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July 26 Coach Payton

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Opening Statement:

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"From a roster standpoint, in the last 24 hours there were three deletions and three additions. We waived Eric Johnson yesterday, Ryan Senser this morning and Carlos Robinson yesterday. We added Buck Ortega, who was with us in the minicamps, Curtis Hamilton, a wide receiver, and Tracy Porter, which I announced yesterday, our second-round pick."

Are you closer to signing Sedrick Ellis?

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"I think it's getting closer. With (Jets defensive end Vernon) Gholston having signed, and it sounds like they're real close or already done with (Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn) Dorsey, that's encouraging."

Deuce McAllister wasn't practicing this morning. Why not?

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"He had some fluid drained off of his left knee and Brian Young as well. We're going to give it an MRI this afternoon to see where he's at. He had some swelling so we backed off of him this morning, as well as Brian."

Could you explain a little more the decision to let Eric Johnson go?

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"It just came down to numbers. It was difficult with his injury right now and the roster limit at camp, it became more and more apparent that he was behind the eight-ball just from a reps standpoint. We felt like we needed to get someone else in here that could help up during the early part of this preseason certainly, and Buck is someone who is familiar with what we're doing. We wish him well. He's someone who we would have liked to have seen it work out for. He's worked hard at rehabbing, but it's just going to take him some time."

How much are you concerned about Deuce right now?

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"Anytime you're coming off of a major surgery, you're optimistic and hopeful. It's just managing the injury and we'll get a little bit further look this afternoon with his MRI just to see where it's at and go from there."

Was it good to have Josh Bullocks back on the field?

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"He practiced full-go today for the first time. We'll probably back off him a little this afternoon and keep him on a one-a-day schedule early on here and then get him up to speed. Today he was out there full speed and he's ready to go."

How does Jonathan Vilma look to you three days into camp?

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"He's moving well; he's healthy; he doesn't have any ill effects from the surgery, so that's encouraging."

With the veteran running backs that are available on the free agent market, do you reach a point where you make a move in anticipation of Deuce not being able to go?

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"That's a good question. The key is just gauging where Deuce is right now and then making a decision like that. That being said, we have a lot of confidence in Aaron Stecker and Pierre Thomas. We have some other younger backs competing, so we're pretty deep right now just from a numbers standpoint. We'll see."

Is Tracy Porter looking comfortable out there to you?

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"It's good to get him out here. He's in full pads and getting acclimated to what we're doing. As we move forward, we'll have a better evaluation but it's obviously good to have him in camp."

Is there an optimum number of cornerbacks that you would like to carry on the roster?

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"I think it can be flexible. There isn't a set number. It will depend on what they're giving you on special teams. When the final roster is done, you may be short in one area and heavy in another, but in the end you're looking for your best football players and guys that are going to contribute. I think we have good competition right now and hopefully that will increase the level of play at that position."

Do you look for Tracy Porter to jump in on returns as well?

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"He'll be a guy that will work in the return game as well."

Was there any one thing that you thought affected the defense more than anything else last year?

"It would be hard to just point to one specific thing. When we spent time in the offseason studying things that we could improve on, we gave up a large number of big plays where you might be playing the proper technique and the proper defense but on one given play, you give up a 40-yard chunk. There are a number of areas that we would like to see improvement in. Generally, good defenses are good team defenses – in all facets, they're playing well. When you're not playing as well, I think it's a result of the team defense and not one specific area."

What does Aaron Glenn bring from a veteran standpoint?

"He's smart and he has good instincts and he understands how to prepare. That's one of the reasons that he's had such a long career. Some of those intangibles and instincts that he has serve him pretty well at corner."

With the two kickers, do you see them as competing for one spot or could there be a shared situation there?

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"There's no definite that it would be just one position, but I see them both competing for one spot right now. As we get into the preseason games, we'll see what both of them can do. You have a young player and a veteran, so they're two different players entirely. I think that competition is good, though."

What have thought of Taylor Mehlhaff so far?

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"I think he's done a pretty good job. When we get into the games, we'll have a better chance to evaluate him and how he does, not only with his field goals but also with the kickoffs and the same way with Martín. When you look at Gramatica, since he came in at the end of last season he's been pretty efficient for us so that will be a pretty good battle."

Is the cooling tent a new thing this year?

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"Yes. It's something that we had talked about doing a year ago. It's just an idea that when you take a break, you give these guys a place to cool their core body temperature down. You deal with some of the hot weather here and it's just us trying to look at ways to improve training here. I think it's gone over pretty well."

With the forecast of extreme heat the next few days, do you do anything differently?

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"We just try to gauge how practice is going and pay attention to the drills. If we feel like it's starting to get sloppy, then we have to be able to take a break and maybe not get quite as many reps in, but work on the quality of the reps. We'll pay attention to that and try to get through it. Part of that is training camp and being smart. That's where the numbers help you right now. When you have a lot of guys that are out, then it becomes more challenging."

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