NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The Saints played the first round of roster cuts close to the vest, waiting until Tuesday's practice to officially announce their moves.
Sean Payton explained the transactions during his press conference below, transcribed by the New Orleans Saints:
Opening statement: "We claimed a player waived from Miami's team, a cornerback from Middle Tennessee, Sammy Seamster. (The) Players that we waived/injured were Ronald Powell, Vinnie Sunseri and Nick Toon. (The) Players that were (placed on) reserved/injured are Anthony Spencer and P.J. Williams. The group of players that were waived today are Terrence Frederick, R.J. Harris, David Hunter, Antonio Johnson, Lance Lewis, Cole Manhart, Travis Manning, Markus Pierce-Brewster and Chris Young. Termination of a vested veteran was Erik Lorig and then with New England, we traded Jalen Saunders for an undisclosed draft pick. "
What goes into straight up injured reserving P.J. Williams as opposed to waived/injuring (him) like you did some of those other guys?
"The player that is waived/injured, more than likely, reverts back to injured reserve. All of those players that are waived/injured are subject to claims. A player that is put on injured reserve is not. Some of that thought is spent on whether a player would be claimed or not."
Does it signify that you are cutting ties with those guys or maybe you'll want some of those guys back?
"Right, there is a good chance."
I guess a lot of us don't understand the benefit of doing waived/injured as opposed to (sending them) straight to injured reserve; is it something that you have to do because of the nature of their injury?
"There are two elements to it. The club has flexibility. In some player cases, there might be an injury settlement and the player can come back to the roster this year. (That is) in the case of a waived/injured player. A player that is placed on injured reserve cannot come back to the roster. If a player was waived/injured and the club was able to injury settle the player, he could end up back in the fray here this year, as opposed to an injured reserve player."
The way the cuts are from 75 to 53, is it difficult to navigate that with a fourth game coming up? Do you make decisions based on (thinking) we may need this guy for the fourth game?
"The challenge always is the health of your team during this time. There are 15 transactions today, give or take, I know there's an additional one because we claimed a player. We traded one (player). From the 75 to the 53, now you're looking at 22 so, obviously, that becomes more challenging. The focus for us still is our prep right now for Green Bay. It is a shorter week like it always is. (We're) just making sure that we are ready to play that game and then making the proper evaluations. They'll be a handful of guys getting a lot of work."
Would it be more beneficial if it was one cut and you could carry everyone through that fourth game?
"They discussed that at the owners meeting. The feeling in the room was to still have a first cut because it allows clubs and allows players to (have other chances). To claim a player to your 75 is fairly easy to do. It is much more challenging to claim a player to your 53. I would have to look at today's transactions but I think that you'll get a handful of players that are claimed here in this 75 cut. No different than (Sammy) Seamster for us. We'd have been unable to do that if it was just the 53. We receive a chance to look at a player here for a week and make a decision on him."
Given the health element and the short week, what do you hope to see out of this game?
"It would be probably eight-to-10 players at different positions that we're evaluating still and that will get a lot of playing time. Many of them got a lot of snaps (Sunday) and there will be a number of these guys that'll get a lot of snaps this upcoming Thursday."
After seeing them for this long in the preseason, how much can they help themselves really in just one game here?
"They can. It is part of the process. We are taking all of the information and yet it is still important. In a game, you can see a lot relative to the amount of snaps they've played. Some players maybe haven't received as many opportunities or they received 30 this past Sunday. Now they receive another 30-to-35. I think it is important."
How about at kicker? I know you are not going to say that someone is ahead but is it really as close to fifty-fifty this late in the stage?
"I think it is close. It will be an important game for those guys. Those two are battling. It was one of the reasons today that we had a kicking drill. We got 10 kicks in today."
With the injured reserve and waived/injured guys, can you discuss the general body part of those guys?
"No, we will wait."
But can you tell us the injured reserve injuries?
When you are waiving/injured someone, do you have a number of weeks you think he will be out?
"There is a time frame with an injured player and so that is what goes into an injury settlement when a player and agent discuss that with Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) there's a length of time agreed upon. That provides the player actually some flexibility as well as the club."
Do you have a number of weeks you're willing to wait and carry a player on the active roster?
"There have been players that are injured. There are currently a handful of injured players on the roster. It depends on the player and the injury."
With Nick Toon, did the depth at receiver help make that decision any easier?
"I think the depth and I think there is never a perfect time. He has been great in regards to the competition. Certainly, he has had real good weeks he has put together in practice and yet there are some other players that have really done a good job. We will kind of see what happens with him and his transaction specifically, but it is hard for a young player that hadn't received a lot of snaps because of an injury making the 53. I wouldn't call Nick (Toon) a young player because he has had a lot of experience but I would attribute it more to your point about the competition and the other players that are playing well."
Is Brandon Coleman someone that has shown enough to you in training camp?
"He is doing well. He will play again this Thursday but the body of work of what we are seeing throughout camp practices, but there are a ton of things he needs to work on and you will see him receive a lot of work in Green Bay."
Last year Marques Colston used the last preseason game as a way to finally get the rest of his reps or get himself ready. Are there any other established players in a similar situation this time around?
"That's a good question, there might a few guys. Last week, I know we gave (Tim) Lelito some more snaps, Marques (Colston) received some more snaps. I don't know if Akiem Hicks received a handful of more snaps. There are some position groups, David Hawthorne received more snaps but a part of that was because of injury to some other players on the inside linebacker position. We will see right now. It is hard to say because we still have two days before we play. There are a couple of guys I would like to see a little bit more work that maybe missed the game this past weekend."
What are the biggest challenges for a coach when guys like Jairus Byrd, C.J. Spiller and Brandon Browner aren't playing in the preseason? Is there anything you need to figure out?
"I think we have a pretty good idea in regards to when those guys will be back and we'll plan accordingly. Some of that you can't control and it is not just unique to our team. It is pretty common in the league. We keep treating them, going through the rehab process and obviously the first goal is getting them ready for Arizona. If any one of those guys are in position to possibly play Thursday night those are candidates that we would give them some more work Thursday."
When you bring guys in that are supposed to be key contributors, how much do you need to see in terms of planning for the regular season how their chemistry is with other guys?
"I mean you would like to have your starting units intact and yet that is not always the case. You can't control that."
You announced that you are going to auction off your jacket from last weekend's game.
"There was a lot of interest and it just made sense for the Black and Gold Gala to do it there. A lot of people asked where they could buy it and it was kind of homemade. There is only one of them. I guess we could replicate it. I don't even know where it is at. I believe Greg (Bensel) is handling that."
Is there any more mystery to you about what this team can accomplish?
"I think any time you start the season, I don't know that mystery is the word, I think every team at this point in the year gets anxious to start the regular season schedule. I think that same anxious feeling exists with how your team is going to be, how it is going to come together, how your 53 is going to shape up because some of those things still aren't decided, and then how are they going to play early on in the season, how they are going to play in the first quarter of the season, all of those things are pretty common feelings I think heading into the start of a new year."
Have you set a quarterback rotation for this last game?
"We haven't yet. We will meet on that tonight."