Saints say Payton's presence a factor in victory
METAIRIE - Although Sean Payton downplays the role that he alone will play in whatever success the Saints may have this season, his players tell a different story.
Cornerback Jabari Greer says Payton's combination of leadership, confidence and practice habits provided New Orleans with the resilience under pressure it needed to hold on for a season-opening 23-16 victory over the Falcons on Sunday.
Right tackle Zach Strief says Payton's approach since he returned from his bounty suspension has been reminiscent of 2006, when he took over a 3-13 team.
Strief says Payton has employed rigorous conditioning strategies which also test players' mental toughness.
Those lessons have resonated with a team which lost five games last season by eight or fewer points.
New Orleans next plays this Sunday at Tampa Bay.