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Quotes from Sean Payton's Training Camp media availability - August 5

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton spoke to the media after a practice at Tulane University on Sunday, August 5

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
2018 Training Camp Presented by Verizon
Sunday, August 5, 2018

Well I guess this (fans cheering) explains the activity and the energy you're going to have here tonight for a practice like this, with the crowd?
"Listen we love coming out here. Number one it's a schedule change. So, we get a lot of time during the day to meet and go through a lot of recovery circuits and (end it) with an evening practice. You seem to get a little bit more energy, the stadium is perfect for it, the weather held up, we got it in. "

What do you think about the energy from the defense tonight?
"It was good. We talked the other night just about turnovers and then turning turnovers into points. We kind of talked about, there's been a handful of teams in our league's history that have had a lot of scoring plays on defense. What the percentages are of winning games when you score (on defense) obviously in 2009, we scored a lot on defense. So, they made some good plays on the ball tonight. I thought the tempo was good. Early on we had a couple of nuances that we'll get cleaned up just in the red zone period."

Is there anything different to creating a scoring play on defense, from just trying to create turnovers?
"Well there's a mindset. You get a little confidence and generally you don't have to block ten but you need ten looking to block two. I saw that firsthand take place and then once you have one then you begin to think of any type of fumble recovery or interception there's been a chance. There are a lot of guys on the field generally that are in a position to make a play. So, it's a mindset I thought, and I think it was a little bit of sarcasm in some of their celebration. But I'll take it."

As far as the decision on Brandon Coleman, can you talk about that?
"Yes, he has a little bit of time still in his rehab. He will be able to go ahead, rehab (and) get healthy. I would anticipate it's not the last time you will see him. He and I had a good visit today. We are all on the same page."

Is that related to what happened to him at the end of last season?
"He has two injuries. He has a hip (injury) and he has a neck (injury). Both of them are going to require some time. It would be too early for me to say, three weeks, four weeks but progress is going well, and it is just going to take a little bit longer. Right now, with where we're at, we've got to keep making room, so we can play these games."

Talk about the development of Dan Arnold, obviously a pass receiving tight end, when you look at limited roster spots, and say he does struggle run blocking, could you still utilize him in the passing game?
"Yes, he's a guy that came here as a receiver, it's easy for him to put weight on. He made an impression on us last year before he got hurt. The decision was pretty simple in the spring, let's get him maybe to a position group where he can get on the field a little quicker. Certainly, there's going to be some things you feature with them and then there's going to be other things you don't. But our league has seen players have success. I watched (Jay) Novacek go through a camp at receiver for the Cardinals and go down to the last cut, didn't make it and then all of a sudden he surfaces in Dallas with the right vision and has a great career. So it's happened before and he's a bright enough kid that he is big enough, he can carry the weight."

Did it look like (Keith) Kirkwood took advantage of his reps?
"I thought so tonight. He's had a couple of these snaps where even at practice and part of tonight, you saw some things. We'll keep working with him, but that's encouraging."

Is there any reason you came out here earlier than last year in the terms of the training camp schedule?
"Last year was more spontaneous. Last year it wasn't on the calendar and was a change-up. This year looking at it, to start camp this was on our calendar. Last year, we decided to do it the week of."

How impressive is the recovery of Alex Okafor right now? It seems like he is ahead of schedule?
"He is. Cam Meredith, Andrus (Peat) and him are all ahead of schedule. Alex (Okafor), obviously, is receiving reps and those other guys will be receiving reps sometime real soon, so that's encouraging."

Are you surprised with that kind of injury, that he is getting strong this fast?
"It's interesting. The rehab varies and it's the same thing with the ACL. When you look at what he's done, and he's worked at it. He's been here 24/7. Then you see Cam (Meredith) and his turnaround with an ACL. It varies from athlete to athlete. It's a good testament to their time on task."

Was John Fullington the same situation as (Brandon) Coleman?
"A little different. He's going to go to (Dr. William) Meyers here this week. He's going to be someone, in a timeframe, that will be similar. He is someone that has a good chance to end up back here."

You're deep at a lot of positions. Do you rotate them in individually or in groups?
"We're deep some, but were thin in others. Right now, like any training camp, you're managing reps based on some guys that won't play in this upcoming game because of injury. It's pretty typical. There's one position or two positions where you're real heavy and there's a few where you're thin. You just have to manage that and try to get as many guys and the looks that you want to get. Some of the veteran guys that we have a pretty good feel for, may not receive as many reps in the game."

With as much as teams are passing now, is the free safety position more important than ever? Do you see Marcus (Williams) taking more ownership of the defense out there?
"It's all happening again, and it happened in last year. His growth and visibility's outstanding. He has tremendous work and is smart."

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