03-22-2006, 02:38 PM
1000 Posts +
Join Date: Apr 2005
Good article about Deuce's recovery, Payton, and cap room
NEW ORLEANS -- Deuce McAllister is a little lighter and still dealing with swelling and soreness from last season's blown-out knee, but remains optimistic about the 2006 season.
"The main thing is you have to do is be patient. Hopefully, the ultimate goal is to be ready for training camp," McAllister said while meeting with reporters at the Saints' suburban training headquarters on Tuesday.
Offseason workouts are officially under way and minicamp is coming up early next month.
McAllister did not say how much weight he'd lost but said he knew his weight was down due to his injury.
"I've been working out the last month-and-a-half and I feel pretty good," McAllister said. "I know I'm going to play lighter this year. There's different things I'm going to have to do to say I've elevated my game."
He has been studying the workout and rehabilitation plans Edgerrin James and other running backs have employed after having the same injury -- a torn anterior cruciate ligament.
"You hear the whispers that it takes 18 months to two years for a running back" to return to full health from such an injury, McAllister said. "I know the question marks are out there whether I'll be 100 percent and that adds a little fuel to the fire, so I'm anxious."
McAllister said he liked playing with recently departed quarterback Aaron Brooks but agreed it was time for him and the Saints to part ways after five seasons without any playoff appearances.
He said he doesn't know anything about newly signed quarterback Drew Brees' leadership abilities personally, but likes what he's seen from a distance.
"When you see the highlights or when you see him play on Sunday, it really shows," McAllister said.
The marquee running back also had no problem with the recent signing of Michael Bennett, who is not a bruising back like McAllister but is quicker.
"Michael's an explosive player. He's going to give us a different dimension. I don't want to race him anytime soon," McAllister said.
^COACH SPEAK:@ Saints new head coach Sean Payton declined to get specific about attendance for his first team meeting on Monday and the beginning of offseason workouts on Tuesday, but he wasn't complaining.
"The nice thing about yesterday, it marks the first time where everyone's coming back, they're back in this area. Guys are getting into their apartments, getting into their housing, getting into their homes permanently, getting into their hotel," Payton said. "It's good to have them back and around, around the building and I know our coaching staff's excited they're back."
Payton has talked about discipline and attention to detail being a big part to his approach to coaching. He has little tolerance for players being late for meetings or practices.
He declined to get into specifics about what he told the players in their first meeting.
McAllister also offered few details other than to note, "Things are going to be different in a lot of ways as far as discipline and conditioning."
Players will be working primarily on weight lifting and conditioning until the minicamp in early April.
Brees, who had offseason shoulder surgery, won't be ready to throw by then, so Adrian McPherson and Todd Bouman will be making all the throws unless the Saints sign another free agent quarterback before then, Payton said.
The coach said he expected to have another quarterback on the roster this offseason but could not say when that would be.
^CAP ROOM:@ Payton said the Saints still have room under the salary cap to remain active in free agency.
"This next period of time is where you have a chance to help yourself and maybe not spend as much money. There's never a science to it. The year we went to the Super Bowl in New York, in 2000, we acquired Lomas Brown, Glenn Parker and Dusty Ziegler, our left tackle, our left guard and our center, after the first wave of free agency," he said. "We haven't exceeded the cap. We're just making sure when we go through this next couple weeks, three weeks, four weeks, we're looking at the right fit."