Sean Payton Discusses the Saints’ Crowded Backfield and the Team’s Ability to Turn Things Around

October 23, 2012 – 8:15 am by Brad Gagnon

Sean Payton hasn’t been seen or heard from a lot lately. But when he has made some appearances on TV and radio, it’s been appointment viewing and listening because his situation is so unique that his perspective on the team, the league and himself is fascinating.

Sean Payton joined Bobby Hebert and Deke Bellavia on WWL in New Orleans to discuss the Saints’ chances of turning it around after a miserable start to the season, the situation in the Saints’ backfield and whether the team favors backs who were drafted high.

On his belief that the Saints can still turn their season around:

“I do think the players and the coaches that are in that locker room have the wherewithal to get this thing turned around. We go back to ’07 when we started out 0-4 and we came back and won four games in a row then to get to .500. Now, we’re a better team today than we were in ’07. The one thing we did learn in ’07 — it took a lot of energy to turn that around though. And then you get down the stretch run of eight games at the end of the season and you kind of went back and forth, and it expired a lot of energy.”

On the difficulty of getting all of the team’s talented backs enough touches:

“This is a good problem we’re discussing right now, but the challenge is touches, and when it comes to running backs — I know when we played San Diego here a week and a half ago we had all of them activated … I think for a lot of the fans, maybe they don’t understand that on game day we can only bring 46 to the game, we have to deactivate a few. And so we have to make some decisions. … I think it’s important that we have done a great job evaluating that position. We’ve put a lot of time and effort and resources into Pierre Thomas, Mark Ingram, Chris Ivory, Darren Sproles. That’s a backfield. So now we’re discussing, ‘How can we get them their touches?’ A part of that is winning on third down, time of possession, and all of a sudden you get into that second half — Chris Ivory, for instance … and he just gets going. And the same thing with Mark Ingram.”

On leaving draft politics out of it when deciding where the reps will go:

“We’ve always tried to eliminate the idea of who we’ve drafted or what round we’ve taken them, because I think this: It’s important to the locker room to understand, once these guys walk in the building, we really don’t care how they got to the building, and we’ve done that time and time again. When we kept Pierre Thomas, for instance, and not the fourth-round pick out of Ohio State. We’re just trying to play the best guys.”

Listen to Sean Payton on WWL here

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