NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - As expected, this summer on Airline Drive won’t look like a typical training camp at all. In fact, it’s hard to even call these next few days the beginning of camp.
“The week we’re in this week is just strictly COVID testing,” says head coach Sean Payton.
He laid down a loose outline of their next few weeks, where he says after testing they’ll have physicals over the weekend, followed by what sounds like it will be an intense six or seven days of lifting and conditioning with walk-throughs, and then two weeks from today, the start of practice, eventually leading to contact in pads.
Still, even just thinking two weeks into the future is getting ahead of ourselves. The goal right now is making sure they're doing everything right to keep the coronavirus out of the building.
“I think the concerns we all have with football is just the fact that we’re not creating a bubble,” says Payton. “So we’re going to have to be on point with our testing and be able to adjust very quickly should a player or group of players test positive.”
And going a step further, to prevent that, it's been stressed to the team how important it is to be just as responsible outside of the team facility as they are inside.
“We’re talking about the players, but we’re also talking about the coaches,” says Payton. “We’re talking about people that may be affected more adversely than others. We know now that more than 90 percent of those impacted with COVID recover fully and move on from it, many of which have had it and didn’t realize they’ve had it. But then we also know that there’s a percentage of people that are affected much more adversely by it, and that’s the responsibility of everyone that’s trying to play football during a pandemic.”
Payton went on to say that he wouldn’t be surprised if there were suspended games due to teams not being able to compete because the virus might spread to a player and then an entire position group. But he also says that’s part of the deal, and that’s what the league understands.