A look at the new branding and signage at the Ocshner Sports Performance Center. (New Orleans Saints Photo)
New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton and General Manager Mickey Loomis held press conferences Wednesday at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center to preview the starts of the 2017 training camp presented by Verizon. Some key takeaways:
From Coach Payton:
The Saints secondary has been improved this offseason, especially with the addition of cornerback Marshon Lattimore, the team's top draft pick.
Payton said he expects competion on the defensive side at linebacker, weakside defensive end and in the secondary.
The team announced a number of roster moves. Get the details here.
Payton said it will be important for the team to get off to a fast start the first quarter of the season.
The team will have to play some games this season without starting left tackle Terron Armstead. Payton said rookie first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk will start training camp as a left tackle, where he played in college.
Payton said one of the key's to the team's defensive improvement will be what the offense does to help the other side of the ball.
Payton said the team's first practice Thursday at 8:50 a.m. will be more like an OTA as the team will go without full pads.
Payton said the team a did job with Wednesday's conditioning test. Quarterback Drew Brees, according to Payton, finished in the top third in the test.
Payton said his focus with defensive tackle Nick Fairley is just to make sure he is healthy. "Fortunately we found it," Payton said. Fairley won't play this season because of an issue discovered with his heart.
Payton spoke with the media for nearly 45 minutes. You can find the full video shortly on NewOrleansSaints.com, the team app presented by Verizon or the team's Facebook page.
From GM Mickey Loomis:
When asked about concerns he has with the team, Loomis said the offensive line because of injuries to center Max Unger and left tackle Terron Arnstead and th defense "has to improve."
Loomis spoke at length about the development time rookies need to adjust to the game and how fans have left patience with young players. "We want more sooner," Loomis said about people today.
Loomis said the NFC South is tough, especially because of the skill level of the quarterbacks in the divisision, but "this division has been tough for a lot of years."
Loomis said he feels pressure this year and there's not more this year than normal. Loomis said he puts more pressure on himself than he ever feels externally.