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Payton Addresses Media As Saints Prepare for Cardinals

Saints head coach, Sean Payton briefed the New Orleans media about the team’s preparations for their upcoming opponent, the Arizona Cardinals. He touched on issues such as injuries, substitutions, and the performance of Sedrick Ellis.

The injury report is as follows according to Payton:

  • Stanley Arnoux–participated in full practice
  • Drew Brees (knee)–participated in full practice
  • Marques Colston (rib)–participated in full practice
  • Randall Gay (foot)–participated in full practice
  • Jimmy Graham (ankle)–participated in full practice
  • Chris Ivory (knee)–participated in full practice
  • Jon Stinchcomb (shoulder)–participated in full practice
  • Zach Strief (knee)–participated in full practice
  • Leigh Torrence (toe)–participated in full practice
  • Anthony Waters (hamstring)–participated in full practice
  • Jimmy Wilkerson (knee)–participated in full practice
  • Usama Young (quad)–participated in full practice
  • Roman Harper (hamstring)–participated in limited practice
  • Pierson Prileau (chest)–participated in limited practice
  • Jeremy Shockey (knee)–participated in limited practice
  • Reggie Bush (fibula)–did not practice
  • Tracy Porter (knee)–did not practice
  • Will Smith (groin)–did not practice
  • Pierre Thomas (ankle)–did not practice

When asked about the availability of DE Will Smith, he said,

He didn’t go in any type of reps.  He was out there in walk through. I think we have a chance with him, but we didn’t practice him.”

However, Coach Payton was not quite as forthcoming when asked if whether Randall Gay will be starting at corner in place of Tracy Porter, saying:

We’ll keep that kind of under wraps. Certainly we’ll prepare to play all those guys with Tracy being down. You’re looking at Randall. You’re looking at Patrick (Robinson). You’re looking at Leigh Torrence, those guys.”

Payton was also asked if whether Sedrick Ellis is finally becoming the player he’d hoped he would be when he drafted him and if his previous two references to Ellis’ weight were an indication that he wanted defensive tackle to be heavier.  His reply was:

No, mentioned it because he’s at a good weight. I think a concern sometimes with good athletes like Sedrick is they get too heavy. He’s healthy and he is playing to that level. I think that we’ve seen in this first quarter a guy who’s been productive and disruptive, not only in the passing game with the rush, but also in the running game.”

The media asked about the status of Pierre Thomas and what the decision regarding him will come down to.  Payton’s response was,

The same thing, it will come down to how he feels. For a running back it’s important to see how he can plant and cut off that ankle.”

Perhaps the critical question of the day was in regards to Arizona’s current struggles and if whether they reiterate the window of opportunity previously stressed by Coach Payton.  He had this to say:

Certainly there’s been transition there. I said yesterday with their media that the rosters look different. It seems like it was a few years ago that we played them last in the playoffs. They’re different teams. I think that’s a little bit of the nature of our league with the transition of rosters as quickly as it can happen and then when you have a quarterback like Kurt Warner, that’ s a guy that’s going to be  in the Hall of Fame. That’s a significant loss, but when you watch their games, last week wasn’t a great example…They’ve done a good job of hanging in there. Right now, when you look at their record, this is a team that’s played very well following a loss. I don’t think at home they’ve lost a game following a loss. I believe they’re 9-0 at home following a loss. What we have to do ourselves is most important.”

One thing you’ve got to admire about Sean Payton is his frank, but gracious assessment of Saints opponents.  We all know that on any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team.  So, it’s great to see that the Saints aren’t taking this Arizona team lightly, despite their current struggles.  No one can deny that a win this Sunday is going to be crucial if the Saints are going to at least keep pace with division rivals, the Atlanta Falcons.  If they perform like they did in the first half against Carolina (minus the turnovers, of course), I don’t think they’ll have a problem.

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