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Saints News: 5.11.08

And away we go...

The first article comes from the Sun Herald. It quickly tells us about Man Child's progression this weekend, then tells us what Coach Payton said when asked about the on-going Jeremy Shockey and Shaun Alexander rumors, among other things.

On Alexander...

"What you try to do is just look at the different options and get a chance to become more familiar with players than what you just see on tape," Payton said. "It was really just that. He's had a long successful career and he's still got some good years ahead of him, so we'll see where it takes him."

On Shockey...

When asked about whether or not improving depth at tight end is a priority in the offseason, Payton said, "If the right player was available and we felt like he could come in an compete with the guys we currently have on our roster, than we'd be interested in doing that."

On why they picked Mehlhaff over Georgia's Brandon Coutu...

Coutu was ranked by many as the draft's top kicker, but when special teams coaches Greg McMahon and Mike Mallory came back from both workouts, Payton said there was a "gap and a clear separation" between the two kickers in favor of Mehlhaff.

The article also speculates about a new location for training camp this year.

Training camp update - From all indications, the Saints plan to return to Millsaps College in Jackson for training camp for the third consecutive year. Or are they?

"I think it's Millsaps and then when I say that... ," Payton said.

He then asked vice president of communications Greg Bensel if the team had announced the location yet and Bensel said it hadn't.

Check out the extensive Q&A with Coach Payton at the New Orleans Saints official website. It's too long to paste the whole thing here, but you should definitely read it.

Two stories from the Times-Pic. The first is all about the rookies. Check it out. How are they doing so far?

Nicks and Arrington were among the rookies who admitted they weren't completely ready for the Gulf South elements, though they've been able to fight through it. Arrington said he had dropped just one pass through the first three practice sessions Friday and Saturday.

Ellis has shown the desire and explosiveness that made him attractive to the Saints, Payton said. And Porter has shown instincts in coverage, though he still hadn't reeled in that first interception as of Saturday afternoon.

Apparently, everyone was working a little too hard.

The players often create that high tempo, because so many of them are trying to get noticed. Payton said he had to stop the team during the first walk-through Friday morning to slow them down a bit.

"It was like a scrimmage," Payton said. "I had to tell them, 'Hey, you're not going to earn a spot in this walk-through.' But that's to be expected, I think."

The second article from the Times-Pic is about new kicker Tyler Mehlhaff and whether or not he could be the next Morten Anderson. Man, they put pressure on these kids early. The similarities are eery. Aside from the fact that the Saints haven't drafted a kicker since Morten Anderson in 1982, they are both left footed, they both played for Big Ten schools, and they both have strong and accurate legs.

"Obviously, that guy has stuck around forever," Mehlhaff said Saturday of the 47-year-old Andersen, a fourth-round pick from Michigan State who has professed a desire to be kicking when he's 50, although he is currently a free agent. "He's a kicking legend. Any kicker would love to accomplish what he's done. (The situation) is similar, but I'm just coming in. I haven't done anything. He's proven himself and is one of the greats now."

The Advocate takes a look at this weekends mini-camp through the eyes of the three local LSU players; Cornerback Jonathan Zenon, linebacker Luke Sanders, and wide receiver Josh McManus. They have an advantage both in comfort level...

Their familiarity with each other, experience with south Louisiana heat, and proximity to their college campus gives them a level of comfort that their counterparts don’t have.

“Everything is comfortable for me here,” Zenon, a native of Breaux Bridge, said between practices Saturday. “It kind of makes me feel like I’m right back at LSU. You just feel comfortable with (Sanders and McManus) here.

“It’s in my backyard so I feel like it’s the best opportunity for me to showcase my skills. I have a lot of family and fans here supporting me. I’m doing everything I can to impress the coaches.”

and preparation...

Payton said players that come in from top-flight programs such as LSU often have a clearer “vision” of how they’re going to find their niche.

“Those guys that come from a program like LSU, they come in with a swagger that they’re good enough to make this team and that’s a good thing,” Payton said. “They’ve been coached extremely well, they’re used to winning and being successful.

The Sun Herald had another article today, this one spotlighting DT DeMario Pressley. While Sedrick Ellis will get most of the attention this off-season for obvious reasons, DeMario should not be counted out.

"First thing I'm looking at is just to make the team," Pressley said. "If I make the team, I'll keep learning by continuing to work on my pass rush and my run technique. I've got to get better."

"I'm learning a lot and that's because coach Orgeron is a really intense coach," Pressley said. "With him, you have to move fast and have to learn fast. It's a totally different game from college, very different because of the speed.

"He's throwing a lot at you at a time, but I think I'm taking it on pretty well. With coach O, you've only got one chance to do it and do it right. So you better do it right that first time."

Here is what Coach thinks.

"I think he's going to be able to get stronger in our program and it will be important to him improve in that area," Payton said. "We talked a little about that yesterday. He has athleticism and some of that quick twitch that you are looking for."

Payton's aspirations for Pressley are apparent. Pressley and Ellis lined up side-by-side with Pressley playing the three spot (Brian Young's side) with Ellis at the nose (Hollis Thomas' side). Both of their lockers are also adjoined.

"(Pressley's) body of work probably isn't as long or has been as good as Ellis' but nonetheless, he's a young talent that we are encouraged about and excited to work with," Payton said.

Here's a story from the Fremont Tribune out of Nebraska. Just to make sure we talk about everyone, this article is about Adrian Arrington and Carl Nicks.

"I'm hoping to be a big steal," Arrington said. "I'm just trying to work hard every day in practice and do exactly what the coaches are telling me to do. When they see that, that's something they can work with."

Adrian also said he only dropped one pass so far this weekend.

This is what Nicks had to say.

"I always feel in my heart I was a good guy regardless of what people say," Nicks said. "So it's good to have a coach who says, 'Forget what happened, you're here now. I'm going to judge you on how you treat me and your teammates and how you are as a football player.'"

This weekend, they have had Nicks lining up at left guard.

And finally, in case you were worried about not getting any Shockey news, here it is . From the Star Ledger. Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride seems to be confused at what is going on with the Shockey situation.

"It's so nebulous right now. I just have no idea what's going to happen," Gilbride said. "Right now, he's on our team. We're planning on him being there and he'll be one of the guys we'll look to feature and depend on. Hopefully, he'll be here in good sprits and ready to do the things we know he's capable of doing. But who knows? It's certainly beyond my hands."

Is Shockey ever in good spirits? What is Jeremy feeling about this whole situation now anyway?

Gilbride wouldn't say what Shockey's feelings were on the matter, particularly when asked if he wants to come back and if he likes his role in the offense.

"It wouldn't be fair for me to divulge what was said by him and I would feel very uncomfortable doing that. I would feel like I was betraying his confidence," Gilbride said. "But we had a good talk and, again, the most important thing is I wanted him to know the way I felt."

When pressed on the issue of Shockey's role in the offense, Gilbride said, "Again, I don't feel real comfortable commenting on the exchange of ideas I came from him. I can tell you what I said. I just wanted him to know there's a place for him here and I think we're a better football team when he's here and as far as I'm concerned, he's an integral part of what we're doing."