Saints coach Sean Payton says the changes on the offense do not indicate a philosophical change _lowres

Sean Payton is the club’s lone head coach to open a season with 13 straight victories and post a 13-game winning streak and has the franchise’s top winning percentage (.615). (Advocate staff photo by MATTHEW HINTON)


PHOENIX — It’s been suggested that the Saints are in the process of undergoing a philosophical transformation.

The team signed C.J. Spiller and re-signed Mark Ingram to a pair of four-year, $16 million contracts and traded tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks for a package that included center Max Unger.

More running backs. A stronger interior offensive line. It all added up to New Orleans becoming more committed to the ground game — or so it appeared. But speaking in a ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore resort on Wednesday morning, Saints coach Sean Payton called that opinion a mirage.

“This was more about two hits at must positions and then losing one player,” Payton said. “You get the first-round pick, you get a starting center, we’re trying to address defensive needs. It was more about that than it was a change in how we’re gonna (operate on offense).”

But that doesn’t mean the offense won’t change to a certain degree. It has to and it would be foolish for Payton to try to run the 2014 offensive in 2015 without the same personnel. The strengths of the roster have changed and he will adjust to that, as he always does.

This is something he’s done every year he’s been in the building, dating back to 2006. Each year the roster evolves and Payton will adapt to his offense to it. Will this mean more emphasis on the ground game? If it does, it will only be because the personnel dictates those changes.

“The style of how we play has varied and it can week to week with guys that are inactive,” Payton said. “To answer your question, I know this for certain this wasn’t about philosophically we’re going in a different direction. This was I think we’ll move the football in 2015 but let’s find a way we don’t have to score 35 points to win the game.”