PHOTOS FROM MONDAY
You are working with lot of receivers that don't have any game experience with the Saints. How is that transition going for you and for them?
"I think it's going really well. I've actually been really impressed with our young receiving corps. With the limited amount of reps they have had, exposure to our offense, and the NFL in general, it's been impressive how they have picked it up and have kind of fallen in line. Each one of them has really done a great job so far in camp with getting lined up correctly with great tempo and making some plays when their number has been called. All of that has been impressive and obviously we have a couple of spots open. You see a lot of guys fighting for that and they are doing well."
Are expectations for you and this offense realistic?
"It's all about wins and loses. You want to win and put yourself in position to make a run during the postseason. Whenever you fall short of that, it's disappointing. That's not a level that we are used to performing as far as just the overall record. There are plenty of things that we can do, specifically offensively, to improve and we know that we need to improve to accomplish the things we set out to accomplish. I still feel like we have all the pieces in place. We have been in this system for eight years now. We have a strong comfort level with it. We have a lot of continuity up front with the offensive line even though a couple of guys are battling for that left tackle position. We have running backs that have been here for a while. We have receivers that been here for a while. We have a tight end that's going into his fourth year and a veteran tight end in Ben Watson to fill in as well. So you have all of these pieces of the puzzle that you feel really good about, then you have put in the work and fine tune to make sure you stay on top and make sure that you continue on with that edge that's going to allow you to go out there and be successful and accomplish the things you want to accomplish."
Just the last couple of days you have seen (Andy) Tanner do well and (Preston) Parker did well today. It's just that opportunity where anyone can go out there and shine. I know you said that during the regular season right?
"We spread it around a lot and even if you are the third or fourth progression in a route, a lot of those guys are catching balls out here just because as our defense is throwing stuff at us that we haven't seen before, you just find yourself having to go to different options. You still see the guys like Lance Moore, Jimmy Graham, and Joe Morgan still making plays but now you get to see some of these young guys that haven't been here before and that's the fun and exciting part, to see how some of those guys could fit in the offense."
Andy Tanner just keeps making plays every camp. He got hurt last year but bounced back this year. There are some opportunities this year. Just talk about him and what he brings.
"He is just steady (and) so consistent. You know what you are going to get out of Andy Tanner every day. He is so dependable and I have so much confidence throwing him the ball. He is a guy that can play every position on the field as a receiver. He is very smart and tough. He can play inside and he can play outside. Those are the types of guys you want on your team."
What are your observations of Benjamin Watson?
"I have been very impressed. He missed all of OTAs and minicamp because of offseason surgery but I don't feel like that set him back at all because he came back to camp 100 percent healthy and in great shape. He has done a great job just as we have tried to work through the complexities of our offense even early on. It's a lot (of) install right away and yet he is a veteran guy that has been around a lot of offenses and played in some pretty prolific offenses in New England. He knows what being a part of that is like and to just kind of step in, absorb it all, then go out and perform (is impressive). He has done a great job. I think he is going to be great for Jimmy (Graham) just because you look at Ben and he is a complete tight end. He is a guy who can block, is a great route runner, a great pass catcher, can make plays all over the field, and is one of the better athletes on the field. (He will be a) good guy for Jimmy (Graham) to be able to learn from and the combination of those two guys on the field is pretty formidable as well."
What are your early impressions on the other side of the field from Keenan Lewis?
"He has played well. Very early on in camp, they are throwing a lot of stuff at the guys. You are battling the heat and you are putting the pads on for the first time so there's a lot of things that they are working through and yet you see what that defense can be with all the pieces that are now in place and as they become more and more comfortable with what they are doing but Keenan Lewis, specifically has played very well."
Jed (Collins) talked and Sean (Payton) told us his philosophy on the fullback but just personally, it seems like the guy really fits in to what you guys are doing. Just personally, what are your thoughts on Jed (Collins)?
"First of all, I love Jed (Collins) as a person, as a locker room guy, as a personality, and he is just a fun guy to be around. He is a great team guy that is willing to sacrifice and really do whatever you ask him to do to be a part of the team and help us be successful. I love his role on our team. Typically, you would say the fullback doesn't get a whole lot of love on in our offense. It's usually running backs, receivers, tight ends, and such but there's no guy that's as important to the elements of the run game and protection and some of these other things as a guy like Jed Collins. He plays a very specific and a very unique role but it's a very special one."