This year's offseason will look a lot like last year's for the New Orleans Saints, in terms of on-field OTAs and minicamps.
"We're kind of right in the middle of (the offseason training program)," Coach Sean Payton said Monday, ahead of his participation in the Saints Hall of Fame golf outing at Chateau Country Club.
"I think it's moved in a direction where we're spending a lot more time with them in the weight room, running, conditioning, and I'm a fan of that. We're going to kind of continue that pattern really all the way before the break this summer.
"We're not going to have a formal practice setup. I really want them focusing more on the weights, and not just the rookies, all of those guys – really working on getting their body weights where they're supposed to be, getting the conditioning level where it's supposed to be, all those things that can help them when training camp starts."
That setup totally doesn't mirror last year's Covid-19 altered offseason schedule – players couldn't report to the facility and were tasked with getting themselves ready with no in-person supervision. But the lack of a formal practice setup did not adversely affect the Saints, who finished the regular season 12-4 and won the NFC South Division title for the fourth consecutive year.
"Last year was different," Payton said. "This year, they're back in the building – we're at 87 percent of the players are in. So, a little bit like we're used to. The guys are doing well, guys are working hard. This rookie class has done a really good job."
Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said the offseason program this year largely has been what New Orleans is accustomed to.
"I think generally, and this hasn't really changed for us, the offseason is mostly about strength and conditioning, and getting the new guys – rookies in particular – oriented to the way we do things," he said. "And that emphasis hasn't changed.
"Most of the time our emphasis is on strength and conditioning, and that's what we're doing right now. It's good to have the guys in there, we have a big group."