One of the running jokes between coach Payton and the New Orleans press corps is the status of wide receiver David Patten every time the veteran sits a practice.
"That's an age issue," Payton said this morning, to the amusement of his interviewers.
Wondering what Patten think of being looked at as a an old-timer, I asked him after the afternoon practice why he sat out the morning session.
"12-years, baby," he said.
So is this a veteran perk more than a hobbling old-timer getting rest?
"After 12 years, they know what you're capable of doing," he said. "[Coach Payton's] biggest thing is he wants to see me healthy, he wants to see who starts. As you get older you're more suceptible to injuries."
The questions led back to the Patriots, where Patten helped win three Super Bowls, and whether or not there was a difference atmosphere in the preseason with those championship teams as opposed to teams he was on that didn't go all the way. Short answer: no. After all, the preseason is the great time every year where everyone has a shot at the Super Bowl. But then Patten began to compare this year's Saints and the Super Bowl teams he was on.
"As far as saying we had a different feel when I was with the Patriots as opposed to how I feel now, I feel the same way," he said. "We got top-notch quarterback, we got talent at the skill positions, I think we have big-time play makers."
Fair enough. But what's it like to transition from a team that made Super Bowl wins look almost routine, to one that hasn't even been to one in its history?
"It was different when I left New England because you were used to a culture, you were used to winning," he said. "It was tough. When you get used to winning, it's hard to accept anything less than that."
And finally, the one thing Saints fans should get estatic about:
"I'll tell you one thing, there's a lot of similarities between this team and the team we had out there in New England as far as the camaraderie amongst the players, high character guys, guys with great work ethic and I think that's the foundation for any championship team."
Of course, it is the preseason and, as he said, everyone thinks they can win a championship. Oh, and apologies to David for not having a better picture of him. Here's another one for anyone clamoring for Patten pics: