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Payton On Sunday

Head coach discusses position switches, gives injury update

Following a two-hour fully padded practice on Sunday morning in front of 842 fans, Saints head coach Sean Payton adressed the media. Among the topics he discussed were the position changes of LBs Jonathan Casillas and Scott Shanle as well as an injury update. Below is a transcript.

Opening Statement:

* *"This morning we had a little bit more emphasis on some move the field drills and then we finished up with some short-yardage at about three-quarters speed. This afternoon will just be weight lifting and a brief walkthrough and then we'll go two again tomorrow."

What is Usama Young's injury and how long do you expect him to be out?

* *"It's a groin. Hopefully it's sooner than later."

Does it have anything to do with the sports hernia surgery he had last year?

* *"That's a good question. Right now we're getting it checked on we're backing off his practice snaps and we'll see."

You haven't added a running back since Lynell Hamilton went out. Is that something that you might address later?

* *"We're currently looking. It's not something that we've decided that we're going to wait on but the question is can we find the right player and do we have to wait if we can't. We're looking right now so I wouldn't say we're staying pat, we just haven't signed anyone in the last two days. Hopefully we're able to get someone in here that we have a high enough grade on."

If you don't find someone, do you feel pretty good with P.J. Hill and Chris Ivory?

* *"Right now, to be fair to those two players, they have a lot of work ahead of them. Both of them have shown some real positive signs, which is encouraging. Fortunately, they're going to have three more games to get a lot of reps and we'll see how they progress. But I do like what I'm seeing from them. That being said, there's still a number of things that they're working on to get fully up to speed. We'll see, but I'd anticipate that we'll be able to get someone in here before the Texans game."

Is Scott Shanle someone that can take over at strongside linebacker?

* *"He has versatility; he's smart; he knows the defense. You're trying to in your packages get the best players on the field that suit your scheme, so it's very conceivable that he'll take snaps there. He took snaps at 'Sam' all day today and (Jonathan) Casillas came in and played the 'Will'."

Is it a situation where you have more guys that are suited to the weakside so you can move him over?

* *"You're really just trying to find your best combination. Certainly Scott is involved in that. Whether it's at 'Will' or at 'Sam', he's a guy that's a three-down player. He plays in the nickel because he can run and has done a very good job and has been a real consistent performer for us. I'm sure he's going to be well-versed, certainly in the 'Will' but now playing more 'Sam', he'll be ready for either of those spots. We just have to be flexible enough within the packages."

How has Jimmy Wilkerson progressed coming back from his knee injury?

* *"With him and Heath (Evans), both ACL players, those guys have been going on the heavy practice and then backing off later in the afternoons. I thought he graded out pretty well in the game. He's a physical player so he gives you some strength at the point of attack and holds up versus the run pretty well. He has some versatility to where he can come down inside. But so far, his rehab has gone as well as anyone's. With the amount of time he's put in, it's really a credit to the shape he's in and where his knee is at."

Are you surprised that guys are able to come back from that injury so much quicker?

* *"The rehab routine is different than it was maybe 10 years ago and you're seeing guys get up and on their feet much quicker. But in his case, I'd also say that his work ethic, from the time he arrived here, he has rehabbed this injury better than anyone I've seen in quite a while."

How did DeMario Pressley play the other night?

* *"He was ok. There were some good snaps that we saw and then there were some things that we can coach off of. He'll get more work in this game coming up. But like a group of players, there were some encouraging things and some things on the film that you need to clean up and correct."

Can you sense that the team is at that two-week mark of camp?

* *"I thought we were pretty good this morning. It was still warm – not as warm as it was last week – but I thought it was still good. I was pleased with it. Yesterday we were mindful that we were just a day and a half off of playing and today we wanted to get after it a little bit more. I thought it went pretty well."

We've seen Robert Meachem running around and catching some balls. How close do you think he is to returning to action?

* *"I think he's very close. I'm hoping that it's sometime in the early part of this week. I think Robert is progressing pretty well on schedule and we can have him hopefully here in the next couple of days."

Given Adrian Arrington's injury history since he's been here, is it pivotal for him to get more reps?

* *"I think with what he's dealing with now, we're going to see him back sooner than later. I thought he played pretty well the other night. He's in good shape and he made enough plays. Certainly he's one of those guys – and there are a few – that we've had long enough now to where this camp is important for them and staying healthy is a part of that. I think with his shoulder, you'll see him practicing soon.

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