Quotes from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton's Saturday press conference
“Just one note with the scrimmage this morning. We ended up holding (out) Drew (Brees). In the AM practice yesterday, he strained his left oblique. We’ll take it day-to-day. We didn’t want to put him out there the day after. That’s going to require just a little bit of rest. We’ll see how it is coming back on Monday and kind of treat it day-to-day. That’s the main reason he didn’t go. Otherwise, I would say we got a lot more reps than we normally would have. Regarding recovery time, comparing this to the handful of scrimmages we’ve had in the warmer weather was noticeably different. We went an additional role with each group…the ones the twos and the threes, once we saw how quickly we were kind of getting through the practice.”
Can you talk about what you saw in Brandin Cooks today?
“He’s explosive, and a guy that if you can get the ball to him in space, he has a chance to give you some run after the catch and he did that. You’ve just got to keep working with him on a lot of the nuances and specifics with the passing game. It was good to see him make a few plays.”
I stole this term from you with the Reggie Bush days…is it time to start ‘de-recruiting’ Brandin Cooks?
“I’m not worried about that so much with him. Most of these young players, these rookies, understand how much they have to get up to speed with and where they’re behind. Every one of them has a lot of work to do, including Brandin. If you’re around him long enough, I think you get a sense from him that he understands that. I think it’s a process and we’re really just completing the first week of it.”
Is it impressive to you, how quickly he’s standing out?
“Well I think it was important that he got into the playbook as fast as possible, being that he missed most of the spring because of the quarter system he was on.”
How about the play of the running backs? It seems like they can run the ball as well as catch passes.
“I thought it was up and down in the run game. I thought we had some real good runs; the guys up front did a good job. At times, I think we missed some holes. But we’ll see all of that on film. These guys will be off tomorrow, there will be a bed check. Then Monday, we’ll treat as a day after in which we will spend a better part of the AM on this tape and in the weight room, and then we’ll have our practice out here on field two in the PM.”
Do you see Ryan Griffin emerging in that back field?
“Both he and Luke (McCown) are doing well. We rotated both of those guys with the first group and the second group if you look at how the roles went. Luke took the first role with the ones and three groups later, Ryan took a group with the ones. They’re both competing hard. Ryan is someone who has picked things up; he did last year in his rookie season. That’s just something that will be ongoing and we will pay attention to. Both of them are doing well.”
Did you see anything in Griffin today?
“Just sitting back behind the huddle, I thought that he got in and out of the huddle. He functioned well, got to the line of scrimmage. For the quarterbacks it’s a little bit easier to go in and watch the tape and all of the sudden begin to start charting the specifics. But overall, I thought his tempo was good in getting us in and out of the huddle and making some good decisions.”
How big is the difference between this year and last year for Griffin?
“I not going to say huge. We’re just one week into training camp. We’re going to get a chance to see a lot of preseason games, and I think that it will become more apparent to all of us.”
Tempo is something where there could be a bigger drop off.
“Well it was sporadic. Sometimes it was good and other times one of us is shouting in there, ‘Let’s go.’ It’s not just the quarterback, it’s the veteran linemen that could help get in and out of the huddle, up to the line of scrimmage quickly to function. We tried to put a clock on it like we would have in a game and just press them. I think it’s an area that we still need to work on, and yet it didn’t just drag. Overall I think it was better than it has been earlier in the week.”
What did you see from Tim Lelito and Jonathan Goodwin today?
“I think we’ve got to look at the tape. To truly evaluate the offensive lineman, you have to go in and grade each snap…how their steps and technique (are). I think we had one quarterback/center exchange issue. Both of those guys – one is a veteran obviously, another is playing center for the first year – both of them are receiving a lot of reps.”
Has the run blocking started more quickly in camp?
“Compared to past camps, it’s one of the points of emphasis in regards to being a physical team and being able to win games, specifically in the second half. That’s something that is ongoing.”
Joseph Morgan didn’t seem too involved today.
“Well we treated Joe and Jairus Byrd a little differently. Jairus we held (back), and Joe we got a few snaps in (with him) and wanted to hold (him back a little). I think he’ll be closer to going this first or second preseason game. I think very easily he could’ve went, but yet we wanted to be smart with a couple of those guys recovering from an injury that we didn’t want to put them right back out there and risk a chance of re-injury.”
Marcus Ball had a nice interception today.
“He’s instinctive. He’s a player we saw a lot of film on from the CFL. The one thing I would say based on the film study was his ability to tackle in the open field (is a strength) and he has really good football instincts. The interception he had today was a good example of that. The ball kind of finds him, and it did a lot when we watched the tape. Credit Ryan Pace and our scouts. He was a player that we brought in, worked out, and signed him to our roster. He was very, very productive in the CFL and I think he has a chance to be a real good special teams player. I think he understands his role, and I also think he’s someone who will improve as he’s gaining knowledge of our defense playing safety. He’s done well in this first week, week and a half.”
Do you expect to see Champ Bailey back soon?
“We’ll see. I don’t think it’s anything serious, and it’s just a matter of making sure he’s healthy. I do, but I don’t want to put a time on it.”