So much has this been the case that, as we've often remarked this year, the Saints appear to have treated the entirety of 2015 as a long offseason/preseason practice project. If you accept this idea, so many other things about this year start to make sense. The relaxed attitude toward actually doing any training during training camp, the fact that they never really settled on a kicker, the constant shuffling and experimenting on the offensive line, the almost too-well timed and coordinated Rob Ryan firing all can be better understood if we see assume their context is an organization in the process of implementing a two year rebuilding plan.
See also, CJ Spiller.
Payton said Spiller will spend the offseason getting back to 100 percent after a frustrating 2015 season. Spiller signed a four-year, $16 million deal to come to the Saints as a free agent, but was rarely used after injuring his knee in training camp.Spiller began the year with a knee surgery. Everything he's done this year is really just a kind of glorified rehab program. And the Saints were fine with him taking up cap and roster space all year to do it because, again, none of this was about trying to win just yet.
Spiller played only sporadically but never expressed his frustration about his involvement in the offseason.
"Not once during the year was he ever complaining about touches," Payton said. "He's been fantastic in his preparation."
Payton said the reason behind Spiller's lack of playing time was his injury, which never fully healed.
"One of the challenges if you're a receiver or running back is not necessarily starting but stopping and being able to put the pressure, make a cut like he does. There's a lot of stress on the leg," Payton said. "But is something that he'll be able to recover from...
"He's someone that I know we as an organization and certainly myself as a head coach working with the offense are excited to see that through. I do feel like he's got some unique skill sets and I was frustrated for him at times because he was 100 percent and wasn't back fully with the strength in his leg to do some of the things you're used to seeing."