NEW ORLEANS ― Sean Payton is famous for telling reporters following games that he can’t answer questions until he watches the game tape.
Most times, it’s a way for him to not overreact to what at the time is deemed as a great play or an absurdly poor play.
Friday night, after the Saints’ 36-21 win over San Diego, he truly had a reason to utter the line.
The results of how some players played against the Chargers will make choosing roster difficult, even if it for spots 48 through 53.
“How they performed in the coverage units and return units is going to be critical,” Payton said. “We’ve got a lot of film to cover as coaches to review and grade. This certainly is going to be an important tape to study, as will next week.”
Defensive end Junior Galette played both special teams and in nickel, providing a speed rush off the end.
Adrian Arrington caught passes and punts, getting praised for both.
Chip Vaughn played strong safety and on both kick coverage units.
The point is, that’s who this coaching staff is looking for right now.
When I made a preliminary roster prior to Friday night’s game, I had certain visions for who would be on the team and what it would look like.
The San Diego game changed everything.
Not necessarily because of performance, but because of what players were getting looks on what special teams.
All three mentioned above came across positively.
While Vaughn was the standout in the game, coming up with a team-high three special teams tackles, Galette is the most enticing of the group playing both on the field and on specialty.
Galette knows what making the team would mean. He also knows he has to produce to make it hard on the coaches to cut him.
He played between 20 and 25 snaps against San Diego, Payton said, and he didn’t come through with any sacks.
And that’s why he was so down on himself in the locker room after the game.
“It’s like of death for me,” he said. “Making the roster is life or death for me. … It’s crucial. Either you do it or you don’t. I’m taking it with that approach. I’m just not losing. I refuse to lose.”
He, of course, is not the only one with that attitude. That’s why Payton will have a hard time figuring out the best 53.
The head coach will just have to keep watching the film.