New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Media Availability
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
Opening Statement: "Again with today's practice, much like yesterday, we are on the same schedule. We were still in a nickel emphasis and then we got to some red zone towards the end. We kept Brandin Cooks inside. He still has a fever and we will see where he is at tomorrow. We go in the evening seven o'clock (tomorrow)."
Can you talk about Jairus Byrd being back?
"He's gotten back and basically the last step was getting clearance for contact, in other words coming on the roster and being in drills except for team drills, he has received that final clearance. So now you are seeing him really with no limitations."
How does that change what you are able to do in the secondary?
"There's nothing necessarily schematically that's changing, it is just the addition of a guy that needs reps and we want to get him functioning with the defense and get him up to speed. He is pretty sharp so I think mentally he has been on top of everything with meetings and since he has been back on the field, but now it gives him the ability to play and he will play this weekend."
How far along are you for your cuts next week and could you do it after two games?
"You just budget. For three (after three preseason games) we get down to 75. For four (after four) we get down to 53. You budget for that. That is what you are planning in your mind so any type of discussion that you have typically starts with the first cut down, occasionally you will be early and not late, in other words, you might reduce before you need to. But, to your question whether after two (games) could you, certainly you could if you had to, yes. You would like to see exposure. I think this game is going to be important for a lot of guys, very important. When you take a player like Jairus (Byrd), this is an important game because he hadn't been able to play in the first two (games). I will be smart with the reps we are giving them and the amount we give them, but I don't think you can just throw the ball out there and play. There is a little bit of football conditioning that goes into it and I think that is important."
Are you in favor of the practice squads expanding to 10 players?
"Yes, absolutely. I've heard that (is going to be announced). We talked about it this morning. I think this, it is the number one way for teams to develop players because you guys are at practice and once the season starts those guys are a part of the team. They are involved in drills. They are involved in every element. All you have to do is look at the past five years practice squad players that are now on 53 rosters and there are a ton of them. So yes."
Are you in favor of when they implemented the Injured Reserve exemption for one player?
"It has been talked about. I think there are some specifics they have to work through, but the idea of being able to bring a player back that has been injured, (but) having one now is a positive and each team can look at it differently. If in the future that expands, that would be great, but I haven't paid much attention to that as I've just recently heard about the practice squad going up. I think it is a good change though to what we have now."
As far as tomorrow night, is there any chance the fans maybe get to see a live goal line session?
"They won't see any live goal line because we are going to be in (just) shoulder pads and helmets. We are going to be in pads, but not lowers. They will see teams, 7-on-7, it will be a practice, but we won't be in any live periods."
Anything new on Erik Lorig?
Can you talk about having Jahri Evans back on the field?
"He's in his ninth year. He's an outstanding player. He leads in a quiet way I would say, but certainly has the respect of his teammates. So a player like that, is very important to what we are doing, (and) very important to the development of the young players. We always talk about who they are getting in line behind and I think it is important for the young guys, the younger rookies, the first year players to see, not only what a player is doing, but the work ethic, the preparation, all of those things (are important)."
Would you be comfortable going into the season with Austin Johnson at fullback and is Greg Jones in the mix?
"Well, Greg is a veteran player. Austin has been with us now for a better part of a year and a half and so I think number one Austin has had a good camp. Greg's been here for two weeks. Both of them will play a lot again this weekend. Our preparations have to be with the idea that as Erik (Lorig) is rehabbing, we've got to be ready to have a fullback week one with the chance that it is not going to be Erik. Both of those guys are competing and I think in Erik's case he is working to get in shape and get his weight down. Austin is doing real well."
Do you like what you see from Ronald Powell?
"I think special teams are going to be important. At times he has flashed. At times he's gotten a lot on his plate and has been a little bit mumble jumbled if you will. I think again, there are a handful of players, but he would be one, that we are really looking closely at to his fit and how can he help us not only on defense, but more importantly, how can he help us in the kicking game."
Is there something about Coach Rob Ryan that sets him apart from everyone off the field?
"I would say that it doesn't set him apart from everyone else I've been around, but I would say it sets him in a group of good coaches that I have been around. Typically, those guys are passionate, they care about their players and that is the first thing, their love of the game and he is someone that works extremely hard at it, but I think that the passion part of it and I think the amount of the attention he spends with his players, I think all of those things make him special."
What did you think about the extra point experiments and where does it stand between the two kickers?
"Nothing new to report with the kickers. We've got real good competition there. Look, I understand one of the reasons we looked at changing the PAT as we know it, if you are kicking it. I don't know that that will be the thing that changes in the future, but I wouldn't be surprised if there is some change to how we handle the PAT. But overall, no strong opinion for it or against it, it was just a spot at the 15 rather than the two and then if we went for two it would go to the two. The first one clanked off the uprights so I wasn't a big fan of it then."
What went into the decision to go out to Mandeville High School tomorrow?
"I think more than anything just bringing our team to another area. I know there are a lot of folks on the northshore that are huge fans. It makes it a little more convenient for them, an evening practice where they can go out and catch a practice they might not normally be able to see. Just trying to spread it around a little bit."
Can you reflect on Reggie Wayne's career and what it means for a 35-year old to come back from an ACL injury?
"He's an extremely talented player. I know him a little bit uniquely because I was here in Louisiana recruiting high school players for the University of Illinois, C.J. (Curtis Johnson) and I. C.J. was at Miami who recruited Reggie. We spent a better part of a week going in and out of these schools. We might, I would say we got to about 30, 35 schools. Had I been just solo with a map I probably would have gotten to 12. But Curtis would drive in, parking lot, back door, in a gymnasium, right to the coach where normally you might go to the front desk and get a pass and go through all the correct steps, but that year, Reggie Wayne was coming out. That year Ed Reed was coming out. There was another good player coming out of St. Augustine High School. I think a defensive tackle, I can't think of his name. There were a handful of good players coming out so I remember his recruitment, I remember hearing what I heard from Curtis and then over the years followed him. Look, he is very competitive. He's the type of player that could do that, that could recover from an injury like that and he has had a great career."
Did you ever beat C.J. (Curtis Johnson) out on a New Orleans area prospect?
"Not while he was at Miami. No. No. Every year there is great talent and one of the things he is doing so well at Tulane is identifying, recruiting and those guys are winning their battles and it starts with the procurement of talent. He is very good at that."