I'm back! Miss me?
I had an amazing time cruising the Eastern Caribbean on the largest passenger ship ever built, Royal Caribbeans's Oasis of the Seas, with not only my family but my in-laws as well. I didn't think it was possible to eat that much. If cruising is your thing, I highly recommend this amazing city of a ship.
I've never been away from a computer for that long since I've started blogging; not even on my honeymoon. But the time away was very nice and much-needed. I definitely must thank Andrew Juge for running the show behind the scenes here while I was away and MtnExile, HansDat and Satchmo26 for contributing all the quality content they did. Their team effort was even better than I had expected and we're going to talk about keeping all of this going through the season.
Needless to say, I have been seriously out of the loop with regard to all of the Saints training camp action. Honestly, it feels a little weird to be so disconnected from the team with no knowledge of whether a player might be injured or the team might make a signing. I've spent the last few hours reading most of what's been written and linked here on CSC this past week to help catch me up. As a way to reinforce everything I've soaked up and to get back into blogging form, I've put together a basic, big picture recap of all that's happened in the world of black & gold thus far in training camp as far as I can tell. Pardon me while I shake off a bit of the rust. Let me know what else I'm missing and help me get acclimated back into Saints society.
- We've got to start this whole thing off with a shout out to Rickey Jackson's enshrinement into the NFL Hall of Fame yesterday. I caught his discombobulated acceptance speech on NFL Network last night and just in case anyone out there may have missed it, I think I can sum it all up rather briefly: hometown.
- From an injury standpoint, things are actually looking very good for the Saints. Jeremy Shockey, Pierre Thomas and Tracy Porter all missed time with brief injury concerns but are now back in the mix. Marques Colston and Jimmy Wilkerson have also both returned from the PUP list. Other than the players still on the list (Darren Sharper, Robert Meachem and Clint Ingram), only Scott Shanle, Rod Harper, Patrick Robinson and Tyler Lorenzen are missing time with injuries. All four are expected back next week.
- The defense stole the show during yesterday's Black & Gold scrimmage yesterday while Who Dat Nation came out in full force to watch, despite ridiculously hot temps. Drew Brees threw for a paltry 6/16 and then stayed after practice to do sprints by himself, probably because he wasn't happy with his performance.
- The backup quarterback battle is boring the hell out of me. It doesn't appear that there are any clear favorites even after a week. The most exciting play so far seems to be Chase Daniel's 80-yard run ala Michael Vick. I don't even care really because as long as the offensive line continues to kick butt as they've been doing, it won't be an issue.
- There has been a lot of positive focus on many different receivers throughout the past week of training camp. Lance Moore, Courtney Roby, Rod Harper and Marques Colston have all torn it up at one point or another. I'm not the least bit surprised that Rod Harper is tearing it up once again in training camp. I've been a big fan of what seems to be a natural play making ability since we first saw him last year. Early prediction: he makes the team this season but still isn't utilized to the fullest this season and continues to be molded and coached for a breakout at a later date in 2011.
- Veteran wide receiver Mark Bradley is the newest addition to the team this week (Say buh-bye to Matt Simon). Bringing in another player at arguably the deepest position on the roster has the conspiracy theorists talking.
- Great news on the running game front. It sounds as if there may be some actual depth behind Pierre and Reggie this season. Lynell Hamilton has received praise as a solid No. 3 and potential Mike Bell replacement. Plus, the Chris Ivory/P.J. Hill battle has been heating up with Ivory appearing to hold the slight advantage. This, of course, should bode well for the overall quality of the Saints running game and allow the offense to maintain that all-important balance between run and pass in 2010.
- Two players I didn't really see get mentioned much during my absence are Devery Henderson and Chip Vaughn.
- After taking second place out of ten in the Oasis of the Seas karaoke contest on the final day of my cruise, a guy came up to me and introduced himself as a Saints fan. He told me he was from the Baton Rouge area and that he was friends with Randall Gay. I didn't have the heart to tell him I don't think Gay will make the team this year.
- I'm seriously so confused. Is Brett Favre coming back or not? I thought there were reports that he was officially retiring. This is ridiculous. Ah, who gives a...
- "Comment of the Week" definitely goes to Just 'Nother Day's doozie in the debate Andrew's brought up regarding Jeremy Shockey. If you haven't read the comment, check it out by clicking here. It's got jokes, pictures and even me!