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Lyons Yellin / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: lyellin@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. Saints head coach Sean Payton was a man of few words after the Black and Gold Scrimmage.

Payton answered most questions about as quickly as he exited the podium when pressed about cornerback Champ Bailey's injury.

Yes, on Saturday, Payton preferred brevity, except when asked about safety Marcus Ball, the CFL discovery who's looking to play his way onto the Saints roster.

With his extended answer, Payton expressively articulated his thoughts about Ball's skills and interception of Luke McCown.

'He's a player we saw a lot of film on from the CFL,' Payton said. 'The one thing I would say based on the film study was his ability to tackle in the open field (is a strength) and he has really good football instincts. The interception he had today was a good example of that. The ball kind of finds him, and it did a lot when we watched the tape.'

Ball didn't follow the traditional path to the NFL. He began his college career at Florida State, but was forced to finish at Memphis after his involvement in a wide-ranging academic-fraud scandal.

Ball spent two seasons as a linebacker with the Toronto Argonauts, where he produced 142 tackles, seven sacks, four interceptions, two touchdown returns and three fumble recoveries.

In April, the Saints signed Ball. It's a move Payton now has high praise for.

'Credit Ryan Pace and our scouts,' he said. 'He was a player that we brought in, worked out and signed him to our roster. He was very, very productive in the CFL and I think he has a chance to be a real good special teams player.

'I think he understands his role, and I also think he's someone who will improve as he's gaining knowledge of our defense playing safety. He's done well in this first week, week and a half.'

However, Ball's performance during OTAs underwhelming, proving the transition to safety was easier said than done.

'I think he's pretty disappointed with how he came out in OTAs, and since day one in camp he's been stepping up and becoming one of those guys on the back end who's stepping up and making plays,' linebacker Junior Galette said.

Ball was the day's standout defensive performer, and even closed scrimmage with a sack on its final play.

'He obviously made the biggest play of the day today with an interception, possibly a touchdown,' Galette said. 'He's doing real good and solid for us on the back end.'

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