New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton and his coaching staff put the club through a two-hour practice on the outdoor fields in front of 3,104 fields. Below is a transcript from a post-practice meeting with the media, where he touched on topics such as the punt return game and the reccovery of some injured players.
Opening Statement:"In regards to practice, it was pretty much the same as yesterday. DeMario Pressley we held out with his back; we'll see where he's at for this afternoon. This afternoon's practice will be inside and then tomorrow the afternoon practice will be outside."
You mentioned prior to camp wanting to look at some other guys at punt returner? Is there something you want to improve there or just see other players?"There are two parts to that. When it comes to the returners, we'll continue to work Reggie (Bush) and Lance Moore, but you're going to see Tracy Porter get work, Rod Harper a year ago did some good things in the preseason. Overall in the return game, it's just being more efficient with our blocks and setting up our returns. It's just one phase, one specific area we look at to try to improve on and really get to where we were executing in the postseason. It was something that we did a better job with as the year went on. But you'll see those four guys working back there as returners, and depending on the depth at the other spots, who's in the front unit blocking."
How do you balance the risk of using someone like Porter who is so valuable to the team as a cornerback?"It's the same risk that exists for Reggie Bush or Lance Moore. If you look at the returners in our league, there are a handful of guys that are return specialists and then there's about two-thirds of the league where the players are playing another position. That's part of the deal."
What's the reason for adding Porter to that mix?"He was in that mix a year ago. I just want to get him more work. He was real good in college at that. When we drafted him, he had had good numbers as a punt returner. There was a point last year where we got thin at that position. We want to make sure that we have the right depth there."
So you still like Bush and Moore as the one and two there?"It has nothing to do with who's ahead of him, correct."
How critical a camp is this for Adrian Arrington this year?"It's important. It's important because he's a guy that has been nicked up. He's a real smart player and you can get to that point with the years that you've been here and he views it just as we would as an important training camp for him. There are a handful of players like him. It's an important camp for Usama Young. Not that it isn't for the rest of these players, but those are guys that are wanting to establish some consistency and stay healthy."
*How important is it for Jeremy Shockey to have players behind him at his position that are pushing him? *"I think the competition that always improves the level of play. We have some young guys and we have guys with experience with Jeremy and David Thomas. We'll continue to use those guys and we'll use multiple tight ends."
Robert Meachem was running around during some of the early drills while Marques Colston was on the bike. Is it still the same prognosis where you think you'll get Colston back earlier than Meachem?"I think Marques is probably a little further ahead in regards to when we expect him back. Today being Saturday, I'm hopeful that Tuesday or Wednesday we have a chance to look at Marques. I think with Robert it's going to be a week-and-a-half to two weeks."
Is it encouraging that Robert is running around?"Yes, no question. I just think that with the nature of what they're dealing with, Robert's injury will probably keep him out a little further than Marques'."
When do you expect to see Clint Ingram on the field?"We're hopeful for next week that we'll get to see him. He's probably a little further ahead than Robert."
Does it still amaze you that fans show up here at 3:45 am to see a practice?"It's unbelievable when you drive up and see the lines. It's a weekend, which is always a good time for these guys to get out, and it's certainly helpful for us for as hot as it is to have great fan support at practice."
It looked like Devery Henderson may have tweaked something out there. Did you see that?"He's doing well. He's close to 100% but he's not 100%. He's fighting through it. He's just getting back to that playing shape, but he's coming along alright. He hasn't had any setbacks."