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Payton Glad to be Back at Practice

Payton updates the injury report, talks about his rehab process and the Saints running game


New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Thursday, October 19, 2011

Injury Report/Opening Statement:

"With regards to today's practice, Sedrick Ellis, right ankle did not practice, Turk McBride with his right shoulder did not practice, Jon Vilma, right knee, did not practice, linebacker Will Herring, hamstring did not practice, Zach Strief with his right knee did not practice. We have Jimmy Graham with his right ankle, he had some soreness after practice yesterday. We held him today. David Thomas was limited with a concussion. John Gilmore, neck, was limited and then Olin Kreutz was non-football, which is a personal deal with him. Most of the emphasis was third down. Certainly it was good for me to have a chance to get back, see what's going on and work through the logistics of being at practice. There were certainly some limitations and we'll work through those. I think those are a little bit more for a few days coming off the surgery than as we get into a little bit of a routine. We have a little deal around here, a china doll that I buy. A china doll's very fragile and it's rare that you don't have one that's not broken, an arm or something, so early in the season, I had to place that china doll on the lockers of a few of our players and when I got home last night here in the building, there were a lot of cookies, balloons, a lot of cool stuff and then on my desk was a note with that return to sender, so our players and coaches and everybody have been great. Certainly I appreciate all your support. Anytime something like that happens is unique, obviously not planned. You go through a lot of emotions. I think during the course of the game, I wasn't certain if it wasn't just the MCL. Certainly after halftime it was (realized it was) more than that, so what we have to do for myself is really get into the rehab and the good news is when I come to work there is a professional training facility right downstairs with everything that I need and the film, all those other things, we'll just find a way to make it up and make do with."

What parts of practice were you out at?

"I was out at the walk through and for the individual part of practice, there were segments of really how much you want to see of dealing with the swelling, especially this first week. I decided to stay away from the individual, stretch and then came out for the other things. I think more than anything it's just looking at the schedule and just deciding how much of it you're going to be able to see. There's some soreness of course and swelling, so I think it's going to work just fine in regards to logisitics. We're in a routine and on a schedule and I think that serves us well whenever there's any type of distraction and I don't see this being a big one, but we stay with our normal schedule."

Are you using crutches or do you have a golf cart?

"Don't think for a second it wasn't coincidental I waited for you guys to leave the golf cart pulled up there. There's a cart with a lift on it that keeps it raised."

Will you be coaching from the press box Sunday night?


Have you talked to other coaches or worked with a coach that's done that before?

"As a young assistant there have been times in all of our careers where we have been in a press box. I think it will be fairly smooth for us in that we have a flow already on how things happen during the game. Logistically the only difference is that our play may come through me to Pete (Carmichael Jr.) to Drew (Brees) rather than me to Drew. Pete will be like he always is but even more so just as involved in input with Aaron (Kromer) especially with this game. Logistically that part of it will run fairly easily. Certainly we'll have assignments that are different in regards to who's handling the challenge flag and there are parts of being upstairs that will maybe benefit us, but I don't think it will be that much different from our routine. It will certainly be more efficient than the finish of last week or the second quarter of last week once you're able to be stationary. The key is just getting it in a position where you're comfortable and you can sit for a while. That's the trick."

Are you hoping to be back on the sidelines sooner rather than later?

"I also have to be smart and realistic. I think the thing we're dealing with right now is letting the fracture heal. It's not the MCL. It's the tib fracture that took place along with the MCL. That's where some of the nausea and swelling and some of the things that happen after surgery. I have to pay attention to what the doctors are saying. I don't want to become stubborn or foolish. I don't want it to become an issue that's longer than it should be. That being said, as a start here, the plan is to be upstairs and be settled up there, with some type of space and ability to operate."

What's the most important thing or things that you have not been able to do this week?

"It's times like this that you recognize how important it is to have a good staff and the right leadership in place and all those things.  I don't ever take that for granted.  It's always hard to sit in a hospital bed and listen to someone else's press conference and talk about practice and to some degree you weren't at all available.  I think just the beginning part of the game plan of watching film and being involved with the coaches in the process and not being at practice.  The football stuff is the thing that you miss right away that you're used to because you're on the schedule and the schedule changed.  Sunday night we got in late and we went over to the hospital and Monday I had surgery.  Then you go through that day and a half period where you're just trying to get the swelling down and get healthy.  I think just the early part of the work week in regards to football, that would be what's been different.  Yet last night I was able to come in and spend some time with our coaches.  We had a meeting like we always would at five o'clock and spend some time on the injury list, spend some time on the game day, who's going to be inactive and who's active, and then spend some time with defensive coaches and offensive coaches specifically about this week's game.  I have one of those little iPad's that I've have in the hospital for a couple days now that allows you to watch a lot of stuff and that's helpful."

Do you feel like you've put your main points on this week's game?

"You do as much as you can and there are just some things that are just different.  There's a point when you're coming out of recovery where you're not really concerned about the defensive ends of the Colts, but certainly our group is and we are.  It's a team that we have a good background with, it's a team we're familiar with it's also a team that is like some of the teams we've played recently with what they do defensively from a scheme standpoint.  That's been the biggest thing with Monday and Tuesday being different."

How difficult was it to be away from the routine you're used to?

"It's hard because you're going through something entirely different.  You go from having a lot of control to all of a sudden sitting in a hospital bed where you have very little at that moment when you've been operated on.  You have a lot of people giving directions and you find that you just have to be a pretty good soldier and listen.  The people at Oschner were awesome.  They did a great job.  They're very helpful and the whole process went smooth.  You're in a different position.  You're a patient rather than a teacher."

Do you feel like you're still running the ball as efficiently as you were at the beginning of the year?
"Obviously we didn't run it as well as we'd like to against Tampa Bay. It's something we'll continue to work on. We think it's an important element to us winning. It's certainly something we want to continue to work on."

Why do you think running the ball didn't work as well on Sunday?
"I'm sure there are a number of things. You don't convert some third downs and you turn the football over, you're not going to have the same rushing attempts. I think it goes hand in hand with a lot of things. You're playing from behind as opposed to a lead. You don't have the same total number of snaps. There are a lot of reasons."

Typically how long does it take you to call a play?
"I think logistically this transition will be real smooth because Drew (Brees) is so on top of the call halfway when it's coming out of your mouth, he understands what you want. Pete (Carmichael) is the same way. The process will work very smoothly and yet it will be a little different, but Pete's had a half really already where he's done it entirely himself. I think it's more often than not the norm that someone's calling down to and then out to the quarterback."

Why is there a rule that you can't communicate from the booth to the quarterback?
"I think they felt there would be certain things that we're not even thinking of (on the field) that the guy upstairs can. I think it's always been field to helmet. I also think logistically technology-wise it's a little bit more complex because the field units sit right on the sidelines so I think it would involve an added expense."

Were you on the golf cart during all times at practice or were you also on crutches?
"It's hard for me to stay upright on crutches. I went out three different times with the foot elevated on the golf cart. I was out for the walkthrough and out for the team periods. There's less pain when the leg's elevated. It's hard to do on the crutches and yet I have to get used to walking on the crutches."

Are you doing anything to prepare for that lag time now that you're going from a two-person communication system to a three-person system?
"I think we just have to be mindful of being quick. It starts with the initial sender. I think that'll run very smoothly. Again, it gets back to the experience of all the people involved in the process. Pete has been here since '06 and certainly with Drew and all of us the same system and the same terminology. But I think it is important that it is efficient. There's a little less room, probably four seconds."

Do you think the Colts are more dangerous coming in with no wins?
"I don't know. I think you pay attention to your own club. You can't dwell on that because you have no control over it."

How much will it motivate you guys coming off a loss last week?
"I think what motivates us is to get a win here. We came off a tough loss on the road in the division so it's strictly to get our fifth win. We recognize that's important."

When do you anticipate making a decision on Chris Ivory?
"Not any time soon and yet we'll keep you guys posted when we do. That'll be something that we'll just handle day to day. That won't be a daily update. It'll be at a time when all of a sudden we'll just announce it."

Do you plan on taking a trip to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to get a feel for where you'll be?
"Tomorrow there will be a point when Mickey (Loomis) and I will just go over there and we're just trying to look at the logistics of the seating area. I don't think there will be any concern about the elevators because I'm not looking to get back down at halftime. It's just what kind of space is available in the coaches' booth. There's a wiring that has to be done like it always is with our assistants, so it's what level are we on and is there enough space. That's the purpose of tomorrow."

How much is it going to have to complicate your rehab that you're going to be busy coaching?
"I don't think it will. I'll just give you an example. I think it's more challenging for the everyday person that has a job from 9-5 that has to then travel to a rehab facility. It's hard for me to pass up Scottie (Patton) in the morning or in the afternoon or right when I'm finished here and I'm back in there. I just came from treatment. I had a treatment prior to the meetings this morning. I can have four treatments in a day where I work and a clean set of clothes and meals, so I would say it's the opposite just because of the logistics. This is what they do for a living. They get people healthy to get them on the football field. I'm added to that list. The treatments already have been good. There's a lot of swelling and there's a lot of things we'll do to work on that. It's a step process that we're on right now, but I think from a convenience standpoint it's all right here. The car pulls up and it's here until the nighttime."

Of all the football you've played, is this the worst game day injury you've had?
"Before, I'd never really been hurt. We were just having this conversation last week with some of the players talking about muscle pulls and whatever, but this is the first time I've ever really been injured at all. It's just unfortunate."

Does it give you more empathy for the players and what they go through?
"Yes, a little bit. There are a lot of steps in the process. It's very detail-oriented. There are the little needles you have to take so your blood doesn't clot. Those aren't fun. There are all sorts of little things. That being said, I think what's most important is that you're crossing all the t's and dotting the i's because what's most important is the efficiency and the timely manner something like this gets done."

Did it take time to evaluate how bad you were hurt?
"I don't know that you recognize your injury right away. I knew after I had tried to get up that something was seriously wrong with my left leg. You go through that where you're knocked down and then here comes this moment of truth. All of have been there to some degree maybe with bumping into something and you look down to see if there's blood or not because it felt like you might have gotten cut or you're not. That was kind of the same thing and when I stepped, it felt really different so I just sat down on the bench and tried to take a few deep breaths and calm down there. You're body has a way of dealing with that. You deal with it and the pain isn't as strong until later."

Did Jon Vilma suffer a setback or has this been typical?
"This has been typical. We're hoping that the arrow begins to move upwards."

How is not having the persona you bring on the sideline going to affect the game?
"I really believe this and Joe (Vitt) said it yesterday. He really explained it as good as anyone. I think in our sports normally it's the player you count on to step up in a certain area and in our type of team with what we have it might be a personality like Joe Vitt's who has had this experience and who's someone that's been extremely valuable to me and to us and our program as an assistant coach. That's not that anyone takes on anything additional, but this certainly affects Pete and Aaron (Kromer) and Joe (Lombardi), the group in general there are some things that are different than they normally would be on a Monday or a Tuesday and then today even Thursday. They pick up those spots and I think our players know that too."

How valuable is it that Joe Vitt has done this before?
"I think it's extremely valuable, but I also think what's most valuable is Joe clearly understands what's kind of been our blueprint over the years and a few days or maybe longer there are going to be some challenges maybe with practices in regards to how much. I think with the veteran team we have and the coaching staff we have, all of them, we'll handle the details. Nothing will slip because of it. I think they'll be ready for that."

What will your pregame routine be like and when will you decide to go up?
"I don't know. Probably at some point you just get on the elevator. I don't think it's beneficial to go out pregame on the field. There are certain things that don't really help, so as soon as I can just head up on the elevator, sit down, park myself, put some ice on it and get comfortable the better off I'll be. You start fidgeting just like I'm fidgeting now. You want to get comfortable so those are the things that we'll work through."

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