Metairie, La. - The Saints ended their first day of training camp an hour early because Sean Payton was pleased with the team's work and wanted to keep them fresh.
The following is a copy of Payton's session with the media, as transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Opening Statement: "Kenyon Coleman didn't practice. He has the flu. He should be ready tomorrow, Jarred Fayson is (suffering from) the same thing, dehydration, Marques Colston we held out with a foot, Patrick Robinson with his right knee, and Victor Butler with his left knee. Today and tomorrow there will be no pads and then, like I said yesterday, Sunday we will get into the full pads."
Can you talk about the dehydration issues and the players getting used to the heat?
"The dehydration was really from yesterday's conditioning test, but absolutely, you get used to this and it's nothing new to our players. I think a lot of them have trained here and been here, so it's still warm and we just try to pay attention to how many breaks we take at practice and make sure we are getting work in and not just going through the motions. I thought we handled it pretty well."
With day one of training camp in the books, can you talk about what it feels like
"I thought it was good to have everyone out (here). I thought yesterday (that) they reported in good shape. We are kind of back to the installation schedule we used in the spring and we will have a chance to go through it slower here in the beginning just because the way we are scheduling these practices."
Can you talk about what you see from Jonathan Vilma at this point?
"Number one, I think he is in great shape physically and I think he would tell you that he is probably healthier than he has been in the last year and a half. He has put a lot of hard work into his rehab and it was evident when we saw him in the spring and now, just seeing him go through the workout yesterday. He trains pretty hard and he is one of those guys that trained down in Miami and you know that he is getting his work in when he is away from the building. It's good to see him moving around. He is a big part of what we do."
How nice is it to have Joe Vitt back working besides you in his true role?
"He is a fantastic coach and I think that he has ton of experience. He helps me on a daily basis. He is one of the key people of what we do in a leadership role. I thought he handled everything a year ago very well and he is very passionate about this game and very passionate about our team."
How nice is it to see the defense getting a couple of turnovers today?
"There were some good plays. Keenan Lewis had a good interception. I think it is good to see guys moving around and practicing the right way without pads on. The concern sometimes when you get out of practice, when you are not in full gear is that you get collisions or guys (end up) on the ground. I thought we handled that pretty well this morning and hopefully we will do the same tomorrow before Sunday."
Can you talk about Keenan Lewis
"He has good length, he can extend and he has pretty good instincts too"
How important was the conditioning test?
"It was just another element. We have done different conditioning tests and this one was a little bit more lifting, it also had some other movements to it. It wasn't one where you were going to go home and run certain shuttles, it was one where you were going to have to prepare and some of the movements were football movements and also measured their cardio. It was one where it was tough. I thought they handled it well. It was the first time we have done that specific test and it was good coming away from it, I think the overall feedback, even though it was difficult, was that they handled it well."
Are you more concerned about getting what you wanted done at practice more than taking up the entire scheduled three hours?
"You have to be smart and willing to adjust and be flexible. And so, based on what we did yesterday and what we were going to do this morning, we were going to be mindful of their bodies and we have a lot of time here. We have until Sunday until we put the pads on and I told them this last night, that today was going to be a little bit shorter practice and we may do the same tomorrow morning."
Are you going to make up the time tonight or just let them rest?
"No, they will have time off their feet. A lot of them will be going to the weight room right now, so, usually we give them the opportunity to lift prior to or after practice so the afternoon is really more of a walk through inside and a lot of guys will lift prior to that. Just know that it will not be a full practice."
Talk about the flexibility of guys being able to play inside and outside linebacker
"We are going to start with David Hawthorne on the inside, but we will be smart enough to look closely about who is getting the snaps right now at the outside position. If we are a little deep inside, we may ask a player, such as Hawthorne to take reps outside, but I think to begin with, him coming back off an injury and now he is healthy, I am anxious to see him inside and sink his teeth into this defense a little bit."
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