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Important quotes after the game include high praise for Deonte Harris

From UDFA to postseason star.

NFL: NFC Wild Card Round-Chicago Bears at New Orleans Saints Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton

On whether they were actually going for it on fourth down with Taysom:

“It was basically a no-brainer freeze; and, actually, when we were on the field, we were just going to take a delay and then kick the field goal. It’s a heavy run formation, a different cadence from a different quarterback. It worked pretty well.”

On Deonte Harris:

“We got a lot of zone coverage. Some of it was two-deep high or quarter and some of it was single-high, but maybe a little bit more zone on some down and distances than we might have anticipated. Drew (Brees) did a good job of coming off to some players. Deonte’s one of those guys in space that (can make plays). He made a number of plays today. That was significant. He’s hard to tackle one-on-one. We tried to get him the ball on a few drive-starting plays. It’s good to have him back in the lineup.”

On whether he’s concerned with Wil Lutz:

“As a coach, you have concern 24-7 about a lot of things. You’re focused on all of the specific details. I thought that from a kicking game standpoint, we did a lot of things well. We missed a field goal (though). Wil (Lutz) is someone that will bounce back. I think, believe it or not, we are fortunate to win a game; and, yet, we feel like there’s a lot of things that we can do better. That’s what we will get ready to get started on as soon as practices begin. I think that he (Lutz) will answer the bell.”

On the defense:

“I thought we tackled well in space. I thought our third-down numbers were good. Ultimately, I think that we forced them to become one-dimensional. When you are able to do that, you are going to win a lot of games.”

Drew Brees

On Deonte Harris:

“Yeah, listen, he’s a great weapon. He can do a lot of things. He’s got a really great feel for the game and a lot of our route concepts. And so, we’re trying to put him in positions where (there are) good matchups in space, get the ball in his hands and let him do what he does best. He did a great job.”

On what read Latavius Murray was on his touchdown:

“He is not. He is not in the progression. There’s five other guys or four other guys. And he is actually blocking. And then he was there to cut Khalil Mack. So, he was on the ground. And then he popped up. And I just kind of dished it over (Khalil) Mack’s head to Latavius (Murray). So, they played a totally different coverage than what the play was designed for. So, there’s nobody open, so I go to scramble, he pops up off the ground. And just had to get the ball to him.”

On a playoff matchup against Tom Brady:

“Yeah, (I) don’t take it for granted. I’m very appreciative of the opportunity. And listen, the minute that he signed with the Bucs and came in the division, you felt like that was going to be a team to contend with, that was going to be a team that had playoff aspirations and beyond, just like us. So, I guess it was inevitable.”

On getting the offense together:

“It was great. It was great to get him in the end zone too. Hopefully we broke the seal and there is a lot more where that came from. But listen, we got some work to do. I think still, just kind of, first time, really, that we’re getting everybody together again. Hopefully we get Tre’Quan Smith back this week as well. And there’s just so much timing and rhythm that goes into the passing game. And so, many little nuances and things that, when you’re playing a lot, it becomes automatic. And that is when, you’re really playing at the level that, man, we’ve been at in many cases around here. But listen, this is playoff football, you know, each game becomes obviously more meaningful. And you’ve got to continue to fine tune and find ways to play your absolute best football. And listen, we need to improve, we still need to improve. There’s still room for that. And so, that’s what this week’s going to be focused on, is continuing to find those extra little percentage points.”

Alvin Kamara

On virtual practices all week:

“You have to adapt. Obviously I couldn’t be here this week for practice. They had the practice livestreaming. Coach (Joel) Thomas was miked up. He threw the run looks, pass looks, everything. I was talking back and forth with Drew (Brees) all week. It didn’t really affect me too much. I try to stay attuned with what’s going on week in and week out, so I can kind of pick up things on the fly.”

On the offense’s tempo:

“I was just out there in the moment. I feel like sometimes we start a little slower than we like to, but like Sean said we settled in and came out and did some things we talked about all week. We put ourselves in better position to execute and kind of get our tempo going. I have to watch it (film), like Sean says, but these guys like me, Mike, Deonte, we’ve been playing, but guys have missed time for certain things and nothing changes when you get back, plug and play.”

Donte Harris

On practicing with Drew Brees this week:

“We practiced it a lot, just like Drew told you earlier, a lot of practice goes in, a lot of timing. All week we’ve been practicing.” “Definitely, fresh legs, fresh feet. It stunk that I had to miss some games. I felt like those guys needed a little break. They’re been going hard all season. I just wanted to come back and make plays.”

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