Six Points with Sean Payton: July 23

Here are some excerpts from New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton's opening press conference of training camp from Millsaps College on Wednesday:

Opening statement

"We met with our players this morning and just recently finished up the conditioning test on the lower field. The only items of business to report that would affect players reporting are that we placed Josh Bullocks and Mike McKenzie on PUP (Physically Unable to Perform), which is a day-to-day thing. Josh is probably a couple of days away from being full-go and ready to practice, so we started him on PUP. Mike is the same way, maybe a few more practices away than Josh, but we'll take it day-by-day and as soon as they are able to get out on the field, they'll be ready. They're close right now and it's probably a little bit of a conservative approach, but nonetheless, that's where they start. Eric Johnson is in a similar situation, only he's considered on the Non-Football Injury list. The injury he sustained in February was non-football related. It's much like PUP in that as he rehabs and gets closer to being able to participate, he'll work back into it. Jerametrius Butler did not report to training camp, so our number really is 79 as we sit here right now. Those are the four things that I had of note.

"Again in Josh and Mike's case, they're probably a little further along than Eric is now. I would anticipate Josh being ready in the next day or so and Mike in the next three or four days. We'll see what the timeframe is. Their progress has been good and there haven't been any setbacks. In Eric's case, it's been a little slower and we'll take that day-by-day and keep you guys posted as best I can.

"As far as the weigh-ins and the conditioning test, I was very pleased. Every player made his weight except for one and I don't want to get into the specifics, but it wasn't a lineman. That's a first for me and equally as exciting is that they ran well. The weather cooled off a little bit and they handled it well. The conditioning test went well and here we are."

Are Sedrick Ellis and Tracy Porter the only rookies not in camp?

"Those are the only two. It's been kind of slow at the top of the first and second rounds and that makes it a little bit more challenging because you're trying to get these players in camp on time. Those are the only two players, aside from Butler, that are not here."

What advantage do you feel like you get from coming to Jackson as opposed to training at home?

"We're here for three weeks this year and it's a little bit shorter than our first year here. If you remember in '06, we weren't ready to play the preseason games in the Superdome so we were a little bit longer here and played our preseason games in Shreveport and right here in Jackson. There's an environment for a period time – whether it's three, four, of five weeks – where you have the keys to your dorm, the walkway to and from the meetings and meals and practice facility and you're able to eliminate some distraction. I've always liked training camp being somewhere away, whether it was two hours away or 15 hours away, once you get away you seem to eliminate some distractions and I think that's one of the benefits. There are also challenges when you do that in regards to facilities and fields and the logistics of moving equipment. You take all that into account and you try to put your organization in the best position. Mainly eliminating distractions and getting into an environment where it's really all football and rest and is the benefit."

You have a history with Jeremy Shockey. Did some of his previous behavior give you pause when it came to acquiring him?

"I can only go by what I know and I had the chance to work with Jeremy in his rookie season. I think he's extremely competitive and is a player that wears his emotions on his sleeve. When you talk to his teammates and guys that have worked with him and coaches that have worked with him, the opinion is fairly unanimous in that he has been a real good teammate. He's been a guy that has been well-liked in the locker room; he's been a guy that is coachable and wants to win and has been a part of winning teams. From my experience in the time that I've spent with him and from the people that have worked with him that I know real well, that facet of his game has been real good. I think he's someone that is excited to play football. He brings some excitement and brings some emotion to the game. It is a game played with emotion, so we welcome that and look forward to it. We're excited to see what he's able to do. I think he's close to being 100% healthy. I wouldn't say he's 100% right now, but he passed his physical and everything looked clean our medical check-up and it's just a matter of transitioning him back to football playing shape and playing speed."

What is the status of Eric Johnson?

"He's on the Non-Football Injury list. It's very similar to PUP. We just have to rehab him and get him ready. Much like the other two players, when he's able to practice we'll remove him from that list."

Do you have a timetable on Eric Johnson?

"I think I'll know more once we get out there and he starts running around on the field. The last couple of weeks, he's tried to back off and rest it some with a boot, but we'll see. Talking with him today, he has felt a little bit better this week, but I'll keep you posted on his condition."

Want to read more of Payton's press conference? Get updates on Jonathan Vilma, Deuce McAllister, Jeremy Shockey, Charles Grant, Andy Alleman and Robert Meachem by clicking right here.

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