New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton's Press Conference
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"Our plan tomorrow night is somewhat similar to last year. We are going to mix some guys in there. There are going to be some starters playing. There will be some guys playing that aren't starters in the very beginning of the game. A lot of guys will get a lot of playing time. We will try and get some of the veteran players, or guys that have been starters, some playing time that haven't (played much in the preseason.) Specifically, we will try and get Tracy Porter and Roman Harper some snaps. Will Smith will take snaps. Carl Nicks will take snaps."
"There will be a handful of those players that may not have had the snap count in this preseason that they normally would have. In Will's (Smith) case, it is really just with the depth at defensive end. I don't know if Jeff Charleston will be able to play. This will be like it is every year for the fourth preseason game. It's important for a lot of guys and important for us as coaches to manage the game in regard to the situations."
Can you talk about how important this preseason game is for a guy like LB Nate Bussey?
"It's very important. He would be a great example. Nate is going to play a lot in the base and a lot in the kicking game. He is a real good example of a guy that is working to make an impression not only on defense but in special teams."
How set are you with your roster? Are there four or five spots still up for grabs?
"I would say at least that. There is just a lot of scenarios that would not just involve one position group it may involve the decision as to go with a player on defense, offense or someone we think about in the kicking game. Those are the discussions that will have to take place beginning Friday all the way up to Saturday."
Can you think of a guy who actually played his way onto to the roster in the fourth preseason game?
"I can think of guys not just here but Bashir Levingston was a returner for us at the Giants. I can think of Zuriel Smith at the Cowboys. There were some guys here."
Would WRs Rod Harper or Lance Moore be good examples of guys that proved themselves in the fourth preseason game?
"Yes, although I think we had a little bit more background with Lance. Rod would be a guy that stood out in the preseason but I am not sure if it was the fourth preseason game though."
What is your quarterback situation for the Titans game tomorrow night?
"We are not going to play Drew (Brees). The plan is to not play him. We are going to start Sean Canfield and he is going to get most of the snaps with Chase (Daniel) being the backup."
Will there be other starters that definitely won't play tomorrow night?
"Yeah but as I said in the team meeting earlier, I pulled everyone up after team stretch, and explained how there are scenarios in each position group where someone like Jahri Evans will play if all of a sudden (something changes). What happens in this type of situation is you can't say put your baseball hat on you are not playing. There are enough guys nicked up that that aren't available to play. Everybody has to be ready. Not only on offense and defense but special teams."
Are you even more worried about preseason injuries in this final game?
"Every year when you get to the fourth preseason game, and certainly when you open on Thursday night as opposed to a Sunday night, you are always mindful of that. Yet, my experience is that there is really only one way to play this game. I think players recognize that. You have to be all in and at 100 miles per hour till it's your time to rest. If not, you can run into more problems.
I think it's too hard of a game to play to cruise through it. I think there are other sports that would be easier to do that in. I think it's hard to do that in contact sports like wrestling and boxing because of the nature of the game."
How tough is it this season to evaluate guys like Tom Johnson, who spent some time with the first team but then he got hurt and we haven't seen him as much?
"This year more so than in years past, there are a handful of guys that we are going to have to make projection decisions on with not the normal amount of snaps or offseason to work with. He is a good example. There are more guys than just Tom. That is the nature of this offseason and this period of time where we are at. I was saying to Mickey (Loomis) earlier, I do feel that there are a few of those players."
Is the plan in for Green Bay or is there still a lot of work to be done?
"There is still a lot of work to be done. There have been studies, projects and things we have done but the plan is not in."
Did you work on the Green Bay plan throughout the offseason?
"I think it would be more appropriate in the spring where you begin opponent study with your first three opponents and your division. You have some general thoughts. Then there is a period time in camp where you go back and look at some more film.
We play this Thursday night then a normal 'day after game schedule' on Friday. Friday is going to feel like a Monday for all of us. The players will be off on Saturday which will be like a Tuesday. Our game planning will really begin in full on Friday and Saturday for Sunday's practice."
Can you put too much preparation in an opening game?
"I just think you have to be thorough you have to have a plan. It always starts with who is available for your own team. You work forward from that. The plan is a series of nights. Its starts with the base first and second down. The next practice is third down and so on. There are a series of installations that take place. I think we have a pretty good formula for how we go about doing that. We are experienced at it. There hasn't been a lot of staff turnover. That being said, it would be no different from a first playoff game. In the first game of the season you are mindful of what you have done and what you have done well. You dress up formations and add a few wrinkles that we haven't shown in the preseason."