Below is a transcript of Saints Head Coach Sean Payton's afternoon meeting with the media. Following practice, he gave an injury update, discussed rookie DT Al Woods and the postion overall and also talked about the competition at running back behind the duo of Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas.
What are your thoughts on Al Woods so far?"He's a big body who moves around pretty well. One of the things we wanted to address inside is getting some size. We feel like we've done that. We'll see when we get in some lives drills and in the preseason."
*Is it your club's philosophy to have an extensive rotation at defensive tackle? *"I think in the nature of that position we're going to move guys in and out and try to keep fresh bodies in there. We'll take that same approach. Depending on who we play it could vary some, but that's something that I think helps those guys."
*Is Devery Henderson fine health wise? *"He's fine. He's just making sure that he's 100 percent. I don't know that he's quite 100 percent yet, but he's doing well. It feels good to have him back out here, because we missed him for a lot of the OTA's with a sports hernia."
Did you talk to Reggie Bush about his feelings on some of the off-field things or is it out of your jurisdiction?"I think sometimes we discuss it. The one thing for him that's taken place is it's not been a one year process. It's really taken place over four years. I think he's handled that well and he's certainly more apt to handle that type of distraction today than he would have been his rookie year. Those are all little things we address in our team meeting the very first meeting of camp. There are a number of things that can tug at you, that being one thing for him, but I think he understands how he has to be mentally and physically ready to play. I think he's able to handle that and he's matured a lot more now and understands clearly what he's doing. That's not to say at all that it doesn't pull away on his mind at time. Certainly it does. He's human, but I do think he's compartmentalized it real well ."
He said he was at about 75 percent at this time last year. Is he much healthier now?"Yes, he's further along now. I think a year ago, he wasn't at this time. He's feeling really well. He had a good offseason. He's trained hard. He's a guy that's in great shape. His knee's feeling well. You can kind of see that when you watch him right now."
Is it accurate to say that Lynell Hamilton has taken the role of Mike Bell at this point?"I think right now, certainly Lynell is a guy that established himself last year not only as a running back but as a special teams player. He's going to be a tough out for anyone. We have a couple other guys we're looking at in P.J. (Hill) and (Chris) Ivory. They'll get some good work. It's an interesting position. When you look at the five halfbacks, four of those guys were undrafted free agents. All of those guys have had to earn everything they're going to get. I'm anxious to watch P.J., Ivory and some of those other guys compete. Lynell's got that experience. His ability to play in the kicking game as well is a huge plus."
What is your biggest concern in days like yesterday and today in terms of dehydration?"I think number one, you don't want players to overheat. If you watch during the course of one of our outside practices, we'll take about five different breaks. On this schedule, it calls for one, but I think if you use some common sense and even if it gets to where you're breaking just one period to hydrate, I think you want to make sure the core body temperature doesn't get too high. That might mean we cut out some reps and break out a little bit more. Even when you go back to '06 and '07 in Jackson, we had some real tough weather. We were on that Astroturf. We had six or seven water breaks and you just kind of limit the reps."
Do you keep track of heat indexes and temperatures?"Scottie (Patton) gives us a reading. The one thing that we've tried to do is where if we're outside and it's noticeably hot, we're going to take as many breaks as we have to and we're going to cool them down. A good measure for us, after practice, I'll check with Scottie to see how many IV's are needed. So far that's been real good."
Has anybody lost a considerable amount of weight?"No, I think within five pounds. It wouldn't' be unusual for a big guy to lose five pounds and then that evening he's eating and hydrating, so I think you weigh them in at the beginning of the day. You weigh them in at the end of the day. We record it and if we get a big jump, we'll make note of it and make sure the player sees it. But it is something we pay attention to and our philosophy is just slowing down the tempo and not cutting down the reps and we'll have six or seven water breaks between periods."
Where will you practice tomorrow?"We're going outside. It's the same thing. You can count them. Seven times we'll stop practice and hydrate. I think that's the big thing. Scottie (Patton) will go over and I'll probably err always on more breaks than less."
Have you seen a difference with Lance Moore with him being healthy?"He's a reliable, smart receiver with very good hands. He rarely makes a mental error. He'll go six weeks in a season before he makes a mental error. He's a big part of what we do. Last year we had a tough decision with him at the end of the year. Do we put him on IR. Do we continue to wait and wait and fortunately for us we held out hope for the postseason. He was able to get healthy in time for the Super Bowl. He's a smart player. He's instinctive. He has quick feet and in transition and you can see him get out of his cuts. Those are the things he does real well. He and Drew (Brees) have real good communication."
Does this seem to be a real good start for him?"He's healthy now."
*Are the guys on the physically able to perform list making any progress? *The two you're going to see quickest are (Marques) Colston and (Clint) Ingram. You're going to see Darren (Sharper) and Robert (Meachem) taking a little longer."
Can you talk about how many running backs you anticipate keeping?"We're going to have to wait and see. What ends up happening at the running back position, the fullback position , tight end position on offense is how else do they contribute in the kicking game? We have a long time to figure that out. You set a number for your roster on gameday. If you bring a fourth halfback, he has to be playing in every phase. Generally we've gone into a game with three, but your active roster comprises people that can help you and it might be a little different. We'll see how they do in this preseason though, and not only at running back but in the special teams."