A tired Saints head coach Sean Payton addressed the media Sunday morning as the team arrived back in New Orleans from a 45-7 preseason bashing of the Radiers in Oakland just after one in the morning. The Saints win set franchise records for most points and largest margin of victory for a preseason game.
Sunday Payton “I like the effort and the energy. I thought we played hard. I thought we handled the warm weather pretty well, but there are a number of things that we’re going to have to work on,” Payton said. “Fortunately we still have two weeks before we get started and I think we’ll be able to point those things out to our players.”
The Saints played as well as you could have asked for in the first half scoring 31 points by the half and getting a pair of turnover via strips of the ball. Are the Saints this good, or are the Raiders that bad? “One thing about the film of games, often times it kind of brings you back, sometime when you think you played really poor, you put the film on and you see you did some things pretty well,” Payton said of his reviewing of the game Sunday morning. “In case like yesterday, when you think you played real well, you put the tape on and there’s just a number of things that you have to clean up.”
Oakland is not a very good football team and while the Saints are undefeated in the preseason and have looked impressive, back in 2007 the team looked just as good and started the season out 0-4. “This is an entirely different team than the ’07 team. I think you’re always guarded to some degree in the preseason. I do think however my experience is, regardless of the end score, you do want to do well when your ones are in there,” says Payton. “Typically if your ones are playing well there is some carry over into the regular season vice versa if they’re not, that’s important. It’s important to look good, but that being said there’s a bunch we got to work on. I like the effort. I think there’s some things that we can coach off of that’s encouraging.”
Payton said one of the disappointments of not having more of a competitive game, was that his starters on offense didn’t get to go through a two-minute period or work on goal line plays.
BUMPS AND BRUISES
CB Usama Young landed on his shoulder early in the first quarter attempting to intercept the ball. X-Rays were negative and Young on Sunday in the Saints locker room said he’s sore and just needs to rest it. “I’m not really sure how I fell. I know it hurt when I hit the ground,” Young joked who was not in a sling after he described his shoulder as throbbing with a sling on. “I don’t think it’ll be too serious.” Payton expects Young to miss Thursday’s game to close out the preseason against Miami.
Payton said that WR Adrian Arrington and CB Greg Fassitt suffered hamstring injuries. Arrington has been hampered by a hamstring injury most of the offseason and could hamper his chances at making the roster. “I certainly think he’s one of those players that’s competing for a job so, if that’s the case then that same term on the bubble would be equivalent to competing for a job,” Payton said of Arrington’s need to play. “I think he is a player that knows he’s being evaluated and knows that theses snaps are important. You got players like Rod Harper, Skyler Green, Courtney Roby, these guys there all trying to find that nitch for that fifth receiver position, potentially that sixth one we’ll see.”
HAMILTON GETS KUDOS
Saints running back Lynell Hamilton had 95 yards on 16 carries Saturday in Oakland. Due to injuries to running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, Hamilton got a heavy dose of work backing up starter Mike Bell. “I like the way he runs. He plays hard. He’s working hard. I don’t know if there is a player that’s worked harder in the offseason than Lynell Hamilton has,” Payton said of the back that regularly was at the facility. “I think the ball security thing is something we can coach and he can improve on. I was encouraged with how he played, how he finished runs, he ran hard.” Payton added there is a chance the team could keep four tailbacks.
BUSH TO GET WORK THURSDAY, IF HEALTHY
Payton said Sunday morning that he would like to see RB Reggie Bush get some work in Thursday night against the Dolphins. Bush has not played a down in the preseason as he’s been held as he recovers from knee surgery and now a strained calf. “I am confident he’s gotten plenty of work in the practices, but I’d like to see him get some work in this game, maybe a quarter if it’s possible. We’ll just see where he’s at and if not then we just have to be judicious as we bring him back in.”