A few short takes from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Thursday morning teleconference with local media:
WORKOUT WARRIOR: Payton continued to lavish praise on the Tuesday workout of linebacker Michael Mauti, who was signed after Nate Stupar was injured and lost for the season. Mauti played for the Saints in 2015 and '16, and was released prior to this season. He couldn't complete last season due to his ongoing battle with ulcerative colitis, underwent surgery (he was placed on the non-football injury list) and returned to the team prior to training camp before being released. Mauti said Wednesday that he still hadn't fully recovered and regained his core strength when he returned to the team this summer, but that he's fully healthy now.
"The most significant thing with Mike was, his workout was outstanding," Payton said. "He's in great shape, you can tell he's been training. Coming into training camp, it wasn't that he wasn't in great shape, he'd gone through a core muscle procedure, a sports hernia.
"To some extent, though, we'll need him. We'll need him in the kicking game, we'll need him potentially as a backup linebacker. He's someone that's familiar with what we're doing but most importantly, when he finished working out, I said, 'Look, if we're not interested in signing him, we should never bring him in again for another workout. Because it's not going to be any better than that.' I was encouraged with the shape he was in. He'll play in that role to some degree."
TAKING ADVANTAGE: Receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is an 11-year veteran, so the Saints had a pretty good idea what they were getting when they signed him as a free agent. He has 15 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns, including a score against Detroit on an underneath route that was a sprint to the sideline, followed by a turn up the field and down the sideline to the pylon.
"I think any time you have this much film on a player – Ted's played a long time in this league – we try to feature and do some things that we think he does extremely well," Payton said. "Last week, the third-down shallow cross, he makes a tremendous play. It's just constantly looking for ways where you can get him in those positons that kind of benefit his skill set."
THE VETERAN ROOKIE: Offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk has drawn rave reviews from teammates and coaches alike for his production and adaptability. Ramczyk already has started at both tackle positions and during the Miami game, switched from left tackle to right tackle midgame after Zach Strief was injured.
"I think moving (side to side) is challenging," Payton said. "I think, more challenging, is coming in and having the success he's having as a rookie. If you're around him and you interview him, you get a sense from his demeanor that he's been in this league three or four years. I've been real pleased with what we've seen from him so early."