Saints WR Robert Meachem returned to the field on Monday Morning at practice for the first time of trianing camp as he was taken off of the club's Physically Unable To Perform list. Following practice, Saints coach Sean Payton talked to the media about the wideouts return, as well as the progress of several other injured Saints. Below is a transcript.
Opening Statement:With this morning's practice, we got a lot of situations done. We worked some live goal line. Of course, we had to move the ball period and a couple of red zone periods. I thought it was one of our better practices of late and that's encouraging. Robert Meachem came off of PUP this morning and practiced for the first time. He seems to be progressing pretty well.
You said it was one of your better practices, was it your most physical practice to date?It was a physical practice. We have probably had three or four like that. When you put in goal line, it is important that you get some live work in. Last night, maybe even two days ago, the players knew that this Monday morning practice was going to be physical. We will continue to be smart and try to have a balance to make sure we aren't doing too much. I thought they handled it well.
Patrick Ramsey looked sharp today. Was that because he had more experience playing against a live opponent?Yes. Part of it, when you really look at what he is doing, is reps in the offense. He came here just in training camp and wasn't a part of the offseason. He did some good things and there will be some good film for him to look at.
Is there an update on Usama (Young)?Nothing new on Usama.
Before training camp started, Mickey (Loomis) said that the three PUP guys would be practicing before New England. Are they behind schedule?I don't know if I would say they are behind schedule. We are waiting and seeing some progress. It is what it is right now. We've got Robert (Meachem) back, and his timing was about what we expected. The other two, the sooner the better. You can't rush them back. You have to make sure they are healthy.
Were they out here?No, they were not out here for this morning's practice.
Does Sharper have to get some work in the pre-season?You would like to get work, even though he has the experience. It's hard to, all of a sudden, just turn it on in the regular season.
Is there any contingency plan with the potential for a tropical storm this week?Just tracking the weather, our plans are to go inside. If it is more severe than that, we would have to come up with a plan B. Right now, it appears as if we are going to get heavy rain, so there is a good chance we will be inside.
What about adding another back?No news on that right now.
Are you still hoping to add somebody this week?Yes. Just like it was yesterday, we are reaching out. Sooner rather than later, we will have someone.
In the first two series against the Patriots, Drew (Brees) was under a lot of pressure. In the third series, it looked like things were turned around. How long does it take for the cohesion of the offensive line to come back.It's a work in progress. The thing about good offensive line play is that you need five guys in concert with each other. Often times the tight end and the running back also with some protections. We will clean up some of the things that we saw in the first couple of series, like you alluded to, and the first third down. We will learn from those mistakes. It's a group that we return all of our starters. We feel like it is one of our stronger position groups.
Is there a timetable with Jimmy Graham?No. It's a high ankle sprain. He has the same injury as Stanley (Arnoux). We will keep rehabbing those guys, and they probably won't be able to go for this game.
How is Charles Brown looking?He is doing well. He is healthy now. He missed a lot of the spring work because of his hamstring, but he is doing well.
Is there something wrong with Goody?No, he just got a finger that they had to fix. I don't know if he separated a finger. It was a small finger.
In the second year with this defensive coordinator, is this defense going to be better?Well, we are hopeful. The second year in the system, you have a lot more experience in the snaps, the expectations, and what we are playing defensively. Yet, with what they did a year ago, it was pretty substantial with the takeaways, there are some areas that Gregg (Williams) and his staff are looking to clean up. That is certainly a plus for us, being the second year of our system.
What are the points of emphasis on which the defense can get better?Well, when you look overall, there are some down run stuff we're talking about. The individual technique within the scheme, those are little things that you can clean up. Not one specific area, but one challenge is if we can take the ball away as effectively as we did a year ago because we did it as well as anyone.
Last year, it was very physical when you practiced with the Texans. This year, against the Patriots, you ran the practices differently. How are you going to do it this year with the Texans?I talked with Gary this morning. We are going to look closely at the scripts and what we are trying to accomplish. We know we might be inside with the weather. We will plan appropriately. The key is, they are coming off a game on Saturday night, is getting good work with each other and getting young players ready for that game so that you can better evaluate them. We have to have a plan with the rain, and it might be inside.
Will it be more physical in nature like last year?Last year, we weren't even in full pads. The practices have been spirited with those guys. We have had two now with them and I think it has benefitted both teams.
When you say inside, is the dome a possibility?Possibly. This gives us the same set-up really. The same space and it is probably a lot easier for both teams as the locker rooms are right here.
Are you guys going to take a trip to the Superdome this week?At some point, we might. Just to get used to some of the things that are different. We might at some point.