Last year was anything but normal for the Saints.
The bounty investigation dominated their offseason and suspensions to coach Sean Payton, assistant head coach Joe Vitt and General Manager Mickey Loomis robbed the team of big parts of their brain trust for big parts of the season. Everyone is back at work now with Payton’s return specifically serving as a jolt to his team this offseason. He’s upped the intensity of the team’s workouts and boosted the energy to a level that has his players feeling like things are back as they should be after a trying season.
“A lot of positive energy. Too much energy. Holy cow,” tackle Zach Strief said, via Mike Triplett of the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “Yeah, he’s revved up. And it’ll be good for us. I think those practices will kind of feed off having him there. You know, it feels normal again. And that’s something that hasn’t happened a lot the last couple years. Certainly not the last 12 months.”
Strief isn’t the only player to share his enjoyment of the return to life under Payton. We’d expect to hear more along those lines once the Saints start OTAs on Monday and Payton’s return continues to fire up a team that feels like it’s capable of a lot more than they achieved last season.