diggs — or, at the bare minimum, shove him out of bounds and force a field goal attempt. Instead, he completely whiffed on his tackle attempt. Had Williams been able to wrap up Diggs in bounds, the Vikings wouldn’t have had a chance to set and spike the ball, which would have ended the game and won it for New Orleans. For whatever reason, he ducked the tackle, and there was no one behind him to stop Diggs in what instantly became one of the greatest plays in NFL history. Perhaps he was scared of committing a penalty, but at least that wouldn’t have been an instant loss. For every hero, there’s a goat — and on Sunday, that goat was Williams.
2) Pittsburgh Steelers’ mentality
Sean Payton and Dirk Koetter shared an odd postgame handshake on Sunday that included a lot of weird smiles and shoulder pats.
The two met on the field after Tampa Bay came back to beat the Saints. They shook hands and had an odd exchange. Payton kept slapping Koetter on the shoulder and saying “good job” over and over. Koetter kept a constant smile on his face and repeated “good luck to ya” over and over.
Here’s a look at it:
Payton then brought up something that he didn’t seem happy about. It likely had to do with Bucs WR Mike Evans’ cheap shot on Marshon Lattimore during the first meeting between the teams in early November. Koetter seemed to say that he would have done something about it had he seen it.
If Devonta Freeman is heading into Sunday’s game against the New Orleans Saints with a little extra motivation because of what Sean Payton did to him two weeks ago, the star running back is not going to admit it.
When the Atlanta Falcons played the Saints in Week 14, cameras showed Payton making a choking gesture toward Freeman and saying “choke” with New Orleans leading 17-10 in the fourth quarter. After Monday’s win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Freeman was asked if he would speak to Payton on Sunday if the opportunity arises.
“I’ll talk to him,” the star running back said, per Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com. “It ain’t no grudge. I don’t take it personal at all. He’s a competitor. He’s just a top competitor. He loves his job. He’s real passionate about it.”
Freeman’s Falcons ended up coming back to beat Payton’s Saints in the fourth quarter two weeks ago, and Freeman later referenced the rough neighborhood he grew up in and said Payton “don’t know nothing about choking.” He understands Payton’s choking gesture will be a story this week, but he is choosing to take the high road.
“Definitely, definitely, but I don’t get caught up in it,” Freeman said. “I don’t care. I try not to pay attention to it, you feel me? I mean, I don’t really get into it. He’s passionate, like I said. He just loves what he do.”
A lot will be at stake on Sunday, as the Falcons could clinch a playoff spot with a win and New Orleans would remain atop the NFC South if they emerge victorious. Freeman rushed for a season-high 126 yards on 22 carries against the Bucs, bowling over defenders and looking as fresh as ever. Payton will have his hands full trying to stop the man he taunted not too long ago.
Both Pete Carroll and Sean Payton were fined by the NFL for going onto the field of play when they were not supposed to in Week 14.
NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero reported the news on the two coaches, who were each fined $10,000 for their infractions.
Two Jaguars coaches were also fined, according to Pelissero.
Carroll also received a penalty late in the Jags-Seahawks game for unsportsmanlike conduct. All sorts of hell broke loose at the end of the game, with two players being ejected, one of whom got into it with the fans.
Payton was penalized late in the Saints’ loss to the Falcons for coming onto the field. So the fine is just adding insult to the injury of a costly penalty that helped the Falcons win the game. Payton’s penalty was a culmination of frustration with the officials from the game.
Sean Payton did not hide the fact that he was disgusted with the officiating in his team’s loss to the Atlanta Falcons Thursday night, but did the New Orleans Saints coach go too far in expressing his frustration?
Payton was furious with a number of calls throughout the game. The icing on the cake came late in the fourth quarter with the Saints trailing 20-17, when Payton called a timeout with 1:05 left. It was his team’s final timeout, but New Orleans would have had a chance to get the ball back if they stopped the Falcons on third down. Because of Payton’s temper, that never happened.
Apparently frustrated at how long it took the officials to grant him the timeout, Payton angrily stormed onto the field. He was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, giving the Falcons a first down that sealed the win.
Payton later admitted that he has to be “smarter than that,” but he also made it clear that he was unhappy with the way the game was officiated.
“I thought we fought a lot of things outside of just the football game,” Payton said, via Curtis Crabtree of Pro Football Talk. “Just one of those games. Listen, I’ve never seen anything like it. I’ve never been a part of a game like that. Frustrating, but our guys, we’ll bounce back.”
With all that in mind, it isn’t unfair to wonder if Payton intentionally tried to trip crew chief Clete Blakeman while running off the field after the final whistle.
Maybe their feet just got tangled. But if that’s what happened, wouldn’t Payton have apologized or at least made a gesture toward Blakeman? He kept his head forward and didn’t say a word.
On the same night where Payton was already accused of making a choking gesture at a Falcons player, anything is possible.