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Sean Payton puzzled by Brandon Browner’s play, among others

New Orleans Saints cornerback Brandon Browner (39) walks off the field after the second half of an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Thursday, Oct. 15, 2015, in New Orleans. The New Orleans Saints won 31-21. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)


The Saints have a number of issues on defense, too many than the firing of coordinator Rob Ryan can fix.

But Saints head coach Sean Payton said he was going to address one of the strangest, in which cornerback Brandon Browner went after a blocker instead of a Washington ball-carrier on a long touchdown.

While running back Matt Jones was taking a screen pass 78 yards, Browner appeared to have an angle on the ball, but peeled back to deliver a hit on guard Spencer Long instead. Jones scored when no other Saint touched him either.

“Obviously when you’re playing a screen pass, you want to get to the ball,” Payton said, via Christopher Dabe of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “And those are some of the mistakes we’re discussing. . . .

“You’ve got to get to the ball. You’ve got to play the ball. Every once in a while there are certain battles, . . . you don’t want to fight a battle if it doesn’t involve getting to the football.”

The play was strange in how abrupt a turn Browner took in order to de-cleat a lineman rather than try to tackle Jones. NBC’s Rodney Harrison noted it on “Football Night in America,” saying: “I’m watching and I’m like, go make the tackle. He comes back and he peels back and hits a lineman. This is why this is the worst defense in the league. That’s just a selfish play.”

Among other adjectives, including dirty and foolish.