New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Friday, August 26, 2011
"These players didn't practice: Ezra Butler, Tom Johnson, Johnny Patrick, Jeff Charleston, Fabian Washington, Chris Taylor, Aubrayo Franklin, Clint Ingram, Roger Allen, Jarred Fayson, Carl Nicks, Junior Galette, Lance Moore, Joseph Morgan and we held out Sedrick Ellis with a right shoulder – nothing serious. Also, Roman Harper with his left ring finger. Most of today was an Oakland preparation day. Tomorrow morning we well have a walkthrough and then we bus and get on a plane to fly to the Bay Area."
With Roman Harper out, that will give you a good look at Jonathon Amaya. What do you like about Amaya?
"He has really good instincts. He's a guy that plays really well in the kicking game. He does a lot of things well and that starts with special teams but also playing the strong safety position. He's smart, it seems like each day the ball finds him and he makes the play, so he's doing well."
There's a report that Darren Sharper is still in talks with the Saints. Can you comment on that or how you're doing with the safety position?
"I think we're doing well. We have to get some guys healthy of course, but we're doing well."
Are you surprised with the turnout on short notice?
"Not really. This is exactly what I thought it would be like even though we haven't been here before. This is a region that has a close-knit community, a real prideful community. The thing that's unique is there's over 50 volunteers, much like a golf tournament, that are here to make this happen. They're lining the fields, they're cutting the grass, they're working security, they're setting up tents, and most of these people on behalf of this city are volunteering their time. You have more than anything else passionate NFL fans than you do any specific team. There are some things that are different here than the last time I was here. With the number of camps they've had, there are certain things they've tweaked and adjusted to. All the bumps and the little things that come up when you go to camp somewhere new have been taken care of here because they've been through it time and time again."
Are you surprised any more with how much you guys travel the extent of your team's popularity?
"That comes with winning. You win Super Bowls and that changes. You play more primetime games. You play on Thursday night to open the season three out of the last five years. You're playing two Monday nights. You're playing a Sunday night. That comes with it and if you're not winning you're playing at noon or one o'clock. I think we have a great fan base. It's a unique fan base. To try to draw a comparison – it would be hard to. You might make a comparison to what they have in Green Bay. There are some similarities in regards to how big that region expands when you actually evaluate who's in your stadium on game day and I think that's the case with us."
Who will be taking Joe Morgan's place returning punts?
"We'll have a couple guys. Obviously we won't be able to use Joe (Morgan). So we'll put Montez (Billings) out there. I might have (Darren) Sproles go out there and catch a couple. We'll use some of the guys more down the line to give us a good look."
You mentioned Junior Galette is now practicing, can you talk about that?
"He's limited. A few of these guys are working through some nicks and fortunately for us they aren't as serious. Let me give you some guys that I think have a chance to play and make it easier: Butler – no, Tom Johnson, Patrick, Charleston, Aubryao Franklin, Clint Ingram, Allen, Fayson – we'll see where he's at – I don't think so though for him, Carl Nicks – no, Galette – possibly, Lance Moore – no, Joe Morgan – no, and then Sedrick Ellis – we'll see where he's at."
With Joe Morgan's injury, how do you see that affecting him?
"We'll see. He's done well and he's made a good first impression. He has this meniscus that we have to have this procedure done Monday. He won't be able to play anymore in the preseason, so we'll see how it unfolds."
What's your opinion on the limitation of full contact practices?
"I don't think it's impacted us that much. We're still getting the work we need to get done with the walk-through and the one full-padded practice in the afternoon. I don't think that in-season it will be that much different at all. We've normally just gone pads on Wednesdays and then kind of backed off so I think our guys will be able to work through that."
Do you think that will be for the better part of the game?
"From the players' perspective it certainly helps. They look at their longevity and I understand that. I think we'll work through it pretty well."
What do you think about opening Thursday night against Green Bay?
"It's a privilege when you get to play the Super Bowl champion from last season and play in that spot. This is the third time we've been in that game in five years. We played Indianapolis in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl and then of course we played in this game last year against Minnesota and now we're going to Green Bay so that's something that is pretty important."
Training Camp must have been on speed-dial with the opener.
"I think you have to be mindful of that date as it pertains to how you play later in the preseason here because it comes quickly. It's two weeks from yesterday."