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Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Opening statement: “With regards to the injuries, I’m not going to hit on the guys that haven’t been practicing. We rested (Mark) Ingram today and he’ll practice again tomorrow. We installed red zone. We came inside and I thought the ...

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Old 08-01-2013, 05:49 PM   #1
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Opening statement:

“With regards to the injuries, I’m not going to hit on the guys that haven’t been practicing. We rested (Mark) Ingram today and he’ll practice again tomorrow. We installed red zone. We came inside and I thought the tempo was pretty good. It was pretty good to get out of the heat. I thought we had some of our better work.”

What about any of the rule changes? What are you most concerned about with the new rule changes?

“Every year we have the officials come in and we spend three days with them. I don’t know specifically if there’s anything that would be drastically different. I know there’s been a lot of attention to the running backs. That’s a unique play where the running back is head on with the defender. It doesn’t come up that often but well be sure to cover it. The officials will be in the meetings today with our players, really watching the practice tape and if there are any questions well get them answered. They’ll be here in practice tomorrow and of course for Saturday’s scrimmage. So they’ll have a presentation tonight with us and go through a handful of changes that we’ve seen but I don’t know that there’s any that are going to be significant.”

Speaking of the refs, there’s the two female line judges out there today. Can you just speak about that?

“Well one’s a line judge the others an umpire. I’m familiar with Sarah (Thomas) only because she’s had a chance to participate in our camps since I got here. In ’06 ’07 and ’08 she’s been part of a crew that’s worked out training camp every year. She’s done a great job. You really don’t notice or pay attention to it. Maybe the first time you see a female official (you notice). I think our players have gotten real used to seeing her out at practice. I know she’s a line judge.”

After a year away, how was your communication on the field with Drew Brees? What was that like when you first got back?

“I think it was pretty normal. I said this before, a few months ago, the biggest challenge was being away and having that interaction outside of football (based on) the idea that you can’t communicate with anybody in the NFL, any player or any coach. That was the biggest change. But from a football stand point more than anything was getting up to speed with some of the nuances and changes. The other thing that was different or a little bit more different than I expected (is that) your roster changes 15, 16, 18 percent a year. So you come back to two (draft) classes, (and) two free agent classes. Overall the interaction you have with people you work with every day and not having that was unusual and a little difficult.”

Drew said you came back with a lot of fresh ideas.

“Listen, you come back with a lot of energy. You get a chance to watch from afar and you have a lot of thoughts. I think it’s still about some fundamentals and wins and losses. I think that’s going to be important for us. We got to play better defense and be more opportunistic. There’s a number of areas we’ve got to improve on if we’re going to have any success this season.”

What is your opinion on college football getting ready to kick off their training camps? Do you think they are going to follow suit as far as how practices are structured, not having two a days and move more like the NFL is doing?

“I don’t know. I don’t know the format in which they govern. I don’t know how they set that up. I know they’ve paid a lot of attention to some of the same issues that we’ve had to, but I don’t know how they would decide on that.”

You talk about how you want to improve the offense and maybe run the ball more. Did you see anything from last year that maybe you want to change for this year?

“Those things go hand in hand. You want to have balance and yet it’s hard to do if you’re behind. You want to control the clock and time of possession and yet you’re giving up big plays and not playing well on defense. All those things lead to more challenging snaps, more third downs and less opportunities to run. They kind of fit hand in hand. I’ve said this a number of times, we have to play better complementary football. Each week understanding what it takes to win that game, defensively and offensively and in the kicking game. That can vary based on your opponent, it can change based on the how the game’s unfolding. I do think that opportunity to or that ability to control the game in the second half involves a run game. It’s just harder to do when you’re behind.”

How hard is it as a play caller to say you want to commit to the run but now its second and nine in down and distance?

“I agree. It’s happened to me a number of times, you have a mindset going in and then you find yourself in a game when you really got to be able to midstream adjust. I think Pete (Carmichael) has got a great rhythm. He’s someone that knows what we’re doing more than anyone. It just becomes more challenging if you’re giving up the big plays and you’re surrendering yards and all of the sudden you’re down 11 instead of six. You know it’s coming and you hate to get in that hurry up. You’re down two scores and you know the rest of the game is going to be pass or draw. Part of having that balance is being confident in what you’re doing, being efficient in what you’re doing and having that same confidence in defending your opponent. They all get tied together.”

What’s the lineup for Saturday?

“Our start time is the same. It will be very similar to what you have seen us do in the past. I know last year they played in the Hall of Fame game. It will be a series of eight to 12 plays. We’ll put the ones versus the twos, the ones versus the ones. We’ll put some special teams in there. It’s going to be outside, weather permitting. It’s kind of a controlled scrimmage. We’ll stay off the quarterbacks and stay away from cutting, blocking below the waist. We’ll try to stay healthy and pretty much what we’ve done before.”

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Old 08-01-2013, 06:07 PM   #2
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

“Listen, you come back with a lot of energy. You get a chance to watch from afar and you have a lot of thoughts. I think it’s still about some fundamentals and wins and losses. I think that’s going to be important for us. We got to play better defense and be more opportunistic. There’s a number of areas we’ve got to improve on if we’re going to have any success this season.”
I think the coaching and play call will be the best of Payton's time in New Orleans. Never seen a time in NFL history where a coach leaves for a season and returns refreshed. Almost like hiring him anew again.

Just hope the talent on defense is improved at the least just a little. A below average defense can get Payton and this offense deep into the playoffs.
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Old 08-01-2013, 06:46 PM   #3
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

I have this gut feeling we're gonna be better on D than people think.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:15 PM   #4
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

Originally Posted by Mr.Riaton View Post
I have this gut feeling we're gonna be better on D than people think.
One thing we know for certain, teams won't be game planning for our defense. That's perfect, kind of how 2009 played out.

Even if the defense gets off to a strong start, NO TEAM in the league will take it seriously. We have the opportunity to catch teams totally off guard.
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Old 08-01-2013, 07:35 PM   #5
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

I'm convinced we have the talent on defense. I think we had it last year frankly but it was misused on a grand scale, and I agree that I think our defense is going to surprise this year by being respectable...and then some...
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:04 PM   #6
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

Rob's defense is gonna be a lot like GW's defense and imho I think that his defensive scheme fit our players really good (after all, we did beat Paton Manning and his 14-2 colts). I think GW got a little careless twoard the end of his stay here in Nawlins. I dont think Rob will go down that same road.
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Old 08-01-2013, 09:41 PM   #7
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

I've said it before. Just 10 or 11 spots better & a few less Ints fromDrew & we are golden
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Old 08-02-2013, 02:49 AM   #8
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Re: Sean Payton on Thursday's practice: 'I thought we had some of our better work'

I didn't know anything about Elliot Mealer (center) who was mentioned in the article so I had to google a little.


Saints OL Elliott Mealer overcomes family tragedy to reach NFL

METAIRIE, La. — Elliott Mealer stood in front of his locker at the Saints’ Metairie training facility Tuesday, five days before Father’s Day, and couldn’t help but recall something David Mealer always used to tell his son.

“He was like, if you don’t have good dreams, you have nightmares,” Elliott recalled. “…Who cares if it sounds crazy or who cares if people tell you you can’t do it. You might as well have a crazy dream other than the nightmares.

“That’s what I’ve always shot for and I’m living it now. I’ve been very blessed. It’s a great opportunity.”

It’s one of the good things Elliott remembers about his father, one of the memories the son carries of the man who helped push his child’s dream forward years after his tragic death.

Reaching the NFL
Mealer, 23, won’t say he thought for sure he would be drafted after his five years at the University of Michigan, but he was optimistic.

He wasn’t taken, though, and eventually found a spot with the New Orleans Saints as an undrafted rookie free agent. His attitude hasn’t changed, however, and he’s working as hard as he did at Michigan, where that ethic eventually paid off in starting all 13 games in 2012 at center.

“To me, I’ve never been really in a position to think I’m entitled to anything,” Mealer said. “I’ve always had the belief that you’ll play or you’ll start or you’ll make the team when you deserve to. That’s kind of the goal I have.”

As an undrafted rookie free agent, Mealer is a long-shot but not an impossible one. The Saints have a history of keeping them on the roster, including running backs Pierre Thomas and Travaris Cadet and safety Isa Abdul-Quddus among others.

Reaching the NFL would be the conclusion of a life-long dream, one born as a third-grader in small Stryker, Ohio and pushed along by his dad.

Mealer remembers lying on a pile of laundry when he was a third-grader, wondering aloud to his father about how he would play football if the sport wasn’t being played in Stryker. And 15 years later, he remembers exactly what his dad told him.

“My dad goes, ‘Oh, you’ll do it.’ I was just a little kid but at the time, my dad wanted me to play football,” Mealer said.

In fact, as fate would have it, the family moved a little more than 15 miles down the road closer to Wauseon, Ohio, where football was offered.

“We didn’t move just so I could play football but things work out in a way that have given me an opportunity to be here right now,” Mealer said.

The accident
The opportunity, though, almost wasn’t.

On Dec. 24, 2007 – Christmas Eve – Mealer was in a car leaving a holiday party. His father David was driving. His older brother Brock was in the front passenger seat. He was sitting in the middle in the back between his mother Shelly and his high-school sweetheart Hollis Richer.

Somewhere between the party and Wauseon, a 90-year-old man ran a stop sign. In doing so, the Mealer’s and Richer’s lives changed in an instant.

The father and Richer were thrown from the car and were pronounced dead at the crash. David Mealer was 50 and Richer was 17. Brock was paralyzed from the waist down. And Elliott tore his right rotator cuff while trying to free Brock by attempting to rip the window out.

Amazingly, the healing started soon after.

“Before I even met Brock, all the nurses and everybody on his floor at the hospital was saying, ‘This Brock Mealer guy is amazing,’ ” said Rich Rodriguez, who had just taken over as Michigan’s head coach when the accident happened.

“He had the whole floor in the palm of his hands. Here he was lying paralyzed and the doctors tell him he has a 99 percent chance he would never walk again and he has the most positive attitude you could ever imagine.”

Elliott Mealer, meanwhile, was as determined to make good on his commitment to Michigan as his brother was to walking again. He and his mother met with Rodriguez in the athletic training room on campus, the first time any of the Mealers had met the new coach.

Rodriguez, now the coach at the University of Arizona, remembers telling Mealer that even if he never played football again, he had a scholarship waiting for him at Michigan. He also remembers telling the then-high school student to take care of himself and his family and to not think about football.

That last point didn’t happen.

“I know it was always important to him, to get back 100 percent healthy and play,” Rodriguez said. “I think that was one of the things for himself, for his family and for his dad’s memory he wanted to get it done. I’m really, really proud to see him do that.”

Read the rest: Saints OL Elliott Mealer overcomes family tragedy to reach NFL | wwltv.com New Orleans

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