The Norman Transcript

National Sports

May 21, 2013

For the Saints, back to business as usual

(Continued)

NEW ORLEANS —

Crossfit training involves timed sets of both weightlifting and conditioning activities.

A number of Saints players have divided themselves into teams and held crossfit competitions to ratchet up the intensity even more.

Payton, who also played at the golf outing on Monday, said the start of what are known as OTAs — and which are voluntary offseason practices without pads — will mark the beginning of a key transitional period for the defense, as coaches evaluate how players returning from last year’s squad fit best in the new scheme.

Defensive captain Will Smith, for example, will begin work at outside linebacker, rather than the defensive end spot at which he has played his whole career.

“That’s where we’ll start him,” Payton said, noting that outside linebackers often play pass-rushing roles in a 3-4 scheme. “We can play him right and left, but I think initially that right outside position would be very similar to what he’s played for us in the past.”

Payton said he envisions veteran Jonathan Vilma as one of the two middle linebackers in the new scheme.

“There’s just got to be some flexibility when it comes to the transition,” Payton said. “There’ll be a few players that will learn more than one spot.”

Smith said he’ll have to get used to starting plays in an upright stance, whereas before he crouched down with a hand on the turf. But beyond that, he said learning the new position is “not that bad.”

“I may have a couple (pass) coverage responsibilities, but for the most part I’m just rushing (the passer) and playing the run,” Smith said.

For Smith, the bigger difference — and a welcome one — is heading into a season without any bounty accusations or possible suspensions hanging over his head, and having Payton back at team headquarters.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

  • Players elect new executive director

    Michele Roberts has watched basketball for as long as she can remember. It was an easy choice growing up in a home with one TV and two older brothers....

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit

    CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Yanks hold off Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Brett Gardner had four hits to go with a tremendous sliding catch and the New York Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory at Texas on Tuesday night in spite of J.P. Arencibia’s seven RBIs. Gardner had a leadoff homer and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Twins pick up undrafted arm ‘out of nowhere’

    SAN FRANCISCO — In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted....

    July 30, 2014