New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Friday, October 21, 2011
"Let me hit today's final injury list and cover a few things that are pertinent. These three players will be out for the game: LB Will Herring (hamstring) did not practice, T Zach Strief (right knee) did not practice, Dave Thomas (concussion) was limited and yet he'll be out for the game. He's turning the corner though. Sedrick Ellis (ankle) was limited today. He's questionable for the game. He was encouraging. Turk McBride (right shoulder) was limited today. He'll be questionable for the game. These three players will all be probable: Jon Vilma (left knee) was limited in practice, Jimmy Graham (right ankle) was limited, and TE John Gilmore (neck) was limited today. Olin Kreutz did not practice today. Earlier in the week Mickey Loomis, myself, and Olin had a chance to sit down and spend some time just really visiting with Olin. The gist of that meeting will stay between the three of us. Right now, I think with the career he's had and just in the short time he's been with us, I know we're all better for having had a chance to work with him. I don't have a term to give you right now. I think very shortly whether officially he becomes waived, I think he's made a decision with where he's at in his career and certainly as a head coach and I know Mickey feels the same way as the general manager, we respect that and continue to pull for him and wish him well. There's no transaction though today in regards to Olin. When there is, we'll keep you guys abreast of that and we'll kind of go from there."
Are you surprised at all about Olin Kreutz's decision?
"I think maybe surprised a little bit. Earlier in the week we had a chance to visit and sit down and just talk about a lot of things. It's always difficult, especially when you talk about a player that I think is a Hall of Fame center. I think the challenge for all of us when the train begins to slow down and you feel like maybe it's that time and, make no mistake about it, that happens for every player, every coach, and every owner. There are a lot of emotions involved in that."
Did you have a feeling that maybe something was different?
"I think it probably manifested itself later as the season went on. It was something we had a chance to discuss quite a bit this week."
Is it fair to say he wasn't playing up to standard?
"No. I don't think that's it. I think more than anything else it's hard to do what these guys do and it's hard to do it for four years, let alone fourteen years. There's a certain expectation level the great players have for themselves which is always much higher than what any coach or owner or general manager has for them. I don't think that would be fair to say. I think it kind of is what it is."
Is Brian de la Puente a guy that you all feel comfortable with?
"He's handled the transition and Brian's a guy that learns quickly. He knows what we're doing. I think he's benefitted a ton just as Matt Tennant has from being around Olin and his experience. Just as he has in the weeks prior when Olin wasn't ready to play, he'll be put in that starter's role."
Jed Collins said you're seeing more out of him. Is that because you're more comfortable with what he's bringing to the table?
"With Jed the one thing I think you look for as a value and one thing you value as a coach is you know what you're getting with a player, and I think Jed's a great example of that. When we game plan on Mondays and Tuesdays and we decide on personnel groupings and assignments and schemes, when it involves a player like Jed you know exactly what he can do and what he does very well. Then it just becomes a matter of plugging in and putting him in those positions."
It seems about 25 percent are saying that it's an admirable decision by Olin Kreutz to decide to not accept a paycheck for the rest of the year and others are saying they're upset for him leaving the team. What are your thoughts?
"That's probably a poll of 110 votes. I think that's bologna to pay attention to. You respect him and understand how difficult it is (to play) for a long period of time."