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New Orleans Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey LoomisMonday, May 16, 2011What is your thought on the reports about Saints players getting together to conduct group workouts away from the facility?
"I would say that I'm not surprised given the guys that we have that they decided to get tighter and work together. I don't know what else to say."
Is it another sign though that the work stoppage is something your team can handle and that having a veteran team could be a benefit once the work stoppage ends?
"I don't know if I'd phrase it that way. We like the leadership on our team. We have a lot of really good leaders on both offense and defense. I'm not surprised that they would take it upon themselves to prepare as best they can for the upcoming season. Other than that I don't have a lot of comments about it."
Do you think it is a thought process around the league that the later team activities start, that you need to rely more on players immersed in a system for a long time?
"I definitely think that the longer this goes, the more difficult it becomes for our coaches to develop a plan and prepare for the season, but again, we'll deal with the circumstances as they're dealt. Hopefully this situation will get resolved and we'll be able to plan and get together soon and we'll be able to play in the regular season."
Would you anticipate free agency both with veterans and undrafted rookies potentially being a mad dash due to the abbreviated offseason?
"I think that really it's just delayed. I don't know that there will be a mad rush. I think always when the league year begins there's an initial rush to get guys in, guys you have targeted and guys you get signed. There are always more signings in the first seven, eight, nine days of free agency. Whenever that happens, I wouldn't anticipate it being a lot different. I think for us, we've been prepared. We were prepared to go if the league year would have opened when it was originally scheduled. We'll be prepared when it's ready to go. I don't see it being a lot different other than that we're in this holding pattern, at least at the club level."
Have you started contingency plans and different calendars for off seasons or training camps of different durations?
"That's really Sean (Payton) in terms of the calendar. We've talked about it. I don't know that it serves a lot of purpose to do a lot of what iffing right now. There's still time on the schedule. You don't go to training camp until late July so there's time. Obviously it's impacted the offseason program you would ordinarily have. We'll just adjust accordingly."
Is there anything your club as a staff has been able to do more of that has been beneficial to you?
"We get to go back and review the evaluations we've already done. You're reviewing, you're re-reviewing. We're taking on a few projects we've had on the board for a while. So we've had time to do that."
What's an example of what you've been doing?
"We've gone back over the last five years and looked over every free agent deal for example. We've gone back and looked back at the performance of every player that's been signed to a new team over the last five years as compared to guys that have re-signed back with their original team. There are things like that that you've wanted to do, that you've wanted to have done over the last few years and you haven't had time to do that. We're coming up with some things that we probably haven't thought of before."
Can players benefit physically from the time off?
"I don't know the answer to that. I think every individual's going to be a little different. I like to think that the offseason program is really important to our success."
Do you have reaction to Reggie Bush's most recent comments that he wants to retire as a Saint? Does your club have a feel with him after talking to him during that brief window where contact was permissible?
"We'll have an opportunity to talk to Reggie and his agent. Hopefully we can work that out. We'd definitely like to have Reggie as part of our program. He's been important to us for the last five years and (we) definitely think he can be important to us going forward. We'll deal with that when we are able to."
Does your list of offseason priorities alter the longer the work stoppage goes?
"It's a little different because a number of things are already taken care of. We still have lots of things we want to get accomplished. When we're able to do that, we'll go through that list. It's never been the priority list. It's a list of 18 to 25 things we want to get accomplished and done and we do them as quickly and as efficiently as possible. It may be number 18 instead of 44."
Do you say that as the work stoppage looms longer, are things like filling out your roster and signing Reggie Bush to a new deal top priorities?
"I wouldn't characterize it that way. I think obviously we're going to have roster turnover you're going to have deal with. You need to have a certain number of people at each position. I think the most important thing for us is that we need to get guys under contract that we'd like to have back with our team. I would say those are the things that are most important, the guys that aren't under contract that we'd like to have with our team."