METAIRIE, La. Sean Payton doesn't believe in comparing one year's team to the next.
There's a process, he says, and besides, nothing is promised from one year to the next.
And besides, on June 11, there's barely much known about this team other than who is on the roster.
'...Obviously there are a lot of things that we have to improve on and that is what we are working on, but outside of that, shoot we haven't even put on pads yet,' Payton said. 'We are working to make the improvements and we are working to get ready for the opportunities when we are in full pads.'
Yet, through 8 of 10 organized team activities, minicamp and offseason workouts, Payton seems to be leaning towards doing just what he professes not to do.
'Well, on-field we were able to install a new defense,' Payton said.'I think, most importantly though, time spent in the weight room and the conditioning I think have been one of the better offseasons in regards to players lifting and training. Our attendance has been outstanding.'
Nothing less would be expected coming off of last season's underwhelming and emotionally taxing 7-9 season.
Back in the fold are veterans Drew Brees, Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Vilma, Malcolm Jenkins, Marques Colston and Zach Strief, among others. All have been through an offseason devoid of controversy or obstacles before and none are happy with the 2012 performance.
That, as much as anything, is what has made this such a successful offseason, Payton said.
'Coming off a disappointing year, I think we have enough veteran leadership on this team and players recognize that we can be a lot better and we need to be better,' Payton said.'I think it starts with that.'