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Saints Ready for NFC South Opener

Payton gives final injury report talks about the NFC South QBs


New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Media Availability
Friday, October 07, 2011

Opening Statement:
"Zach Strief (knee) did not practice, he's out; Dave Thomas (concussion) did not practice, he's out; Martez Wilson (neck) was limited, he's doubtful. The following three players are all questionable: Devery Henderson (calf) was limited. Olin Kreutz (left knee) was limited, Will Herring (hamstring) was limited. And lastly Jon Vilma (knee) was limited, he's probable."

Can you talk about having four really good quarterbacks in the NFC South?
"It's interesting. I think pregame in Atlanta on Monday night last year, I think Demitroff and I were at midfield talking. At that time, I think conventional wisdom was Carolina was going to have an opportunity to get (Andrew) Luck if he was coming out, and he had mentioned Brees, and Matt Ryan, and (Josh) Freeman and his development. And then obviously with Luck staying they ended up with Cam (Newton) and very early on he's had the success and has quickly jumped probably ahead of people's expectations with his progress. They're all young and they're all going to be here for a long time and it's interesting how that happens. We've seen the growth of Matt Ryan right in front of our eyes and we've seen the growth of Freeman and I think currently we're all getting a chance to see it with Cam at an early stage."

As a fan of quarterbacks, is this division with these young quarterbacks going to be fun for the next few years?
"I think the division is as competitive as it's ever been. You see there have been certain rivalries develop but I think typically inside the division you can call it a rivalry or not, it's just an important game each week whether it's Atlanta, Tampa, Carolina, or the Saints. That same thing has existed in the NFC East historically and if you can pick a game, just match a game and you can say Cowboys-Redskins, that's a rivalry or Giants-Eagles. That same thing exists with certain divisions and generally some of those older divisions have some of those more storied rivalries. For instance, ours is a little bit newer with how it was changed but I think that's what makes this league so interesting."

Can you touch on Dave Thomas' progress?
"It's been a slow process. We're just going to be real cautious with it. Really it becomes something where with the correct protocol it's really not a decision we make anyway. He began to feel better though at the end of this week."

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