Following Thursday's practice, New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton spoke to the media. Below is a transcript of the availability. Among the topics discussed were an injury update, the return to practice by Jeremy Shockey, a 60-yard kick by Garrett Hartley in practice, as well as practice formats with NFL officials at Saints camp through Saturday.
"We sat Tracy Porter and Patrick Robinson with a back and hamstring, Scott Shanle with his knee, Tory Humphrey with his hamstring and Jimmy Wilkerson with his knee. Shockey returned to practice. The officials will be here for the next three days, which is pretty typical leading up to a Saturday scrimmage."
Do you foresee Shockey being able to go full speed?
"He's doing well. We need to make sure that we monitor any soreness. I was encouraged with how he worked today."
Is this a setback with Wilkerson?
"I wouldn't view it as that as much us being smart about the knee and when he had the surgery. He had the surgery later in the season. His rehab is going well and he is doing well. We are just making sure that we aren't going backwards."
What do you look at with players on the bubble of making the active roster?
"I think you take into account practice and the preseason games. Every two or three nights we look at the roster in a staff meeting at night. We just get everyone up to speed as far as how these guys are progressing. There are a lot of guys out here competing for a job. It's pretty common in training camp, but we have a lot of those battles going on right now."
Has the competitiveness been bumped up a notch this preseason?
"So far, it has been good."
With the injuries to Porter and Robinson, you have been able to see some other cornerbacks. Can you discuss the cornerback situation?
"Each year, you try to improve your depth. When you draft a guy like Patrick Robinson, you become younger. We have experience in Jabari Greer, and we felt he played very well last year prior to his injury and then extremely well in the postseason. Those guys are in their second year with the system and are getting very comfortable with it. We have a better part of five weeks still to look at these guys. It's been good."
How does it help to have an experienced tight end like David Thomas when Jeremy Shockey is hurt?
"You hope that you have the depth at the position. Certainly, with Dave's experience, he is a smart player. Tory Humphrey is another guy that we acquired last year. There is a pretty good mix there. Some young players along with veteran players."
What do you expects Dave's role to be in the offense this year?
"We'll see. I thought he played a significant role with us last year. He can line up at tight end and the fullback position. He has versatility and you know exactly what you have with this player."
When you made the decision to trade Jammal Brown, what was your confidence in Jermon Bushrod?
"He has just gotten better and better through the spring and now in to training camp. He is a guy who has good athleticism and he handled his first year a starter really well. We felt that not only with his progress, and the addition of Charles Brown, that became a position where we were able to make a trade."
Were those two-minute drills scripted for today?
"The drill was scripted but the plays themselves were not. In other words, when we get in to a two-minute drill, the quarterback will handle a lot of those calls at the line. Today was the first day of two-minute drills, and it's something we have done for years here. We'll script the scenario down for time and how many timeouts are left, and continue to vary that. There are a thousand different scenarios that play out at the end of a half or the end of a game. When you really go back and look at your cut-ups, you are either defending against a two-minute drive, or offensively are on a two-minute drive at the end of every half . Probably two-thirds of the games you play finish that way. There are a lot of snaps to evaluate, and it's an important aspect of the game."
Is it graded out by the score?
"Ultimately, your success if you are defending it is if you prevent the score. Offensively, to get a score or a field goal. Sometimes, you might just need a field goal. It's an area that we have been pretty efficient at on both sides of the ball. Today was the first day that we installed that package."
It's such a competitive aspect of the practice, is a stop a win for the defense?
"Our players keep track of that. We will have twenty of those drills in two-minute, before camp ends. We'll finish practice, needing a field goal or a touchdown, and so it is competitive and I think that's good."
What happened at the end, when Chase Daniel got a bonus step to throw the ball downfield?
"He got sacked and they were spotting the ball and the clock was running. They just spotted it more forward than they should, but we had a fourth down snap. They just got the spot too far forward."
What are your thoughts on Patrick Ramsey after a week?
"He has a live arm. He is picking things up in a hurry. We haven't had him until now, so one week in, I am pleased with his ability to pick up our offense and run it. There will be little nuances that he will continue to work on, but overall he is handling it well."
How much do you change practice when there are officials here?
"We have enough team drills already in practice, it just becomes a chance for us to pay attention to the emphasis and the coaching points from this year to last year. There have been some rule changes and our players have a chance to ask a lot of questions."
Will you do anything on Saturday that will let fans know that it is different than a usual practice?
"The set-up will be much like we have done in the past. We will have X number of snaps both offensively and defensively. We will work in the kicking game. It will be a little bit different than a normal practice. Weather permitting, we will be outside."
How confident are you that Garrett can kick in outside conditions?
"He has a live leg. He's a guy that has come up big for us in situations where we have needed him. We feel like he has kicked in the NFC Championship game and the Super Bowl, so his confidence is strong. I am sure that the players' confidence in him is strong, and deservedly so."
Is his range about 60 yards?
"A lot of it depends on the conditions. Here, we are inside and he hit that one pretty solid."