August 18, 2006

Payton Press Conference Friday Morning

Q: Is Todd Bouman being prepared for an extended role in this game?

A: "I'd like to play him a fair amount. I'm probably going to come in with him in the second wave, so we'll see how we do in the first half. He's been playing pretty good. He played pretty well when he finished up last week. I'd like to get him more snaps in the meat of the game, so that's kind of the plan right now."


Q: Will you play Drew Brees, Jamie Martin and Todd Bouman on Monday night?

A: "I might. I might not play Jamie this weekend, so I can get Jason Fife some snaps, to find out where I'm at with him. I don't like getting any thinner than three, because all of a sudden, it's hard to evaluate the guy in just one series or a series and a half, but Todd's going to get work with the second group, second wave and how much, a lot of it will be predicated on the game. He'll be the second one in. I talked with him about it. I want to get a good look at him."

Q: Can you discuss similarities and differences of Todd and Jamie?

A: "They're two different players. They're both trying to operate within the offense. I think Todd played well in the preseason game and the scrimmage we had. Jamie's done a good job of functioning the transition into our system, our terminology. He locates the ball well. He's got great experience. He's played a lot of games. I haven't stacked them or done anything yet. I want to get a good look at both of these guys. We got a lot of work to do, a lot of games ahead of us to look at that."

Q: Did you have a physical practice today?

A: "We talked about it last night. We just felt that this padded practice was going to be an important one. We needed some goal line work still because we were a little light on that from a week ago. We needed some short yardage work. In the team meeting last night, I told them this was going to be a tough one in the a.m. Now we'll talk the pads off in the p.m., just helmets, kind of begin to slow it down a little bit, get a little bit more of a game plan going for the Cowboy game beginning tomorrow. This was a little bit of a hump to get over for this week."

Q: How was the practice?

A: "I thought it was a good practice. There was a lot of tape for us to look over and evaluate."

Q: Can you discuss the status of Adrian McPherson?

A: "The second opinion concurred with ours that it was a bruise, so he's working on rehab. That's the latest. The second opinion was the same as the first one."

Q: Is he a candidate for injured reserve?

A: "Is he a I/R candidate? I wouldn't say that right now."

Q: Can you discuss Tommy Polley's status?

A: "Tommy Polley's going to have a scope on his shoulder. We'll know more this afternoon, tonight by the latest."

Q: Does that put him out for at least a few weeks?

A: "At least a few."

Q: Do you like what you've seen in Will Smith going up against Jammal Brown in practice?

A: "I think it's good for Jammal. When you play left tackle, you don't get many breathers. It's Simeon Rice one week, the next week it's DeMarcus Ware. That's where they put their guy, over there on the left side. Jammal knows that and that's why the left tackles get paid a lot of money."

Q: Is good competition for Jammal to face Will in practice?

A: "I think it's healthy competition. That part of it's good. They've been doing a good job."

Q: Can you discuss the difficulty of keeping continuity on the offensive line due to injuries?

A: "I think it's the same challenge that's probably going on in the other 31 camps. Nobody's trotting their first group out there completely 100 percent healthy without any nicks and had that group for four years. I think our game today is ever-changing. Next year, I'm looking for this position on the line. It's hard to keep that unit of five together, so with that being said we're making progress now and I think that first line getting the work, getting the rep during the two a days, during the first preseason game&I want to see some improvement in this game and so they've been working at it. There's some competition at some of the positions. The good thing is they're going to get a lot of snaps. I'm probably going to do the same thing. I'm probably going to go with the first wave with the line play in the first half, the second group in the second half, because of our numbers. We may substitute a guy or two to breathe some guys. That's probably the plan with the o-line."

Q: Are there going to be any starters that are different from the first game?

A: "Deuce (McAllister), I'm anxious to see how he's doing. I think he's progressed believe it or not in seven or eight days from a health standpoint when you watch him. His weight's right where we want it to be right now. All of that kind of goes together. There's a couple of positions that way. We'll get a look at him a little bit more. We'll get a look at Donte' (Stallworth) that we didn't get a week ago. He was coming off a tight hamstring, so we didn't play him in the game last week. He's going to get to play a bunch. I'd like to Bethel (Johnson) and see what he's doing. He's made some plays for us down the field and he can run. Some of these other receivers will get a lot of playing time. That will be helpful for us in our evaluation."

Q: What is the rotation of your safeties?

A: "I might switch the safeties group around a little bit. Those guys are all kind of running around together, so we might switch the rotation in terms of who starts and who comes in next."

Q: Did you get a chance to see Michael Lewis run routes today and how did you think he looked?

A: "I did. I know he's feeling better, but I didn't watch him work with the trainers. He's progressing. I think he's feeling better. The key is when he comes off of a day of rehab, how does the knee handle the swelling. He's heading in the right direction."

Q: How crucial is it that he gets back on the field soon?

A: "There are some things there option wise. Obviously all these guys want to be out there and playing, so we can evaluate them. If we can't evaluate them, it's difficult. We got some options."

Q: How would you assess your entire draft?

A: "I just think in fairness to all the players, I think the hardest thing to do is say we're going to go back and look at the draft three years ago. That's the only way you can look at it. For example, I could begin to talk about second day picks and I'm happy with what I've seen. Early indications are I'm optimistic about some of these guys. They're hard workers. I think they got good character. They're everything we're looking for. To properly evaluate the draft, I think you got to jump three years ahead and then go back and say, "Where is Roman Harper and Reggie Bush? Where is Rob Ninkovich and Marques Colston, (Mike) Hass, (Zach) Strief." And in three years you have a better understanding that all of these guys worked out or five of them or several of them, but that's really the best way to do it and then you can begin to get a track record for how that's going, but I'm pleased so far for what I've seen and I think in that first game I didn't feel like it was too big for them. That's my biggest concern in the first game out is finding out if it's&These guys have played to bigger crowds. Reggie Bush to USC and Roman Harper to Alabama. These guys have played in big arenas and handled that well and so did the second day (selections). Jahri Evans, I think his last game was at East Stroudsburg and then he's playing the Tennessee Titans. That was encouraging. He made some mistakes, but it's a long way from Bloomsburg, where he's coming from. They've worked at it. They're going to get a lot of reps so far. I'm encouraged. These next three weeks are important for all of them."

Q: What are some of your team's goals this Monday night?

A: "You want to see improvement in the areas where you initially struggled last week. I want to see improvement in the kickoff coverage. I want us to take better care of the football. I don't want to try to win a game again with a -2 turnover ratio and 130 yards given up. You're looking for improvement in some areas, third down, red zone. There are just some thing defensively, early downs. This is one more step, but I'm sure they're doing the same thing in Dallas."

Q: Can you talk about the interest in the coaching match up with Bill Parcells, a coach for whom you were a member of his staff the past three seasons?

A: "I just think right now, Bill would say the same thing, there's so many other things pressing right now in regards to finding the right 53, certain competition battles that are going on, trying to look at the roster and make the right decisions that preseason week two in regards to the two head coaches is kind of down the road."

Q: What do you think of the whole T.O. (Terrell Owens) situation?

A: "I think that we all got certain issues and so we'll work on ours here and try to work with our own players."

Q: So you don't want him?

A: "I'm trying to get some guys healthy that I've heard a lot of good things about, but I haven't seen it yet either and that's the truth. I want to see some things from some veteran players that I keep hearing about and I think as a coach, you get itchy this time of the year, because the starting game is not too far away and whether it's a skill player, whether it's a defensive player, you just want to start seeing some progress. We got that here as well. There's some players that I visited with. We need to see something and they know it, so we'll see."

Q: What are your early impressions of Willie Whitehead?

A: "I think he's someone who's pretty durable. He's someone who brings experience, gives us a presence inside is pretty physical. That's important. I think it's important that we're going to be able to rotate those guys in and out of the games. More and more people are rotating to keep them rested. I think that's important."

Q: Can you talk about the match up in Shreveport, sort of a halfway point for the teams?

A: "I hear it's closer to Dallas than New Orleans. I like the fact that we'll go somewhere where there's interest in the game whether they're for you or against you. I think that you find out a little bit about your team regardless of your environment. If you ask me what I want, it would just be a lot of people at the game whether they're rooting for you or not, because that's what we're going to have in the regular season, a lot of people at the games and a lot of times they're rooting against you."

Q: Is Roman Harper where you thought he'd be?

A: "He's on pace. He's made some mistakes. There's some things he's working on. I think he's pretty detailed in what he does. I think he's instinctive. I think he runs well. He's doing well."

Q: Did you draft him to play?

A: "We drafted all these guys to play."

Q: Can you talk about the performance of Hollis Thomas?

A: "He's got his weight down. I thought after looking at the tape last week there's some things he could have done better. We're going to need his presence inside. He's part of that rotation I talked to you about with those defensive tackles. He's a pretty smart player. That's the one thing that strikes me about him. He's been in a lot of games and a lot of big games. He's got his weight in the range where we want him."

Q: What do you think of him as a character guy?

A: "I like him a lot. Undrafted, signed as a free agent, he's had a good career."

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