Following Thursday morning's practice with the Houston Texans, Saints head coach Sean Payton talked about the two days of workouts with their counterparts to the west and also offered a preview of Saturday's game. Below is a transcript of his meeting with the media
"This afternoon, we'll just have weightlifting and meetings. We will practice tomorrow, inside, at around 11 or 11:30."
Why did you hold Jon Stinchcomb out of practice?
"He had a bruised shoulder from yesterday. He should be fine for the game; we just backed off his snaps this morning."
Do you have an idea of who is not going to be able to play in the Texans game?
"Not yet. "
What benefits do you think you've gotten from the combined practices this preseason?
"I think whenever you change routine from camp and go against someone else; it forces you to heighten your awareness because you're not seeing the same schemes or players. Typically, when teams have joint practices, you get more energy. We have had three now with the Texans and all three have been upbeat and hard. We benefitted and they benefitted from breaking the normal routine of training camp. I think I know where you are going with the success we had, but I think more than anything else it forces you to get out of your comfort zone. It forces you to focus because you know that not only are we getting the tape, but they're getting the tape so you are trying to put your best foot forward."
Is this something that we are manufacturing that teams may be shooting for you?
"At 9-0 last year, week 10 was certainly going to be a team that knew we were playing well. Week 11, Week 12, Week 13. When you are having success, certainly you can expect the best effort from who you are playing. More often than not, especially in our league, the timing of when you play people plays the most critical role in regards to injuries. A team that came off a poor performance is going to be more focused and ready for the next week."
How much more of an emphasis are you guys putting on tackling between week one and week two?
"We're spending a lot time in pads working on daily drills. You want to focus on the fundamentals. Blocking, tackling, and protecting the football, those are the first things that can get sloppy in a preseason game. If you can't get 11 guys on the field. Those are the kinds of things we were able to point out in the New England game. Those are the things we would like to see corrected as we head in to this week."
After watching tapes of yesterday's two practices, what did you see and what did you like?
"I thought, in the morning session yesterday, there were some positives but yet there were a lot of details that need to get cleaned up. We watched it as a group last night, offensively with the skill guys. The P.M. practice, inside, was a little sharper. I thought this morning's practice was probably the best of the three compared to yesterday's."
What are you looking for from the special teams unit in the next game?
"The challenge in coaching special teams during the preseason is the plethora of players that are in and out as the game moves on. That's difficult. Most importantly is the proper evaluation for more than half of this team in regards to roster spots and how they perform in the kicking game. Jobs are at stake. I think that's most important: paying attention to what you are seeing. They players understanding that when you only go to a game with 46 players, you are going to have to play in the kicking game. How these individuals do is the number one priority so we can make the best decisions when it comes to the final 53."