The Saints had off yesterday and that gave everyone, myself included, a much needed break. That being said, there isn't too much to report. The action returns full speed tomorrow and, of course, Thursday is the big day; the first preseason game!!! I think our friend cgolden from SB Nation's Cardinals blog, Revenge of the Birds, will stop by and answer some questions about his team and what we can look for while we watch the Cards lose. Badly. And of course we will have our first open thread of the 2008 season and my first with Canal Street Chronicles! We got a good response when I asked who would be taking part in the open thread, so I expect all of you to be there and the turnout to be great! Enough of my excited blabbering and on with some links. I will return later for some training camp updating.
Another Saints Minute video with Mike Nabors from Cox Sports TV. Skyler Green is the subject this time.
Big Chief Deke Bellavia from WWL's Sports Talk gave out grades for the team in his Black and Gold progress report. He gave the Saints an overall grade of B. For detailed analysis and individual position grades check out the whole article.
I guess the Times-Pic must have read Stujo4's Fujita FanPost, because they wrote this article about #55.
"I think I just bring an unchanging work ethic more than anything else," Fujita said, offering a reason. "And I have a good relation´ship with this coaching staff and with (linebacker coach) Joe Vitt, and I'm just always working to get better. I know that at some point my days in this city are going to be numbered.
"And I think it's having kind of a former walk-on mentality. Being a walk-on in college is where I feel like any day could be my last day or any play could be my last play. I just kind of approach everything that way. I'm always trying to get better and I try not to take any´thing for granted."
"There's always kind of a concern with guys like me where they almost put too much pressure on themselves. And I think at times I have been guilty of that and at times I'm probably still guilty of that. But as I've aged and gotten more comfortable with the teams I've been with I think you learn to relax a little bit.
"And that's important and that's a big part of success. But I think being demanding of yourself and coming in, I come in every year trying to be the most conditioned guy on the team, and I think that helps me as well."
"No question about it, we've got better competition right now out there at every position," defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs said. "So that competition is the impetus, I think, that will allow us to be a better football team because every´body knows that no job is secure."
"It's just because I know in this league, especially at the linebacker position, they're always looking for some younger, faster, prettier looking linebacker -- and they're always searching. At any point they can come in and try to replace me. And I know that at some point that's probably going to happen. Until then, I'm just going to come in and keep working away and do my best and try to be the best player I can for this team."
"That, and trying to do something great," he said. "I think it's a combination of all those things. Personally, I'm not big on the whole accolades and all the Pro Bowl stuff and all that.
"But once I get a Super Bowl, by all means I will have accomplished pretty much everything in life. I've got the wife, I've got the kids, I've got the college degree. Once I get that, then I can sail off into the sunset."
The Advocate. Getting to know you article. Mark Campbell.
“I wish I would have hurt my back the first day of training camp, then I wouldn’t have had to go through camp,” Campbell joked after a hot, steamy practice last week. “But truthfully, it was a struggle. It was a mental struggle more than anything else because it wasn’t as bad as a torn ACL.”
“That’s what I consider my strength,” he said. “Absolutely, I know where I make my money and it’s up on the line of scrimmage blocking. That’s not to say I can’t make plays. I’ve made plays throughout my career, but the reason I’ve played 10 years is because I can block.”
“Coming to camp, one of the things I thought about occasionally was there was going to be the test when we put our pads on and continuously hit,” he said. “That would be the test for me to see how I felt. I passed with flying colors, and I don’t even think about it any more.”
On Jeremy Shockey.
“Obviously, when he gets on the field we’re really going to appreciate him,” Campbell said. “He’s one of the best in the game, so we’re excited.
“We would be the ultimate tight end if they could be put our bodies together,” he said with a laugh. “That’s one of the things that will be a strength for us, no question.”
Mike Detillier had his usual Sunday article for Houma Today. This week, Mike fantasizes a little and came up with a list of players he would add to each team to help them get to the Super Bowl. He picks Champ Bailey for the Saints.
10. New Orleans Saints-Champ Bailey-cornerback (Denver Broncos)
Bailey is 30 years old, but he is still the best man-to-man cover cornerback in the league. With an improved pass rush and a healthy Jonathan Vilma in the middle, Bailey would be the final key for the Saints to make it deep into the playoffs.
He also has a list of Saints players to keep your eye on as you watch the game on Thursday.
More predictions and analysis from hardcore gamblers and Vegas handicappers. The news is good. Here is how they sum it up.
NFL Predictions 2008 New Orleans Saints – 1st NFC South
We don't expect the Saints to get off to a 0-4 start again and the result will be a league title. The defense is going to make mistakes, but it will be an improved unit with several key additions. The offense is as explosive as there is in the league.
For those fantasy football lovers, CBS Sports has an analysis of Deuce McAllister and the value you should expect to get from him this season if you decide to pick him up.
Outlook: McAllister will probably start but is a candidate for about 800 yards rushing and five touchdowns, which makes him a No. 3 Fantasy option at best. Draft him as a reserve to fill out your roster and hope he can return to his form of 2006.