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.

Payton made it sound like he is not yet settled on a starter to replace Jermon Bushrod, a four-year starter who left in free agency for Chicago. The front-runner appears to be 2010 second-round draft choice Charles Brown, with free-agent pickup Jason Smith and third-round draft choice Terron Armstead also in the mix.

"Each player has certain strengths," Payton said, adding that he will need to see how each handles more full-contact practices and preseason games. "I'm anxious to see how those guys play."

Brees said he felt Brown performed well when filling in last season for Zach Strief at right tackle, but Payton has expressed concerns about Brown's recurring injuries.

"Hopefully his health can be something that doesn't affect how he plays," Payton said. "This is a big season for him and an important training camp, and I'm looking forward to seeing how he responds."

Meanwhile, Payton said he expects five players to open camp on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, though all except outside linebacker Victor Butler, who tore knee ligaments during offseason training, have injuries which could heal before the regular season.

The other four are safety Roman Harper (sports hernia), cornerback Patrick Robinson (knee), receiver Marques Colston (foot) and receiver Kenny Stills (wrist). Payton said Robinson will be evaluated on a weekly basis, while Harper, Stills and Colston will be monitored day-by-day.

Players who remain on the PUP list at the start of the regular season must sit out six weeks before playing.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tennessee 13 FINAL
Jacksonville 21
Philadelphia 12/20/14 3:30 PM
Washington
San Diego 12/20/14 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Baltimore 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Detroit 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Atlanta 12/21/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Green Bay 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Kansas City 12/21/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
New England 12/21/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
NY Giants 12/21/14 3:05 PM
St. Louis
Buffalo 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
New York 97 FINAL
Chicago 103
New Orleans 99 FINAL
Houston 90
Milwaukee 108 FINAL
Sacramento 107
Oklahoma City 109 FINAL
Golden State 114
Florida 2 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 1
Colorado 0 FINAL(OT)
Pittsburgh 1
Toronto 1 FINAL
Carolina 4
Washington 5 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Montreal 1
St. Louis 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 6
Edmonton 3 FINAL
San Jose 4
St Thomas (TX) 61 FINAL
Rice 72
Stony Brook 59 FINAL
Canisius 60
Temple 82 FINAL
Delaware 62
FIU 58 FINAL
Long Island 69
Lehigh 65 FINAL
Quinnipiac 80
South Alabama 54 FINAL
Richmond 65
Seton Hall 89 FINAL
South Florida 69
Ga Southern 76 FINAL
Stetson 67
Yale 57 FINAL
Vermont 56
Cleveland State 54 FINAL
Virginia 70
Wright State 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 56
Nicholls 54 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 79
Morgan State 48 FINAL
Rider 62
Idaho State 72 FINAL
South Dakota St 75
Oakland City 52 FINAL
Austin Peay 76
Eureka 38 FINAL
Bradley 80
Appalachian St 65 FINAL
Charlotte 75
Connecticut 56 FINAL
Duke 66
Southern Miss 46 FINAL
Jackson State 66
Coastal Carolina 68 FINAL
Ole Miss 71
Montana State 53 FINAL
South Dakota 55
LSU 79 FINAL
UAB 70
Ohio 69 FINAL
Evansville 81
CS-Dominguez 50 FINAL
Cal State Fullerton 72
Walla Walla 39 FINAL
Idaho 86
DePaul 59 FINAL
Oregon State 90
Nevada 65 FINAL
Pacific 69
Portland State 40 FINAL
San Francisco 77
CS-Bakersfield 56 FINAL
Utah State 57
Nevada 12/20/14 10:00 AM
Louisiana
Utah State 12/20/14 1:20 PM
Texas-El Paso
(23) Utah 12/20/14 2:30 PM
Colorado State
Western Mich 12/20/14 4:45 PM
Air Force
South Alabama 12/20/14 8:15 PM
Bowling Green
BYU 12/22/14 1:00 PM
Memphis
Marshall 12/23/14 5:00 PM
Northern Ill
Navy 12/23/14 8:30 PM
San Diego St
Central Mich 12/24/14 11:00 AM
Western Ky
Fresno State 12/24/14 7:00 PM
Rice
Niagara 76 FINAL
Cleveland State 58
High Point 59 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 81
Towson 64 FINAL
Wake Forest 74
Presbyterian 50 FINAL
Charlotte 66
Chicago State 62 FINAL
Bradley 59
Northwestern Coll 58 FINAL
Drake 102
Vanderbilt 67 FINAL
Marquette 80
Temple 78 FINAL
Howard 48
Southern Miss 66 FINAL
Ole Miss 68
UMBC 55 FINAL
Rider 67
Miami-Florida 74 FINAL
UCLA 67
St Mary-KS 51 FINAL
South Dakota 115
William & Mary 71 FINAL
Wofford 51
Troy 82 FINAL
Evansville 94
Loyola Marymount 54 FINAL
USC 96
St Francis-PA 52 FINAL
Duquesne 92
Indiana-Southeast 45 FINAL
IUPUI 95
Delaware State 52 FINAL
Detroit 74
Tenn Temple 48 FINAL
Gardner-Webb 68
West Virginia St 58 FINAL
Radford 52
Fairfield 47 FINAL
Seton Hall 79
Dartmouth 44 FINAL
New Hampshire 60
Ball State 47 FINAL
Pittsburgh 59
Jacksonville 61 FINAL
Tennessee St 64
Trine 45 FINAL
Western Mich 81
Tenn Tech 53 FINAL
Lipscomb 72
Samford 56 FINAL
Tulane 57
New Orleans 55 FINAL
Tulsa 78
Incarnate Word 61 FINAL
TX-Pan American 65
Ark-Little Rock 42 FINAL
South Dakota St 67
CS-Northridge 77 FINAL
Northern Ariz 71
Santa Clara 88 FINAL
Oregon 92
(19) Oklahoma St 55 FINAL
Weber State 49
Washington 69 FINAL
San Diego State 48
Cal Poly 68 FINAL
New Mexico 84
(10) Louisville 65 FINAL
Grand Canyon 51
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 Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Will Christian Ponder ever be a full-time starter in the NFL?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close