Coach meets with reporters in Phoenix
Sean Payton is trying to guard against anyone within the New Orleans Saints' organization subscribing to the notion that the team will return to its playoff form of recent seasons just because he's back.
"Look, we've got a lot of work to do. When you watch the games closely and you watch our team, we've got a lot of areas we need to improve on," the coach says.
Payton, who took part in NFC coaches' media availability at the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix on Wednesday, says the Saints did a lot of things that prevented them from winning last season, such as ranking last in total defense and 25th in rushing.
Payton returned to work a little over two months ago from a full-season suspension in connection with the NFL's bounty investigation of the Saints.
In some ways, Payton says he feels like he's a coach who is stepping into a new job.
"We're kinda starting new in '13, just like I was hired this off-season."
He says it's not been uncommon for him to walk the hallways at Saints headquarters in Metairie and pass a player he hasn't met yet, "which I would equate to any coach who is in their first year."
The coach says he's approaching his return as if he's new to a club that is coming off a losing season and requires substantive changes to return to contention.
(With assistance from The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)