Payton breaks down Saints' win

Highlights from Sean Payton's postgame press conference after the New Orleans Saints' 26-24 victory over the St. Louis Rams:

  • Not surprisingly, Payton immediately pointed out that there were both highs and lows in the game. His biggest lament was that the Saints committed "far too many penalties" (10 for 104 yards to be exact). He also pointed out that the Saints didn't hit on their opportunities to make big plays on offense and didn't force any turnovers on defense. "A lot of silly mistakes we have to clean up in all areas," Payton said.

  • Payton declined to specify why running back Pierre Thomas was held out Friday, though he did indicate that it was injury-related. The only injury Payton discussed was the left oblique strain that has kept quarterback Drew Brees out for the past week. "I think he's smart enough," Payton said. "We'll be smart with his recovery, and he's certainly smart enough too. He understands, look it's an area that's affected every time you throw. So it's important that it's 100 percent."

  • On running backs Mark Ingram and Khiry Robinson: "I was encouraged with our ability to run the ball and their efforts. I thought they played with good pad level. It was good to see from both of them."

  • On receiver Brandin Cooks: "We've been seeing him progress. He's done some good things. He's quick with the ball in his hands. We were trying to monitor snaps for all of our receivers but also give 'em all a chance for touches. But I thought he played hard, he's smart, he lines up very quickly. We'll keep bringing him along. There's a lot of things he needs to work on still."

  • On tight end Josh Hill: "He's someone that demonstrated a year ago when he got in here that, A, he's got good speed. He plays on special teams. When you have a tight end that can play in the kicking game like he can and can give you snaps aside from just on offense, because he's athletic, because he can run, because he can jump ... It was nice to see a couple big plays."

  • Payton didn't seem too happy about kicker Shayne Graham's missed extra point, even though it came on a 33-yard attempt because of the NFL's experiment with longer extra points during the preseason. Payton said the idea of changing the extra point "makes sense" because they have become so automatic. "But I like to think we could hit a field goal when the ball's on the 15-yard line," Payton said.