For Saints general manager Mickey Loomis the lockout has enabled him to do things that his staff hasn't thought of before, things they have wanted to do over the past five years.
In this Q&A Loomis discusses the Saints' off season priorities, scheduling and Reggie Bush.
Q: Is the work stoppage something your team can handle and that having a veteran team could be a benefit once the work stoppage ends?
A: I don't know if I'd phase it that way. We like the leadership on our team. We have a lot of really good leaders on both offense and defense. I'm not surprised that they would take it upon themselves to prepare as the best they can for the upcoming season, Other than that I don't have a lot of comments about it.
Q: Do you think it is a thought process around the league that the later team activities start, that you need to rely more on players immersed in a system for a long time?
A: I definitely think that the longer this goes, the more difficult it becomes for our coaches to develop a plan and prepare for the season. We'll deal with the circumstances as they're dealt. Hopefully this situation will get resolved and we'll be able to plan and get together soon and be able to play in the regular season.
Q: Would you anticipate free agency both with veterans and undrafted rookies potentially being a mad dash because of the abbreviated offseason?
A: I think that really it's just delayed. I don't know that there will be a mad rush. Always when the league year begins there's an initial rush to get guys in. guys you have targeted and guys you get signed. There are always more signings in the first seven, eight, nine days of free agency. Whenever that happens, I wouldn't anticipate it being a lot different. For us, we've been prepared when it's ready to go. I don't see it being a lot different other than we're in this holding pattern, at least at the club level.
Q: Have you started contingency plans and different calendars for off seasons or training camps of different durations?
A: That's really Sean (Payton) in terms of the calendar, We've talked about it.I don't know that it serves a lot of purpose to do a lot of when we're iffing right now. There's still time on the schedule. You you don't have to go to training camp until late July so there's
time. It's impacted the offseason program you would ordinarily have. We'll just adjust accordingly.
A: Is there anything your club as a staff has been able to do more of that has been beneficial to you?
Q: We go back to and review the evaluations we've already done. You're reviewing, you're reviewing. We're taking on a few projects we've had on board for a while. So we've had time to do that.
Q: Can players benefit physically from the time off?
A: I don't know the answer to that. Every individual's going to be a little different. I like to think that the offseason program is really important to our success.
Q: Do you have a reaction to Reggie Bush's most recent comments that he wants to retire as a Saint? Does your club have a feel for him after talking to him during that brief window where contact was permissible?
A: We'll have an opportunity to talk to Reggie and his agent. Hopefully we can work that out. We'd definitely like to have Reggie be part of our program. He's been important to us the last five years and we think he can be important to us going forward. We'll deal with that when we're
Q: Do you say that as the work stoppage looms longer, are things like filing out your roster and signing Bush to a new deal top priorities?
A: I wouldn't characterize it that way. We're going to have roster turnover you're going to have to deal with.You need to have a certain number of people at each position. The most important thing for us is that we need to get guys under contract that we'd like to have back on our team. I would say those are the things that are most important, the guys that aren't under contract that we'd like to have with our team.
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by Ed Staton