Following a 27-24 preseason opening loss at New England on Thursday, the Saints returned to the practice field on Saturday morning in the club's indoor facility for the first time since the game. Below is a transcript of Saints coach Sean Payton's meeting with the media following practice where he discussed injuries, gave his evaluation of Thursday's performance and outlined the work of some individual players.
“The emphasis of our practice today was back to the installation of short yardage and some of our empty nickel packages, with the same for this afternoon. We held a few guys back, just coming off the game and shortened a little bit of the work. We’re back in our A B schedule mode.”
“He has an ankle sprain. We’re going to take it day to day and see how it progresses”
Did you get the MRI back on
“Yes, it was all good news. We’re going to back off of his snaps and kind of rest it. He had some swelling. We’ll make a decision later in the week in regards to if we want him to punt in this game. Everything came back negative, which was good.”
Can you give an update on
“We’ll see. It’s an ACL. It’s disappointing for him with the offseason he’s had, so at some point, we’ll have to look at that spot. Whether or not it’s another running back will be to be determined.”
“P.J. got a little bit more work than Chris in this last game. I thought he did a pretty job, not only as a runner, but he did a pretty good job in the kicking game as well. We’ll continue to get those guys plenty of work. Certainly right now with one less running back, they’ll get more reps.”
Is it frustrating to have
“We sat him with a sprained shoulder. He’ll be fine. I was pleased with how he played. He came in and brought a little spark in that second group and did a good job. We’ll take him day to day.”
Are you looking for someone to elevate at linebacker? Is
“He played well. He graded out well. It was good to see. He received a lot of snaps. We have a lot of guys coming in there for defensive snaps. Certainly we’re looking at how those guys perform in the kicking game as well.”
“He received a lot of reps. I thought the week of practice up there leading up to the game was good, because it gave a lot of the guys a chance to get snaps and he’s a work in progress right now. He’s young relative to the snaps he’s played here. The key for him is staying healthy and improving each week. He’s like a lot of the other young guys that received a lot of good work. It wasn’t perfect, but it was good to see him play.”
What did you like on what you saw on the tape with
“I thought he did pretty well. He handled the situations well. He came up with some big throws for us. I thought he graded out pretty well for his first opportunity with the short amount of time he’s spent there. He did well.”
Can you talk about why there isn’t a lot of live tackling this morning?
“You have to remember we’re 48 hours removed from a game. I don’t think it’s wise a day and a half from when you played the game to start off the bat. We have another physical team coming in and we’ll continue to place the emphasis on the fundamentals, some of the things we didn’t do as well Thursday night.”
Were you surprised at what
“I thought he did a good job considering he hadn’t worked at it. I thought he did well, also on the kickoffs, which he works a little bit at. He did a good job in an emergency situation.
You often comment that wide receivers on the bubble have to contribute on special teams. Is that the opposite in the case of
“You take both things into account, the productivity at the position and then the productivity in the kicking game. For those guys, the more they can do and the more versatile they can become, the better their chances.”
Can you talk about the play of
“I thought we received some good snaps from them, some good pass rush snaps. He played a little bit more physical than we’ve seen and he played with good effort, which is encouraging.”
What’s the biggest thing you are looking for in the second preseason game moving on from the first?
“You look for improvements. There’s a lot we have to clean up in all three phases. Fortunately we have time and we’re back in this training mode to do it. We have a lot of work to do.”