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Sean Payton says Saints will not have an offseason program

The Saints are foregoing their entire offseason workout program, according to Sean Payton. We break down what it means.

New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton looks on in drills during team minicamp on June 15, 2017 at New Orleans Saints Training Facility in Metairie, LA. Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The NFL opened up its offseason program on Monday, with teams formally allowed to begin holding virtual meetings with players. There is a plan in place to eventually return to the field if allowed, but for the time being, teams will hold virtual meetings and workouts with their players.

The New Orleans Saints have elected not to take part in this program. Head coach Sean Payton told ESPN’s Dianna Russini the team is simply not having a program, and players said Payton told them to be ready for July training camp and in the meantime take care of their families and health.

Thus far the Saints are the only team to announce plans on skipping the offseason workout program. It’s also notable that Payton said even if facility workouts were allowed, the team would forego them this year. Payton is one of the few people in the NFL we know of that has tested positive for Covid-19. It would not be surprising if that is influencing his decision-making.

It is possible Payton does think the virtual plan can be sufficiently effective to be worth utilizing. It will make for an interesting opening to the NFL season, whenever that does happen. The Saints return a sizable amount of their core, but like every NFL team, they are adding new players this offseason. They will eventually get a training camp to get on the same page, but they might be a bit slow out of the gate compared to other teams. Any team with a new coach will potentially be dealing with some of those issues, but Payton’s decision offers its own wrinkle