"An Open Mind" with Angela Hill
Link
Text Us: 870870
Studio: (504)260.1870
A   A   A
 Follow 
Share
Sean Payton
FILE - In this June 12, 2014, file photo, New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton walks off the field during NFL football minicamp at the team's training facility in Metairie, La. Payton always searches for an edge, even if it means fiddling with a training camp formula that has worked well. After holding camp for five years at team headquarters in suburban New Orleans, the Saints are headed to the mountains of West Virginia. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)
Posted: Thursday, 24 July 2014 8:05PM

Payton: New training camp site 'pretty amazing'



WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) As New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton and general manager Mickey Loomis spoke about the opening of training camp, steep, tree-covered mountains were in full view behind them.

The newly completed training site the Saints are using at the luxurious Greenbrier Resort represents a significant change of scenery - and climate - from the club's permanent headquarters, where camp has been held the past five years.

For Payton and Loomis, change is good - even necessary - regardless of the fact that the Saints have been a playoff team in four of the past five seasons.

"We wanted to go do something different. I think that energizes your players and your staff," Loomis said. "We wanted to get to place with a cooler climate and see if that impacted our team in terms of the soft-tissue injuries."

The relative isolation of White Sulphur Springs, nestled in rural, rugged mountains near the state border with Virginia, was an attraction as well.

"You've got to want to find it, right? I mean, getting here, and then it's kind of magnificent when you do," Payton said. "And you're trying to reduce the outside distractions and come together as a team."

Payton said the Greenbrier facilities were "above and beyond expectations," and described work done on fields with both natural and artificial surfaces, as well as meeting and weight rooms, as "pretty amazing."

Unchanged are the expectations that have followed Payton ever since he led the Saints to the franchise's first Super Bowl title in the 2009 season.

Payton and Loomis were quick to point out that there are a lot of variables - from chemistry to health - which ultimately dictate whether an NFL team succeeds.

Loomis went as far as to say that the roster "on paper, is kind of meaningless to us at this point," and noted that the quality of New Orleans' roster going into 2009 drew far less hype than this year's squad.

Yet, for Payton, the preseason hype and the scheduling irregularities that come with being highly regarded - the Saints have a franchise-high five night games on their regular season slate - are preferable to the losing reputation the club long held.

"It's what we wanted, right?," Payton said. "It's trying to change a culture to create an environment where you feel like you have a chance to be successful, a chance to win each season."

As for injuries, Payton said the Saints are fortunate to have a short list of players unable to participate in Friday's opening practice. However, he declined to specifically address whether New Orleans' top free-agent acquisition, safety Jairus Byrd, is ready to return from offseason back surgery.

Payton said only that he expected to see Byrd on the field "sooner than later," and said the same went for second-year nose tackle John Jenkins, who was placed on the physically unable to perform list earlier this week.

As for Jimmy Graham's return from a protracted contract holdout that ended just last week, the coach said the star tight end was "outstanding" in Thursday's conditioning test.

"I told him to stay in Miami every offseason," Payton joked, referring to Graham's offseason home.

Payton said negotiations with Graham were never as contentious as one might have thought, even as they argued before an arbitrator about whether Graham was used more as a receiver or a tight end for the purposes of what his franchise tag should be.

The arbitrator sided with the Saints and the NFL, meaning Graham, barring an appeal, could have been forced to play for the $7 million tight end tag. But the club and Graham soon after agreed on a four-year, $40 million contract.

"In the end, I'm fired up for Jimmy because he's earned this opportunity," Payton said. "We've seen a guy come in here young, and all of a sudden, in a short period of time, accomplish a lot of great things - and still has a lot of things I'm sure that he's going to be able to accomplish.

"It would be much more challenging if we were sitting here today and a situation like that wasn't resolved," Payton added.

Notes: Payton not only monitored conditioning tests but also participated. The coach, who has improved his fitness considerably since starting CrossFit training in 2012, said he completed the test, but had to overcome some doubts as he pushed a sled across the field. "I didn't want that sled to be sitting there halfway between the sidelines," he said.


Filed Under :  
Topics : Sports
Social :
Locations : MiamiNew OrleansVirginiaWest Virginia
People : Jimmy GrahamJohn JenkinsMickey LoomisSean Payton
A   A   A
 Follow 
Share
Deke's Blog
Deke: Seahawks, Patriots find their way back to the Super Bowl
It was the game that Las Vegas predicted, as NFC favorite Seattle and AFC favorite New England advanced to the Super Bowl. Both teams got to the big game in very different ways, but they got there and now the two week breakdown and guessing game...
Read More
Deke: See the Cajun Cannon's NFL Championship picks
The NFL season is slowly winding down and this weekend right here on WWL Radio you can listen to the NFC title game followed by the AFC title game. Each Thursday night we have a weekly segment titled "The View from Vegas," and this season our guest...
Read More
Deke: An early look at the NFC South in 2015
When the winner of your division is 7-8-1 then it's safe to say that there is no clear-cut favorite going into the following season. The Carolina Panthers made history this season becoming the first team in NFC South history (2002 was the first year...
Read More
Deke: New coaches make a splash at LSU presser
Les Miles has made moves that seemingly come from someone that feels like he has to make something happen. Les Miles added two proven coaches to his staff today when he introduced defensive coordinator Kevin Steele and new defensive line coach Ed...
Read More
Deke: Once again, Les Miles making the right moves
Say what you want about his coaching style, call him what you like, but when it comes to making the right moves for his football program, LSU Coach Les Miles has rolled seven far more than crapping out! Later today, Coach Miles will officially...
Read More
Hokie's Blog
Bobby's Blog
Kristian's Blog
Kristian: Should the Saints draft 'The QB of the Future?"
With Drew Brees celebrating his 36th birthday last week, the Saints might be in the market for a quarterback this off-season, via the draft. Backup QB Luke McCown is scheduled to become a free agent in March, and Ryan Griffin is entering his third...
Read More
Kristian: Ireland will bring new ideas to the Saints
The Saints continue to re-tool their front office, making it official today at the Senior Bowl that they've added a senior member to their football operations/front office. "Jeff Ireland has agreed to come on board. I'm excited about his experience, and...
Read More
Kristian: Saints fire Rick Reiprish in the middle of Senior Bowl
The Saints have fired Director of College Scouting Rick Reiprish. The team informed him of that move earlier today at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama. Reiprish has been a member of the Saints organization since 2004, and said he was "surprised" by...
Read More
Kristian: Ingram headed to Pro Bowl
Saints RB Mark Ingram is the third Saint on the 2015 Pro Bowl Squad, joining QB Drew Brees and TE Jimmy Graham. Ingram will replace Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch in the All-Star contest. Ingram is entering the final year of his contract with the...
Read More
Kristian: NFL invades Mobile for Senior Bowl
The who's who of the NFL are in Mobile, Alabama this week for the 2015 Senior Bowl, and among them are Saints scouts coaches on the prowl for the senior crop of talent. While many experts feel this might be a heavy underclassmen draft class there is...
Read More
NFL Draft

Team News
Saints Schedule
Team Leaders
Division Standings
NFC Standings
ADVERTISEMENT

FACEBOOK

1 Thing

Contact Us

Contests

WWL iPhone App

 
Powered By InterTech Media, LLC™