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John DeShazier: Takeaways from Coach Sean Payton's Wednesday teleconference

Sheldon Rankins will return to practice Wednesday

Short takes from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Wednesday teleconference:

  1. Remember when, prior to the regular-season opener, Payton said that though he doesn't play fantasy football, rookie receiver Michael Thomasprobably would be a guy he would suggest as a pickup for someone? Through five games, Thomas leads the team in receptions (26), is tied for the lead in touchdown catches (three) and is second in receiving yards (307). "I think, pretty clearly – not just day to day, route to route pattern, repetition – he's one of those guys that once he has it, he has it," Payton said. "Last week there's a specific route we were running with him on the inside and he may not have had the reps that some other players have had at it. The first time we ran it, it was all jacked up. But then we made the correction. I think with him, he wants it all. He wants to take it in and he goes out there by gameday and is able to recognize the looks he's getting and still play with speed. It's not too big for him as a young player."
  1. Kansas City cornerback Marcus Petersis in his second year, but is considered one of the best in the league at his position. Thirteen interceptions (two returned for touchdowns) and 35 pass breakups, in 21 regular-season games, only supports that belief. "He's got very good feet and transition skills," Payton said. "We graded him coming out and had high grades on him. The other thing when you see him, any errant throw or ball that's off target, he gets his hands on. He's got elite hands. You've got to be decisive and your location has got to be spot-on. He can run, he can tackle. I think he's one of the real, real talented, good young corners in our league. He's a special player."
  1. From the injury front, rookie defensive tackle Sheldon Rankinsis on schedule for his recovery from a broken fibula suffered during training camp. Rankins, if the schedule holds, possibly will play his first game Nov. 6 against San Francisco. He will begin practice Wednesday and will be designated as the player to return from injured reserve.
  1. This morning was the first time Payton has addressed the Saints' claim of quarterback Joe Callahanoff waivers. Callahan, who played at Wesley College in Dover, Delaware, was a preseason standout for Green Bay. "He's a young player who's got some pretty good feet in the pocket. His preseason was fairly impressive, we watched every throw. We knew of this player coming out, he essentially won the Division III Heisman Trophy Award. Watching the preseason tape, he's someone we wanted to look at. We felt like we have some flexibility within our roster and we were able to make that move. We'll work with him and Garrett(Grayson) both now."
  1. While rookie kicker Wil Lutzwas named NFC Special Teams Player of the Week after kicking a game-winning, 52-yard field goal against Carolina, rookie receiver Jake Lampmanwas the recipient of the special team game ball from the Saints. Lutz received an "atta-boy." "(Lampman) had three tackles," Payton said. "When you go back and look at the film, it was outstanding. His first game up (on the 53-man roster, active on game day), he was fantastic – kickoff coverage, punt coverage, disruptive."
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