05-14-2006, 12:13 AM
1000 Posts +
Join Date: Apr 2005
Q: Can you talk about what you were looking to accomplish today?
A: "The first thing is you get an opportunity to give these guys your system. There is a lot of new terminology for them on both sides of the ball. You are implementing a new defense and a new offense. Most of them come from systems and may be unfamiliar with the way we use formations and the way we call defenses. There is an orientation part of it; there is a part of it where you are forcing them to get lined up on the field. Just in the first practice I think we got a lot done. Obviously, we have a long ways to go, we have to get these guys in shape and it is not unusual or uncommon in these first practices of this first rookie camp to see that."
Q: Is five practices enough to get all of that done?
A: "These guys aren't going home after these five practices. They are still here; they are here in the OTAs. They are here for another minicamp and another eight. So we have about 16 more before we go to training camp."
Q: How anxious were you to get an on the field look at Reggie Bush?
A: "I think we were anxious to look at all of these guys. Certainly there was a chance to look at Reggie but to also look at the rest of the players in the draft class. I told them last night regardless of whether you were a draft pick or a free agent or a free agent try out we are really unconcerned with how they got here. They are here now and I am just anxious to evaluate what we see. I told them that and I think they understand. They are looking to make impressions. They are not going to make the team in this rookie camp, we are not in pads, but they do have a chance to make impressions and learn what we are doing in a short period of time and I think that is important."
Q: What did you think of Reggie's first practice?
A: "It was fine. Again, these guys all are coming from, and in his case certainly, they are coming from schedules that may not have allowed them to stay in the same shape that they normally would be in season. We start de-recruiting him and the rest of these guys right away and getting them in shape and getting them into the weight room and running program. He will be fine and the rest of these guys will be fine. We just have to get them in shape and get them going."
Q: We saw him working on the side with the trainer. Did he participate in practice the way you wanted him to?
A: "He felt a little strain initially and then it loosened up and he was fine. He has been sitting in a limousine too long. He just felt it get tight in his groin and it loosened up and he was fine to go back in there."
Q: Is that a fear of yours with these guys not really working much in the last couple of months?
A: "It is a challenge for everyone. You have to, in a short period of time, take these guys from May leading up into your July training camp and get them indoctrinated into your system. They are going to be competing against players that are eight weeks ahead of them right now. I am talking about our veteran players who are eight weeks into the offseason program, running and lifting. So these guys will have a rude awakening on Monday and Tuesday when they see where our current players are at condition wise and that is fine. As long as they recognize it and work to catch up that lost time and that is what you have to do."
Q: Can you talk about Bruce Eugene and the way he threw the ball out there today?
A: "He has a strong arm and he is a guy that when we had him in our local workout he was impressive. He has been anxious to get in here. You could see his arm strength throwing the ball he just has to work a little bit on his accuracy and location. Part of that is foot related and we have to get him in shape because he is too heavy right now. He is close to being a guard and not a quarterback but he does have a strong arm and we will see."
Q: How did Roman Harper look out there today?
A: "He felt good after this first practice. He is in good shape because he has been training and running. He has picked up things, again not having watched the film but just watching him out here go through some of these drills, he is a guy who I think is in pretty good shape -- better shape than some of these other guys."
Q: Do you look progression fitness and learning wise as this minicamp continues?
A: "We are going to practice again this afternoon and all of a sudden tomorrow morning they are going to get a whole list of new plays and it starts all over again. Monday is the same way so we are going to shove a lot down their throats early and let them digest it as best they can. That approach early on will be jus their way of learning it. We don't expect them to master everything we are teaching them right now but we expect them to understand how important it is going to be to get into the playbook and learn your assignments. That is on both sides of the ball and on special teams."
Q: You have people lined up under the fence watching practice. Do like the excitement from the fans here in New Orleans or is it a distraction more then anything else?
A: "I will be honest with you. In Dallas and New York we had people lined up under the fence for every practice. I think it might be a little unique here but it seems like the first day of minicamp. People are always excited about the first round draft pick, really. In his case, certainly not to down play it, there is excitement and that is good thing. As far as the amount of media here I guess it is something that I am used to or at least familiar with just in the last two places I have been. Maybe that is just unique for me."
Q: Did you talk to Nick Saban talk personally before the linebacker trade involving Courtney Watson and Eddie Moore that was nullified?
Q: Was that just handled by management?
A: "No, I just didn't talk to Nick and generally the actual trade goes through the business parts of our building and their building. I talked with our people, Mickey (Loomis) and Rick (Mueller), but not with anyone with Miami."
Q: How do you see it now with Courtney back on your roster?
A: "Just as it was a week ago. He is back and that happens occasionally. I talked with Courtney prior to the trade and again I think both players were anxious for the opportunity at the other team and it just didn't work out. So, that is where it is at."
Q: Can you talk about what you liked in the quarterback play today?
A: "It is hard to tell with these guys. I think the one thing is they are picking up the system quick. I don't think any of the three young quarterbacks are overwhelmed with the terminology. They seem to have picked up things and taken it to the field some. Just after one practice it is hard to tell, just in the drill work but they seem to be sharp guys that have pretty good heads on their shoulders."
Q: Do you a lot of nervous jitters out there with these young guys?
A: "I think you get the nervous energy a lot of these guys have to start practice and to start making an impression. I think that is pretty typical."
Q: What is guy like LB E.J. Kuale going to have to do to make this team?
A: "I think it is not overnight. It is all the way up and through July. He is going to have to get himself into condition and be able to demonstrate that he can play that position better than a handful of other players and he is going to have to be able to play special teams."
Q: After drafting Reggie Bush how many plays have you added to your playbook?
A: "We spent time evaluating what we thought he did well and we really did the same thing when we evaluated our acquisition of Drew Brees. Once you are able to look at things that he was successful in and try to implement them into the offense and then certainly we will expand some packages that include more then just Deuce (McAllister) in the backfield or him in the backfield. You have some flexibility. This period of time you asking about, this past two weeks and leading up these next three weeks are all training camp play book stuff so it is kind of ongoing but it has begun."
Q: What are some ways that you de-recruit a guy like Reggie?
A: "I think you just get them in camp and you get going. You start playing football. He stays at the Hilton and not at the Loews; He comes on the bus instead of a limousine. You guys will go through your day or two of questions with him and then it will calm down and it will all be fine. I think that is just getting them back into a routine. I guess that is the best way."
And I loved this:
EARN IT: Payton seems to have followed the practice of his former boss, Bill Parcells in Dallas, during the rookie minicamp -- according to veteran Dallas observers at the minicamp -- as all players have a piece of tape with their last name on the front of their helmets and no fleur-de-lis stickers on the sides of the helmets.
Let them know from their first day in New Orleans that they can't just sit back and call themselves a Saint, they have to work at it and earn it.