Per the Times-Pic
Opening statement from New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton:
"From a practice standpoint, obviously we were able to get Reggie (Bush) back out; Marques (Colston) took some snaps as well and felt better. We'll just continue to progress with those two players during the next two weeks and gradually increase their workload. We had a lot of third down and nickel work today. The installation schedule will just continue now with tomorrow's practice right through the next eight OTAs. It's going to be very similar to the installation schedule we use when start training camp. This is a first time through with a little bit reps, but it will be much the same when we get into training camp."
Do you use the entire OTA schedule for installation or do you do any type of review as well during this time?
"We'll use up these next eight OTAs as gradual installations which will be exactly how we'll install at training camp. The theory behind it is that you have your minicamp which is three days followed by eight OTA days. If there are 11 consecutive days installing, a few of them will be reviews. We use 12 of the 14 OTAs we're allowed. We don't use all of them."
Do you consider Reggie Bush to be a guy that has found his niche or is still looking for it in the NFL?
"I think he's found his niche. He's been really explosive for us as a returner and as a runner and a receiver; he's been a big part to us running the football. I think I answered this question yesterday as to his ability to stay healthy and to find that right amount of touches for him. Prior to his injury last year, he was having a great year. Certainly, I think we have a good role for him and he feels very comfortable with what we're doing."
Were there a lot of defensive installations today?
"Today, a lot went in on both sides of the ball. Mentally we're getting as much out of it as we are physically in regards to the recognition of pickup and assignments. It's the same way defensively with the linemen and the coverages."
When you made a switch in defensive systems, did you want more diversity?
"I think that third down in our league is such a different aspect of the game, regardless of what you do offensively or defensively. When you get into third down, a lot of things change and we saw a bunch of that today."
Did Anthony Hargrove get hurt?
"No. He was nicked on a pass rush and shook it off."
Are there any players on your roster that you don't expect to be able to fully participate in the start of training camp?
"There are two players we have to be mindful of when we start training camp. One would be Lance Moore. I think he'll be close to being ready. The other player will be Stanley Arnoux, who will not be ready. Those are the two right now when we look at the injury list. We're going to have to monitor Lance's reps. Stanley will be out."
Will Reggie Bush fully be ready?
"Yes. Reggie and (Marques) Colston are getting close right now. They received more work this morning and will receive some in the next two weeks. By the time with training camp a week later this year, they should be ready."
When will you open training camp?
"The last Thursday in July. A week later than it normally is."
What is the one thing in your mind that has stuck out regarding Heath Evans?
"His versatility. He's a guy that's a good athlete. He's able to adjust in space in the running game as he's blocking or in the passing game."
Do you see a difference in Robert Meachem?
"Yes, I definitely do. When you look at him now getting ready to start year three, he's healthy, he has a great grasp of what we're doing, and he's playing a lot faster. I've been really impressed with his offseason and the shape he's in. He's running well and that's a positive for us."
What are your early reviews of Thomas Morstead?
"Good, real good. Obviously he missed Friday because of funeral and we've had him for Saturday and then we were inside here today. In the OTAs, he's been really good. We'll get a chance to see him with a live rush in the preseason and certainly you guys can see his leg strength. He's a fairly tall guy and fairly explosive, and I've been encouraged with what I've seen."
Is punter a position where a natural talent stands out right away and you don't have to wait for a player to develop as much?
"I think probably a punter or kicker has a chance to establish himself maybe a little quicker than other positions, but it depends. So far, he has looked very comfortable."
"There's no question. If you look at his play, the eyesores are really some of the deep balls. Obviously you can't discount that, but there are a number of things that he has done well for us. We expect him to have a real good season. He's someone that has real good athleticism, he has great run entry, he's physical, he's not afraid of the contact and I think he's getting better and better on the back end. Having a guy like Darren next to him and helping him along the way will certainly be a plus."
Is Pierre Thomas' left wrist ok?
"Yes. It's a bruise. Nothing significant."
How has Sedrick Ellis looked heading into his second year?
"Good. He's running with the 1s as a three-technique. He's explosive and he's healthy and strong. He has had a good offseason himself, and he's doing well."
With the players not in pads, what can you truly get out of this kind of camp?
"I mentioned earlier that the mental aspect of it is tremendous because it's a dry run really for what they're going to get in training camp when they do have pads on. Where to be, where to align, the depths, techniques and all the specifics as it pertains to the scheme that we're using on either side of the ball and in the kicking game. Secondly, there are a lot of timing issues that you begin working on right now. We put some new things in every year at this time of the year and take a look at them and see if we like them or not."
From a conditioning standpoint, is this team ahead of your previous teams?
"Yes. I think if you look at the numbers it's been our best offseason based on the amount of guys that have been here and have made every workout. We're well over 30. We shoot for 40 workouts, which is 90% of them. That's our goal with every player and we have a good chance this year to really exceed some of the prior years, and I've been pleased with that."
How does that compare with other teams that you've been with?
"It's pretty similar. That was Bill's (Parcells) philosophy in Dallas; we tried to get 40 with the guys. You set your schedule and you have some flexibility in regards to some makeup weeks because inevitably guys are going to be doing some things with weddings and family stuff and trips. What we try to do is try to have enough flexibility to where they can get 40 in within the framework of an 11-week program with a couple of makeup weeks."