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Transcript: New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton training camp interview - Saturday, Aug. 22

Payton spoke with media on Jared Cook's comfort level, Sheldon Rankins progress at Saints Training Camp 2020

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton
Training Camp Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Saturday, August 22, 2020

Day five, what are your immediate takeaways?
"Today was one of our longer practices based on the league calendar. We were out there a little longer than we've been. I thought we got a lot of good red-zone work done. So overall, I thought we handled the heat pretty well. There'll be a lot of for us to get on, some of the corrections, but I thought overall coming away from it, that there was some good work."

Do you see a comfort level with Jared Cook being in his second season in this system here? Do you kind of see that in this training camp?
"There are two things that come to mind for me with him. Number one, I think for a player of his experience and his years in the league, I think he is in outstanding shape. He has very good stamina and I think that's served him well as a player. And then secondly clearly he has a real good grasp as to what we're doing and the confidence that that Drew (Brees) has with some of the details in the passing game and then also how he's handling the running game. He's been playing well."

With a couple of practices in the books now with Sheldon Rankins, how do you think he's kind of bounced back from the disappointing end to last year?
"Look, I think well, he's someone that spent a ton of time in his rehab. He's always been a real smart and instinctive player and the key is just getting his body back to football shape and his conditioning level and his strength. I think we've seen that and that's continuing to come still."

I don't know if you were asked this earlier or not, but have you even thought about having any kind of hurricane plan in case this thing comes our way?
"We have. Mickey (Loomis) and I have talked for the last three days. This isn't the first time that this is something we've dealt with at times. We have a plan in place, and if it's something that we need to execute we will. So we're monitoring both those tropical storms right now and then we'll pay close attention to them."

When Sheldon Rankins is healthy, what are the things that stand out about what he adds to the defense?
"I think he's a real good leverage player. He gives you good pass rush from (the) inside tackle position. I think he has good hips and movement skills. He is smart. When he's playing at full speed, he gives you an added rush threat from an inside position. And I think we've seen that and we've benefited from that two years ago when he was really having one of his best seasons. So I think that's something he excels at."

What kind of growth have you seen Deonte Harris as a wide receiver from last year to now?
"Quite a bit. He's one of those players that is a little bit more mature beyond his years. As you're around him, for someone who's come from such a small program, he can pick things up very quickly, retain them, and then take them to the field and it's just up to us now really to continue to build and have packages for him and get him more involved offensively as well as in the kicking game. But he is a smart player and there's a maturity to his game that's very impressive."

As you and Mickey (Loomis) are discussing those hurricane plans, how much has it altered, especially this year, when you have to deal with the COVID and with the pandemic, does that kind of alter your plans and what you have to do, unlike if it was in years past or if it was a normal year?
"Look, I think it's a great question. I don't think it's really altered the plans. We have communicated with the league office in the event that we would have to do something and they understand some of the nuances that would be involved with leaving and setting up camp somewhere else. The good news is, generally speaking, it wouldn't be for a long period of time. But it happened, again, I forget the year (Hurricane) Gustav came through and that was the week before we opened the season and we were playing Tampa at home that year. So we have a plan in place, the league's been notified, we'll just monitor both of these storms and kind of go from there."

What have you seen from Joe Bachie in these first couple practices?
"He's someone that I think is pretty active. He has good football IQ. He's one of those players that we are going to have to, as best we can, get special teams snaps out here. (We need to) See how he does in that role. That's going to be important. But yeah, there's certainly some instincts that you feel with that player."

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