Observations From Day One at Saints Camp

Coach Sean Payton took time from a busy Friday to sit down with the media and discuss his team’s play at their first practice of mini-camp this week. Here are some of his thoughts and observations.

On Jeremy Shockey’s condition

“He’s doing well. We held him out today unrelated to last week. We held him out today because he had some back spasms. Last week he was dehydrated and all the tests came back. Basically his blood sugar count was low and he had that fainting episode. What’s holding him back right now is just his back. It’s something that probably in the last 24 hours it began to twinge on him and we’re going to just play it day to day with him and make sure that he’s ready but that’s unrelated to what happened a week ago so the good news is from a test stand point, he’s healthy, he’s just battling the back. We have to get him ready.”

On the recent postings on Twitter concerning his players

“We mentioned this a year ago, with the Twitter and a lot of these other means of communication. Really, when you Twitter, it’s a press conference and I think it’s something that we talked about a year ago and it’s something that we talked about this week. Bottom line is that we’re sitting here in June, and so I haven’t really paid that much attention to it until the last, really, 24 hours. The various comments going back and forth, I just think it’s fairly silly that we are sitting in the month of June talking about two players. It would be different if they were texting each other but I don’t anticipate it being any more of an issue, but it is something when you decide to. I don’t have a Facebook or a Twitter, or any of those other things, but when you decide to do something like that, you are having a mini press conference. We make sure the players understand that.”

On not having RB Pierre Thomas or OT Jammal Brown at camp and how it affects what the team does in practice

“No, there’s no update, and I wouldn’t say it caught us off guard just because we didn’t have them in the last OTAs. WE work really with the guys that are here and certainly you’d like to have everyone in your mini-camp and yet I’m sure there are a number of teams with the same issue with different positions and it is what it is.”

On Malcolm Jenkins lining up at safety in place of Darren Sharper

“He’s doing well. He’s an intelligent player, so a position move for someone like him who’s a thinker on the field can become mentally easier and I think he’s handling it, handling the snaps that he’s getting, he’s getting a lot of them right now. Usama Young is getting a lot of snaps and I think it’s a good thing. The one thing that we know is that he’s a pretty good football player. He’s working hard and handling the adjustment.”

On keeping the team in the proper mind set and keeping their championship in perspective

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the fans number one. It’s really their first time. When you look at the access that they typically get it’s during training camp, it’s the season, gameday. There’s a stretch of football where you go through the offseason, the draft, there’s really no practice and it’s a great time for them to come back out. A lot of these people wait for these opportunity to take their children to practice. I can recall as a kid going to watch the Eagles or the Bears when they were in their camps and my father taking me. I think it’s a great opportunity for our fans to see the whole roster. They’ve heard and read a lot of what’s been written, but they haven’t had the chance to put their eyes on the team in a while. From that standpoint, each year it seems that the bleachers get bigger and the crowds get bigger. I think that’s a good thing. I think that you should be a lot more concerned when nobody is coming to practice.”

On the health of S Chip Vaughn and LB Stanley Arnoux, who missed last year with injuries

“Well there a lot further ahead mentally as to what we’re doing, how we practice, our routine. Physically, they’re both coming off of injuries, and both are anxious I’m sure to get acclimated and prove themselves with the opportunities. It’s a little hard to do that right now without the pads on, but both those players are going to have plenty of snaps in training camp, and they’ll use this time period to get the rust off, if you will, and get ready. Both of them are players that we look at like a redshirt player. Where Robert Meachem didn’t really get quite the look his first year. Hopefully those two guys can stay healthy and do some things.”

On the play of his backup QBs Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield

“Well, both Chase and Sean are picking things up. It’s a little bit of a growing process for them. In Sean’s case, it’s all new. Chase’s case, he spent most of the snaps last year just running the scout team reps. Because of the numbers, they’re getting a lot of work. They’re getting 5 or 6 snaps per period depending on the amount that we run in these team drills. You can watch film, you can open a playbook and study, but until you get out there and really work with the live bodies going, it’s hard, especially at that position. They’re picking it up, and they’re doing a great job.”

On rookie TE Jimmy Graham and his development

“He’s getting a lot of work. Today and tomorrow we’re doing a lot of base personnel groupings so that means we’re in ‘21’ and some ‘12’ – two-tight end work. For us the key is finding a handful of packages that we think suit him, packages that would suit David Thomas or Jeremy Shockey. Jeremy got walk-through snaps today and went back in. He’s feeling better. I was encouraged just seeing him out here getting the walk-through. But I do think that (Graham) is a guy that we’re giving some snaps to and the timing with he and Drew is important. Just like you’re seeing Patrick (Robinson) get some snaps. Some of these guys that we’ve had for the better part of three weeks now; the rookie camp, the OTAs and they’ve been quickly being brought up to speed.”

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