Kristian: Payton challenged and excited by offseason moves
by Kristian Garic,posted Mar 26 2014 10:13AM
Talking with the media at NFL owner's meetings in Orlando, Saints coach Sean Payton admitted that the moves the team made this season were difficult in an interview with Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio. "A number of players that played big parts in our Super Bowl... you get attached to the players you won with, and that made it more difficult," Payton said, adding "that part never gets easy." The Saints off-season moves included the addition of Safety Jairus Byrd and fullback Erik Lorig, along with re-signing tackle Zach Strief.
Payton specifically talked about the decision to trade RB Darren Sproles. "He's as smart of a player as I've ever coached. It really comes down to how long a player has been in the league, and trying to get younger as a team," Payton explained. "Our jobs are to communicate, and teach, and bring these guys in like family, and when a detachment occurs, it's going to be painful and not easy".
Payton had this to say about Jimmy Graham: "We see a clear role for what he does. The only little hitch here is there might be a debate on what position he plays. I expect by training camp he'll be someone we'll be throwing the ball to."
The Saints and Graham are in a bit of a contract stalemate. The Saints exercised their right to place the franchise tag on Graham earlier in the off-season. Graham has until April 22nd to file a grievance with the league as to weather he should classified as a tight end or wide receiver.
Any other NFL team has the opportunity to sign Graham to an offer sheet, but would have to give up two first round picks if the Saints didn't match an offer from another club. Payton said he wasn't that concerned about another team making a run at Graham "I don't know that any team is willing to try and sign him right now until this other issue might be resolved. I think if it were clearer, then another team would have a clearer vision as to what the cost or contract would be."
Payton said of the decision to move part of training camp to Greenbriar, West Virginia, "We're excited, I think it changes the climate a little bit. I think it will be a good change of scenery." Payton eluded to the Saints starting training camp in Greenbriar for the first two weeks, and then coming back to the teams training facility in Metairie for the final two weeks of camp.