Following a two hour and 15 minute practice this afternoon indoors, New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton met with the New Orleans media contingent. Among the topics he discussed was an update on injuries, potential injury replacements as well as the blossoming of third-year defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis. Below is a transcript:
Opening Statement:"Our injury update is very similar to yesterday. (Stanley) Arnoux is full, (Drew) Brees, knee, full, (Marques) Colston, rib was full, Randall Gay, foot was full, (Jimmy) Graham, ankle was full, (Chris) Ivory, knee was full, (Jon) Stinchcomb, shoulder was full, Zach Strief, knee was full, Leigh Torrence, toe was full, (Anthony) Waters, hamstring, full, Jimmy Wilkerson, knee, full, Usama Young, quad, full, Roman Harper, hamstring was limited, Pierson Prioleau, chest, limited, (Jeremy) Shockey, knee, limited. These four players did not practice. Reggie Bush, fibula did not practice. Tracy Porter, knee, did not practice. Will Smith, groin, did not practice. Pierre Thomas, ankle, did not practice
What has prompted this injury list being more thorough?
"At the end of the day, we're going to try to make sure we cover the full list in an effort to be right on."
Can you talk about Will Smith's availability?
"He didn't go in any type of reps. He was out there in walk through. I think we have a chance with him, but we didn't practice him."
Do you know in advance if the roof is open or closed at University of Phoenix Stadium?
"There's just a simple weather policy in place. If you look back at history, there was one game last year in December where it was open. Based on the weather, I'd say it's a 99 percent chance it will be closed. It's set in advance."
Do you think it will be closed?
"I think it's almost a certainly it would be closed."
Is it based on temperature?
"The couple teams that have the retractables just set a very simple policy, temperature, inclement weather, whether it's above this temperature or below it and last year they had one game where it was open. Last weekend they were at 100 degrees."
Isn't it supposed to be around 95?
"I think it will be above the benchmark they use for open or close."
Is Sedrick Ellis finally becoming the player you hoped he would become when you drafted him? Twice you mentioned his weight. Did you want him to be heavier?
"No, mentioned it because he's at a good weight. I think a concern sometimes with good athletes like Sedrick is they get too heavy. He's healthy and he is playing to that level. I think that we've seen in this first quarter a guy who's been productive and disruptive, not only in the passing game with the rush, but also in the running game."
Are you looking to start Randall Gay at corner for Tracy Porter?
"We'll keep that kind of under wraps. Certainly we'll prepare to play all those guys with Tracy being down. You're looking at Randall. You're looking at Patrick (Robinson). You're looking at Leigh Torrence, those guys."
What can you say the decision of Pierre will come down to? We know he practiced last week?
"The same thing, it will come down to how he feels. For a running back it's important to see how he can plant and cut off that ankle."
Are you taking a different tack than putting him on the practice field?
"I think the rest is important and we'll see where he's at tomorrow."
Do Arizona's current struggles reiterate the window of opportunity that you've stressed?
"Certainly there's been transition there. I said yesterday with their media that the rosters look different. It seems like it was a few years ago that we played them last in the playoffs. They're different teams. I think that's a little bit of the nature of our league with the transition of rosters as quickly as it can happen and then when you have a quarterback like Kurt Warner, that' s a guy that's going to be in the Hall of Fame. That's a significant loss, but when you watch their games, last week wasn't a great example…They've done a good job of hanging in there. Right now, when you look at their record, this is a team that's played very well following a loss. I don't think at home they've lost a game following a loss. I believe they're 9-0 at home following a loss. What we have to do ourselves is most important."