HEAD COACH SEAN PAYTON
Re: Being the target after winning the Super Bowl:
I think that is accurate and I think having to deal with it twice is a good problem. But I think each week teams pay close attention to their preparation and their effort on gameday knowing that they are playing the team that had just won the Super Bowl.
What do you make of the Steelers being 24th in passing defense?
You have to look at a few things really. Number one, when you are able to play with a lead, teams become one-dimensional, so those statistics can fool you. Number two, certainly when you watch the Pittsburgh Steelers on video you play close attention to their run defense and it as good anyone in the league right now statistically. When you look at yards per carry, rushing average, all of those things. They tackle very well. I think they play extremely well on the back end and so whether a team is behind or choosing rather to run, your numbers can get tilted in one manner. When you look at them on film defensive, there aren't many weaknesses. They are playing with as much confidence as we have seen and we have seen a lot of their film because of common opponents as of late, clearly that's a challenge that we will be faced with Sunday night.
Is it possible to scheme against Troy Polamalu?
He lines up in so many different spots. Clearly you have to be aware of where he is at. He plays sky, he plays in the half, he plays in the middle third, he plays at the line of scrimmage, blitzing the c-gap, hitting the d-gap, so with as talented as he is, I think more than anything is identifying pre-snap and post-snap, where the layer is playing and I think Dick does a great job of moving him around. Sometimes we will watch film and try to figure out why is he in the middle-third rather than maybe in the sky or in the half. So, he is extremely fast to the ball and when you look at their defense as a whole, they do a great job of showing and disguising and then timely pressuring whether is it with the linebackers or with the safeties. Those are all challenges.
Can you talk about Reggie Bush?
It's kind of a we will see, wait and see. Today he got some work, he didn't practice, we listed him as did not practice. But he is making good progress. I was encouraged with the reports from the trainers in regards to this field work. I am anxious to see what he can do as we progress during the week.
Re: Drew throwing interceptions at critical points in the game last week:
I think if you try to break down each one which we do, each one is a little different. Twice it ended up to a defensive lineman who got his hands up and was able to pick the ball off. One early in the redzone came on a route where there was some indecision on the running backs route and (Scott) Fujita was able to make the play. So you know we look at those closely, we look at the design, we look at the call and when we are calling it and then the progression the quarterback has.
How crazy is it going to be there Halloween night?
I think it will be a great atmosphere. Pittsburgh is one of those teams that always travels well. A lot of black in the crowd whether is it Steelers black or New Orleans black. That being on Halloween night, national TV game, it will make for a great environment. The night games down here are always loud and our fans do a great job of coming out.
QUARTERBACK DREW BREES
Re: Sunday night at the Superdome:
It doesn't get any bigger. For a regular season game, we're used to playing a lot of prime time games in the Superdome. The Steelers used to play a lot of prime time games. I think it will be a great atmosphere, two very good teams, Halloween night in New Orleans. It should be crazy.
How anxious are you to get back out there after the Cleveland game?
Very anxious, anytime you have a game like that it is what it is. You just can't wait to get back on the field, and you just can't back on the field fast enough. I think for us it's just a matter of bearing down and just making sure we are crossing all the t's and dotting all the i's, making sure we are ready to play our best game this week.
Re: Troy Polamalu:
I haven't played against the Steelers since 2006. The fact that we're AFC/NFC opponents, we don't play against each other all that often. I've played against Troy a few times and that Steelers' defense. He's definitely a guy that is still very active. You can tell he's just a smart player who anticipates so well and is able to dissect what he's seeing. And all of a sudden, he makes a b-line for the line of scrimmage or a receiver or whatever. It's like you've seen it on film. He's waiting for it; he knows it is coming. And he makes a play on it. You see him make a lot of great plays that way.
Re: Steelers' pass defense being 24th in the NFL:
No because all that means is that they've been ahead in most of their games, and that their run defense is number one in the league. Teams are forced to pass against them either because they can't run or because they are behind and are forced to throw. Sometimes those pass statistics can get inflated, when in reality they're very good all the way around.
Re: Super Bowl hangover and being disappointed thus far:
It has been disappointing. But it is what it is. We knew it wasn't going to be easy. The Steelers can attest to this because they have won two Super Bowls here the last five years. Coming off that Super Bowl everyone is going to give you their best shot. The schedule is set up so it's not easy on you. For us, we're not naïve to think we're just going to step onto the field and people are going to be intimidated by us. In fact it's the opposite. You're going to get everybody's best shot. I think for us we haven't played our best football up to this point that's for sure. Our losses, it's been a matter of turnovers. We've turned the ball over way too much. We really just haven't executed as well as we need to. To be sitting here at 4-3 I guess considering that we haven't played our best football, it's encouraging to know that our best football is ahead of us. I think we're going to learn a lot from this adversity that we've faced as of late. And it's going to serve us well going forward.
Why is it that Super Bowl champions usually struggle the following season?
It's human nature. After you experience that kind of success you tend to relax. You feel like you arrived that you don't need to get any better. You've achieved what you set out to achieve. We still have a lot of work to do. We have a lot of guys that are returning starters from last year. Every season, no matter who comes back, is a different season. I think it's still a matter of establishing our presence and identity as the 2010 Saints' team as opposed to the 2009 Saints' team. That's behind us. I still feel like we can accomplish something great this year. We have some work to do.
Re: Reggie Bush:
Reggie is a guy you have to be aware of when he's on the field, just like I would say about Troy Polamalu or James Harrison or one of those other guys on defense. He can be a matchup problem. He's a guy who in space can be extremely explosive. He's a big play guy. He looks good. I honestly feel like he adds an element to our offense, and it would be good to get him back.
How did life change after your Super Bowl win?
It's all good. It's a good problem to have. People of New Orleans, this city, this culture is so different than most places around the country, especially when you're talking about the bond our team has with the fans. We kind of been through everything together, Hurricane Katrina and post-Katrina. I think that's created something unique. Whether by myself or with anyone on this team, when you're out in public everybody knows who you are. I think everybody is just so supportive of us as a team. I've tried to pour my heart into this community as well. I do as much as I can to give back and help with the rebuilding effort. I think people see that and appreciate it and that's why people treat us the way they do.
Will you stay there after you are done playing football?
I am just taking it one day at a time. Certainly this community has a special place in my heart. I just had the birth of my second son here. I have two children that have been born here thus far, so this is home.
What defines the city itself?
I don't know. It's a unique culture. It's got a really unique feel to it, charm. The people down here are people that have been here for generations and generations. The people just live here. They would never even think about leaving. They love this community so much, and I guess that's part of their identity. Anybody who comes into the city and loves the city, they are going to love you back. If you care about them, they certainly will care about you. They are very welcoming to tourists and anybody who wants to come in and join the community because they have lot to offer. They want to show off the city and make everybody have a good time.