Fleur-de-Links: June 6, 2012

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TWEETS:

Warm one out there today. Thanks to everyone who came out and supported us today. Practice is closed this afternoon. See everyone tomorrow.

Old habits die hard RT : Fight erupts after Lofton touches Daniel, who throws ball @ Lofton's feet. J Evans goes @ Lofton.

Need some love on facebook! They dont know how random I am yet

"To a man who has only a hammer in his tool kit, every problem looks like a nail" -African Proverb Trying to work on more tools today

Spagnuolo says undrafted rookie/NOLA native Jerico Nelson has been "very impressive"

1st practice done!!! Stay tuned... Second practice comin up next!!

Wednesday's New Orleans Saints minicamp practice will take place inside the Indoor Facility. The practice will be closed to the public.

Reminder that this afternoon's practice is indoors & closed to the public. Tomorrow's practice (10:15 am – Noon) is open to the public

": heard u was out there ballin' today bruh keep it up "thanks

The homie bout to ball RT : Best interception all day. Johnny Patrick on Chase Daniel. Leaping grap too. Damn.

": Johnny Patrick having a good day. Bats down pass, then makes nice INT of Daniel in front of Roby"

C me again @ in 2day 1-3pm @ 388 Bert Kouns location & 4-6p @ 5828 Line Ave. Im signin & try NEW Bayou 87 Sausage!

Former Bengals LB Nate Webster was sentenced today to 12 years in prison for having sex with an underaged girl. Facts speak for themselves.

Vitt on second-year WR Joe Mirgan: "We think we've got a young Robert Meachem."

Daniel, Sproles & Collins

Mr. makes a leaping catch!

Day 2 of mini-camp is underway!

Fans out at mini-camp

Henderson heading out to the practice field

Good stuff from : LB Scott Shanle says NFL has misrepresented the bounty/pay-for-performance...

Punter is blogging for us during mini-camp. Check out his recap of yesterday

Colston Says Rookie WR Nick Toon is "Picking Things up Quickly"

Day 2 of mini-camp! Gotta get better today. Happy hump day everyone.

Day 2 of minicamp abt to put in another 12hr shift!

S/O to the kid yelling good effort to the heat as they walk into the locker room after losing that game!

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FIGHT! FIGHT!!:

Saints Minicamp Notebook: 'Heated' Practice In Wednesday Morning Work
Devery Henderson continues to make the difficult catches look simple. The veteran from LSU seems to improve a little every year.

College rivalry boils over for Saints - NFC South Blog - ESPN
"I think we’ll back up and take them to the petting zoo or something like that tomorrow,’’ assistant head coach Joe Vitt said after practice.

LB Curtis Lofton, QB Chase Daniel instigate mini-fracas at Saints minicamp | wwltv.com New Orleans
Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton came through the offensive line untouched, sights set cleanly on quarterback Chase Daniel on Wednesday during New Orleans’ morning minicamp practice.

Reactions to a rumble: Saints players explain why they all tried to fight each other - NFL.com

New Orleans Saints players have skirmish during minicamp practice - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Chase Daniel, Curtis Lofton got it started

Fight at Saints camp could lead to more OTA sanctions | ProFootballTalk
Fights during offseason workouts used to simply provide a break in the shorts-and-T-shirts monotony. Now, they could be providing evidence of potential violations of the offseason rules against live contact. And the next team to find that out the hard way could be the hard-luck Saints.

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MORE FROM SAINTS CAMP:

New Orleans Saints tailback Mark Ingram describes recent knee surgery as "as minor as it gets" - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
The surgery was on Ingram's right knee, not the left knee that Ingram had injured during his college career at Alabama. Ingram said he was experiencing some soreness in the knee.

New Orleans Saints offensive coordinator Pete Carmichael talks quarterback Chase Daniel, receivers - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
"In an ideal world, Drew Brees is here," he said. "But he's not and it's been a great opportunity for Chase. It's really been a great opportunity for him and for us to evaluate him. We're still getting everything done that we want to get done."

New Orleans Saints interim coach Joe Vitt gives injury updates - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Speaks on injuries to Zach Strief, Chris Ivory

Saints Players Say CBA Has Taken Bite Out of Minicamp

New Orleans Saints linebacker Curtis Lofton loves the Who Dat Nation - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Along the way, he's discovered the passionate support of Saints fans, a refreshing change from his pro experience in Atlanta, where he played from 2008 to 2011. "It's not even comparable," Lofton said. "I know people are going to get mad at me, but what, I can't tell the truth? Everyone in this city loves the Saints."

Jimmy Graham ready for takeoff - NFC South Blog - ESPN
METAIRIE, La. – If you thought New Orleans tight end Jimmy Graham soared last season, wait until you hear this.

New Orleans Saints defensive backs play well in morning practice - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Johnny Patrick and Malcolm Jenkins get picks

New Orleans Saints minicamp practice updates - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
For minicamp on June 6th.

Players Quotes on the First Day of Mini-Camp

Spagnuolo Looks to Improve Defensive Front

New-Look Defense Completes First Day of Minicamp

More with Morstead: Saints Punter Recaps Day 1 of Mini-Camp

Offensive guard Ben Grubbs already looking like a great fit for the New Orleans Saints - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
New lineman not trying to be Carl Nicks

Graham Discusses the Offseason, Drew Brees and Flying Planes

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DREW BREES, WHERE ARE YOU?:

Drew Brees and New Orleans Saints might not be far apart - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
The two sides might be less than $2 million apart

Saints fans remain optimistic in Brees' absence | wwltv.com New Orleans
Saints fans faced the heat with smiles and screams of support as the Black and Gold took to the field for the start of a three-day mini-camp.

Report: Brees, Saints closer in negotiations than earlier claims | wwltv.com New Orleans
How far apart the Saints and quarterback Drew Brees are to agreeing to a long-term deal may be closer than recently reported.

Saints players, coaches still firm in belief that Brees will sign | wwltv.com New Orleans
Drew Brees was nowhere close to the Saints’ Metairie practice facility Tuesday, the first day of minicamp and the first mandatory event the record-setting quarterback has missed as he continues working towards a long-term contract.

Saints Nation: Brees and Saints Inch Closer to Deal | June

Gap between Saints, Brees smaller than reported | ProFootballTalk
Widespread reports over the past several months have pegged the Saints’ offer at $18 million per year, with Brees’ demands north of $21 million. Some accounts have put Brees’ expectations at $23 million annually. Per a source with knowledge of the situation, that’s not the case. Brees, we’re told, has never asked for $21 million. And the Saints are believed to be offering more than $18 million, possibly closer to $19 million than $18 million.

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MORE ON BOUNTYFARCE:

Report: Roman Harper, Jo-Lonn Dunbar earned cash payments for hits in Detroit Lions playoff game - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
Yahoo! Sports report says league was very interested after hearing about payments from Pamphilon

SaintsWin: Analysis, Examination, Opinion: The Distorting Language of BountyGate
Goodell's goal was to make an example of some team, and the Saints fit the bill. Like the dim, flickering bulb he is, Goodell publicly admitted as much this past week. As he said, his "actions speak loudly" and that was his goal: to manufacture the perception that the NFL truly cares for player safety (which, of course, is bulls***). And which in all likelihood will prove irrelevant when the NFL inevitably ends up in court to face its former players. But no matter to the 2012 Saints.

New Orleans outside linebacker Scott Shanle helps bring perspective to Saints' bounty scandal - New Orleans Saints Football NFL News - NOLA.com
But the league and Commissioner Roger Goodell chose to paint the Saints' actions as the worst offenses against player safety in NFL history. So what would be the crime in giving the public enough specific detail to let us decide for ourselves?

Daily Special, June 6, 2012 - Who Dat Social Club
With no real bounty system in place, it becomes apparent that the Saints—and in particular, Gregg Williams—are being punished for speech.

Explaining the bounty system | ProFootballTalk
PFT Live, Segment 2: Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports says he does believe the Saints had a bounty system and gives us an understanding of the "cart-off" and "whack.

Scott Fujita: "I’m not proud of things that were said by Gregg Williams" | ProFootballTalk
Browns linebacker Scott Fujita, who is suspended for the first three games of the season for his role in the Saints' bounty scandal, still hasn't gone into much detail about what, exactly, his role was.

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TRANSCRIPTS:

Shanle Answers Tough Questions On Bounty Scandal, Admits Participation

I (Brian Allee-Walsh) spoke to Shanle under one condition between minicamp workouts Tuesday -- that he be honest. I'd rather him say nothing than lie.

He agreed to the ground rules.

SportsNOLA.com: Is there a ledger that allegedly contains the bounty payouts?

Shanle: I have no idea. I don't even know who the guy is who went and told the league about a Ledger. I mean what would prevent a disgruntled person from making up the Ledger story. How do you prove it? I mean if you saw a guy give another guy money, or if you turned on the tape and saw this guy take out a guy, you might have something. But there is none of that.

SportsNOLA.com: Did you ever see the ledger?

Shanle: No. I'm being honest. We had a 'performance-based pool' that had 'big hits' in it. That's what I mean: Are you telling me that guys are going to turn 'big hits' into an injury for $500 and run the risk of getting fined $50,000 by the NFL for a $500 pay day. It doesn't make sense. I think some people just want to believe it is a big deal. I think some people want to see Jonathan Vilma's picture on Sports Illustrated. I think some people want to think that every night we sat in a meeting room before a game and Drew (Brees) wrote Xs through people's faces. It's more interesting to do that.

SportsNOLA.com: Did you ever earn money from the bounty pool?

Shanle: From the 'performance-for-pay' pool? Yeah. That's what drives me crazy about this bounty thing. We called it a performance pool. Other people call it a Bounty pool.

SportsNOLA.com: How much did you earn?

Shanle: There was a point there when I was down $1,000, $2,000 last year in the performance-based pool. You'd get paid for fumble recoveries, interceptions, whatever, but if you messed up and you didn't make enough big plays you were in the negative.

SportsNOLA.com: Did you ever get ahead, in the black, if you will?

Shanle: Yeah, I made it out by the end of the year.

SportsNOLA.com: What was your biggest payday?

Shanle: I'd get $500 for fumbles, interceptions. Turnovers were big but you could make $100 on a 'big hit.' But if the media would have labeled it as a performance-based pool and called it that, it wouldn't have been as juicy or as interesting. We wouldn't have had a problem with that. But when the national media labeled it a bounty pool, wait a minute. It wasn't a bounty pool. In '09 it was the same thing. That's what we did.

SportsNOLA.com: Did Jonathan Vilma offer a $10,000 bounty on Favre, essentially to take him out of the NFC championship game, as it has been alleged by the league?

Shanle: If he did, it didn't happen in front of the team. Now, I don't know if guys had side bets with each other, like 'I'll give you $500 for a sack here or a sack there.' I don't know what kind of side bets went on ... But we never went outside the white lines. They show all these plays on TV that are connected to the Bounty Gate, and all I'm seeing are football plays. I don't see any flags. I don't see anybody getting hit late, out of bounds, and they are saying these plays represent the bounty pool. The saddest thing is this whole thing got blown way out of proportion, and I think it was blown out of proportion by the league to make an example out of us. It's sad that certain guys got made an example the way they did.

SportsNOLA.com: Will the real story -- the whole story -- ever come out?

Shanle: As time has gone on here, I find more fans who aren't (necessarily) Saints fans and more media people who aren't biased against the Saints, are coming around and thinking maybe there isn't much to this thing. When it goes on this long and you haven't given any concrete evidence as to why you suspended people for as long as you did, it kind of makes people start to doubt and wonder how much evidence there is. You feel like a desperate person when you say 'prove it.' But turn on the tape and show us where we were playing outside the game of football and hurting people, then you might have a case. But to turn a performance-pool into a bounty-pool and a bounty culture and this and that, I think that has been the most offensive part of this story.

SportsNOLA.com: In a twisted sense, your team and organization have almost become a marked group, a football villian, a team that has gone from a warm, fuzzy, feel-good story as Super Bowl champions to a team that everyone loves to hate. And Williams' seems to be Public Enemy No. 1. Agree or disagree?

Shanle: The thing is Gregg Williams has been coaching in the NFL for 30-some years. He is regarded as one of the best defensive minds in football. To me, Gregg is one of the best motivators in the NFL. He gets guys to play hard and nasty and aggressive for 16 weeks in row. That is not an easy task and Gregg was able to do that. Did Gregg say some of that stuff (on the Pamphilon tape prior to the Saints-49ers' divisional game in January)? Absolutely. But Gregg would get you to go to a place mentally that you couldn't get to just sitting in a room and chit-chatting. Gregg would say wild things. I can remember the first time that Gregg talked to us as a defense -- remember, we were going from (former Saints defensive coordinator) Gary Gibbs who was a mild-mannered guy, to Gregg Williams who was anything but mild-mannered. And Gregg got up there and talked for 45 minutes. Scott Fujita and I looked at each other and we thought, 'this guy is nuts.' But this is Gregg Williams and you accepted him for who he is. This is how he motivates his defense. He gets you to play fast, he gets you to play violent and, in the process of playing football, some people get hurt.

SportsNOLA.com: Do some people inside the Saints organization resent Williams and hold him responsible for what has transpired?

Shanle: I can only speak for myself. I think it's easy to look back at the facts, especially when his audio tape came out, and you just kind of put your hand in your head and go, 'Oh no!' But, we wouldn't have won the games we did and played the way we did if Gregg hadn't coached and said things like that. Like I said, Gregg is a great motivator. He got us to play nasty and together, and the chemistry he created on defense when he was here, we played outstanding together. I remember one of the things he told us, It's the 'I' and the 'me' generation, and he hated that s**t. He always said that. He made you believe if you weren't a team guy, you weren't going to play for him.

SportsNOLA.com: How do you think Gregg Williams will be remembered by the Saints organization?

Shanle: It's sad to me how things have turned out because in three years with Gregg we accomplished a lot. In Gregg's first year, we won a Super Bowl and now it feels like there's forever a wedge driven between the players/organization and Gregg Williams. The sad thing is 10, 20, years from now when we have a Super Bowl reunion, I'm just hoping that Gregg Williams would be there because he's a big part of what we accomplished. He brought an identity to us in '09 and an attitude, and I hope this whole bounty thing, doesn't ruin relationships and memories.

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New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Joe Vitt
Media Availability
Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Opening Statement:
"We had good work this morning. I thought we worked through the heat and humidity well. We are going to take our guys indoors this afternoon. We think there is some weather on the way. We are in a walk-through mode anyway like we were yesterday afternoon. We got the majority of our work done this morning."

Is it nice to see a little fire out there from the guys?
"I think we will back off. We will probably take them to a petting zoo tomorrow. Maybe do something nice for them like that. Yeah, it was great."

What was that all about?
"I didn’t ask. We don’t fill out questionnaires before something like that happens. It happened, everything is fine."

Why were Zach Strief and Chris Ivory held out?
"Zach has an ankle. He is going to be ok. We are just keeping him off it. We have him in a boot just to take precautions with it. Chris Ivory has a high-hamstring. It is not a sprain, it is just a little strain. We are just getting him ready for training camp."

How do you evaluate the defense’s ability to make interceptions in practice?
"We like it. The defensive staff loves it and the offensive staff hates it but it is competitive. I thought Chase (Daniel) really had a good practice. Chase threw two bad balls and both got picked. I thought he did a good job setting protections. I thought he did an outstanding job in the first period. He did a good converting on third down. He threw two balls that he wanted back in the third period. He had a good day."

Do you like to see a little activity like that? A skirmish?
"This is not new. This is not something that has never happened before. It is hot, they are working hard, tempers flare. We have a little scrum than we break it up and go back to work."

Do you plan to hold out Zach Strief and Chris Ivory until training camp?
"We are going to re-evaluate them on Monday. They are going to miss this afternoon and tomorrow. We will get them treatment over the weekend and evaluate on Monday."

Will you talk about the third quarterback position?
"Quarterbacks are important more than ever. We have a quarterback here now (Luke McCown) that is participating in our OTAs that kind of knows this system. He was with (Jon) Gruden. He understands the terminology and where to go with the ball right now. He is learning how to set protections. It is critical. You need to have somebody pulling the trigger. The quarterback and the center are the only guys touching the ball on every snap. It is critical and we need to have a confident player there."

How has Jahri Evans been performing?
"Good. The strength is there, the balance is there. He is still somewhat in a rehab mode, but he is taking more snaps every day and each week and is right on schedule. For Jahri, since I have known him since 2006 and this next portion of his conditioning from June to training camp has always been the most critical for him. The middle part of June to the middle part of July. He is going to be in pretty good shape going in so we are excited for him."

Is Marcel Jones picking things up quickly?
"I think so. We have a big-bodied guy who doesn’t panic out there. He has a learning curve right now but he has some innate athletic ability that will allow him to play the position. We are going to have to see where he is mentally and how far he can progress."

Is Marques Colston looking better than ever?
"I thought he had his best day today. I don’t think your eyes were lying to you. I think he had his best day today. You saw the fluidness, you saw him plucking the ball like only he can, catching the ball off his hip, and then he really shines when you get to the endzone. He had a great day."

Who is going to be in the third cornerback spot? Will it be Johnny Patrick?
"Johnny Patrick has played well all offseason. I think this, and this is my personal opinion, for somebody in the secondary, I think you make your biggest leap from year one to year two if you are going to be a player in this league. We saw with (Patrick) Robinson from a rookie year to his sophomore year, the jump that he made. I think Johnny Patrick is showing us that he is capable of making that jump. This game has become like basketball on grass where you have to sub personnel on first and second down. If you don’t have that third corner than you are in real trouble. We have drafted corners high around here. We have always had good corners around here which has allowed us to play fairly good defense and win some games. It is a critical position."

What is the most interesting thing you have learned about Coach Spagnuolo?
"I have known him for a long time. There are no surprises. He is exactly what I thought he was and more and what Sean (Payton) thought he was and more. He loves football, is a great teacher and is an outstanding motivator. The way that he talks to our players and teaches them, he is not condescending. He lets the players make a lot of decisions out there. He makes the players a part of the decision-making. We have a lot of the defense in right now and our guys are doing a good job of executing."

Does it get overlooked when you bring in a new coach like Spags?
"It is not overlooked by us. That was the first key acquisition that we made in this off-season. Spags has a great reputation in this league and justly so. Then, all of sudden, he has all of these offers and a chance to go someplace and he came here. He was able to bring some key members of his staff here who had jobs in other places also. That was our first key acquisition of the offseason. That kind of got the ball rolling for us."

Can you talk about the new linebackers?

Curtis Lofton, again, I think what I said about him last week. He continues to get better and is mastering the system. He has great communication skills. As you watch him practice, he is calling audibles and getting (the team) in better defenses every day as he is getting used to the defense. I think David Hawthorne is a pleasant surprise to me. We knew his athleticism. We knew he was a thumper. His ability to think and make adjustments and know the game of football has really been a pleasant surprise. He works hard every day. Chris Chamberlain was in the system. He knows this system, is a system-oriented linebacker and has mastered this system. He has been a good voice in the room to really help those other guys out. Those guys have been great acquisitions. Now, (Scott) Shanle is having a heck of a camp. Will Herring, this is his second year. He didn’t go through OTA’s last year, he just went to training camp. He is much more rehearsed in the defense this year than he was last year. There is some good competition. There are some good linebackers there."


How good is it to see a guy like Marques Colston performing well after getting a new contract?
"These guys earn these contracts. They don’t earn those contracts unless you know that you can depend upon them in the future. I don’t think that since we have been here in 2006 in any contract that Mickey has restructured or any people we have signed have let us down. We have good people who are accountable to one another. We take the game seriously. It is not a surprise. That is just who he is. That is the same Marques Colston we got from Hofstra in 2006. He is competitive, dependable, durable, and loves to play."

How are you transitioning to your new role?
"I have a long way to go. I guess right now I am undefeated. This will be the last time I am undefeated. I still have to do a better job of coaching the linebackers. I want to do a better job with the tempo of practice. I want to do a better job of the efficiency of our practice, with what we are doing in individual period and what we are doing in the fundamental period is something that I am going to continue to critique every day. Let my coaches critique me and what I can do better. Unless you are Tom Landry, Don Shula, or Bill Walsh, you haven’t arrived. This is an ongoing process and we will work every day to get better at it."

Does Joe Morgan have the ability to participate in coverage units on special teams?
"We are going to find out. We know he has that capability in the return game, we saw him do it last year. We really like his long speed. If we are comparing him right now to a young Robert Meachem his first year, that is what we think we have with this guy right now. We have a deep threat on the offense. We have a legitimate returner in the return game, now we have to find out about his coverage ability. If he is going to get 20-30 snaps on offense every game, maybe his coverage ability is not that important then. We are going to find out and I don’t think we will be able to find out until the preseason starts."

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VIDEO:

QB Chase Daniel Interview 6/6/12

LB Curtis Lofton Interview 6/6/12

Joe Vitt's Press Conference 6/6/12

Steve Spagnuolo's Press Conference 6/5/12

G Ben Grubbs Interview 6/5/12

QB Luke McCown Interview 6/5/12

S Roman Harper Interview 6/5/12

WR Nick Toon Interview 6/5/12











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