METAIRIE, LA. (AP) - Sean Payton took a seat in front of a microphone and paused while a swarm of photographers converged, the sound of the shutters fluttering for several seconds.
“Are we done?” he asked with an impatient stare, largely silencing the cameras.
On the eve of his first training camp in two years, the New Orleans Saints‘ coach was ready to talk football.
And after an unwanted year away because of his bounty suspension, Payton also appears ready to get back to a particular aspect of coaching in which he made his name: calling offensive plays.
Payton said Carmichael was “outstanding” as a play-caller. Indeed, with Carmichael calling plays for the last 10-plus games of 2011, Drew Brees and the offense set NFL records, including yards passing for a quarterback at 5,476 and total net yards at 7,474.
But in his year away from coaching, Payton had a chance to reflect on some of the things he missed most, and play-calling was one of them.
“It’s something I enjoy doing,” Payton said. “It’s just a matter of getting back up to speed and getting familiar with all the elements of it.”
Brees has had a tight relationship with Carmichael ever since the two were together in San Diego. They’ve been together a decade now and Brees said he would have complete faith in Carmichael or Payton as play-callers.
“It’s probably a little fresher excitement than it would be ordinarily because of what happened a year ago,” Loomis added. “We are all a little bit more focused than we would have been otherwise.”
Brees said Payton also was more creative in his approach to the conditioning test players took on reporting day. He said it resembled more of the CrossFit routine the 49-year-old Payton himself began during his time away, resulting in a coach that looks his most svelte since arriving in the Big Easy in 2006.