New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton met with the media following practice and discussed the additon of DT Aubrayo Franklin and DE Cameron Jordan's first day at practice. Below is a transcript of the media availability.
Transactions:Today we signed DE Cameron Jordan, T Zach Strief, and TE Tory Humphrey and CB Terrail Lambert. We agreed to terms with S Paul Oliver, a UFA from San Diego, agreed to terms with NT Aubrayo Franklin, a UFA from San Francisco, agreed to terms with OT George Foster and OT Alex Barron. We waived the following players: G Carl Johnson, CB Josh Gatlin, K Jacob Rogers. We placed LB Jeremiha Hunter on injured reserve. The following players remain on the failed physical list: T Charles Brown, RB Chris Ivory, CB Tracy Porter, and DE Greg Romeus. The two players that did not practice today were WR Michael Galatas with a right knee and CB Mark Parson with a left hamstring.
I know (Aubrayo) Franklin was one of those better defensive tackles on the market. Are you thrilled to have him?
* *"Yes. That was something that kind of happened in the last 24-48 hours. He's someone that we have a ton of respect for. He's been a real consistent player and extremely difficult against the run. Having gone against him last year and having spent a lot of time looking at tape on him and a lot of these defensive tackles, he was one that was a little bit of a surprise and a pleasant surprise."
It gets you guys a different look, obviously you have Sedrick (Ellis), Shaun Rogers and (Aubreyo) Franklin. Was this a point of interest for you guys?
* *"I think so. You don't know how the draft is going to go, but certainly that's a position group we wanted to pay attention to and getting him in the last two days was big."
What does he present skill-set wise?
* *"He's big, physical, and plays with great leverage. He's strong. When you see his stature and the way he is built you can see some of the things I'm talking about. He has been a real consistent performer, and he's great in the locker room. All the things we've heard on him come back really positive."
Were you able to adapt to your plan and implement it when all things were done?
* *"I think so. I think that there's a little bit of uneasiness because it's the first time that all of us have gone through this process and this time frame in the order of which it happened, while training camp is in place. Mickey (Loomis) and his staff have done a great job. The hours he's spending on the phone right now, just to secure the players on our own roster and supplement that list with guys that we have targeted with other teams, that's gone extremely well and that's not by accident. There's a lot preparation that goes into that and there's a lot of work that's still on going."
Do you like the veteran leadership during the lockout?
* *"I think we have a veteran team and I think that it's a team that has experienced success. They understand how difficult that is and I think that's an aspect that has served us well during the last six months."
This is the shortest practice, time wise, is that because of tomorrow? * *
* *"A little bit because we are light at cornerback and offensive line. There are some position groups that we have plenty of numbers at, but until we are full strength, there are a few that are really having to take all the snaps. That was really the main reason."
What's your thought process of bringing in Alex Barron?
* *"He's a veteran player, again, and we are just trying to look closely at our depth and the flexibility we have during the course of this training camp. We want to take a peek at these guys and see how they do while they are here and again we were able to do that by signing he and (George) Foster. Both of these guys are veteran players that we think can compete and compete for a job and that's why they are here."
What is your reaction to Cameron Jordan's first day on the practice field today?
* *"He looks good. I think once the pick in front of him signed his contract, it was just a matter of getting that done. We still have some work to do on a transaction standpoint, and we are working on that, but in the meantime we are waiting the official word that everyone will be at practice."
What does David Thomas do for this team?
* *"He's one of those players that rarely does the wrong thing during the course of the play, so when you grade the tape he makes great decisions in those four or five seconds (when) each play takes place. He's consistent. There's certainly an important role for him on our offense and he's handled that role for us. He's an important part of what we do."
Does he get a lot of looks during free agency because of his numbers?
I think it depends. I think each team has a certain plan and I think in David's (Thomas) case, he is certainly valued here. I think that he is a guy that can handle the F position when we get into the two tight end sets. He is a guy that runs very well and does a great job in the passing game and the running game. He has some versatility that allows us some flexibility within personnel groupings and that's the one thing that really jumps out at us when we look at the film from a year ago."
How important is it that all the rookies are on board at this point?
* *"I think it's very important with not having had the typical offseason that they would normally have. It's good to have them in here and it's good to have them learning. There's a lot that they have to learn and a lot of work ahead of them. We just take it day to day, but it is good that they are all here now."
Is Cameron Jordan a guy that can play inside and outside?
* *"I think the vision, initially, is for him to play outside but when it comes to the nickel or third down snaps, we will see about bringing him or moving him around. I think just getting him up and going right now we'll start with the end position. I think he will have flexibility in the nickel and rush situations."
Based on what you saw today what did you think?
* *"I thought they handled it well. I thought at the end we got a little light at cornerback. Again, we are kind of battling through the offensive line with the guys that are able to practice. Purposely, we cut back with the amount of practice time we were out here, but I thought they handled it well."
Talk about what you think Cam Jordan will do for you guys?
"He has good size. We think he plays with very good power and that's something we saw on college tape. We also think that he is a pretty quick learner. These next few weeks are going to be critical for him to really get a handle for what we are doing defensively, how we call our defense, the alignments, all the little things that go into to playing at a high level. But he has good size, strength and we think he is really athletic. We will have a chance to see."
How long do you think it will take this team to gel?
* *"I think that it's something that will take place over a period of time. I don't think that it happens within the first two or three days or the first week. It's a different team. It's different than a year ago. You have a lot of guys competing for roster spots, which is good and healthy and usually brings out the best in everyone's abilities. Hopefully in this month of August, as we near the opening game, we are able to make the right decisions, gather all the information correctly, and keep guys healthy so they can compete and have a chance to really put their best foot forward."
On Paul Oliver, do you see him as a versatile guy?
"We see him as a safety. He played a lot of the third safety stuff for San Diego but we see him as a safety either free or strong. But he is versatile and is a guy that we think has good speed and length. Again, he is a player that spent some time studying and then as the process went on after losing Usama Young, we paid attention to what were other possibilities to bring in here and he is someone that we think can handle that and can handle playing the free or the strong position."
Is there a chance that free agents won't be able to go tomorrow?
* *"I'm not aware of that, but I think a lot of it is going to be how far along they are with ratification. I don't know for certainty. I'm sure there's probably a chance that it could happen, but we are just waiting the word like everyone else."