Saints coaches begin life without Sean Payton

Posted: May 15, 2012 at 9:16 pm

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METAIRIE, La. (AP) The Saints' revamped coaching staff said Monday that they are going to have to get use to the huge void left by Sean Payton's suspension for his role in the team's bounty system. They also might have to get use to life without Drew Brees.

Interim coach Joe Vitt and the rest of the coaching staff met with reporters Monday following the team's rookie minicamp, during which 64 newcomers practiced five times from Friday to Sunday.

''Since I've been here, as soon as we got off the practice field, Sean and I would go right to a meeting and talk about what we wanted to do differently in the afternoon,'' Vitt said. ''I didn't have that this year. We also would do a lot of communicating on the practice field. What do you think of this? What do you think of that? That was a huge void right from the get-go and something we're going to have to get used to.''

Then there's Brees, who remains unsigned after the Saints put the franchise tag on him in March. The last day he can sign a long-term contract with the team is July 16, and an agreement is unlikely before the team's first full-squad offseason practice next Tuesday.

The only signed quarterbacks on the roster are Chase Daniel and Sean Canfield.

''They will get this worked out,'' offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael said. ''We can't spend any time worrying about it. We just have to move forward.''

After having no first- or second-round draft pick this year, the Saints did not have a marquee player at the rookie camp. Their top third-round selection, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, was limited by the new collective bargaining agreement prohibiting pads in offseason workouts.

Hicks is a raw talent who played two years at Sacramento City Junior College and two years in Canada.

''He had had a lot of energy and did not get overwhelmed with the volume (of concepts),'' defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo said. ''But it's very difficult to get a good feel for a lineman when you don't have pads on.''

The coaches got a better read on fourth-round wide receiver Nick Toon, the son of former New York Jets receiver Al Toon. With the departure of free agent wideout Robert Meachem, Toon has an opportunity to make an impact.

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Saints coaches begin life without Sean Payton

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May 15th, 2012 at 9:16 pm

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