NEW ORLEANS, LA (WLOX) -
Coach Sean Payton is determined to get his Saints back into a championship caliber team. To get back to championship form Payton is taking advantage of every opportunity on the practice field and that began with the OTA's.
Wide receiver Brandin Cooks was the Saints No. 1 pick last season and the New Orleans coaching staff wants him to make a bigger impact this season. In 2014 Cooks was beginning to make headway until he was sidelined by an injury.
Payton said, "I think he is someone that is a quick learner. He was able to pick things up fairly quickly for a rookie and I think right now he is in good shape and obviously running around well. For him it is year two of a system so it is a little easier with the learning curve."
Technology has changed the world and it has also impacted football. Does Payton see virtual reality as a way to teach players?
“Yes I do, it was something we met on, "stated Payton. "There was a convention out east and I spoke at it in regards to certain topics like that. I think as teachers, we are no different than the teachers in the classroom. You are constantly looking to improve your ability to teach a subject and the minute you stop looking then you become stale. That is something that is another area that I am sure will get progressively better and I do see that down the road a way to train, not just the quarterback position but other players as well.”
The Saints need a solid running game to take away a pass rush against quarterback Drew Brees, a rush that forced Brees to quickly, resulting in some interceptions and in completions. Payton expects C.J. Spiller to give the Saints running game a different dimension in 2015, one that will help Brees and the Saints passing game.
"He's versatile, "said Payton. "He has exceptional speed so he's a threat on the perimeter. The trick each time you're obviously getting ready to play each game is trying to find ways to get him the football in those space situations. He can run.”
According to Payton, the Saints will do what they have to in getting the ball in the endzone. He said he didn't see a major shift in trying to run the football more this season.
"We're going to try to move the football and score and some weeks it may be running the ball and some weeks it may be throwing the ball more, "said Payton.
Payton did a lot of wheeling and dealing in an attempt to upgrade the Saints offense for the 2015 season. So how will those new additions during the offseason affect the offense?
“I was asked this earlier, each year what we've tried to do is take our personnel and apply it the best way we see fit to move the football, "stated Payton. "The key will be how we utilize this group of players. I do not envision this drastic change if you will. In 2006, there was a certain talent that we had present and we tried to take advantage of the playmakers and progressively through the years we've done that. So I don't see that changing much.”
Coach Payton doesn't see much of a difference when it comes to OTA practice and minicamp practice which hits the practice turf Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of next week.
He said, "Basically throughout this spring you are in helmets and jerseys and you have to learn how to practice. I would say that the OTA practice is identical to the minicamp practice. It's identical and then in training camp, when you add shoulder pads, it's really difficult for the interior players because they are on the ones who have to work with each other on every play so we have to be smart and yet there's a big portion of what we are doing that hopefully prepares them for training camp so that they are better equipped and understand the scheme better.”