Following a two hour practice prior to the club departing for Phoenix a day early for Sunday's game with the Arizona Cardinals, Head Coach Sean Payton met with the local media. At the meeting, he gave his final injury report and declared three players gametime decisions. Below is a transcript:
Opening Statement:"We'll go through the final injury report before Arizona. The following players are probable: Stanley Arnoux, full, probable, Drew Brees, full, probable, (Marques) Colston, same, full, probable, Randall Gay, full go, probable, Jimmy Graham, full, probable, Chris Ivory, full probable, (Jon) Stinchcomb, full, probable, Zach Strief, full, probable, Leigh Torrence, full, probable, Anthony Waters, full, probable, Jimmy Wilkerson, full, probable, Usama Young, full, probable, Roman Harper, hamstring was limited. He'll be questionable. Pierson Prioleau, chest was limited. He'll be questionable. (Jeremy) Shockey, knee was limited. He's probable. Reggie Bush, fibula, did not practice. He's out. Tracy Porter, knee, did not practice. He's out. Will Smith, groin, was limited. He's questionable and last Pierre Thomas, ankle, did not practice. He'll be out. We'll take a peek at those questionable guys prior to game time. They're all making the trip. We'll work them out and get a better feel for where we think they're at and make a decision for game time with Roman, Pierson and Will."
Did Pierre Thomas make progress this week?
"Yes, I think so. I think without jumping ahead, he's right at the corner here. The swelling's gone down. By the nature of the position he's playing we're trying to keep the weight off it. He won't make the trip. The guys that are out for us won't make the trip. He really needs to keep it elevated. He's real close."
Did you ever specific if it was a high or low ankle sprain?
"It's not a high ankle sprain. The only thing I commented on was that it wasn't that. It was more of a typical sprain. It's looking a lot better. He's feeling a lot better. He's doing some light jogging, all those things. I think he's going to have a good shot at playing next week."
Can you talk about welcoming the Vandebilt Catholic football team to your practice?
"We were approached a week ago about having an opportunity to visit with their team with everything that's gone on and one of their coaches worked for us in '06, Josh Constant. He had touched base with me. They have a game tonight in Belle Chasse. We thought it would be maybe somewhat convenient if they came by here first and visited with our players. They're going to have a little walk through right now (in our facility) and I had a chance to spend ten minutes with them and I think more than anything else it's trying to help them through a difficult time and it was great to see them and their team and the families were there as well. Certainly our prayers are with them and yet they seemed in good spirits and ready for a game tonight, so I thought it was a good deal."
Can you talk about how Chris Ivory is doing on ball security?
"So far, so good. It's hard to simulate some of the things they've done in a game, but he's carrying it the right way. He's focused on it. We'll have a chance to see again on Sunday, but he's done well."
With the safeties being game time decisions are you likely to sign a defensive back from the practice squad?
"I don't see that happening. I think we've been able to train some guys that if necessary could go back, but I don't see that. It wouldn't be out of the question, but I doubt that would happen."
If both guys couldn't go are you covered?
"Yes, we have a plan. You work through it. But certainly we'd be ready."
You didn't' make Chris Ivory carry a ball around the facility like some college coaches require players to do around campus?
"No, I think the big thing with ball security on Wednesdays and Thursdays is the emphasis of technique of getting used to it. It's different for guys growing up getting used to it. All the years he's played running back he's probably used to a certain way of carrying the football. It's probably been okay. It's a bigger change. The way teams are taking the ball away now, it's obviously a bigger point of emphasis for anyone touching the ball."
Is it a big change?
"Yes, when you start carrying it the way we are coaching, which is high and tight against the ribcage, it takes a little getting used to and becomes a habit."
Have you made a final decision on who will handle placekicking duties?
"No, we'll take a peek. We'll probably stick with John (Carney) right now. Depending on game day inactives, it would be possible we could carry two (kickers) if some of these questionables are inactive. That would be a possibility although not a probability. I think the plan is to stay in the direction we're headed in right now with John right now."