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New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean PaytonMonday, May 16, 2011
You guys said it was business as usual all the way leading up to the draft. Is this the first month where you feel it might not be that?
"I think the one thing is certainly the absence of seeing guys in a teaching environment. Normally we'd be getting ready for the rookie minicamp and OTA's. What we're doing specifically is the game plan on the first regular season opponent Green Bay. We're doing our training camp teaching schedule and playbook and then finishing up research projects on other teams we looked at this offseason. I think we're getting to that stretch where it's different than it has been."
Are you losing any sleep over this situation?
"I think we typically lose sleep over things we can't control as coaches. This is something where just like everyone here we wait and keep ourselves ready. I think everybody's pretty good at adjusting schedules when we need to. You just want to make sure you're putting everything together and you're ready when the time comes."
Do you think that when the work stoppage ends, it will be a mad dash to sign veteran free agents as well as undrafted players?
"You know right after the draft there can be no greater mad dash than to sign college free agents on that Sunday. So, that is four hours of phone calls where you're competing against the 31 other teams. I think that process will be a little different, maybe a little bit more thought out, not only by the clubs, but by the players themselves, talking about the rookie free agents. I think when the time comes, everybody will be on the same page. I don't see it being very hurried. Right now we're just waiting."
What do you think of where it seems like your players are getting together for one of the more organized efforts of working out together throughout the league?
"I like to hear. I can't see them doing that much. I like to hear what you guys have seen. I've said it before that we have a veteran locker room. We have great leadership."
Do you think that's an advantage to your team, given the veteran element and leadership element?
"It's more of a challenge for the younger staffs of course. I look back to '06 and reflect and try to envision that season. There was so much that we needed to gather and find out about that current roster. That's the bigger challenge."
Reggie Bush backtracked on some prior tweets and said yesterday he wants to be a Saint for life. What do you think of it?
"I don't keep up with the tweets. You guys do"
What are your thoughts on what he said verbally this weekend?
"I think right after the draft, I think that the very same question was asked. We have a vision collectively as an organization for his role. He's been very instrumental in us winning our first World Championship. Certainly we see a vision for the player."
Mickey Loomis said about 70 percent of the players need these offseason workouts. What do you think of that?
"What he's saying and he's absolutely right is that there's competition for the roster, whether it's rehabilitation, learning the snaps on offense, defense and the kicking game. In order to win jobs and compete for roster spots, no different than if I expect to hit this shot fairly consistently than I better hit it before. That would be the concern heading into this hole, that I haven't had the work, reps at it. I think the same thing applies to any sport. I think that we'll wait and see. We do feel like we have a veteran group, a group that understands what it's like to win in this league."
The longer this lockout goes, are all teams in the boat, where you may have to go more with guys that contributed to your team last year?
"I think all 32 teams are playing in the same framework and time and waiting on the same news we are. I think your question is does it benefit the veteran players.? It certainly is a challenge fort the younger players. That learning curve gets steeper and steeper as we get through the month of May and into June."
Does your staff plan to take your vacation as normal?
"Normally it happens after the minicamp, OTA's in June. We'll get our guys out in the early part of June in the event we have to come back at a time when we normally would be gone."
How much time do you think a rookie free agent needs to make an impression?
"It varies. Some players learn very quickly. Pierre Thomas learned very quickly. Some players need more reps. The position is important too in regards to the learning curve and what's been asked. I think it varies by position and by player."
Are running backs in a better position to contribute immediately rather than say a guard or a tackle?
"I think it's probably a little bit harder to come in and play right away at some of the positions you mentioned. He (Mark Ingram) seems to be real bright, a quick study. Hopefully we'll get a chance to find out sooner than later.