Fleur-de-Links: Saints Camp Continues and the Meach Inhabits the Turf

Drew Brees had his full array of receiving weapons today for the first time this training camp as Robert Meachem returned after rehabbing from offseason toe surgery. Adrian Arrington (shoulder) and Thomas "Big Leg" Morstead (shoulder) also returned to practice. Very good news on this dreary Monday.

In other news, the team holds one of their more physical, up-tempo practices of camp, Jonathan Casillas is still turning heads, the world continues to wait and see who will be added at RB, and Gregg Williams praises Scott Shanle's importance to the team. Is it OK to start loving the Lunch Pail yet? If Tenacious G says he's OK, that's good enough for me. More after the jump.

TWEETS:

JonVilma51 we had one helluva practice..the Saints definitely got better today i like the way our team is shaping up this year, but we still got work to do

jeffduncantp #Saints just livened up practice with a set of goal-line drills. Chris Ivory starred with a pair of scores. Defense stood strong, otherwise.

bobbymccrayRT @Adam_Schefter: Drew Brees presented @mortreport and I with autographed books. His inscription to Mort was (cont) http://tl.gd/361n3j

Adam_SchefterCan't tell you how happy I am to see @mortreport in New Orleans. Celebration dinner tonight. http://tweetphoto.com

alexbrown96 Wow!!! Extremely tired right now about to catch some rest and get ready to head to the dome for the next practice. Keep grinding......

alexbrown96 I disagree totally!!! @djdurkin: @ZachZaidman, you are insufferable on the radio. you literally have nothing objective to say ever.

JeremyShockeygot to beat this heat!!! Mind over matter.. if you dont mind it dont matter..

jeffduncantp Usama Young (groin), Darren Sharper (knee) & Clint Ingram (knee) were all absent at practice 2day. Payton didn't elaborate on their absences

GregBensel Coach Payton with mort and adam on espn bus http://twitpic.com/2fclnr

jeffduncantp More good news: Saints P Thomas Morstead has returned to practice.

jeffduncantp Good news for the #Saints today. Robert Meachem has returned to the practice field. He's off the PUP & in pads. Ingram, Sharper still out.

Adam_Schefter ESPN's version of the Hogs have finally connected in New Orleans. http://tweetphoto.com/39372855

JonVilma51 Time to put the BigBoy pads,, on let's get it!!!

 

MEACHEM OFF THE PUP LIST, RETURNS TO PRACTICE

Brees Welcomes Meachem Back

Payton Discusses Meachem's Return

New Orleans Saints WR Robert Meachem returns to the field, team has full complement of receivers for first time | NOLA.com
For the first time since training camp began the New Orleans Saints had all the receivers on their roster in pads Monday. The most notable return was that of Robert Meachem, who came off the physically unable to perform list Sunday and participated at practice fully for the first time. The team wasted no time getting Meachem into the...

New Orleans Saints receivers Robert Meachem, Adrian Arrington return to practice | NOLA.com
Meachem has been out since spring toe surgery

 

SAINTS CAMP, AUGUST 16TH:

Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints wants second son to experience Super thrill - ESPN
Drew Brees hoisted his son, Baylen, after winning Super Bowl XLIV. He's hoping to do it again in February -- this time with his second son, Adam Schefter writes.

New Orleans Saints cancel Monday afternoon practice, move Tuesday's practice to Superdome | NOLA.com
Tuesday's practice will be closed to the public

New Orleans Saints hold one of their most physical, up-tempo practices of training camp Monday morning | NOLA.com
Coach Sean Payton called it one of the best practices the New Orleans Saints have held during preseason, as the team got after it in particularly physical goal line drill. On the first play from the 5-yard line, a run by P.J. Hill, a series of fierce collisions sent offensive tackle Zack Strief's helmet flying and clusters of bodies...

Practice Observations: Physical practice highlights good session for Saints | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
The Saints took to the field Monday morning for the first of two practices. What follows is a practice report filed by Bradley Handwerger.

How should Saints handle Darren Sharper? - NFC South Blog - ESPN
The New Orleans Times-Picayune is running a poll that asks readers what the Saints should do with Darren Sharper. This is a complicated and delicate

LB Casillas earning his keep with Saints | New Orleans News, Local News, Breaking News, Weather | wwltv.com | Eye on Black and Gold
Jonathan Casillas finished Thursday night’s game against New England was one of the best defensive players on the field, finishing with a team-leading 10 tackles as well as a special teams stop.

Turning heads: Devery develops into big-time receiver for Saints | HoumaToday.com
Sometimes you wonder what finally inspires certain football players to become better. It may be a matter of being in the right place with the right coach, a change of attitude or discovering a little flaw that needs to be corrected.

New Orleans Saints still have two players on PUP list; safety Usama Young absent | NOLA.com
Safety Darren Sharper and linebacker Clint Ingram remain on the New Orleans Saints physically unable to perform list, while safety Usama Young was not at practice Monday morning. Coach Sean Payton, who Sunday identified Young's injury as a groin, said he had no new information to impart on Young's condition.

New Orleans Saints likely to dig deep for depth at running back | NOLA.com
But P.J. Hill, Chris Ivory still have time to show they belong

2theadvocate.com | Sports | Ramsey, Daniel positioning for backup QB role — Baton Rouge, LA

 

MISCELLANEOUS:

ESPN bus ends 19-day tour with visit to New Orleans Saints camp today | NOLA.com
Super Bowl champs are the last stop on the tour

Tough combined practices might become important again - NFL - CBSSports.com Football
If the NFL does get around to trimming the preseason schedule to two games, it might bring back something Len Pasquarelli says appeared to be dead: combined practices.

Jammal Brown Back in Business for Redskins -- NFL FanHouse

Saints Retailers Gear Up For Black, Gold, & Green Season - WWL - AM870 | FM105.3 | News | Talk | Sports
Local retailers who specialize in Saints merchandise report the buzz of a new season among the Who Dat nation is translating into "tremendous" traffic into their stores, as the team prepares for the first game in the Superdome since beating the Vikings in the NFC Championship matchup.

Fantasy football preview: A ranking of the quarterbacks | NOLA.com
The first in a series to get your ready for your fantasy draft

 

TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton

Monday, August 16, 2010

Opening Statement: With this morning’s practice, we got a lot of situations done. We worked some live goal line. Of course, we had to move the ball period and a couple of red zone periods. I thought it was one of our better practices of late and that’s encouraging. Robert Meachem came off of PUP this morning and practiced for the first time. He seems to be progressing pretty well.

You said it was one of your better practices, was it your most physical practice to date? It was a physical practice. We have probably had three or four like that. When you put in goal line, it is important that you get some live work in. Last night, maybe even two days ago, the players knew that this Monday morning practice was going to be physical. We will continue to be smart and try to have a balance to make sure we aren’t doing too much. I thought they handled it well.

Patrick Ramsey looked sharp today. Was that because he had more experience playing against a live opponent? Yes. Part of it, when you really look at what he is doing, is reps in the offense. He came here just in training camp and wasn’t a part of the offseason. He did some good things and there will be some good film for him to look at.

Is there an update on Usama (Young)? Nothing new on Usama.

Before training camp started, Mickey (Loomis) said that the three PUP guys would be practicing before New England. Are they behind schedule? I don’t know if I would say they are behind schedule. We are waiting and seeing some progress. It is what it is right now. We’ve got Robert (Meachem) back, and his timing was about what we expected. The other two, the sooner the better. You can’t rush them back. You have to make sure they are healthy.

Were they out here? No, they were not out here for this morning’s practice.

Does Sharper have to get some work in the pre-season? You would like to get work, even though he has the experience. It’s hard to, all of a sudden, just turn it on in the regular season.

Is there any contingency plan with the potential for a tropical storm this week? Just tracking the weather, our plans are to go inside. If it is more severe than that, we would have to come up with a plan B. Right now, it appears as if we are going to get heavy rain, so there is a good chance we will be inside.

What about adding another back? No news on that right now.

Are you still hoping to add somebody this week? Yes. Just like it was yesterday, we are reaching out. Sooner rather than later, we will have someone.

In the first two series against the Patriots, Drew (Brees) was under a lot of pressure. In the third series, it looked like things were turned around. How long does it take for the cohesion of the offensive line to come back. It’s a work in progress. The thing about good offensive line play is that you need five guys in concert with each other. Often times the tight end and the running back also with some protections. We will clean up some of the things that we saw in the first couple of series, like you alluded to, and the first third down. We will learn from those mistakes. It’s a group that we return all of our starters. We feel like it is one of our stronger position groups.

Is there a timetable with Jimmy Graham? No. It’s a high ankle sprain. He has the same injury as Stanley (Arnoux). We will keep rehabbing those guys, and they probably won't be able to go for this game.

How is Charles Brown looking? He is doing well. He is healthy now. He missed a lot of the spring work because of his hamstring, but he is doing well.

Is there something wrong with Goody? No, he just got a finger that they had to fix. I don’t know if he separated a finger. It was a small finger.

In the second year with this defensive coordinator, is this defense going to be better? Well, we are hopeful. The second year in the system, you have a lot more experience in the snaps, the expectations, and what we are playing defensively. Yet, with what they did a year ago, it was pretty substantial with the takeaways, there are some areas that Gregg (Williams) and his staff are looking to clean up. That is certainly a plus for us, being the second year of our system.

What are the points of emphasis on which the defense can get better? Well, when you look overall, there are some down run stuff we’re talking about. The individual technique within the scheme, those are little things that you can clean up. Not one specific area, but one challenge is if we can take the ball away as effectively as we did a year ago because we did it as well as anyone.

Last year, it was very physical when you practiced with the Texans. This year, against the Patriots, you ran the practices differently. How are you going to do it this year with the Texans? I talked with Gary this morning. We are going to look closely at the scripts and what we are trying to accomplish. We know we might be inside with the weather. We will plan appropriately. The key is, they are coming off a game on Saturday night, is getting good work with each other and getting young players ready for that game so that you can better evaluate them. We have to have a plan with the rain, and it might be inside.

Will it be more physical in nature like last year? Last year, we weren’t even in full pads. The practices have been spirited with those guys. We have had two now with them and I think it has benefitted both teams.

When you say inside, is the dome a possibility? Possibly. This gives us the same set-up really. The same space and it is probably a lot easier for both teams as the locker rooms are right here.

Are you guys going to take a trip to the Superdome this week? At some point, we might. Just to get used to some of the things that are different. We might at some point.

 

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees

Post-Practice Media Session

Monday, August 16, 2010

How was it to have Robert Meachem back in practice today?

"It’s good to have him back. Obviously he’s missed a little time here but he’s been working hard to get back and he’s been doing everything he can mentally to make sure he was up to speed when he got back. Now it’s just a matter of trusting the body and all the physical elements that he’s going to need and just kind of getting back to getting the timing down and the trust factor."

What were your thoughts on the goal line drill?

"You don’t get many chances to go live for that purpose and typically short-yardage and goal line situations are ones that you can’t really simulate any other way unless you go live. I felt like we got some good live work on the goal line today. It was spirited and obviously guys were grinding through it. It was a hot one out there today."

What do you look to improve upon from the first preseason game to this week?

"Offensively, we’ll just continue to practice like we practice. We still have a few installs left as far as parts of the offense and parts of the defense that we’re putting in and wanting to fine tune. You kind of break that out into pieces as you go through training camp and as you go through these preseason games. Typically in that first preseason game you have a lot of new guys that are out there and trying to find their way through that first game and the tempo is a little different with guys flying around and hitting hard. Then you get to that second game and the first teams typically play a little bit more and then in the third game even a little more. So these next two games will be a good opportunity for us to come out with great tempo and great rhythm, mix the run and the pass and continue to work on some of those things that we’ve been working on all offseason."

Will you gameplan at all for the Texans?

"You don’t really gameplan too much for any of the preseason opponents other than having scrimmaged against them the previous two preseasons and we’re going to practice against them again this week so we’ll have a chance to kind of get a feel for their personnel and what they’re doing. Had we not had a chance to practice against the Patriots – I went back and looked at our game from last year anyway – I probably would have had to go back and look at a few more games to get a feel for their personnel. But teams are playing a lot of young people too so it’s a lot of guys that you’ve never seen before and don’t know anything about so you’re trying to study on the run a bit."

What do you guys get out of your after practice work that you do?

"I think a lot of it is just a mental edge, knowing that you’re staying after and putting in the extra work and how many people are doing that. But also there may be something that you didn’t feel great about from practice. Maybe I missed him on a route or maybe he didn’t run a route the way he thought he should have. So let’s do it right and let’s get the timing down so when we get in a game, it’s pretty much just muscle memory and it just happens and you’re not thinking about it. It’s more just reacting to the play call and the coverage. I think a lot of that work also just builds rapport and confidence between all of us and you feel good when you step off the field; you feel like we got better today."

Is there an organization to it? Do you say who needs to stay?

"It’s kind of understood at this point. We’ve been doing this ever since 2006 with all of those guys, so it’s something that we…it’s like a part of practice. It’s just like you show up for practice, you show up for post-practice. That’s just as important in a lot of ways."

How much better can this offense get compared to last year?

"I think we can get a lot better. When you look at some of the biggest statistics, as far as offensive football goes, turnovers – I think we were in the middle of the pack in turning the ball over so we can definitely get better there. I know were in the top five in third down efficiency but you always think about if we can just get one, two, three, four, five percentage points higher in third down percentage, that’s another conversion in a critical situation in a big game where that leads to more points. A couple of percentage points in third down percentage might gain you three more points on average in a game and that’s pretty crucial. You look at all those little statistics and just try to find a way to chip away at it and get a little bit better."

Do you like having the target on your backs this season?

"I feel like we had a little bit of that last year when we were on our undefeated run. All of a sudden we were 6-0, 7-0, 8-0 and everybody wanted to be the team to knock us off. Especially as you get late in the season and you’re playing teams that are out of the playoff race and only have a few wins but they view you almost as their Super Bowl, that’s their big game of the year. If they could be the team that knocks us off, that’s a big accomplishment. So every time you step on the field, you know you’re getting every team’s best performance and you have to put your best foot forward in order to beat them."

VIDEO:

Drew Brees on Robert Meachem's return to the field

New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead on his shoulder injury

Jonathan Vilma on the Saints linebacker versatility
New Orleans Saints Gregg Williams on Scott Shanle's importance
Robert Meachem on returning to the New Orleans Saints
SaintsVlog16
New Orleans Saints video: Monday practice observations






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