Winston praises Payton as Saints’ assistants deal with COVID

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – Jameis Winston sees a silver liner in a COVID-19 outbreak that has sidelined six offensive assistants for the New Orleans Saints.

This is coach Sean Payton.

“We got to experience one of the best attacking spirit head coaches of all time in the game, like a reunion of the staff who run the team,” the veteran quarterback said on Wednesday. after another training for the displaced Saints on the TCU campus in Fort Worth. , Texas. “I’ve never been in this room watching tapes with Sean, going through situations with Sean and expressing how he would like something to be done.

“I care about the health of our coaches and I want them to recover. But if they just want to let him run the meetings, I would really like that.

Payton said a group of his offensive coaches, along with the team’s nutritionist and a player, have tested positive for COVID-19. New Orleans was entering its third week of training in the Dallas area due to damage to southeastern Louisiana from Hurricane Ida.

The 16-year-old coach did not identify by name any of those who had tested positive. But Payton later indicated those missing from the in-person preparations included an offensive line coach, a receivers coach, a running backs coach and two tight end coaches. Payton said everyone is vaccinated.

Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday that six offensive assistants had tested positive. This person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the team and the NFL had not made a public statement about it at the time.

Later Tuesday, Michael Thomas – who was already ineligible to play the first six games while on the club’s physically unable to play roster – was placed on Nova Scotia’s COVID-19 reserve roster. Orleans.

The outbreak has put the Saints on enhanced NFL mitigation protocols, which means mandatory masking inside facilities, daily testing and take-out meals.

Payton said the players did not split into the smaller position groups than they would under normal conditions. The coach said the receivers, running backs and quarterbacks have met. Winston, who has praised Payton on several occasions, appreciated it.

“You have so many voices from different coaches and different agendas that a coach might want to be done throughout the day,” said Winston, who threw five non-intercepting touchdown passes on his New York debut. -Orléans, a 38-3 victory over Green Bay. Last weekend. The Saints (1-0) visit Carolina (1-0) on Sunday.

“When you have the main guy, the guy who really runs the show, our main leader runs the show and tells you what he wants, how he wants it, why he wants it, that’s what you live for. football, ”said Winston.

The names of most other people who test positive should not be disclosed in the short term due to federal medical confidentiality laws.

It is not known how long people who test positive will remain isolated from the team before they can return to the field or in face-to-face meetings.

“The protocol is obviously improved with the team and the staff, and that’s part of it, then those who have tested positive, like everyone else, are testing daily now,” Payton said. “They’re going to need two negative tests basically before they can go back into the building and work. And so we don’t know the time or the schedule for it. “

The positive tests came after the victory over the Packers in Jacksonville, Fla., Where the game was moved from the Superdome due to Hurricane Ida.

The Saints spent the first week after preseason training at AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, before moving to the TCU last week to begin preparations for the opener. There is no clear indication of when the Saints will return to their settlement in suburban New Orleans. Now there is a COVID-19 problem.

“I think that was in line with how we’ve adjusted here in Dallas,” Winston said. “One thing I admire about our head coach is that he doesn’t blink. He really embraces these situations. He tells us how we should embrace him. We team up with him and we ride with him.

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