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Saints Training Camp: Day Five Recap

"I want pray to never see me do this during the season."
"I want pray to never see me do this during the season."

What a busy day! After taking the day off yesterday, the Saints were back out in the heat to prepare for the season again. We have transcripts from the press conferences of Sean Payton, Jonathan Vilma, and Gregg Williams. We have tons of videos on the progress of the Saints, and a few links and tweets from people who were there. So make sure you continue reading to find out what happened at Saints Training Camp: Day 5!


WWL-TV Sports
WWL-TV Sports




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Sean Payton

Transactions: Today we signed DE Cameron Jordan, T Zach Strief, and TE Tory Humphrey and CB Terrail Lambert.  We agreed to terms with S Paul Oliver, a UFA from San Diego, agreed to terms with NT Aubrayo Franklin, a UFA from San Francisco, agreed to terms with OT George Foster and OT Alex Barron.  We waived the following players: G Carl Johnson, CB Josh Gatlin, K Jacob Rogers.  We placed LB Jeremiha Hunter on injured reserve.  The following players remain on the failed physical list: T Charles Brown, RB Chris Ivory, CB Tracy Porter, and DE Greg Romeus.  The two players that did not practice today were WR Michael Galatas with a right knee and CB Mark Parson with a left hamstring. 

I know (Aubrayo) Franklin was one of those better defensive tackles on the market.  Are you thrilled to have him?

"Yes.  That was something that kind of happened in the last 24-48 hours.  He’s someone that we have a ton of respect for.  He’s been a real consistent player and extremely difficult against the run.  Having gone against him last year and having spent a lot of time looking at tape on him and a lot of these defensive tackles, he was one that was a little bit of a surprise and a pleasant surprise."

It gets you guys a different look, obviously you have Sedrick (Ellis), Shaun Rogers and (Aubreyo) Franklin.  Was this a point of interest for you guys?

"I think so.  You don’t know how the draft is going to go, but certainly that’s a position group we wanted to pay attention to and getting him in the last two days was big."

What does he present skill-set wise?

"He’s big, physical, and plays with great leverage.  He’s strong.  When you see his stature and the way he is built you can see some of the things I’m talking about.  He has been a real consistent performer, and he’s great in the locker room.  All the things we’ve heard on him come back really positive."

Were you able to adapt to your plan and implement it when all things were done?

"I think so.  I think that there’s a little bit of uneasiness because it’s the first time that all of us have gone through this process and this time frame in the order of which it happened, while training camp is in place.  Mickey (Loomis) and his staff have done a great job.  The hours he’s spending on the phone right now, just to secure the players on our own roster and supplement that list with guys that we have targeted with other teams, that’s gone extremely well and that’s not by accident. There’s a lot preparation that goes into that and there’s a lot of work that’s still on going."

Do you like the veteran leadership during the lockout?

"I think we have a veteran team and I think that it’s a team that has experienced success.  They understand how difficult that is and I think that’s an aspect that has served us well during the last six months."

This is the shortest practice, time wise, is that because of tomorrow?

"A little bit because we are light at cornerback and offensive line.  There are some position groups that we have plenty of numbers at, but until we are full strength, there are a few that are really having to take all the snaps.  That was really the main reason."

What’s your thought process of bringing in Alex Barron?

"He’s a veteran player, again, and we are just trying to look closely at our depth and the flexibility we have during the course of this training camp.  We want to take a peek at these guys and see how they do while they are here and again we were able to do that by signing he and (George) Foster.  Both of these guys are veteran players that we think can compete and compete for a job and that’s why they are here."

What is your reaction to Cameron Jordan’s first day on the practice field today?

"He looks good.  I think once the pick in front of him signed his contract, it was just a matter of getting that done.  We still have some work to do on a transaction standpoint, and we are working on that, but in the meantime we are waiting the official word that everyone will be at practice."

What does David Thomas do for this team?

"He’s one of those players that rarely does the wrong thing during the course of the play, so when you grade the tape he makes great decisions in those four or five seconds (when) each play takes place.  He’s consistent. There’s certainly an important role for him on our offense and he’s handled that role for us.  He’s an important part of what we do."

Does he get a lot of looks during free agency because of his numbers?

"I think it depends.  I think each team has a certain plan and I think in David’s (Thomas) case, he is certainly valued here.  I think that he is a guy that can handle the F position when we get into the two tight end sets.  He is a guy that runs very well and does a great job in the passing game and the running game.  He has some versatility that allows us some flexibility within personnel groupings and that’s the one thing that really jumps out at us when we look at the film from a year ago."

How important is it that all the rookies are on board at this point?

"I think it’s very important with not having had the typical offseason that they would normally have.  It’s good to have them in here and it’s good to have them learning.  There’s a lot that they have to learn and a lot of work ahead of them.  We just take it day to day, but it is good that they are all here now."

Is Cameron Jordan a guy that can play inside and outside?

"I think the vision, initially, is for him to play outside but when it comes to the nickel or third down snaps, we will see about bringing him or moving him around.  I think just getting him up and going right now we’ll start with the end position.  I think he will have flexibility in the nickel and rush situations."

Based on what you saw today what did you think?

"I thought they handled it well. I thought at the end we got a little light at cornerback.  Again, we are kind of battling through the offensive line with the guys that are able to practice.  Purposely, we cut back with the amount of practice time we were out here, but I thought they handled it well."

Talk about what you think Cam Jordan will do for you guys?

"He has good size.  We think he plays with very good power and that’s something we saw on college tape.  We also think that he is a pretty quick learner.  These next few weeks are going to be critical for him to really get a handle for what we are doing defensively, how we call our defense, the alignments, all the little things that go into to playing at a high level.  But he has good size, strength and we think he is really athletic.  We will have a chance to see."

How long do you think it will take this team to gel?

"I think that it’s something that will take place over a period of time.  I don’t think that it happens within the first two or three days or the first week.  It’s a different team.  It’s different than a year ago.  You have a lot of guys competing for roster spots, which is good and healthy and usually brings out the best in everyone’s abilities.  Hopefully in this month of August, as we near the opening game, we are able to make the right decisions, gather all the information correctly, and keep guys healthy so they can compete and have a chance to really put their best foot forward."

On Paul Oliver, do you see him as a versatile guy?

"We see him as a safety.  He played a lot of the third safety stuff for San Diego but we see him as a safety either free or strong. But he is versatile and is a guy that we think has good speed and length.  Again, he is a player that spent some time studying and then as the process went on after losing Usama Young, we paid attention to what were other possibilities to bring in here and he is someone that we think can handle that and can handle playing the free or the strong position."

Is there a chance that free agents won’t be able to go tomorrow?

"I’m not aware of that, but I think a lot of it is going to be how far along they are with ratification.  I don’t know for certainty. I’m sure there’s probably a chance that it could happen, but we are just waiting the word like everyone else."

Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams

 I’m sure you always want to add good players on defense. Did you want to get bigger on the interior defensive line?

 "I’m a better coach when the guys are big, fast, and tough, but I’ve made a career on guys that are two inches two short, ten pounds too light, and a tenth of a second too slow. We’ve made a career on making sure that those guys understand how to play too. Just because we got bigger, doesn’t answer questions. We’ve made tremendous strides in two years on how we’re building the defense around here. Now these new, bigger, faster players are going to have to play our way. They’re going to have to buy into what we’re doing and I have no qualms or questions that they will."

 What are your first thoughts on Cameron Jordan?

 "He’s a good kid. I’m real happy he’s here and he is one of those guys who just looks makes us look different as far as in uniform. Now he has to quickly adapt to the style of our play. His defensive coordinator in college (Clancy Pendergast) was a coach with me a long time ago in the 90’s who was also a coordinator in the NFL. So I know a lot about him and how Clancy used him, so he’ll fit in with the many different ways that we will use him. He’s just not going to be a stereotypical defensive end. You guys will see him play end on both sides, you’ll see him play tackle on both sides, and you’ll see him stand up a little bit. He’s smart enough to do a bunch of things; he just has to get over the information overload in a real quick time, and we’ll find out how good of an education he got at the University of California."

 I know you love versatility in guys. People say that Jordan might be better in a 3-4 than a 4-3. Is there too much made of that?

 "Well let me say this: Who are those people? I don’t care what they say."

 Martez Wilson looks the part of an athlete, but does he have some learning to do?

 "Yeah he looks good doesn’t he? I have to make sure that he doesn’t shock us on Sunday by not knowing what the stress is of playing in the NFL. The way we practice here is what we call – we term it ‘organized chaos.’ We as coaches try to put as much external stress on them as possible so that the game is simple. If he can block me out, if he can block out the stress of somebody constantly riding him, on game day he’ll point the cat out play pretty good. But he’s got to battle through that. They’ve had five months to be comfortable; it’s time for them to start being uncomfortable. I’d rather him be uncomfortable in practice so I’m not uncomfortable on game day."

 It seems like one of the things that you were saying to him that you wanted him looking at the formations. Do you feel like mentally he wanders a bit?

 "He’s a real sharp kid. I’m real pleased with him; there’s not one guy on the defensive side of the ball that I’m not pleased with their intelligence and their toughness so far. Right now, I’m not worried about him. Martez has real good focus."

 Have any undrafted rookies made the most of their time with you in their first week?

 "A couple of the young guys. Ezra Butler has done a good job but is he a rookie? He hasn’t played in our league. Those guys are just scrambling to try and get in there. We will find out more about them in the preseason games, and everybody will see. It’s going to be tough when you have five draft picks on defense. If one of these undrafted rookies makes the team, they really earned it. It’s not a given that since they are draft choices, they will make the team. You’ve seen us cut draft choices in the same year that we draft them. Sean (Payton) and Mickey (Loomis) have said this, and Sean has pounded it into all of us, ‘the most important decisions we have to make in this training camp (without the spring practices) is pick the right 53. We’ve got to pick the right 53 guys and the pressure is on the staff to do that."

 What have you seen from Patrick Robinson so far?

 "Night-and-day transition. We have gone through what, five practices? You haven’t heard me chew his ass. How about Patrick Robinson and Junior Galette? I about busted a blood vessel in the side of my ear last year being all over Junior. This year, (I) haven’t said one thing. See, it’s our responsibility as coaches that when you get a young player in the league, to teach them what it’s like to be a pro. If you don’t change them attitudinally, if you don’t change them to make sure that they pay their dues and come in, that’s our fault as coaches. Momma and Daddy have been letting it go their whole life. Mommy and Daddy have been saying ‘It’s okay Johnny, it’s okay Patrick," but it’s not okay. Patrick has had a phenomenal camp. You know what? Patrick Robinson is speeding up Tracy Porter’s recovery process. Tracy wants to get back out there in a hurry because he sees how well Patrick is doing. And I mean that sincerely."

 Everyone loves to hear about Junior Galette. Is he making that mental transition?

 "I haven’t gotten on him once have I? I’m looking for ways to get on him. He’s had a really good camp. I’m looking forward to seeing him in preseason games. When nobody is in his helmet besides him, he’s got to get out there and do it. He earns the right for us to give him a shot this year, on what he went through last year. I’m really proud of him too."

 How is Johnny Patrick coming along?

 "He’s doing well. Right now Johnny Patrick is this year’s Patrick Robinson. He’s my whipping boy right now. He’s got to understand in a hurry; he’s got to come on in a hurry. We have a lot of good cornerbacks here that have played in this league, and if he’s going to make this team he’s going to have to jump in the boat in a hurry."

 He (Johnny Patrick) seems willing to stick his nose in there on defense.

 "Well at Louisville he was allergic to contact, so it’s really neat to see that. It’s been identified and we’ve said that if we don’t see him do this every day in practice, we won’t even take him to the games. He is doing that, and it’s great that you have noticed that. He knows that’s something we identified in his college tape. He would’ve gone higher in the draft if he had more contact."

 You seemed to be "sticking your nose in there" on special teams. Is that something you normally do?

 "I’ve always done that. I’ve actively coached in this league for seventeen years on special teams. I’ve been a special teams coach. I was a coordinator when we were number one in this league. Once I came here, I wasn’t asked to do that, and I haven’t been asked. I just want to make sure I’m around a little bit more this year while I can. Starting tomorrow, it will be harder for me. But this first week to help Greg (McMahon) and John (Bonamego), who I think do a great job, I’ve tried to be a little bit more vocal."


Jonathan Vilma

What has Martez Wilson shown in camp that he gained in the practices at Tulane? Well, I see one, he knows the defense. Obviously not the whole defense, but he knows the basics of the defense. He understands how we practice, how we come to work, and you can see it on the field right now.


How will Cameron Jordan work out for the team? Today was his first day. I saw him running around pretty good. I saw him, like any rookie, have a couple mental errors. I feel like once he gets over that and he learns the defense, he is going to be real good.


Are you able to see where Gregg Williams is going at this point? What I see, is a coach that is always trying to improve. He will look at things that we have done well and things that we haven’t done well. He tries to figure out how we can do those things that we haven’t done well, better. All the coach can do is drop a sign, drop a scheme. To get it done, as the players, we have to execute.


Are you able to pick up on it more quickly because you know where he is coming from? Yes, definitely. I pick up on it and I understand where he is coming from. I am out there not just controlling myself, but ten other guys. I have to always make sure, and I take that personally, that all of my guys know what they are doing and all of my guys understand what is going on within the defense.


Do you have any input in that? I try. I have input as far as game-planning, when that comes. Right now, it’s about understanding defense, getting my guys lined up, and making plays.