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Saints News: 5.31.08

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Alright, I guess we have to talk about Will Smith today. Here is the latest from the Times-Pic. This is what Big Willy Style had to say for himself.

"It's a decision that me and my agent (Joel Segal) talked about," Smith said. "I want to be a team guy, be here for my teammates. The main goal is to win a Super Bowl this year, so I wanted to be here and help the team out."

"I've got to take it one day at a time," he said of being in New Orleans and working out with the team the rest of the offseason. "We'll see what happens after this weekend."

"Gotta see what happens," he said of reporting to Jackson, Miss., for training camp. "You never know. Got to take it one day at a time."

John DeShazier of the Times-Pic thinks he should and will get paid sooner rather than later. I think I agree. Let's finish it up with more Will quotes.

"It's two parts of it -- there's the football part of it and the business part of it," Smith said. "A lot of people confuse the two. I've got to be here for the football part, and the business part is totally different. That's something my agent and Mickey (Loomis) will figure out, hopefully in the near future.

"You never know. You've just got to take it in small steps. This is not going to happen overnight. It's going to be a gradual process, and we've got a lot of time to get something done. I'm hopeful that we'll get something done in the future."

The Advocate had its own article on the Will Smith situation, replete with more quotes from the man himself.

“It’s a slow process and I knew that going into it,” Smith said between workouts. “I knew it wouldn’t be (quick). I’ve got to see what happens. You never know. I’ve got to take it one day at a time and I’m hopeful that something will get done in the near future.”

“That’s all voluntary and you don’t have to be there,” Smith said of the offseason program, which began in mid-March and ends June 12.

“The mini-camp is something you have to be at. It’s important to start off the 2008 season. It’s important. That’s why I’m here.”

Smith said he has been working out five days a week. “It’s not like I’m missing out on work,” he said. “I’m always training. My body is my job. Every day I’m working hard and trying to get better.”

“You just have to take it in small steps,” he said. “This is not going to happen overnight. It’s going to be a gradual process and we’ve got a lot of time to get something done and hopefully we will get something done in the near future.”

With all of his talking to the media, how did he even find time to actually practice!

The Sun Herald gives us an update on Deuce.

"He probably went 30 percent, 20 percent," coach Sean Payton said. "Selectively on certain reps. He had his recheck last week in Birmingham. We are just bringing him along with a few other guys the same way. He took some but not a lot of reps."

"The one common denominator is that you are still in helmets and jerseys really," Payton said. "You've just got to be mindful of that. I would probably liken his reps to where he was two years ago at this time coming off the other ACL. It's getting his weight down and getting in shape and bringing him along so where there's no setback."

More  from the Times-Pic, this time about the fresh meat on the team.

"Be it through free agency or the draft, there were some position needs, and we fell into opportunities to hopefully address some of those needs," Payton said after Friday's first mandatory minicamp practice when asked to assess his confidence level on whether those moves are paying off. "It's hard to tell without getting these guys into the live drills.

"Each offseason, when you go through the acquisition of players, you feel good about what you've done. I think as we move forward and we get into training camp and the preseason, you get a better feel for what you have. Right now, we're pretty much set with the numbers we're looking at, and we're just getting these guys up to speed."

Yesterday I talked about how there was only positive things to say about the team at this point. Not any more.

There were moments Friday when both new corners were victimized by big plays.

Porter, playing on the right side in McKenzie's spot, bit on a flea-flicker fake that left wide receiver Lance Moore alone for a deep catch on one play.

And on the next snap, Terrance Copper blew past left corner Gay for a wide-open down-field look.

Ahhhhh. Now thats more like it. Porter defends himself.

"I mean, it's always a good opportunity to get reps when you can get them, whether it's with the ones or the twos or even the threes," Porter said. "This is the NFL. All the guys are high-caliber guys. For the coaches to mix it up and put DBs in different positions and get looks at different guys with the groups, I mean, it definitely gives you experience, and it allows you to get a sense of chemistry with different guys on different units."

Here is something from McCray, who has sort of gotten lost in the mix a little thig offseason.

"We're still at the beginning stages, getting back into shape and things like that, learning new plays and getting back to fundamentals," McCray said. "but (speed) is a key asset for me, getting some speed up the field and getting some pressure on the quarterback.

"They brought me in, a cornerback, a linebacker (Jonathan Vilma). A lot of people they're bringing in to get this team a lot better. That's what we're focusing in on right now."

Payton wraps it up...

"I think certainly we feel the need to improve on (the defensive) side of the ball. We talked (Thursday) night specifically about a number of statistics and things that applied not only to our defense, but to our kicking game, as well as our offense. I think there's a number of things we've got to pay attention to coming off a season where you finish 7-9."

James Varney (not the actor who played Ernest in those lovable goofball comedies) of the Times-Pic brings us news about the Saints deal with the state of Louisiana.

"I wouldn't be surprised if the topic came up," Jindal said when asked about the Saints' deal with the state set to expire in 2010.

"I'm ready to start talking!" Saints owner Tom Benson interjected from the side of a small stage on which Jindal had spoken for several minutes urging southern Louisiana residents to take hurricane preparedness seriously.

Who cares about hurricane preparedness? Could we please talk about football.

"I'm interested in the Saints being here throughout my administration and beyond my administration," Jindal said. "I understand we have to have a long-term plan in place, and I would love to have the spotlight the Super Bowl presents to show the country how our recovery is going."

Moving on, the article tells us that QB Tyler Palko is not making a very good case for being Drew Brees' backup.

Palko, who is in his second year from Pittsburgh, fumbled snaps, overthrew receivers and fell in one drill after the exchange with center.

Yet another Live Chat with Times-Pic writer David Gladow. Check the whole thing out here.

On the wide receivers...

I've gone on record saying Hendersen's days as a Saint may be numbered.   I honestly believe that there are only two ways for him to keep his job:

1.) He finds a role and excels at it on special teams.
2.) Meachem flops.

That doesn't mean everyone else is safe though.   Copper would figure to make the team due to his special teams contributions, and the same can be said of Moore to a lesser degree, but Arrington is off to a great start in camp and could very well complicate things.   I think Henderson will have to have an outstanding preseason, and Copper and Moore will have to have good ones to hold the rookie off.

 I think that the Saints play so many 3-receiver sets he'll end up getting a ton of time regardless.

I really expect it to be Colston, Patten, Meachem, in that order.

On Mike McKenzie...

I think it will be struggle for him all season.   In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if we saw a position change.

Could McKenzie be the answer at safety?   I honestly don't think it's a bad idea at all.   His explosiveness won't be back for another year or so, but he CAN play the ball in the air well ... his instincts won't have gone anywhere.

If that doesn't happen (and I haven't seen any indication that it will), I like Kaes as well.   He's not the most consistent player in the world, but at least he'll deliver the good with the bad.   I think he'll get a fair shot at the position, so it will ultimately be decided this preseason.

On starting corners...

I like Gay and Porter at the corners, with David playing nickel.   Team McKenzie with Harper and you may suddenly have something.

On tight ends...

Miller has been the most consistent, but Johnson has the flufflier resume and can probably do more things down the field.   Provided there are no new additions, you'll see the same things you did last year -- heavy rotations with the two of them and Mark Campbell.

More news on the ongoing Reggie Bush investigation. This comes from an article in the San Diego Union Tribune. Apparently, Bush and his attorneys avoided most of about 70 questions posed to them and answered only nine of them. Brian Watkins, the attorney for Lloyd Lake, the man suing Bush, had this to say.

“They are doing whatever they can to avoid this,” Watkins said. “They're completely bogus objections.” He said the questions that were answered were basic ones such as whether Bush's parents lived in the house, which they acknowledged.

Bush's attorney's responded saying this, in an email...

“Plaintiff did not produce any of the alleged tapes or any documents that establish he made any payments to anyone,” Cornwell said in an e-mail. “Plaintiff's discovery responses also indicate that he will continue to hide behind the Fifth Amendment.”

Basically, all this means is that the squabbling continues and no one is getting anywhere with all of this. The only people who are winning in this entire situation are the lawyers who represent the respective parties, who I'm sure continue to collect their large hourly wages as the battle continues. I am in the wrong business.

Stay classy San Diego.

Alex Marvez at Fox Sports gave his opinion on which players teams should pay, ignore, or trade. Will Smith was among those who should be paid.

New Orleans defensive end Will Smith: The Saints appeared ready to let Smith leave via free agency in 2009 when signing Charles Grant to a seven-year, $63 million contract and adding Bobby McCray in free agency. But Grant's NFL future is in question after he was recently indicted on involuntary manslaughter charges from an altercation at a Georgia nightclub. Even if Grant is ultimately cleared, Smith (17.5 sacks and 115 tackles the past two seasons) might be the better player.

What about Colston? Definitely gotta sign him!

Fox Sports also had this article about the Saints running back situation, Nothing new here. Basically, Reggie Bush was disappointing last season and needs to step it up this year.

CBS Sports quickly talks about Jonathan VIlma's progression. I am pretty sure most of this was already covered, but just in case, here you go .

"I'd say I'm pretty close," Vilma said. "I'm pretty close, barring any setbacks. I should be ready to go by training camp. ... I feel good about where I am right now, but I'm not going to be satisfied until I get out there and we're playing full pads."