Sean Payton and the New Orleans Saints are coping with preparation for Week 2 all while facing the challenges of relocation and a COVID-19 outbreak that decimated the offensive coaching staff.
Payton said team meetings and practice formats are altered in major ways as the Saints (1-0) get ready to visit the Carolina Panthers (1-0) on Sunday.
“I said to (offensive coordinator) Pete (Carmichael) and (assistant offensive line coach) Zach (Strief) today, it’s like Ted Lasso with the three or four of us left,” Payton said Wednesday.
Already the Saints adjusted their preparation by moving the entire office and practice environment from Metairie, La., due to challenges created by Hurricane Ida. The Saints played their Week 1 “home” game at Jacksonville and are practicing in Texas for this upcoming game and likely at least one more week before assessing a return to their Louisiana facility.
This week down position coaches at wide receiver, running back, offensive line and offensive coordinator, Payton assembled meetings with smaller groups of players. The majority of his assistants, all of whom are vaccinated according to Payton, are working remotely and using video conferencing to communicate with players directly.
To return for Sunday’s game in Charlotte, each coach needs two negative COVID test results.
The lone player to test positive is wide receiver Michael Thomas, who is on injured reserve. Payton said Thomas, who was placed on the reserve/COVID list, is also vaccinated.
–Field Level Media