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Payton Post Practice Aug 3

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New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Monday, August 3, 2009

Opening Statement:

"We held out Dan Campbell this morning; we drained his knee yesterday and we'll see how he is this afternoon. We'll probably wait and start him back this afternoon. We held out Reggie Bush this morning. He just had some mild swelling in his knee – not significant – but enough to where I didn't want to see that thing to start to get irritated. Most of the emphasis was on the nickel; most, if not all, was on third down. There were a few inside drills at the beginning of practice. I thought defensively we did a real good job this morning, not only in the rush but in the coverage aspect of it. We have some work to do certainly offensively. This afternoon's practice will be inside and much of the same type of categories will be emphasized – third down and nickel."

In Reggie's case, is this more swelling that you've seen since the surgery?

"No, it just got inflamed a little. Again, I don't think it's anything significant yet it's significant enough to where I don't want it to become irritated and keep him out for more than just a practice or two. We'll see how it is this afternoon."

Did he have to have the knee drained or anything?

"No."

Why was Robert Meachem/Jo-Lonn Dunbar.aspx">Jo-Lonn Dunbar not practicing?

"He has a hamstring. I think it will probably be day-by-day with him and he'll be back probably within the next two days. I don't think it's real serious but it's significant enough to where it has slowed him down some."

How far behind is Malcolm Jenkins falling by continuing to not be in camp?

"We're on our third install, so three installs."

Any news on his contract progress?

"None that I'm aware of."

Could you comment on the play of the cornerbacks this morning?

"Those guys had their hands on balls and it was real good to see. They made a number of plays. It starts with the pass rush and carries over into the back end. I thought they did a good job, especially in that last period."

Does the depth at corner make Jenkins not being here a little easier to swallow?

"You want your first-round pick in camp, so I don't know that it's ever easy to swallow. The key is getting all your best players in and having the competition, but right now we practice with who's here and we're really just missing one guy."

Are you encouraged with what you're seeing from the other corners?

"Yes. I think we have good depth there. It's probably the best depth that we've had since I've been here at corner. It has been encouraging."

How much will you be committed to run-pass balance on offense this year?

"I think in each game it's different. There are some weeks where based on the team you're playing and the fronts that we're seeing, you're more prone to doing one or the other. There's no set ratio going into the season – we don't do that. The key is to score. There are some weeks I'm sure where we'll feature one aspect more than the other."

Is it hard to justify taking the ball out of Drew Brees' hands?

"No. Part of his job is to get us in the right running play. I consider the ball in his hands at the line of scrimmage – although he's handing it to somebody – there is still a decision made in regards to what run. He's smart enough to see the front and get us in the right play. So the ball is still in his hands. I just think that a lot of that depends on week-to-week and who you're playing."

What kind of emphasis are you having on short-yardage during this camp?

"I think it's about three days away and then we'll get into our short-yardage installation. That will be something that we'll spend a lot of time on. The key is not only what we're doing, but who we're doing it with. That's part of the evaluation, as well as the preseason games."

Is that more than usual?

"That's about when we install short-yardage. It's usually the fifth or sixth installation that goes in."

Will you spend more time on it than usual?

"The time on task with it is going to really give us information. In pads you can get to where you're going live so the time we spend on it – which may be more – will be mainly who we're doing it with. Who's our short-yardage runner? Bush was someone that had real good numbers in that category before he got injured last year. That being said, I don't think you need a lot of plays. The key is deciding who you're doing it with and then who you're attacking each week when you play."

Reggie could be your third-and-one guy?

"Potentially, yes."

How much will Heath Evans figure in that package?

"Primarily as the lead-blocker and occasionally as a change-up as a carrier."

Is time running out on Adrian Arrington?

"The key for him is just getting healthy and getting out there. We're finally starting to see that come around. For a lot of young players that we really haven't seen yet, there is a sense of urgency. He'd be one of them but I could give you eight more in his category. The key is just getting him out here so we can start evaluating him."

How would you evaluate the punter competition right now?

"Both of those guys are doing a good job. I'm anxious to see them in the line of fire. We've had enough drill work though where we've gotten outside and had a chance to see both of those guys kicking. I thought (Thomas) Morstead has handled the adjustment quickly into this camp. (Glenn) Pakulak has more experience but I think those two are going to have a good competition. Fortunately for us, we have four preseason games to just watch them punt."

Is there a certain yardage you're looking for out of them?

"We chart every kick they make and keep track of the hang time and the distance, and also the get off. There are three aspects – how quickly they're operating and then the result of the kick. We'll chart in practice and then we'll chart it in the games. I'm anxious to see how they do in the games."

Have you decided what you're going to do on Saturday?

"We're going to go outside here. It will be pretty typical of what we've done in the past with that scrimmage. We'll have about nine rolls of about seven to eight snaps. We'll mix in the special teams and then there are some spontaneous parts of that. If there's a drive going, we'll continue the drive. Those reps have kind of been laid out right now."

Was Anthony Hargrove/Joey Harrington.aspx">Joey Harrington working with the second team just to give him an opportunity to work with a different group?

"Yes. What we're trying to do is in each practice to rotate those two players. A lot of time when you're working with the third unit, there are a number of things that you have to handle as a quarterback. The route might be open but there might be a protection flaw. So you're seeing both Mark (Brunell) and Joey take those snaps. I'd like to get to a point where I'm going to rotate those guys in with the ones as well and rest Brees a period or two."

How do you determine the number of balls that each quarterback is going to throw in a practice?

"It's more the reps. We just try to stay on top of each day after practice of where they're at. I'm not as concerned with how many throws they make. The arm can sometimes get tired, but it's not like a pitcher. But I do want to see the other two guys get some work with the first group, if not early on in camp, then later in camp and in the preseason."

How did Jonathan Vilma solidify the linebackers last year and become the leader of that group?

"He's a guy that runs well. I think his leadership really came on mid-season once he became more comfortable and confident in what he was doing. He's someone that plays with that intensity that we look for. He's the quarterback of the defense, if you will. He has good leadership skills and he works extremely hard. He had a great offseason. He was one of the guys that was at 100% with the workouts and he is truly one of the leaders of this team."

How much did that say about him that he practiced that first day when he probably could have taken a day or two to get going after the surgery?

"I think that was pretty important. Players understood that he had the scope done, but it also tells you that he worked hard in those three weeks after the surgery."

How good is Jahri Evans?

"I think he's a real good player and I think he's going to be a real good player in this league for a while. He has power, he's good in his pass sets, he's one of our best run blockers, he's very smart and he has the size that you look for at that position. He's certainly an anchor for us and one of if not our top offensive linemen."

Did you see that in him when you drafted him?

"I don't know. When you take a player like that in the fourth round, I would say we hit on him. If we knew he was going to be that good and the draft was held again, some club would take him in the first round. You see guards taken in the first round and I think Jahri is a guy that's going to play in a lot of Pro Bowls before his career is over with."

Did you give some thought to bringing a second kicker to camp?

"We talked about it. The challenge we have is with the roster at 80 now it's a little different. We don't have any exemptions from the old Europe league so it challenges you a little bit when it comes to a fourth quarterback or backup special teams spots. Those are things that you have to work through."

Jon Stinchcomb said that it seems like they're working on blitz pickup on every down in every situation. Is that how this defense is going to play?

"The install today was certainly that part of the pressure package. I think you'll see combinations of looks from those guys. I told Gregg Williams early on in the process that some of his best plans against us were coverage plans. When you go back three years ago to the game we played here against Washington, there wasn't a lot of pressure in that game. It's understanding your opponent and doing what's necessary to win the game."

Do you think Reggie might not practice every day during the season?

"You just watch what you do when you practice. I think he'll be fine. He's strong. He had a procedure done this spring, so it's not uncommon where he's at right now."

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