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Aug 4 Head Coach Sean Payton Q and A

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Opening Statement:

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"From a roster standpoint, we signed two and waived two: we signed two defensive tackles – James Reed and Tim McGill and we waived receiver Curtis Hamilton and defensive end Marquies Gunn. We're still at 80. Marques Colston did not practice; I anticipate him being questionable for this first game. If it were the regular season, we'd probably push through it and he'd play but we'll see where he's at. Devery Henderson – still with the hamstring – is improving, Brian Young did not practice, Josh Savage did not practice, Hollis Thomas did not practice, Tracy Porter did not practice, Josh Bullocks did not practice and Mike McKenzie did not practice. Jeremy Shockey took some work in the individual drills with pads on. That's where we're at today. This afternoon's practice hopefully will be on the lower field if the fields dry up enough. If not, down here (Millsaps Stadium) and we'll go from there."

What is Savage's injury?

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"He had a shoulder injury in the scrimmage but we think he's going to be fine. We just backed off of it right now and we'll see where it's at as we get closer to the game."

What are your thoughts on how Mark Campbell is doing in camp?
"I think he's doing well. He's getting a lot of work. That haven't been any residuals from his back from a year ago which is encouraging. For him, it's been a while because he's had a full year that he's been removed from it but I think he's handling the transition back and he's staying healthy."

Did Colston re-aggravate his knee?

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"No, he has some swelling in a different area behind the knee; there's a muscle there. It's not too serious, but we don't want to push it."

Is it related to the injury he had previously?

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"Actually this one is not. It's a different bruise, if you will. We rested him today and probably see where he's at tomorrow and really take it day-by-day with him. We're a little thin at receiver and thin at the defensive end position with Savage not taking practice reps right now, but hopefully those guys will be back sooner than later."

How is Jonathan Goodwin playing in camp?

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"He's doing well. He's been solid. He does a good job with making the right calls. He's a veteran player that knows what to do and it seems as if right now early on in the transition that he and Drew (Brees) have been working really well together. He's doing a good job."

Was that a tough decision at all after Jeff Faine left to elevate Goodwin?

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"Jonathan played in four games last year and it gave us a chance to see how we operated with him in there at center. So when Faine left, we knew we wanted to re-sign Jonathan and then the question was could we come to an agreement and still keep options open if we couldn't. We couldn't take for granted that we were going to be able to re-sign him. We felt like we needed to come away from free agency with one of our two centers. We knew Faine would be leaving right away and we were able to re-sign Goodwin which was a plus. To answer your question, no."

Did you like what you saw from the goal line drills this morning?

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"It was pretty good. I'm anxious to see the tape. There was one play that was kind of controversial of whether he got in or not, so I'm going to remove all bias and just watch the tape."

You had the final say on that though, right?

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"I didn't put my hands up as a touchdown if that's what you're suggesting. It was good, though. We got a walk-through of goal line and had a team period of goal-line and then made the last six plays live."

How will you approach the rest of the practices this week leading up to Thursday's game?

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"Tonight we'll back off a little bit in regards to pads and then tomorrow will be devoted strictly to Arizona, as well as Wednesday. We'll travel then Wednesday in the afternoon and play Thursday. Today's practice in the afternoon would be the last versus ourselves. Tomorrow when they come in, it will all be on Arizona."

What do you try to get out of that first preseason game?

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"The proper evaluations of players; seeing them execute. I think it's good when you see another team – not only the young players but the veterans – and how they're doing and it's really a measuring stick of where we think our team is at. Most importantly, it's about the evaluation."

Robert Meachem, Adrian Arrington and Devery Henderson have been lining up at gunner in some special teams drills. Are any of them in line to win a first-string special teams job?

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"Here's what happens. The final roster is 53 but then each week, 53 goes to 46 and so you go around the room and kind of know who's starting and who's playing and then when it comes to the fourth receiver or the third halfback, the third tight end, the fourth and fifth linebacker, and so on – how many plays are they going to help us in the kicking game? A lot of times, that 53 to 46 decision is based on how we feel like they're going to help us in special teams, not as much on offense or defense. That being said, I think they understand that they need to be versatile in those areas."

Have any of them shown you anything in those areas?

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"I think on special teams we're going to be able to see once we get into the preseason games. It's hard to evaluate how guys are doing in the kicking game aside from the mental part, which is easy to evaluate. It's hard to get the live work that you want. I'm anxious to see it because generally guys can stand out in the kicking game in the preseason. Guys can show up in coverage units; they can show up in return units and that's what we're looking for when it comes to players that Greg McMahon and Mike Mallory tell me that these are guys that we need to have. With that roster size on game day at 46, that's about it."

Is Shockey unlikely to play Thursday?

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"Shockey, McKenzie, McAllister, Porter and Henderson are not going Thursday night. Then we expect Porter, Henderson, Shockey and all of them to be back at practice at full speed, which would be Saturday then with the Friday day-after schedule."

What does Mark Campbell bring to the team?

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"He's somebody that can hold the point at the line of scrimmage. He's a smart player. He's had a lot of reps and I think he understands his strengths and weaknesses. He's pretty good in the locker room and he brings leadership to this team, which is important."

Is Goodwin one of the smarter guys out there, having to make the line calls?

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"Most runs and passes start with the identification of who we'll be calling the middle linebacker and that takes place with Jonathan and Drew Brees. He's someone that handles the protections well in regards to the multiple looks. There's a lot of communication that has to go on to make sure that those guys are on the same page and it generally starts inside-out. In his case, that's something that he does well."

How are Jermon Bushrod and Carl Nicks doing in camp? Do they have a chance to challenge for starting spots?

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"I think we're going to have a chance to see both of those players a lot beginning Thursday. For a good half, you're going to see Bushrod at tackle and Nicks at guard. I don't know that I'd be ready to say today that they're candidates to start for this team, but they're certainly candidates for a major role in what we do this season. Bushrod is in year two and in Nicks' case it's his rookie season and he's been impressive. I'm anxious to see them play now live against some other players and begin to evaluate them. I've been encouraged with what I've seen so far."

Will the starters play about one quarter?

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"Probably."

What percentage of your regular season playlist might you use Thursday night?

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"It will be a similar playlist to what we would carry in normal games, maybe a little bit cut back and reduced formationally. What's most important is finding out how these guys do what we're asking them to do. It's not about a lot of exotic formations and shifts, it's really about the fundamentals so we can get a proper evaluation. I think a mistake would be using too much and confusing a young player and then not getting a good evaluation because he's somewhat hesitant. So it will be reduced."

Has Kevin Kaesviharn performed well so far?

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"He sure has."

What do you like about him?

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"He's running with the first group. I like his ability to key and diagnose and anticipate. He's very intelligent and he's a very good tackler."

Has he progressed a great deal from where he was last year?

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"He's listed as a starter this time this year where he wasn't a year ago, so I think so."

After looking at the scrimmage tapes, could you comment a little more on the defense?

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"I thought we had good pressure. It was a tough day in regards to the heat and some of the guys that had to play in the kicking game between the scrimmage rolls fatigued. But I think we got a fair amount of pressure. It's tough to officiate when you're not going live and you're whistling potential sacks or potential tackles, but I thought they did a good job."

What's the one thing that's the most important about this first preseason game?

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"You want to be sharp with the fundamentals and you want to make sure that it's well organized and guys understand exactly what we're expecting from a play-time standpoint and understand that the evaluation has already begun here in training camp and now we have these opportunities to see them in a game setting. These are important reps for a lot of guys."

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