mcloudyn.png
Saturday September 26th, 2020 10:49PM

Saints' Payton: More 'live' football planned this preseason

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Saints coach Sean Payton prefers not to use the term “training camp” to describe how he’s trying to prepare his club for this pandemic-altered NFL season.

“There’s nothing about this that’s like training camp. So, we’re going to approach it differently,” Payton said Wednesday, noting that one big change would be more scrimmaging and other “live” scenarios during practices.

“We’re going to have to evaluate during the practice sessions. We can create environments which are more like a scrimmage environment in our padded practices, so we’ll have to do some of that.

“You have to, at some point, play football if you’re getting ready to play a football game.”

The Saints have a history of finding undrafted rookie free agents who become regular contributors. Often, those players’ potential has become evident during preseason games.

Some examples include former running backs Pierre Thomas and Chris Ivory; former receiver Joseph Morgan; and last season, current returner and receiver Deonte Harris.

This season, New Orleans will have to find those players during practice.

While Payton cited restrictions on padded practices, as well as on when and how teams can hold meetings, as examples of differences between this preseason and others, he declined to say whether he agreed with the preseason plan put together by the NFL Players Association and the league’s management council.

“That’s unimportant, regardless of how anyone feels,” Payton said. “What’s important is quickly taking what we’re given and getting ready to prepare the team."

The Saints, like all teams, have had to alter floor plans inside their training headquarters to promote social distancing, such as spacing out seating in meeting rooms and placing barriers between each player's locker.

“The challenge is simple," Payton said. "You can put up all the shields you want (between) the lockers. You can move the chairs 6 feet apart. We can walk around, and when we go to eat, stay in our 6-feet (apart) lines, but for two hours, 2 1-2 hours every day, we’re playing tackle football. And so that’s the challenge we have this year.”

Less of a concern for Payton was the lack of a typical offseason programs, which were impossible while team facilities were closed to most players and staff because of the coronavirus pandemic.

There was no offseason program in 2011 because of a lockout that didn’t end until right before training camp. The Saints went 13-3 that season and set an NFL record for offensive yards in a season with 7,474. This season, much like that one, the Saints' roster is loaded with veterans who have playoff experience. New Orleans is coming off back-to-back 13-victory regular seasons and is seeking a fourth straight playoff appearance.

“I expect our players to be in very good shape,” Payton said. “Their physical conditioning and their physical preparation should not have been affected because of this.”

Payton said this week is dedicated to coronavirus testing with physicals scheduled over the weekend, followed by conditioning, strength training, meetings and light “walk-through” practices starting Monday.

Payton said there’s a good chance the Saints will be close to full strength when they eventually start practicing on the field, although some players could be limited as a precaution. Payton mentioned linebacker Kiko Alonso, who had offseason knee surgery.

Players won’t be in pads until Aug. 17, Payton said, but added, we’ll be in full pads every day that we’re allowed.

Much as general manager Mickey Loomis did in a video conference Tuesday night, Payton brushed aside concerns about locker room chemistry. That came into question in early June when quarterback Drew Brees initially reiterated his long-held opposition to kneeling during the national anthem before changing course and apologizing after experiencing a public backlash from Black teammates.

“The locker room’s in good shape. I don’t see any need to address anything relative to that," Payton said. "The No. 1 thing we’re going to be working on is football. It’s that time of the year right now and all the other things take a back seat.”

Time will tell how that applies to safety Malcolm Jenkins, who was sharply critical of Brees before the QB's apology, and who recently accepted a position as a part-time social and racial justice correspondent for CNN. For now, Payton does not sound concerned about that interfering with Jenkins’ team focus.

“I’m excited for him. If that’s something that he’s going to pursue and wants to pursue when his career is over with, fantastic,” Payton said, stressing that Jenkins is “someone I know very well.”

___

More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Sports, AP Online Football, AP Business, AP Sports - NFL
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Saints' Payton: More 'live' football planned this preseason
Saints coach Sean Payton prefers not to use the term “training camp” to describe how he’s preparing his club for this pandemic-altered NFL season
4:25PM ( 3 minutes ago )
4 Big Tech CEOs take congressional heat on competition
Four Big Tech CEOs are fending off accusations of stifling competition in front of a congressional panel that is investigating market dominance in the industry
4:08PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Wall Street rally carries on after Fed keep rates ultra-low
Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve said it will keep the accelerator floored on its aid for the economy
4:07PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
The Latest: Big West Conference postpones fall sports
The Big West Conference is postponing all fall sports through the end of the calendar year
3:50PM ( 38 minutes ago )
The Latest: Texas Longhorns exploring 25% stadium capacity
The University of Texas is now exploring how it can host football games at 25% percent stadium capacity instead of the previously announced 50% as the planned start of the season rapidly approaches
3:27PM ( 1 hour ago )
Phillies visiting clubhouse staffer tests positive for virus
Philadelphia Phillies general manager Matt Klentak says one team employee who works in the visiting clubhouse has tested positive for the coronavirus
3:15PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Sports
Tagovailoa gets OK to practice without restrictions
Rookie quarterback Tua Tagovailoa has passed his physical after reporting to Miami Dolphins training camp
12:38PM ( 3 hours ago )
The Latest: Online Big 12 media day to feature coaches only
The Big 12 will hold its football media day online Monday with only the conference’s 10 head coaches available
12:20PM ( 4 hours ago )
AP Sources: Bosa gets $135 million extension with Chargers
Defensive end Joey Bosa has agreed to a contact extension that will make him the highest-paid defensive player in the NFL
10:55PM ( 17 hours ago )
AP Online Football
2020's final Mars mission poised for blastoff from Florida
The summer's third and final mission to Mars is about to get under way at Cape Canaveral, Florida
3:51PM ( 36 minutes ago )
The Latest: Zuckerberg questioned election interference
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is again being put on the defensive in a congressional hearing over the social network’s role as a conduit for Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election
3:39PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Court says Judd can sue Weinstein for sexual harassment
A federal appeals court on Wednesday revived Ashley Judd’s sexual harassment lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein
3:31PM ( 56 minutes ago )
AP Business
The Latest: Texas football plan catches home city off guard
Austin's public health authority says the city was “caught a little off guard” by the recent announcement by Texas that the school planned to allow 50% stadium capacity at Longhorns football games this fall
5:34PM ( 22 hours ago )
The Latest: Dallas CB Canady and rookie WR Guidry opt out
Veteran cornerback Maurice Canady and undrafted rookie receiver Stephen Guidry have opted out of playing for the Dallas Cowboys this season because of the coronavirus pandemic
4:59PM ( 23 hours ago )
The Latest: Jaguars place two players on COVID list
The Jacksonville Jaguars have placed starting right tackle Jawaan Taylor and first-year offensive lineman Ryan Pope on the team’s reserve/COVID-19 list
4:46PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Sports - NFL
4 Big Tech CEOs take congressional heat on competition
Four Big Tech CEOs are fending off accusations of stifling competition in front of a congressional panel that is investigating market dominance in the industry
4:08PM ( 19 minutes ago )
Wall Street rally carries on after Fed keep rates ultra-low
Stocks closed broadly higher on Wall Street after the Federal Reserve said it will keep the accelerator floored on its aid for the economy
4:07PM ( 21 minutes ago )
Braves' Markakis returns 3 weeks after opting out of season
Nick Markakis is returning to the Atlanta Braves three weeks after announcing he was opting out of the season due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic
4:06PM ( 22 minutes ago )
US death toll from the coronavirus hits 150,000
The confirmed death toll from the coronavirus in the U.S. has hit 150,000, by the far the highest tolll in the world
4:04PM ( 23 minutes ago )
The Latest: Bezos can't guarantee Amazon uses seller data
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos says he can’t guarantee that the company isn’t accessing seller data to make competing products, an allegation that the company and its executives had previously denied
3:53PM ( 34 minutes ago )