<span style="">New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Saturday, August 1, 2009
"I don't know that there were any injuries to report. There were a couple of upset stomachs; Jammal Brown had a little bug and that was about the extent of it. This afternoon we'll go outside again, which is a little bit contrary to the normal schedule, but we'll be out here again in the afternoon battling through it."
Does Jammal have a flu bug?
"I don't know if was that or a little bit of the heat, but he should be fine."
Would you say that Lance Moore and Adrian Arrington are both limited still?
"Lance I would say got a little more work in one-on-ones and seven-on-seven. Adrian, with the hamstring, it's really us monitoring it every day. With Lance, his lower body is fine and he's doing real well. With Adrian we just have to get his hamstring right before he gets back out."
Anything to report on the Malcolm Jenkins contract front?
"No, nothing new."
You've always had an elder statesman type in your receiving corps since you've been here. This year they're a younger bunch but still experienced. Did you not need the older presence this year?
"We're pretty comfortable with the group that we have. We're spending time evaluating some of the younger guys, but I think the reps that Marques (Colston) has had, Devery (Henderson), and even Lance Moore and Robert Meachem for that matter – those guys have had a lot of work. A couple of the other free agents that we signed have been around for a while like – Jeremy Shockey/Paris Warren.aspx">Paris Warren – but we'll see. Those guys have had a lot of reps. I don't know that purposely it worked out that way or if it was just a matter of where we were with the roster."
Did you feel like you needed to have that older guy those first couple of years?
"I don't know that specifically. We had veteran experience with a guy like Joe (Horn) our first year and Terrance Copper had some experience, but he wasn't that old. It really comes down to production. It's a group that works pretty hard and it's not a high maintenance group like it can be sometimes."
How has Marques looked to you?
"Pretty good. This is his first full work. All of these guys are carrying their pads for a second day now, so really it's a process that takes place to get used to that. So far he's doing well."
We've seen Jonathan Casillas watching with the ones the last few days. Is he someone that could make an impact?
"He's one of the young guys that is clearly going to be evaluated both in the kicking game and at linebacker. We felt like there were some things in the spring that he was able to pick up on. He started a little late because of his injury, but he has some promise so we'll see."
Is that similar to what you've done with Marvin Mitchell?
"A little bit."
How do you feel about your backup quarterback situation?
"I feel good about it. We have experience there obviously with Mark Brunell. Anthony Hargrove/Joey Harrington.aspx">Joey Harrington came off of what we thought was a pretty good year in Atlanta the year we acquired him. Our job is to make sure that both of those players are mentally and physically ready to go in at any time and I think they understand that. That's the nature of the position; that's the challenge of the position sometimes. That being said, it can't slow down progress. We're still coaching those guys and not taking anything for granted. They have to be ready."
Would you say that the #2 quarterback job is open?
"We talked about it in the spring that those guys are competing for that. More than just that spot, there are a number of jobs that are open. We'll have plenty of time in the preseason to evaluate these guys in the games."
Is that a coach's nightmare, to lose a guy at such a key position?
"It's certainly one of the things that you're always guarded against and you're hopeful that it doesn't happen. But I think that also is a little bit of the reality of the game that we play. You don't know what position it will come at – these suspensions for instance on two guys right off the bat if they hold up. The key is preparing the whole roster and not just the front line guys."
What kind of offseason has it been for Pierre Thomas?
"Pretty good. He has been healthy; he has his wrist back; his hand is feeling pretty good. I think his weight is at the right spot and that he's in real good shape."
Last year he had 160 offensive touches and 12 touchdowns. Do you see his touches going way up this year?
"We'll see. He's certainly one of the guys that will be in the mix for runs and plays other than that. He's a guy that's consistent. There's something to be said for knowing exactly what you're going to get from a player and that's one of his assets."
Does the fact that you didn't bring another veteran running back in say something about the confidence you have in Pierre Thomas, Lynell Hamilton and Mike Bell?
"There is a group behind Reggie (Bush) and Pierre that is going to be really interesting to evaluate. Mike Bell, Lynell Hamilton and then Garrett Hartley/P,-d-,J,-d-, Hill.aspx">P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson – there's a group of guys that we have to get a handle on in the next four weeks as to where we think they fit and they'll get a lot of work. Not just in practice, they'll get a lot of work in the preseason."
When Casillas wasn't drafted and you guys were looking at bringing in free agents, what was it about him that caught your eye?
"He had a draftable grade. What typically happens when you finish the seven rounds is that there are a few magnets that stand out above the others because of the grade that you had on them and you start there. There were two concerns with him – one being the injury problem and not being able to work out at his pro day and that left a lot of people skittish and then there were a few incidents on campus there that also did that. That being said, when you saw him play there were some things that excited you so we were excited to sign him as a free agent."
Are you still as excited after having him in here?
Do you get encouraged when you see the guys that were drafted around Jenkins get signed?
"Yes. When you start seeing the guys in front and behind, then you're hopeful that the process speeds up. What you don't want to see is two or three days turn into a week or a week-and-a-half. Now you wait and you hope that we can get this thing resolved quicker than later."
After three practices, can you give out a grade on which unit – offense or defense – has gotten the better of the other so far?
"I don't think we talk about that. We're able to see the tape and what's important is to evaluate each segment in its separate phase. First off, you have three different groups that are going against each other, but I think as you watch practice – and there's an ebb and flow to practice – typically my experience with camp is that the key is the consistency aspect of it all. A lot of times you'll see one better in one session and then the next group play better in the other session, but it's still early. The competition aspect of it is healthy and it's good."
Gregg Williams said that the defense won both practices yesterday.
"Is that right?"
How is Usama Young making the transition from cornerback to safety?
"He's doing well. He had a good offseason we felt. He was one of the pleasant surprises. When you make a move from corner to safety like that there is a lot that's involved in it. He has picked things up pretty quickly and we're excited about where we're at."
Is it too early to say that there's a renewed sense of urgency with this defense?
"I think we're seeing a lot of things that are positive, and yet we have a long ways to go both offensively and defensively. I don't really buy into picking up where you left off, for instance, as it pertains to the offense. We have a lot of work to do. In 2006 we had a pretty good year offensively and then in '07 we really struggled in the first four weeks of the season. You have to start right from the beginning with the fundamentals, whether it's your veteran players or your young players. You can't take anything for granted. We have to be able to as a team play a complementary game and hopefully we're able to do that."
Have you noticed a different culture around the secondary this year?
"From a personnel standpoint it's different. There are a lot of new faces in the secondary and they're adjusting to the new scheme well. I see guys that are in position and I think we also have better depth than we have in years past so you're seeing some pretty good competition. You can take the cornerback position for instance. As you try to put all those hats in order, there's a lot of work to be done yet for evaluation of those players. That has all been encouraging."
You had talked about a list of needs and wants going into the offseason. Was improving the secondary high on that list?
"It was one of them. The cornerback group was one of them and I think we have to have better play than we did a year ago."
Have you noticed different safety play from Roman Harper with Gregg Williams here?
"He's had one of his better offseasons, if not his best offseason. We're anxious to see his progress. He's a guy that we think can be an impact safety for us and we have a lot of time to get a peek at him."
Is it maturity or the influence of Gregg's defense?
"It's probably a combination of a number of things. He was in position last year a number of times to make some plays and hopefully he is able to do that this year."
Is Adrian Arrington's recovery on schedule with you guys?
"It has probably lingered a little longer than we expected. With the hamstring we would have hoped he would have been ready to start camp, but those are kind of tricky. The worst thing we could do is hurry him back and have a setback. The best thing is to get him healthy and get him out there, but he's probably a little bit behind schedule."
Are you reducing reps at this camp because it is more of a veteran team?
"I think to some extent. I also think that the amount of work we have gotten in the offseason has allowed us to do that. We have a lot of players back know our system now. It's still training camp, so I still believe in the two-a-day routine. I still believe in the grind."
Is it less of a grind this year?
"We're just trying to keep them a little fresher. The roster limit has changed the last two or three years so we have to be flexible with that."
Has the culture of this team changed since you first brought them up in Millsaps?
"I think to some degree they know what to expect. I think that there's still a formula that never changes. I go back to the offseason, the reps and work we had, allows us for instance to be 20 minutes shorter on our p.m. practice yesterday."
Would you have not done that in Jackson?
"Probably not in that first year."
Any noticeable progression in Sedrick Ellis going into year two?
"He's doing well. He's in shape."