Saints continue to hold live competitions to make up for lost preseason


NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA – DECEMBER 16: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints runs on to the field before the game against the the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Mercedes Benz Superdome on December 16, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

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NEW ORLEANS, La. – If the NFL season was following a traditional format, the New Orleans Saints would be preparing for their second NFL preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

With the preseason being cancelled, Saints Head Coach Sean Payton says “We would be a tic off from where we would be in a normal training camp environment.”

To get up to speed, Payton says “Every day we are having periods with a live element to them that matter.”

Thursday, the team held a live punt period, and plan to hold several more in the coming weeks to give young guys an opportunity to stand out in training camp.

Payton says that these younger guys trying to make the final roster will need to show that they can stand out and embrace that competition.

Live competition and scrimmage scenarios present another challenge for the team, having to bring in outside officials.

Sean Payton says the organization is “going to have to get creative” with officiating scrimmages moving forward.

During his post-practice press conference Thursday, Sean Payton was asked about Veteran Linebacker Alex Anzalone and how he has looked so far in camp.

Payton says, “I think he’s doing well, I know he feels healthy, he looks strong, his weight’s up” and Anzalone is working with first group. Payton added, “I’ve been encouraged.”

Payton says that the team is being smart about the number of reps that players like Anzalone and others coming off injuries are getting.

Sean Payton also re-affirmed his stance on team bubbles as the season progressed, saying that “as you get into games that have playoff implications, or when you get into the playoffs, teams will ramp up and elevate their accountability to each other.”

Payton adds that teams in the postseason discussion will eliminate outside exposure.

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