Sean Payton Post-Camp Press Conference

On June 4th, new Saints coach Sean Payton talked to the media about how the recent minicamps went. Payton was candid whan responding to questions about off-time before training camp, Donte Stallworth, Anthony Simmons, and much more.

Q: Can you discuss how you thought the minicamp went?

A: "It was good. We got a lot in. We got a lot installed. I think, one of the things you can do in the off-season is give them an installation, go back through it, repeat it again for the second time and these next four days are going to be OTAs for us tomorrow through Thursday and the following Monday through Thursday, the same way, so that repetition will give these guys a little bit of a chance each time we go through it again to grasp the nuances of the offense, the defense and some of the things we're asking on special teams. We gave them a lot and I was pleased with their conditioning, a lot more compared to the first camp we had. So, that was encouraging."

Q: Are the next two months more important than the next six weeks?

A: "It's constantly, bring them in, install, give them a bunch of information, then they get away. They don't leave. They're lifting and running, bring them back in again. This is the second go around of minicamp. We have them tomorrow, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It's not called a minicamp. It's called an OTA, but it's one practice in the morning. We do it again next week and there's a little break obviously before we get into training camp, so that kind of repetition I think is helpful. Not only for the young players, but for the veteran players to learn the system. You continue to go over things and I think the thing we continue to emphasize is you want to go through it and go over it like it was the first time they ever heard it each time we do it and the repetitions is helpful."

Q: How receptive has the team been to your approach?

A: "I think it's been real good. I think by and large the players in this league want to win. They want to work. They want you to be demanding as coaches and they want you to give them the best opportunity for them to maximize their earning potential and so these players want coaching. They want all those things that give them a chance to win. I think these players, not just our players, but all these players today, understand, here are the things that keep you from winning games. We're going to set it right in the very beginning. The slate's clean with this team, whether or not a player's been here, it's a new player we've brought in, we're just looking for when it's all said and done the best 53 guys that give us a chance to win and regardless of how we acquired them. That's not important."

Q: How has Anthony Simmons fit in here?

A: "He's done well. We're giving him a lot. He's a year out from playing. He's in good shape. He's a good athlete and so, especially at that linebacker position, where we're a little thin, that's been good. It's been positive."

Q: He is not just a throw-in player?

A: "No, he's a guy that we're counting on. He's got every chance to compete for that starting position as the other guy's lining up there, so we're counting on him to get it and get it quick."

Q: Is Donte' Stallworth still in the penalty box?

A: "We don't have a penalty box, so we'll see."

Q: Does he have to prove his worth and work his way back into the lineup?

A: "Again, there's certain things we expect and there's no fixtures position-wise on this team, there's no staples, especially on a team that was 3-13, so we'll see."

Q: What is your impression of Fred McAfee?

A: "He's a veteran player that has found a niche in this league. One of the things Bill (Parcells) used to say to us a lot was that the player needs to know who he is. There's a lot of times where that isn't the case, but in his case, in Fred's case, he knows exactly what he is and so, that being said, you can play a long time in this league I think if you're good enough and you know exactly what you are. He's somebody that's been obviously a good special teams player and a guy that has provided a spark there. He's done a good job. We'll see how this training camp starts. It's hard now. You do the special teams drills and you go from there."

Q: Do you have a philosophy on keeping specialist type of players?

A: "I just think you got to be careful. You got to see, are they strictly special teams players and how many are you keeping? You have your kicker. You have your punter. You probably have a long snapper. You have a returner. At some point, where do you...? Obviously the one thing we're looking for is how many snaps is a player going to get? These guys begin to understand, the second and third tight end, they're competing with the fullback. They're competing with the fourth receiver. They're competing with the guy that can only play special teams. Those guys are really competing with each other, so a minute a player comes out and looks at his position group and thinks this is where my competition is...They're competing with all those other players, and all those players from the 31 other teams, because we're evaluating their preseason game tape as well, so it's not just four or five. It's really 140, fullback, tight end, linebackers, that play special teams. That's the competition pool -- receivers as well, so how many plays they get during a game is an important number."

Q: What will you expect from the players when they're on their own after the OTAs?

A: "The strength program will be laid out for that. It's basically a little bit more than a month, depending if you're a rookie or not and then there's a conditioning test that we'll have when they report to camp and that will be on a Friday. That will be closed. We'll have a p.m. practice that will obviously be our first practice, so, they'll have a conditioning test. These guys understand what they have to do to come in. they're smart guys. They've worked hard to get to this position in the weight room and the running and lifting, by and large most of them understand what they have to do during that break, that gap between those OTAs and the start of the season in a period of two or three weeks, so if they don't do anything, then pretty much all that stuff they worked on, they can lose. I think they understand that."

Q: Do they have to complete the conditioning test to be able to practice in camp?

A: "I didn't say that, no we'll give them a test. We'll have a conditioning test. We always will at the start of training camp. They know the test right now. Some of them have already been running it. They have a conditioning test we'll be giving them and we'll see."

Q: What will you and the staff do during that break?

A: "They'll get away. It is a break. These guys, the coaches, I want them to get away. This is the one gap of time before they get ready. The next six months they arrive, they're working everyday, so I want them to get away and see their families and try to recharge the batteries and I think that's important. Those last couple weeks in June, those 2-3 weeks in July, they'll be doing whatever they want to do away from here. They'll monitor the position groups though and stay in touch with their players."

Q: Where does it stand in terms of a training camp location at this point?

A: "We'll see. There's no decision. I'm sure it will be announced sooner than later, so right now there's nothing to announce. It's kind of ongoing."

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