<span style=""><span style="">New Orleans Saints Head Coach </span>Sean Payton
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
PAYTON: "A couple of notes from yesterday: we waived Buck Ortega and signed Courtney Roby in his place and then Matt Simon was released off the practice squad and we signed Tyler Lorenzen, a tight end, to the practice squad. Today's notes, injury-wise: Jammal Brown (hip) did not participate; Darnell Dinkins (foot) did not practice; Jermon Bushrod (ankle) did not practice; Will Smith/Kendrick Clancy.aspx">Kendrick Clancy (knee) did not practice; Tracy Porter (knee) did not practice; Jeremy Shockey (ankle) did not practice; Pierre Thomas (knee) was full; Usama Young (shoulder) was full; Roman Harper (hamstring) was limited."
Jeremy Shockey said something about getting kicked in the heel. Is that the same injury?
PAYTON: "I just think there's soreness. We just rested it and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."
Are you encouraged by what you saw from Pierre Thomas in practice today?
PAYTON: "He's getting better. The key is to keep measuring the progress day by day, but he is getting healthier."
Is carrying only two healthy tight ends a little light?
PAYTON: "It's light, as you would compare it to normal rosters, and yet we'll keep working with the young player we just signed on the practice squad and keep looking at that position."
What was the thinking behind bringing Courtney Roby back?
PAYTON: "He was one of the guys that potentially would have made the team in the event of suspensions, so he and I talked when he left. He's a guy that gives us some juice as a returner and also as a cover guy. I thought Robert (Meachem) did a great job on kickoff return, so it really wasn't predicated as much on how we return kicks as much as we're getting another guy who can cover, play gunner and do all those things. That was the main reason. And he can certainly return kicks."
What is your reaction to the ruling yesterday that Charles Grant and Will Smith will be able to play?
PAYTON: "Like we've said all along, we waited to hear and you guys heard it as we did. We support the league and the decision they made and we have been all along. Obviously it's good news."
Is it too early to tell how it will affect you this year?
PAYTON: "Again, that's not the question for me. Right now we just keep going full speed ahead and try to focus on the upcoming team we're playing with the personnel we have. But it really was something that we were not involved with and just waiting to hear."
Do you appreciate the reasoning that it would be a matter of fairness?
PAYTON: "Sure. You bet."
Did Pierre run comfortably with the brace on his knee?
PAYTON: "He looked good. Again, for him it's just getting back into the flow of things with the conditioning level and everything that goes with it. He's moving around and it was good to see him do that today."
Is it kind of a big brace for a runner to be wearing?
PAYTON: "It's fairly common for that type of injury in the early stages of it. He did look a little bit like a fullback today with that on."
You had said about Darren Sharper that he was one of the guys where you had to "see it" every so often. Had he already passed that test with you?
PAYTON: "I think so. I thought he had a good training camp. He was healthy; he had his weight down. He has great ball skills and it was great to see him make a few plays the other day. He did a good job. The ball kind of finds him. He's one of those players that's around it a lot. That was encouraging. To answer your question, yes."
With Bushrod a little nicked up, are you still comfortable with your depth at offensive tackle?
PAYTON: "We have some flexibility there but hopefully we'll have him back tomorrow and we'll see."
Did you have any doubts that you'd see a good performance from him?
PAYTON: "You don't try to pre-determine; you try to pay attention to what you're seeing and since he's been here, he has done a good job."
How concerned are you about the special teams?
PAYTON: "It's just one aspect. I think we'll be a lot better. We expect to be a lot better this week; we're going to have to be. It's correcting those mistakes – fortunately they are mistakes that we can clean up and the improvement from week one to week two is important, not only in the kicking game but in the other aspects of our game. That will be one focal point for us in the game; especially a game like this one."
So you brought Roby back to get better in coverage as much as anything?
PAYTON: "Yes. He provides us another core player and a guy that we think is pretty good as a returner."
With the Eagles being a very opportunistic and aggressive defense, is ball security even more important this week?
PAYTON: "They had seven turnovers against Carolina and they do a good job of forcing those turnovers. The history of that team has always been aggressive and has always thrived on creating those turnovers and putting the offense on a short field. That's something that we have to pay close attention to in a game like this."
How much extra work has to go in when you're preparing for the potential for two different quarterbacks?
PAYTON: "The work starts with the offense. You prepare for the offense and you know that it could subtly change. The thing Donovan (McNabb) does such a great job with is extending plays. He has done that for years where you think you have him covered and then he climbs the pocket, flushes and makes the throw. Those are the things that are hard to practice when you know he's playing. More than anything else right now is paying attention to the offense and the personnel they have and the weapons they have."