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Sean Payton: 'The conditions we are practicing in and training in have been really, really good'

Posted Aug 12, 2014

He met with the media following morning practice

New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton
Post-Practice Media Availability
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
 
Opening Statement: “We had our first full practice down here on the lower fields.  I thought we got some great work in, better than yesterday morning.  We cut it back by one period and we will have our normal walkthrough this pm and repeat the schedule tomorrow.”
 
What does it mean that Drew Brees had pads on today?
 
“He’s progressing well.  All of those things are good signs and each day he does a little bit more with the training room and then out here.  We just keep working on the rehab and making sure functionally that we aren’t stressing it to where it sets him back.”
 
Is it difficult to keep him patient?
 
“He has that nature in him but I also think he’s smart and he understands that the type of strain he has is something that can reoccur if you are not careful if you don’t let it heal properly.”
 
Can you talk about it’s important to get Champ Bailey back in pads?
 
“He is progressing well. He is feeling better and it’s encouraging.”
 
Can you describe what kind of influence Champ Bailey has been on the team?
 
“He’s been to 12 Pro Bowls and so number one, it is hard to do if you are not smart and so he really has good football intelligence and IQ.  I think when you have someone like that in the room, it helps everyone that’s in the meeting, the rookies, other players, and he’s been able to, when he’s not on the field, take on that role.  He is a little bit of a leader too.  I would say it’s definitely been a plus for us.”
 
Did you know you were getting that with him?
 
“I didn’t know specifically. You hear so many things and you do enough homework that all the reports back with him came very positive and of course I know John Fox real well.  But that fit has been real good for our team.”
 
Having some veterans sit out, how much has that helped some younger guys develop?
 
“Each year it happens in training camp.  A year ago we saw Kenny Stills and Nick Toon receiving a lot of work because the receivers were nicked up.  And so you don’t know what position group it is going to be, but it’s somewhat typical of training camp.  It is important for the next guy up know what to do and take advantage of the opportunity.”
 
Are you pleased with your third and one situation?
 
“I thought it was better (today) from both sides.  When they are arguing over whether you made it or not, we will look at it on tape and try to grade each one.  But I thought it was more competitive, definitely more lively.”
 
When do you make a decision to go for a long play?
 
“Typically, with today’s practice we had a script of eight plays and there was one deep shot maybe two play action, five run, that type of ratio.  You are still wanting to see a physical period.  You are wanting to see the ability to gain a yard when it is tough and put a shot play in there and that was scripted.”
 
Is your evaluation as positive as you hoped it would be regarding this portion of training camp held at The Greenbrier from a facilities and organization standpoint and would it be possible to have joint practices with another team?
 
“It has been everything and more. The setup here, the facilities, the grass fields, the performance center that was built so quickly, the accommodations, when we start doing a short list of potential tweaks or changes, it is less than a half a page.  The people, more than anything, have been outstanding.  In regards to getting another team (to participate in a joint practice), often times when there is two teams practicing it is generally prior to a preseason game so, I know we would like to get a preseason game closer to this venue be it Pittsburgh (Steelers), Baltimore (Ravens), Washington (Redskins), Cincinnati (Bengals), as an away game.  Whether or not we can pull off a joint practice, is something that you have to work through because obviously after the practices you would have to travel back somewhere as opposed to (where) you’re in a city, have a joint practice and then play a game, so there’s a travel issue logistically. Outside of that though, the setup here has been outstanding.  I can’t think of really one thing we would want to change, it’s been that good.  The people have been great, the food is outstanding, and the way they set up just the logistics of it all, you guys have had the chance to see it now for the better part of two and a half weeks, it has been great.  The weather obviously has cooperated.”
 
Do you think The Greenbrier is good for the players mentally and down time?
 
“What I like is that it is an enclosed environment if you will. There’s not much to do or the idea of trying to get away from just the circumference of the grounds here. Now within the framework of that, there’s way for players to relax, but all of that setup I think is good.”
 
Is it safe to say that today was more crisp than yesterday?
 
“I think so.  We talked about it in meeting last night and I think the players responded this morning well.”
 
What are the factors that have to come together to make that an investment, logistics and money and time worth it in terms of spending part of training camp at The Greenbrier?
 
“You start with the environment, (and) the temperature with regards to what we are practicing in, that played a big role in it.  And then, I think the routine and we do pretty well when we are able to change the routine up.  We spent three years in Jackson, Miss., five years back in Metairie and this year coming up here for three weeks and then going back, it is going to feel like just like right now.  I feel kind of hot right now.  Anyway, but I think from a working environment, the conditions we are practicing in and training in have been really, really good. That plays an important role and then on the receiving end, on this end, to do that on a short period of time it is because one person wants to make that happen and in this case, Jim Justice wanted to make this happen. And to see what they were able to accomplish in a short period of time is really amazing. For us as an organization, it sets the bar higher for us when we are here, how the food is prepared, how the fields are taken care of, housing, those are all standards and so often times you come away from an experience like this and you might look at the checklist of things here but it also forces you to look at your own checklist.  I think they definitely raised the bar.”

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