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Sean Payton's Press Conference Transcript

“Just a couple things on the injury front, so we’re all on the same page. First off, with (Jeremy) Shockey, I decided not to go with him tonight. I would say he’s real close. He wanted to go, and he could have went. He had a good week of practice and a good pregame warmup. There weren’t any setbacks. At the same time, I was going to err on the side of caution. That was my decision tonight with him. I’m excited about him, and where he’s at. He obviously will need to play in this upcoming week’s game.
“There are four guys to report. (Marques) Colston has some bruised ribs. He had some X-rays, and they were negative. He’s fine. Kevin Dudley has a sprained ankle. Reggie Bush, the report says, has a quad contusion — that’s a charley horse. All right? So he’s fine. Josh Savage has a right elbow that he hyperextended.”

Other than wanting a good performance out of the defense, was it important to have something to get momentum going into the season?
“I think having confidence coming off preseason is important. Certainly Gary (Gibbs) and the defensive staff and the players thought this was an opportunity where we were going to get more snaps for a longer period of time. The situations, fortunately, were (such that) we had them in a lot of third-and-longs. The one thing you saw tonight was we were ahead of the change defensively. It’s easy to dial up your defense when you have them in third-and-11s and third-and-nines. I thought we did a good job of tackling. Our speed to the ball was good, and our third-down play was really good. Overall I thought it was a solid effort. We mixed pressure in there. I thought they did a good job. Based on the snap count at halftime, we were way ahead offensively than we were defensively. (On offense), I thought we got sloppy at times in the tight red zone, and I’m disappointed we didn’t score more. We had a lot of opportunities inside the 30 or even across the 20. We had a penalty and a fumble — those are things we need to clean up. It was certainly a better performance for us coming off last week’s game.”

You had said earlier in the week that Jeremy Shockey probably would play in this game. Why the decision not to play him?
“At the end of it all — and (this is) what is most important —he’s healthy and ready for Tampa Bay. What I didn’t want to do was go through a scenario for a possible setback. I told him I was going to err on the side of caution. I thought it was important for him to prepare as though he was playing all week long — I wasn’t trying to deceive him. He was prepared to play. When we got out in the pregame, he moved around well, but I decided to hold back for one more week. That’s the main thing. He was prepared to play. He’ll play in the preseason game Thursday.”

Does it make any difference or is it important for him to play with Drew Brees Thursday?
“I plan on giving Drew a series. He gets a lot of practice with Drew and has been going in all the practices with our first group. The main thing is to be focused and ready to play against Tampa Bay. I just want to get him ready for that game. He’s doing well. I’m encouraged. He’s catching the ball well and has a good feel for what we’re doing.”

Coming out of this game with Cincinnati, what are you most pleased with?
“We played much better defensively. We were better on third down, we did a good job against the run, and I thought our coverages were tight. We heard the quarterback. That was the big difference from last week. We played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm. You could see that from the sideline.”