Sean Payton believes the Victor Cruz rule was the wrong call by the referees, feels Cam Newton is playing with confidence.The New Orleans Saints took care of business on Sunday, winning a contest that was a sure-fire mismatch on paper and also on the field. New Orleans scored two touchdowns on their first two possessions. Drew Brees threw for 351 yards and a touchdown while Darren Sproles continues to prove why he is one of the best signings of the off-season by adding 188 all-purpose yards as the Saints cruised by the Jags,.The Saints improved to after the first quarter of the season as they have a date in Carolina to take on the Panthers this week. Sean Payton knows it will be a challenge to defend rookie Cam Newton and has some other thoughts regarding some controversial calls that occurred around the NFL on Sunday.Sean Payton joined The Dan Patrick Show to discuss his interpretation of the Victor Cruz play, the referees making the wrong call on the Victor Cruz play yesterday, his impressions of Cam Newton, rookie quarterbacks surprising people in the NFL this year, passing offenses being favored in the NFL due to rule changes, Darren Sproles being an unbelievable pickup for the Saints and expecting to be in the Super Bowl.
What is your interpretation of the Victor Cruz rule?
I don’t like that it has the word “intent” in the rule. What does that mean?“Here’s what the means.That’s pretty clear. Let’s say hypothetically there’s eight seconds left on the clock. I want to throw the ball. I want the receiver to catch it and then slide down, so that we can call timeout. In other words if you didn’t allow that the defense essentially could just sit there and watch them and the clock would…a player can down himself, but clearly that wasn’t the case yesterday.”Was that a bad call on the Victor Cruz play? In my opinion Cruz looked like he was back in college and thought he was down when he caught the ball and went down?“Yes [being a bad call on the Victor Cruz play]. Yeah I think it was more of an inexperienced play in not being adjusted to the NFL rules in that we are going until you are downed and if you are not downed you are still going. At the end of the game the situations arises where you might have 18 seconds left and you might want the yardage, but you may also down yourself just to kick the field goal and use a timeout. That exists, but that’s different.You can clearly see and we don’t see it a lot, but you can see it when it does happen.”You got Cam Newton coming up.
What do you think of him so far after looking at some tape?
“Well he’s elusive. He’s got a big arm. I think they are doing a great job with him from a football standpoint. You see him doing things he is comfortable doing. That’s a sign of good coaching, so it’s the thing that are unscripted that trouble you the most. When he’s flushed out of the pocket and makes a throw across the field and when the four second clock becomes seven or eight seconds. Those are the challenges. “I look at Cam Newton and he threw for 300 yards. You were in the NFL when rookie quarterbacks were lucky to be on the line of scrimmage?“Yeah it’s changed. I think guys are more familiar with the shotgun and guy are more familiar with throwing the football. I think in Cam’s case and to his credit he’s thrown it from the pocket and done some things that you didn’t see much of when he was in college and yet he is playing with a ton of confidence. I think you also see a bit of his leadership and there’s that competitive attitude that I think is spread throughout his teammates.
Are the rules too much in favor of the passing offenses?
Listen I don’t know if they are too much in favor of. I think the bigger challenge, obviously, if you are going to stop a passing offense you have to be able to apply pressure to the quarterback. I think that in the last couple of years has become a challenge for us. Was is it a hit to the head? Was it a late hit? Was it hit just as he threw? The defensive lineman and the linebackers or anyone involved in the blitz package…those plays are scrutinized. That is one of the big challenges for us as a league and I think the officials have done a great job and worked hard at this, but that consistency as to what is a personal foul? Where is the target area on the quarterback? Once that guy feels comfortable in the pocket it’s tough defensively to cover for that long period of time.”Darren Sproles was an unbelievable pickup for you guys to get him?“The other thing is he is real intelligent. Things come up in the course of a game and he solves them all the time problem wise and his instincts are fantastic.” Do you expect to be in the Super Bowl?“Absolutely.”