New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Monday, August 3, 2009 – Afternoon practice
"There's really nothing new to report this afternoon. A couple of guys were back; obviously Reggie Bush practiced this evening and tomorrow we'll be on a 'B' schedule."
Are you encouraged by how Reggie looks?
"Very. I think the balance between reps and attrition is something that we have to weigh always and that's something that we're doing. I thought he looked real good this afternoon."
Do you credit that to his rehab?
"I think he's had a great offseason. He has his weight where it needs to be and again, the key is just keeping him healthy. He's far enough along with what we're doing to where we just have to monitor his practices. Tomorrow is just a walkthrough in the morning and then we'll practice in the afternoon, but we'll keep doing that judiciously and just try to find that balance. But he looked real good."
After seven practices, does it seem like the secondary has more interceptions than they had all of training camp last year?
"There were two plays today that were impressive. That last interception was something else. It was low and away and kind of in an oddball location and (Tracy Porter) did a great job of getting it in his hands. I thought this afternoon we came back and did some things offensively that were encouraging. Like I said, I really felt like the defense got the better of us this morning. By and large it was a good day. I thought we got a lot done. I'm pleased with the schedule right now and the routine that we're in and the flexibility that we have in coming in here. We have a long time to go and we just have to keep working. Tomorrow we put in red zone and we get that installation in tonight and really practice it the next two days."
Was this one of the better practices the running backs have had in camp so far?
"There are a few faces that a lot of people don't know about. I think Mike Bell is a familiar name and he's having a real good camp after a good offseason and then you can look at Lynell (Hamilton) and Herb (Donaldson) and P.J. (Hill) – a couple of these other backs have done a good job and I'm anxious to see them in this preseason. I like what I'm seeing from that group right now. By giving them some reps out here we're getting a chance to evaluate those guys pretty cleanly and that's important."
Is Lynell Hamilton/Rod Coleman.aspx">Rod Coleman someone who can lean on what he's done in the past even though he didn't play last season?
"There are about seven players that would kind of be in his shoes in that we've seen him play at a high level; the key is that you still have to see it – not every day – but you still have to see that they have that in '09. There are a number of veteran players like that on our roster that are competing for a spot that we're hopeful that they still have some gas left in the tank. We'll have enough chance to take a look at those guys – Coleman is one of them – but there will be a handful of players that we have to see can still do it."
Will it be difficult for Lynell Hamilton/Skyler Green.aspx">Skyler Green to make this team? Could he be a victim of the numbers?
"I wouldn't say that. He's always going to be a guy that's right on the edge. He has to excel in special teams; he has to be versatile as a receiver. He is smart; he knows where to line up and he has his weight down. He's doing a good job."
Does DeMario Pressley have to prove something to you this summer?
"There are a few of those younger players that we're just now getting a chance to evaluate and he's one of them. He has done a good job so far. When we get into the games we'll have a better feel for how he's doing. But he would be one of the younger players that is healthy now that we're looking forward to seeing some things from."
Who are the seven guys that you were talking about in the group with Coleman?
"You could look at the age of a number of players. There are guys like Coleman and Dan Campbell. There are guys like Garrett Hartley/Paul Spicer.aspx">Paul Spicer. I'm going through a list of veteran players that in the past we have seen some good things from, guys that we evaluated. We have to monitor their practice snaps and closely monitor what we're seeing from them and see if they still have it. That's not a secret. When we meet as a team, we say to the younger guys that they're looking to make an impression and some of you older guys at some point I still need to see that you can do it. I think you could go through the roster and pluck the names yourselves."
Would Darren Sharper be one?
"He'd be one of them."
With all the talk about the slotting of draft picks, having had the players before and after Malcolm Jenkins signed for a few days now are you surprised that hasn't sped up his negotiations?
"I'm never surprised. It's always a challenge this time of year to get these guys into camp. It's certainly more beneficial that the player in front and the player behind have been signed and we just go from there. It's a process. We're hopeful that it's sooner rather than later and that's really all I have on that."
Do you know if there have been proposals recently?
"There has been dialogue. But you guys are waiting to hear the news that it's done and as soon as we know that we'll let you know. But there's a process that's involved and I know that Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) are working real closely on it and I'm sure that (Tom) Condon and (Ben) Dogra are doing the same from CAA. Like I said, the sooner the better."
How did it make you feel to see Jeremy Shockey make a catch like he did out there today?
"It was a good play. He's running and he's healthy now. It was good to see him get down the field. I've said that this is really the healthiest that he has been since he's been here and that was good."
Is there anything you have done in the offseason to combat faster kick returners?
"The first thing is that you start with your own personnel. It's important that your core players are guys that can run and tackle, guys that can run themselves. It starts with your personnel. I think Greg (McMahon) and Mike (Mallory) do a great job each week with the scheme that we implement to cover a good returner or defend a good punt returner. The key for us is to continue to improve our kicking game and our return game. But it really starts with those core players that are on the cusp of playing but are playing in a backup manner. I think as you improve your depth as a team, chances are that you're improving your kicking game as well."
Do you see a situation where more and more front line players in the league will be playing on special teams as well?
"You're seeing front line players play special teams because of the roster size and will continue to do the same."