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TRANSCRIPT: New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton September 11 press conference

“We feel like with Aaron Donald, he’s probably the best defensive player in our game. We’ve got that much respect for him.”

NFL: NFC Championship Game-Los Angeles Rams at New Orleans Saints Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports

New Orleans Saints HC Sean Payton

(On if he has gotten over the non-call from last year’s NFC Championship)

“It feels like it was a long time ago. It’s part of our game. These are two different teams now, a lot of roster moves from last year to this year. We’re playing each other early in the season, so it doesn’t feel like that many games ago relative to the distance between when we played. You’re looking at two different teams.”

(On if he is surprised with the rule changes and all that has come out of one particular moment)

“If you really watch in the preseason and in Week 1, New York clearly is going to be fairly conservative, we’re still with two challenges as coaches. It’s going to have to be something egregious to get overturned. That was the intent to begin with, so I don’t anticipate more challenges because they didn’t increase the amount of challenges coaches have. Year-to-year, our league kind of works that way when there’s something that they feel like need to be adjusted. You go back to 2009 in the NFC Championship game, we won the toss and received the ball and drove down the field and kicked a game winning field goal. It was that very next year that the other team is going to have the possession if it’s a field goal. That’s kind of the nature of our game.”

(On his experience with how the emotions of a situation like this game play out on the field and it being considered a revenge game)

“It’s the NFL, it’s not college. These are paid professional players on professional teams. It’s Week 2 of the regular season. Two playoff teams from a year ago, two good football teams playing. I think a lot of that maybe is blown out of proportion.”

(On what stands out to him about the Rams offense after seeing their tape from Week 1)

“They won a tough road game at Carolina. It’s always a tough place to go play, the weather was warm. They’re healthy, WR Cooper Kupp’s back in the lineup, there’s a couple of changes in their offensive line. Their skill (positions), for the most part returns and Sean McVay and his staff do a great job with giving you a lot to defend, they come off similar looks that are different plays. You really have to have good eyes in a game like this.”

(On if he noticed any differences from RB Todd Gurley II while watching the tape)

“He looks good. He’s an extremely, extremely talented player. He’s one of the top backs in the league. You see that. Everyone wants to have some type of rotation, it’s hard to play every snap at that position. He’s one of those guys that can do it in the base, he can do it in third down, he can block the pressure, he’s effective as a receiver. All of those things make him tough to defend.”

(On what happened to Gurley in the NFC championship))

“I think that the difference between the earlier regular season game and the postseason game can be fairly dramatic. We had a tough time moving the ball, both defenses played well in the championship game. That’s the nature of playoff football.”

(On how he felt about his team’s Monday night game)

“There’s a lot to clean up. One of the challenges on a short week is you don’t want to skip past that tape, because there’s so many different things situationally that came up - some of them good some of them not so good. I think teams early in the season, especially in the first three or four weeks of the season, really have a chance to improve rapidly. I think that timing that up, but also getting on to this game, practicing today and slowly getting the players leg’s back underneath them is something that was important for us this week and will be important. I thought the effort was good Monday night and yet there’s some things, as to be expected, that you want to correct quickly.”

(On thoughts on playing Monday night and traveling across the country to play the Rams on a short week)

“No. I think when the schedule comes out you look at travel. It is what it is and you’re focused more on the things that you can control.”

(On what progression he’s seen from QB Jared Goff as a rookie and where he is now)

“It’s been dramatic. I credit Sean and his staff. I think that the scheme fits, he does a great job of getting the ball down the field, he’s a big accurate passer, can move in the pocket and you see the confidence he’s playing with compared to, obviously, his first year.”

(On how his offensive line did and keeping DT Aaron Donald’s stats up)

“It’s always week-to-week. We feel like with (DT) Aaron Donald, he’s probably the best defensive player in our game. We’ve got that much respect for him. The players around him, when you look at that front, the addition of (LB) Clay Matthews, DL Michael Brockers is playing well. (LB) Dante Fowler came in last year in a trade, (OLB) Cory Littleton is playing well and the secondary is extremely talented. I think each week you go in with a plan to suit that game and that game exclusively.”