CBS- Saints coach Sean Payton has a simple message for his team ahead of Wednesday's joint practice with the Patriots: “If you decide to fight, pack your bags.”
The seeming glorification of those extracurriculars didn't sit well with Payton.
"You guys watched it last night," Payton said, according to ESPN.com's Mike Triplett. "For as much as we're harping about avoiding it, hell, the network puts it on 11 times."
Of course, the way around that is to avoid fighting altogether. Though that's easier said than done in a profession where physically dominating the man across from you is a daily expectation.
As far as Payton's concerned, that's still not an excuse.
"It's a big reason why we're practicing with them [Patriots] a third time," Payton said. "We know it's gonna be about improving both teams. We're both trying to do the same thing at this period of training camp.
"That's unfortunate when you see it happen with other teams. And clearly when you put a team on television like Hard Knocks and then practice with someone else, we've seen that formula happen two years in a row. So that's nothing new."
Well, it's not just lip service. The theme of this offseason was predicated upon one thing, enhancing the character of the New Orleans Saints. While I don't typically find training camp fights to be a big deal, they certainly aren't something that you WANT to happen while you are trying to improve you're team. They definitely aren't a good sign. Do I think Sean Payton has the nuts to cut a player simply because he got into a scuffle? Like anything else, it would definitely depend on the player. He can say that fighting will get you shipped out of town, but that narrative would likely get altered a little bit if one of his starting offensive lineman gets into some fisticuffs. On the other, if I were a borderline player, that had a 50/50 shot at making the final roster I would probably do my best to keep my dukes down. Regardless, after an incredibly disappointing season, I appreciate the sentiment behind that statement. It appears Sean Payton really is trying to rid his locker room of the bullshit. No more distractions. No more egos. No more fights. The fact that they have decided to practice with the Patriots is very telling in that regard. You don't have to like the Patriots, and I don't, but one thing is for certain, there will be no bench clearing brawls on Bill Belichick's watch. For Sean Payton there are definitely worse footsteps to follow in.
Not sure I completely agree with him on the glorification of training camp fights. At the end of the day, the media has a job to do, and that job isn't all that easy with a limited array of things to discuss during the dog days of summer. Of course they are going to show these fights 1,000 times on television. It gives them something to talk about. I would think someone like Sean Payton, that has been so calculated in every response he has given this offseason, would understand why a media outlet would have to pick at the low hanging fruit of an 11-on-11 shoving match to get their story. These fights are inevitable, having a camera there to publicize them isn't going to make them more likely to happen.