Last week, Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said that he hopes his team will deliver some “remember me” hits to Colts quarterback Peyton Manning. Williams also accepted the risk of periodic roughing-the-passer penalties, with the understanding that “if it happens you hope
he doesn’t get back up and play again.”
On Monday, Saints coach Sean Payton was asked if he was troubled by Williams’ words. “No,” Payton told reporters. “Listen, I paid close attention to what was said. I think that I said this last week: Given the nature of Super Bowl week, I think that one of the first things you try to do defensively is try to hurry the quarterback, pressure the quarterback or disrupt the timing of the quarterback. I think it’s fairly common sense with defensive football. In looking at it, I don’t really pay much attention to that.”
Right, but that’s not what Williams said. It’s what he should have said, but it’s not what he said.
Williams was far too candid about his team’s objective regarding Manning, and it means that the officials will be watching the Saints’ defenders even more carefully — especially in light of the low hit to Brett Favre that inexplicably didn’t wipe out an interception in the NFC title game.