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Payton and Saints Prep for Packers

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    <span>              <span style="">Opening Statement:</span>                  

"Quickly we'll go through the injuries, Aaron Glenn (ankle) did not practice; Mike Karney (knee) did not practice; Deuce McAllister (left knee) did not practice; Jon Stinchcomb (calf) was limited; Marques Colston (knee) was limited; Reggie Bush (knee) was limited; Jonathan Goodwin (knee) was limited. Roster moves: Aaron Stecker and Mark Campbell were both placed on injured reserve and we signed fullback Darian Barnes and running back Mike Bell. We added practice squad players Lavarus Giles, who is a running back and Chris Francies, who is a wide receiver. That puts us at 53 and nine."

Why was Deuce held out of practice?

"Just some swelling in his left knee. It was maintenance and just monitoring where he's at. They drained it yesterday and we wanted to rest him today and see if it could calm down some."

Is that the first time it has been drained this season?

"No. It's very typical. He had some swelling so we backed off today."

How did Reggie look to you?

"Pretty good. He was able to get through practice. He's further along than he was last week. We'll see how he responds tomorrow."

What do you see in the two new running backs?

"We worked out a few guys and (Bell) is a guy that we had the highest grade on. It gets back to that short list again and we felt like we needed depth there with the loss of Stecker and his injury. Then Darian Barnes gives us a fullback in the offense and he's someone that has experience that I'm familiar with."

When Reggie didn't practice on Thursday or Friday last week, was it because of a bad Wednesday?

"Just the day after there was more soreness and it limited him to a point where he was unable to go. We were hoping that Thursday's rest would have given him a chance for Friday but we're more optimistic this week. We'll see tomorrow."

Was it more precautionary that he was held out last week then?

"We're kind of in the same mode in regards to seeing how he handles all the cuts and things he has to do with his position. Again, he was clearly further ahead today than he was at this time last week."

Does just having him on the field help you a lot in the way defenses have to react?

"It helps if he's healthy. We want to make sure that he's healthy, and if that's the case then certainly he does help us."

Have you ever been part of a team that had an IR list as long as this one?

"Sometimes it happens. There are years where you'll go fairly healthy and then you'll go through some years like this and you keep battling. I think the key is for those guys filling in just understanding their role exactly and understanding what they have to do for us to win the game."

How good is this Green Bay team?

"They're a very good team. A couple weeks back they came close to beating Tennessee who people see as one of the top teams in our league right now. Through the stretch run, we're going to play Green Bay and then a number of teams that are good. They're coming off a big win against Chicago; they ran the ball real well and they're playing very good defense. They present some challenges and looks that are a little unique and we're going to have to handle that. Fortunately we have a little bit longer week in preparation, but it's an important game for both teams."

Are you pleased with the changes you have made on special teams in recent weeks?

"I think that in the case of Courtney Roby, he gives us a little different dynamic and set us up with some pretty good field position last week. With both the kicker and the punter – Garrett and Glenn – they have handled the transition well. From a consistency standpoint, I've been encouraged and they just keep working during the week of practice trying to improve their technique. So far those additions have helped us."

Why has Courtney been able to break some bigger returns?

"He has good speed and you can see it when he hits the hole. Certainly field position becomes very critical when you play a real good team and the ability to create a short field for the offense is awfully important."

You have a bunch of guys who haven't played at the Superdome before. Will you have to point them in the right direction to the locker room?

"We might go over there and practice this week; we've talked about that. There are some new faces and some guys have to get adjusted."

Do you think you have finally settled on some of those special teams positions?

"I think right now we have. We've been pretty pleased with the consistency and now it's just working. One of the goals at the start of the season was to improve the return game – both the punt and kickoff. If we can continue to make strides and create field position, that will be something that serves us well and is a big plus for us."

How far along are you to reaching that goal?

"It's an ongoing battle. I think Greg (McMahon) and Mike (Mallory) have done a good job. Obviously before Reggie was injured, our punt return game had become something that was really creating an edge for us and the kick return has given us a couple of opportunities with a short field."

The Packers have intercepted 16 passes. Are they more aggressive than most teams on defense?

"You see a lot of man-to-man coverage and a lot of bump-and-run coverage. They're playing with a lot of confidence, both at the corner position as well as at the safety position. They're athletic inside at linebacker. They present some unique challenges in the coverage scheme in what we see and in how much man we'll see, and it's quite a bit."

For as much as you guys throw, does it make you even more wary than some other teams might be?

"I think you have to understand the routes and the principles that you want to attack this style of defense with. All three of the corners – the nickel included – are all playing with a lot of confidence and they have a great handle on what they're doing scheme-wise. You see them breaking on balls well; they all have good ball skills and we have to really do a good job of focusing on protecting the football. They do a great job of disrupting the passing game at the line of scrimmage and then into the route."

Are you surprised to see the quick progression of Aaron Rodgers?

"I think those guys – starting with Mike (McCarthy) and their staff – do a great job of developing quarterbacks. He played with a lot of confidence last year in the Dallas game when you saw them on the road with Brett's injury. You're starting to see a guy who has really learned and developed and is coming into his own. He's operating very efficiently. He's very accurate and gets rid of the ball on time."

Will you look to put Randall Gay on a certain receiver this game like you did last week in Kansas City?

"They have enough depth there so we'll have to see what we want to do, not only in the base but in the nickel. They have a lot of depth at that position group and they give you a lot of challenges. It's not as one-dimensional as Kansas City was."

When might you go practice at the Dome?

"Probably later in the week – Friday or Saturday. I think the surface here is very similar. It's just something that we've just kind of kicked around. We've done it before and we'd let you guys know ahead of time."

Would that be more for getting a feel of playing there again?

"I think changing it up a little bit and getting our kickers over there. It's just something that we've talked about. We may just stay here for the week. It would just be for one practice."

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