Payton: If Brees is 100%, then he’s back in the line-up

WWL Newsroom
October 22, 2019 - 11:40 am

By: Tim Zimmer

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton, fresh off his 36-25 win over the Chicago Bears, joined Zach Strief and Bobby Hebert on Monday night’s Saints Coaches Show to talk about the win in the Windy City.

The Saints offense moved the ball efficiently and was able to score on four of their last five possessions, even without key players RB Alvin Kamara, TE Jared Cook and QB Drew Brees. A big key to their success was the play of Saints RB Latavius Murray. Payton praised his performance and the big guys blocking for him.

“He’s certainly handled the workload in a big way.  I was proud of him. He’s got enough burst; and, deceptively, he can bounce a ball, get outside and cut back to find cavities in the defense.  He was a game ball recipient yesterday.

“I thought the offensive line was fantastic,” Payton continued. “It was a good front we were playing against.  I said this after the game, generally, when you win that battle in the trenches, you win the game.”

It was the Saints special teams that responded first when they blocked Pat O’Donnell’s punt, which resulted in a safety within the first two minutes of the game.  The special teams also allowed a Bears kick return for a touchdown and an onside kick, but overall Payton said he was pleased with the unit.

“I thought, overall, it was a good game for us.  I thought they had the big return.  The thing that concerns us the most, obviously, they have two elite returners.  A kick returner that’s one of the best in the game and a punt returner.  Towards the end of the game, those onside kicks, fortunately we were able to secure the win.”

Two players on defense that Coach Payton thought stood out were defensive captain Cam Jordan and rookie DB Chauncey Gardner-Johnson.

“One thing about Cam is he plays play No. 60 the same way he plays [No.] 8 or [No.] 9,” Payton explained.  “He’s got fantastic stamina. The way we’re playing defense, we’re not defending 70 plays now.  We’re getting a much smaller pitch count because we’re getting off the field on 3rd down.”

“Chauncey played at a high level,” Payton went on.  “Coming from Florida, we felt like nickel and safety were two positions we had a vision for him with.  He’s a confident player.  He’s a completive player.  We’ve seen it during our two-a-days, we’ve seen it when he came into the building. He’s transitioning very quickly.”

Strief and Hebert also asked Payton about the status of injured, including Drew Brees.

“Sometimes you get an injury and you get to see more of another player,” Payton said.  “We’ll be waiting anxiously for Alvin to return.  Those are good problems to have when you have good football players that can not only execute but help you win games.”

Many fans have stated that Brees should remain out until after the Saints’ bye week, just to be on the safe side; but Payton said the future Hall-of-Famer will play when he’s healthy.

“I think, to the everyday fan, they look at the bye and they look at the next game,” Payton said.  “We go by the medical reports and the trainers. If he’s 100% ready to play then he’s back into the lineup.

“We pay close attention to his recovery and how he feels,” Payton continued.  “When that time comes, we’ll be smart and get him back into the lineup.  The only time that will change some is in the postseason.”

The Saints return home this week to face an Arizona Cardinals team that’s won three straight.  Following that, it’s a bye week which should give the team time to heal before the final eight games of the regular season.

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