Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
METAIRIE, La. ― For Saints coach Sean Payton, adding a week of training camp was a no-brainer.
Logistically, though, it presented a problem, especially when local hotels weren’t in a position to lengthen the Saints’ stay.
So Payton did the next best thing in his mind – he booked a week in sunny and cool coastal California.
The Saints will practice for five days in Oxnard, Calif., ahead of their third preseason game at Oakland on Aug. 28. The practices will be just like training camp, open to the public and from 4-6:45 p.m., local time.
“As camp began, we kept looking at the calendar trying to find more time where these guys are together,” Payton said. “I think we travel well, and we do a good job. We’ve done this before in various places. After we complete this camp, this gives us an additional week – it’s more time together.”
In two of the past three years, the Saints have taken a week and practiced away from their Metairie facility. But those were at Houston with the Texans and at New England with the Patriots.
This is more akin to their time in Jackson, Miss., at Millsaps College or in Thibodaux, La., at Nicholls State.
For the players, it’s a chance to build camaraderie.
“I think the main thing is as long as we get that good work in that we’ve been doing, the rewards will come from that,” receiver Devery Henderson said.
It’s also a chance to work in cooler temperatures.
The average high temperature in Oxnard in August is 74 degrees. In Metairie, the August average is 92 degrees with a low of 75.
“You know, we love New Orleans and we enjoy our fans here, we don’t want to be mistaken,” cornerback Jabari Greer said. “But if we’re going anywhere, let’s go somewhere with 70-degree, 75-degree weather and relatively low humidity.”