Fleur-de-Links: June 5, 2012

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TWEETS:

Birthday man Marques Colston talking with the media

Colston wanted me to say thank you to everyone who sent him birthday love today! Thanks lol

": Don't you just love being a part of the who Dat nation"yes I do

LB Fujita said arbitrator's ruling "certainly disappointing'' but that it's part of process. Still hopefull he'll win his appeal.

Awesome day @ North Market now catch me@ Mansfield Road (9520 Mansfield Rd 71118) from 4-6 !

One casual observation from my first day of Saints mini-camp: It's a lot quieter. No Gregg Williams. No Curtis Johnson.

It's intangible, but the intensity of Drew Brees and Sean Payton also seemed to be conspicuously absent. Again, just an observation.

Just posted a photo

Been out at Nola Motor speedway. A great look for the City and fun

Mini Camp Day #1, good day in the Nola heat! Great to have the fans back out!

Practice 1 is down.. 1 more to go....

Check out photos from first minicamp practice

Our site may b under construction, but u can still buy sauce there & chk the new site this week!!!

Come see me in today and u may win Saints tix gift cards sauce & the new sausage! & dont forget to try the sauce! !

S Roman Harper clearly has his hopes set on I'll Have Another winning the triple crown Saturday

1practice down, 1more to go

: They letting you practice until the appeal?"yes

Longtime NFL scouting guru and former Dallas Cowboys GM Gil Brandt was an invited guest of the Saints today.

Mr. Chris Ivory ()!

Team Stretch

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The are greeting fans as they enter mini-camp!

Elbert Mack will wear jersey No. 44. RB Joe Banyard is No. 20 "O" & QB Luke McCown is No. 11 for mini-camp.

Isn't Luke McCown the dude who'd have been the bridge between Aaron Brooks and Matt Leinart, but then Drew Happened? Circle of Life...

Since Colston isn't on Twitter, just send all your Birthday tweets for him to . His locker is next his. He will relay them!

Happy Birthday to Marques Colston! The Quiet Storm turns 29 today!

Excited to be the voice of digital book, "When I Play!" New kid’s book promotes playtime & literacy

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SAINTS MINICAMP:

PHOTOS: Saints Mini Camp Tuesday, June 5, 2012 | NOLA.com
RUSTY COSTANZA / THE TIMES-PICAYUNE Mickey Loomis, left, and Tulane football coach Curtis Johnson, right, watch practice during opening day of the New Orleans Saints 2012 Mini- Camp at Saints Camp in Metairie, Louisiana, Tuesday, June 5, 2012.

First impressions on the Saints - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Tight end Jimmy Graham appears to have added some muscle in the offseason. I asked him about it and Graham said his weight is still 265, but said he’s spent a little more time in the weight room and has added some muscle.

Saints mini-camp opens with several fans, no Brees | wwltv.com New Orleans
The Saints opened their offseason, mandatory mini-camp Tuesday out on Airline Drive with several fans and many players in attendance. However, the one guy who wasn't there was on just about everyone's mind.

QB Luke McCown already catching eyes of Saints interim head coach | wwltv.com New Orleans
Less than a week ago, Luke McCown was in Texas, throwing footballs to high school-aged players and trying to stay in shape by running around with his five children.

Saints bring in quarterback Luke McCown for tryout | NOLA.com
"He's been a thorn in our side," Vitt said. "He beat us in '07 when he was with Tampa Bay. He's got a little bit of knowledge with this system because he was under Gruden at Tampa Bay."

Luke McCown getting shot with Saints - NFC South Blog - ESPN
"With Drew’s situation, I’m just looking for an opportunity right now,’’ McCown said. "And this is a good team to be with. Their offense is similar to what I was in with (Jon) Gruden in Tampa Bay.’’

New Orleans Saints Coach Joe Vitt says Chase Daniel's ball location keeps getting better - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
"The quarterback center exchange has been phenomenal," Vitt said. "I think his ball location gets better and better every practice."

Saints: Backup QB plan - NFC South Blog - ESPN
Assessing the Saints’ backup QB situation if Drew Brees is injured and misses time. Assuming Brees’ contract situation gets resolved, Cha

As the Saints begin minicamp it’s worth noting: They still think they can win the Super Bowl - NFL.com
Through all this, the Saints are the same confident — maybe cocky — group they’ve always been. The assumption is that Brees will magically appear, and they have blind faith in that, too. But when asked about the Super Bowl last week (TiVo delay alert!), they didn’t take a wait-and-see attitude. They sounded like they’ve already seen it.

Saints open minicamp with signing, two tryouts | New Orleans Saints | The Sun Herald
METAIRIE -- Fans already are waiting in line to get into Saints camp today for the opening of minicamp.

New Orleans Saints sign cornerback Elbert Mack - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
He played at Tampa Bay the past four seasons

Saints Agree To Terms With CB Elbert Mack On One-Year Contract
Mack, 5-10, 175, comes to New Orleans from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers where he spent the first four years of his NFL career. After making Tampa Bay’s 53-man roster as an undrafted rookie out of Troy in 2008, he has played in 58 games with four starts and has registered 77 tackles (65 solo), five interceptions, 11 pass defenses and 30 special teams tackles.

New Orleans Saints minicamp Day 1, updates - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
From the Saints facility on Airline Drive

Don't overlook New Orleans Saints' young defensive line - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
The Saints will be moving guys around to try to get pressure up front

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MORE ON BOUNTYFARCE:

New Orleans Saints linebacker Scott Shanle explains rewards for 'cart-offs,' says NFL has blown things out of proportion - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
"If you put Vilma's picture on the cover of Sports Illustrated with a headline that says, 'Performance-based pool,' it wouldn't have the same effect," Shanle said.

Saints LB Shanle provides insight on pay for performance program | wwltv.com New Orleans
Saints linebacker Scott Shanle provided insight Tuesday into what the NFL labeled as a rogue bounty program but was more of a pay-for-performance program that, though against the rules, didn't deserve the level of vilification the team earned.

Shanle says league exaggerated Saints pay-for-performance plan | ProFootballTalk
He believes (as do plenty of others) that the league exaggerated the situation in order to justify making an example out of the Saints, which in turn would deter others from using bounties in the future.

Pamphilon makes the media rounds | ProFootballTalk
For a guy who has said he’s not looking for attention, he sure is looking for a lot of attention.

" My Conversation With Sean Pamphilon The Angry Who Dat
What follows is my email conversation with the always-interesting Sean Pamphilon, concerning his role in the "bountygate" story. It’s a little long, but as per my agreement with Pamphilon, it is unedited as to content, and without any added commentary.

Filmmaker Sean Pamphilon defends his actions on the New Orleans Saints bounty audio tapes - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Some of the callers were livid

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell gets favorable ruling from arbitrator - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com

Some New Orleans Saints players not suprised by arbitrator's ruling on Monday - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
"That was just a part of the whole process," Harper said. "That's just why Vilma did what he did a while back. Trust me if the NFL has anything to do with it, it's going to deny it because they are the one who came up with that deal anyway. So why would they go against what's going on? ... So right now it just seems like a part of the process and it's not surprising to me."

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LAGNIAPPE:

Daily Special, June 5, 2012 - Who Dat Social Club

NEW YORK: NFL refs association: no strike contemplated | NFL Football | The Sun Herald
Arnold also says the league intends to freeze and terminate the officials' pension plan, and that the NFL offered salary increases lower than those obtained in the 2006 agreement.

New Orleans Saints players weigh in on possibility of replacement officials - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
"It's hard because you kind of develop relationships with some of the guys out there," he said. "They recognize you, you recognize them. You know what types of things they call and what types of things they don't call so you kind of build chemistry with them."

New Orleans Saints GM Mickey Loomis watched Hornets workouts today | NOLA.com
He was out while some prospects worked out for the coaches

New Orleans Saints assistant equipment manager Glennon 'Silky' Powell calling it a career - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
he has been with the team for 38 years

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TRANSCRIPTS:

New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt

Media Availability

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Opening Statement

"I think one (of) the things that was exciting for us today at practice was Curtis Johnson brought his staff over from Tulane and it’s really the first time I’ve had the chance to visit with Curtis since he took the job. It was great seeing him and fun to hear some of his critiques of the practice. The legendary executive of the Dallas Cowboys, Gil Brandt was here looking at practice so I received some feedback from him. We’re going to receive some good input from some knowledgeable people about critiquing our practices here. It was kind of exciting."

Elbert Mack was someone the team visited with early on in the offseason. What do you like about him after having him at practice for a day?

"He passed the eyeball test out here. We’re going to go look at film at 12:50 and get a further evaluation. I think I’ll be to talk a little bit better maybe after two or three practices on him. (He has) good movement skills and a pretty good feel for the system."

How is Ben Grubbs working out?

"(He is a) very, very smart, very detailed player. I think that he is probably a little better communicator on the line of scrimmage than Carl Nicks. I think that he is going to be a positive influence on Jermon Bushrod. He knows the game and has real good balance. He’s strong at the point. So far so good. He hasn’t missed a workout in the offseason conditioning program. He’s close to home. I think that it has been positive for him and us."

Does it add energy for you and the players with the fans cheering?

"I stand on the other side so I really don’t hear it that much. I’m kind of focused on practice but I think our fans enjoy it and that’s what is important to us."

Is Luke McCown still going to be in the running for possibly receiving a contract with the team even following a re-signing of Drew Brees?

"We’re going to take a look and evaluate this now. He beat us at Tampa Bay. He’s has a little bit of mileage in this system because he was under (Jon) Gruden at Tampa Bay, so he kind of knows the same things that Sean (Payton) wants. He’s athletic. He has a good, live arm. He did a good job today getting guys in and out of the huddle, getting guys lined up so he is under the evaluation process right now."

What about the opportunity for Chase Daniel?

"You guys have all been here for a bunch of practices. I’ve seen a lot of you guys out here for six years. You could probably evaluate the practice. The ball is not on the ground. The quarterback under exchange has been phenomenal. He’s operating within the system and parameters. I think his ball location is getting better and better every practice. He opened up our team period today with a 40-yard strike. I think that Chase is progressing and making the most out of this opportunity."

Do you worry that Drew Brees is missing mandatory work?

"I’m not. Nobody is going to come in better shape than Drew. Drew is working hard right now. Drew is working extremely hard right now. He’s mastered the system. This will get done. It will get done with both parties getting together and getting this thing done. They are both working hard at it."

Are you still just as confident about that as you were in the previous weeks?

"Absolutely, I am."

Does having Greg Romeus healthy and in the mix compensate for the lack of draft picks this year?

"When we had the draft this year we put him into the mix. We’re thinking that he is a draft pick. We knew when we drafted him that he was going to be a year away. He’s had a tremendous offseason. He’s done a good job at practice. He hasn’t missed a rep. His stamina is back. Now he is working on his pad level, his angles, his timing, but it is like having a draft pick this year."

Did you happen to learn much about him when he was rehabbing last year?

"What you noticed first about him was his dedication to getting better. He’s here everyday, spent a lot of time in the training room with the trainers. (He) spent a lot of time in the classroom with Bill Johnson and our existing veterans. You saw that he wanted to be a good player."

How are Akiem Hicks and Corey White doing on the defensive side of the ball?

"I have a little bit better feeling for White only because of the structure of the practice and what offensive and defensive linemen can’t do, but with Hicks you can see that he’s big and mobile. He can run, change gears and he has good body control and balance. Listen, when we put the pads on, that’s what going to define him."

How would you evaluate Martez Wilson based on some of the work he is receiving at defensive end?

"Again, it’s tough. He doesn’t have the pads on. Now listen, he’s very comfortable in a three-point stance. He’s playing with better pad level. You can see he can naturally sink his hips, engage and get off a block. With all the zone pressures when you’re dropping a man into coverage, he may be the most advanced because he was a linebacker, so up to this point, great. Really good."

Is this a permanent move?

"I don’t want to say anything’s permanent. We’re taking a hard look at this now. We won’t make a decision until we gets into pads and we see how he fits."

Do you think with the new CBA, these practices are a lot less physical?

"It (CBA) doesn’t specifically define that you can’t, but we’ve made a conscious effort not to do it. We don’t want to get anybody hurt here or banged up. We’re making a conscious effort."

How is Jonathan Vilma progressing healthwise?

"Everything from the training room and the doctors are great. He’s progressing well. I think he’s made probably his most significant leap over the last two weeks. It’s great."

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New Orleans Saints Tackle Jermon Bushrod

Media Availability

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How are you working with Ben Grubbs and getting used to him playing next to you?

"It is going to be a little different because I played the last three years with another player (Carl Nicks). He is a Pro Bowl player. He is good. He understands the game. I think we have done a good job communicating and trying to have success. That is really what it is all about at the end of the day."

Does he ever ask about what Carl would have done in a situation?

"No, because he has to find his own way and figure out how we are going to do things. We have different techniques, our different calls, our different protections, and our different run schemes. He is going to see how other people do them. It is all about how we work together. It is a good thing, when you have somebody new coming to the line, these OTAs and Mini-Camp are a great way for all five of us to really gel together and figure out how we are going to get this thing done this year."

Is it helpful to not have contact right now while you are getting used to working with Ben?

"Yes. I think it is very important that we get our footwork down. We definitely get our technique down, get our scheme down, and know how we are going to play different looks. He is a very smart, cerebral player so I am definitely excited about the situation at hand."

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New Orleans Saints Guard Ben Grubbs

Media Availability

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How has the transition been here? Has it been tough?

"It has been fairly easy. Anytime you change locations, there is some change to it. I know what I expect from myself. I set my standards high. I think I bring a lot to this team. I am trying to gain everybody’s respect, learn the plays and technique, and when that ball snaps, go to work."

Was it an easy decision to come here?

"Yes. This is probably the best situation I could have put myself in. I am blessed to be here, close to home. I came to a winning team and a good group of guys. The coaches and my teammates are great. I am glad that I made this decision."

Is it helpful that there is no contact right now while you are learning?

"Yes, definitely. By the time we put pads on, everything should be slower for me. I am glad that we have this time. Last year, during the lockout, we didn’t have this opportunity to get better. I am glad that I am starting out from step one and working my way up. Even though I am a six-year vet, when you go to new scenery, you have to rebuild your train of thought. What I knew then is not the same now. I just have to build a new muscle memory and everything will be good after that."

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New Orleans Saints Linebacker Scott Shanle

Media Availability

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Is it odd practicing without Drew Brees on the field?

"It is weird, especially for guys that have been here since Drew has been here in 2006. We are confident that Drew will be there this year on Sundays and that is when it really counts. If anybody can take this much time off and excel, it is Drew Brees."

Does he miss out on team-building?

"I think for some of the new faces, to get to know Drew would help. A lot of the pieces he is going to be working with on offense are a lot of the same pieces he has worked with. They know what he brings to the table and he knows what they bring to the table as well."

What is the new dynamic at linebacker?

"It is definitely different. There are a lot of new faces. It’s a lot of guys who have played a lot of good football in the NFL. There is instant respect there as far as I’m concerned because I have seen these guys play a lot of football over the years. They are great guys and they fit in to our locker room well which always makes a huge difference. It will be exciting."

Is the plan to mix and match you guys in different positions?

"Today was the first day I went at Will. I had been playing Sam. I think it is just one of those things that we found out last year because of the injuries, the more you know the better. You really don’t want to peg guys into one position at this point in time and through training camp. Then, when an injury happens, guys aren’t versatile enough. It is not a bad thing to learn this right now."

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New Orleans Saints Defensive Tackle Sedrick Ellis

Media Availability

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

How is the new defensive scheme shaping up so far?

"I like the way that it is going. We have smart players on this defense. It should be exciting to get out there and see how we make this thing run."

How much can Brodrick Bunkley help working alongside you?

"He has proven himself in this league with what he can do. Great in the run and he does some great things in the pass game also. I am looking forward to playing with him. He is a great teammate and really vocal on the line of scrimmage which is great for his teammates. It should be exciting."

With a lot of changes, how much of an adjustment is this for you?

"It’s not much adjustment, it is just learning the new scheme. As far as who I play with, that will all work itself out in time. Like I said, I am excited to play with these guys. They all seem really smart and anytime you have players like that beside you, it should be a good thing."

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VIDEO:


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