The Saints held their first practice of training camp this afternoon inside their indoor facility, fresh with brand new momentum turf and four images in each corner of the facility commemerating their Super Bowl XLIV Championship. Below is Payton's update following the workout that lasted approximately an hour and 20 minutes.
“We had one roster move; for
“Yes. With a few players – Heath is one of them – he got the morning practice and we sat him in the afternoon. He’ll go again tomorrow in the morning and we’re doing that with a couple of guys. (Jimmy) Wilkerson is another one we’re watching; the two guys that had the ACLs.”
How did you decide what pictures to put up in here?
“More than anything, Mickey did a good job of just trying to find a defensive snap, an offensive snap and a special teams snap. The pictures came out well – they almost look like paintings. It’s actually a computer printer that does that. It’s just something to dress up this room, and I think with the way it looks it came out well.”
Are they from key games?
“I think more than anything it was a combination of finding a picture of the defense, one of the offense. There were a lot to choose from and I think it came out pretty good. We didn’t spend as much time figuring out which pictures, just to have a few goods ones with the groups represented.”
Gregg Williams said he sees great potential in Dennis Allen as a coach. Can you talk about the coach that he has become?
“He’s a guy who when we first hired him in ’06, we got him as an assistant defensive line coach from Atlanta. His background has been in the secondary. He’s very detailed; he’s very bright; he’s a good teacher and I would agree. I think he’s certainly a very talented coach and you could see the secondary playing with that confidence that they have. He’s done a really good job of bringing some young players along, along with some veterans in a short period of time. Certainly we benefit from having somebody like that – a good teacher and a good communicator.”
When the secondary plays as well as they did last year, did that kind of validate him a little bit?
“I think so. We always look closely at the progress that guys are making, and whether it’s a young player that has come in that he’s had to train or a veteran player that he’s had to train, he’s someone that I think does a real good job with that. It’s not a position that you can afford to have an average coach at. In the secondary, you have to have someone that is talented and he certainly is.”
Can you talk about the development of
“He’s someone that obviously has a real good skill set. He has real good football instincts that you saw in his rookie season with the ability to come up with the big play on special teams or on defense. And he’s also very intelligent. When you get a smart player that has good talent, that is a good combination. He has handled the transition well. He has range. Most importantly at safety, those guys that have that instinct to get a jump on a ball or a jump on a run read, those are some of the things that he possesses and you’re going to see them in his second year. But he clearly picked up very quickly what we were doing a year ago and has a good grasp on it now and has handled that transition pretty smoothly.”
How much has Jenkins learned from
“Any time you have a veteran player in front of you like Darren as he did a year ago, I think all those young players learned and watched enough film and saw some things that he was able to do. To your second question, right now these guys are out here competing so there isn't a dropoff – that’s their job. I like the depth there; I like the competition. Usama (Young) has been with us for a while now and the key for him is staying healthy and Malcolm has handled that transition and in the meantime we just keep working on the rehab with Darren.”
How much do you factor in rust with a player like
“You look at that and you take it into account. We certainly would have liked to have had him in for minicamp and the OTAs, but we weren’t able to. It’s a quick learning curve and he’s someone that is bright and has picked up our playbook very quickly. He’s a veteran player who now in this offense is going to have a chance to get acclimated and I think he’ll handle that transition well. But this is the time for us to see.”
When you were looking for a backup quarterback, were you trying to get someone who knows that role? What did you look for besides just talent?
“You look for someone who’s steady, who’s consistent. I think it’s important you find a guy that has a high work ethic to go in that room because it’s a room that in years past with Drew and the guys that have played that position behind him have been self-starters, guys that are highly motivated. Those are some things aside from the talent that I think are important when you look at that position. Guys that understand and embrace their role – I think that is important as well.”
How do you approach a potential player for that spot, knowing that they’re not going to start?
“I think in this case it’s pretty easily understood; you still talk about it though. He’s battling for a spot. These guys are all trying to maximize what they can do on the field with their reps and as we go through this camp and get into the preseason games the same way. But you try to communicate all of those things.”