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Payton Recaps Day 2 of Training Camp

Saints Head Coach talks about Jimmy Graham, Darren Sproles and importance of the Unrestricted Free Agents that re-signed


New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton Post-Practice Media Availability
Saturday, July 30, 2011

Opening Statement

"We signed free safety Roman Harper, which was announced last night. We signed running back Mark Ingram. The same group of players, Charles Brown, Chris Ivory, Tracy Porter, Greg Romeus, and Carl Johnson, are on the failed physical list. Thomas Morstead passed a physical and practiced today. One player that did not practice was Josh Gatlin, with his right thumb and right knee."

How important is reporting to camp on time?

"Well, these are reps. Without the offseason we're accustomed to, the learning curve becomes a little steeper. With any of these rookies, they're all going through a real quick progression and certainly you want all of them in as soon as you can. When the unrestricted free agents are able to come in next week, we'll have a chance to kind of back up a little bit and start again with the install. But, I (still) think it's important."

How has Jimmy Graham has looked in camp so far?

"I think he looks like he's in real good shape. That one rookie season is now under his belt. I think he's someone who learns very quickly. I think he's picked up what we're doing and he looks good. I think there's a snap progression, if you will, of experience. He has about two years of playing football; most of these guys have played at least 10 to 12 years. So that, along with the things that are specifically important for his position, those are the things that I think you will see him working on and improving on."

It looks like, priority-wise, you've been able to sign a lot of players this past week. How do you feel about how productive the past week has been as far as isolating important positions?

"It's a busy week. You really don't have a chance to stop for a second and reflect on anything. It just seems like there is always something. Mickey (Loomis), Ryan (Pace), Khai (Harley), Rick (Reiprish) and those guys have been working real hard. Every time I see Mickey, I ask if there's any news because chances are, there probably is. Those guys have been doing a lot of work and that involves a lot of phone calls to agents. You're dealing with your own unrestricted free agents, rookies, players that you drafted, maybe other teams' free agents and I think that it's been a unique time for the agents themselves. Some of these agents have 40-50 players, and for them it's kind of hectic."

Is there any sense of relief? You have your left tackle, you have Lance Moore back, you've got special teams upgraded, the whole defensive backfield is in place.

"I don't know that you ever have that sense of relief. You so begin to gain more certainty about how your roster is looking. But there's still a handful of players that we're working on and we've got time. With practices not beginning in full, really, until your whole team is present next week, you're still hoping to get as much in a week as you can. And that's what has kind of delayed a little of what we're doing now from an install standpoint."

How important is it to re-sign your own free agents such as Scott Shanle, Roman Harper, Moore, and Jermon Bushrod as opposed to signing players from elsewhere?

"Well, it can go both ways. When a player joins a team, he has to grasp not only the schematic system, but what they know is the program. It goes the same way for the organization, coaches, and management. It's easier when you know all the specifics of that player. For a player going somewhere else or a team that decides to go in another direction, there's just more question marks. It's nice when there's a fit there."

How do you think is the best way to utilize Darren Sproles?

"Well he's versatile and he can run the ball well. I think he's a guy that is dangerous in the run and screen game. He's got very good hands, he can return. His greatest trait is his ability to stop, start, and change direction. We play inside 8 games per year, Atlanta's inside, and Carolina and Tampa are on fast tracks. When you have a quick player like that on fast surfaces, it can be really effective and dangerous."

How do you plan on using your new "stable" of running backs?

"I think it will sort itself out. We haven't begun to sit and identify the rotation or anything like that. But, we do have an idea about the roles for these guys so we're excited about it. We're excited about some of the young players we have and some of the experience we have like Darren and Pierre (Thomas). So this will be exciting. I think it's important that we have that balance from a team concept. It helps us win the time of possession, and helps with what we want to do in the play-action passing game. It's certainly a big emphasis for us."

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