Primed for first season since bounty suspension, Saints' Payton plans to call plays again

  • Article by: BRETT MARTEL , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 25, 2013 - 8:55 PM

METAIRIE, La. — Sean Payton took a seat in front of a microphone and paused while a swarm of photographers converged, the sound of the shutters fluttering for several seconds.

"Are we done?" he asked with an impatient stare, largely silencing the cameras.

On the eve of his first training camp in two years, the New Orleans Saints' coach was ready to talk football.

And after an unwanted year away because of his bounty suspension, Payton also appears ready to get back to a particular aspect of coaching in which he made his name: calling offensive plays.

Payton relinquished play-calling duties when he broke his leg in the sixth game of the 2011 season. Offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael assumed that role for the rest of 2011 and all of 2012.

Payton said Carmichael was "outstanding" as a play-caller. Indeed, with Carmichael calling plays for the last 10-plus games of 2011, Drew Brees and the offense set NFL records, including yards passing for a quarterback at 5,476 and total net yards at 7,474.

Even last season, when the Saints languished to a 7-9 season and missed the playoffs for the first time since 2008, the offense was second in the NFL in yards per game at nearly 411.

But in his year away from coaching, Payton had a chance to reflect on some of the things he missed most, and play-calling was one of them.

"It's something I enjoy doing," Payton said. "It's just a matter of getting back up to speed and getting familiar with all the elements of it."

Brees has had a tight relationship with Carmichael ever since the two were together in San Diego. They've been together a decade now and Brees said he would have complete faith in Carmichael or Payton as play-callers.

Still, Brees appreciated the significance of Payton's decision to take a more hands-on approach in a number of areas after watching from afar as the club struggled in his absence.

"I thought Pete Carmichael did a phenomenal job," Brees said, but added, "I love the fact that Sean is back and he's taking the reins and he's going to be the voice in my ear."

For general manager Mickey Loomis, seeing Payton and Brees working closely again "just feels normal, and it feels good."

"It's probably a little fresher excitement than it would be ordinarily because of what happened a year ago," Loomis added. "We are all a little bit more focused than we would have been otherwise."

Brees said Payton also was more creative in his approach to the conditioning test players took on reporting day. He said it resembled more of the CrossFit routine the 49-year-old Payton himself began during his time away, resulting in a coach that looks his most svelte since arriving in the Big Easy in 2006.

Brees said that while the conditioning test previously consisted mostly of wind sprints, this year it was a combination of running, weight training and body-weight exercises such as pushups, which left players feeling as if they'd been through "a 10-minute wrestling match."

"It was challenging for all," Brees said. "It becomes very evident as to who was doing a great job staying in shape."

Brees is heading into his 13th NFL season, having been through his last seven seasons in New Orleans without a major injury. How healthy he stays this year could depend on how good the Saints' new left tackle is.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Fla Southern 2 FINAL
Detroit 12
FIU 2 FINAL
Miami 7
Toronto 114 FINAL
Philadelphia 103
Golden State 108 FINAL
Brooklyn 110
Phoenix 98 FINAL
Miami 115
LA Clippers 110 FINAL
Minnesota 105
New Orleans 93 FINAL
Dallas 102
Nashville 1 FINAL
NY Rangers 4
Carolina 2 FINAL
Chicago 5
Montreal 0 FINAL
San Jose 4
Virginia 59 FINAL
Syracuse 47
Baylor 59 FINAL
Texas 61
SE Louisiana 79 FINAL
Northwestern St 92
Central Arkansas 49 FINAL
Sam Houston St 76
Norfolk State 59 FINAL
Howard 61
Bethune-Cookman 50 FINAL
NC A&T 67
Hampton 75 FINAL
Delaware State 85
Lamar 69 FINAL
McNeese State 70
Nicholls 89 FINAL
New Orleans 79
Incarnate Word 62 FINAL
Stephen F Austin 83
NC Central 62 FINAL
Savannah State 49
Texas Southern 77 FINAL
Alabama A&M 75
Prairie View 67 FINAL
Alabama State 65
Oklahoma 70 FINAL
Iowa State 77
Grambling St 62 FINAL
Miss Valley St 66
Boston College 66 FINAL
Virginia Tech 59
Jackson State 62 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 64
Bethune-Cookman 55 FINAL
NC A&T 58
Hampton 78 FINAL
Delaware State 63
Norfolk State 63 FINAL
Howard 60
NC Central 54 FINAL
Savannah State 65
Texas Southern 83 FINAL
Alabama A&M 46
Prairie View 42 FINAL
Alabama State 60
Jackson State 78 FINAL
Ark-Pine Bluff 74
Grambling 56 FINAL
Miss Valley St 61
Tulsa 71 FINAL
Cincinnati 58
(1) Connecticut 88 FINAL
South Florida 65
UCF 57 FINAL
East Carolina 67
Central Conn St 53 FINAL
Bryant 55
Wagner 66 FINAL
Robert Morris 60
Sacred Heart 75 FINAL
Fairleigh Dickinson 84
St Francis-NY 73 FINAL
Long Island 49
Mount St Marys 87 FINAL
St Francis-PA 90
Temple 56 FINAL
Houston 45
Texas Tech 65 FINAL
(6) Baylor 75
Iowa State 64 FINAL
Kansas 68
SMU 60 FINAL
Memphis 53
Oklahoma 66 FINAL
Oklahoma St 56
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close