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Saints News: 5.07.08

Finally! Rookie Mini-camp is coming this friday. It has been so frustrating sitting here waiting while most teams were already starting their camps. The New Orleans Saints official website has the article

“The goal is to indoctrinate these players into our system,” said Head Coach Sean Payton. “It’s a chance for them to see how we practice, learn our terminology and get them ready to compete for a position on this team. The mini-camp is here to teach them about our system, the structure and an introduction of the building and the people that are going to be teaching them and instructing them.”

The newest members of the team will undergo a whirlwind tour of life in the big leagues soon after their arrival, ranging from five practices, hosts of team and position meetings, their introduction to the team’s playbooks, and an assortment of other responsibilities ranging from physicals, uniform and helmet fitting to headshots and their first meeting with the local media.

Here are more words from Coach Payton. Listen up!

“It’s probably a little bit slower and designed to bring them up to speed,” Payton said. “The players coming in this weekend are behind right now. The veteran players that are here have been here for the better parts of 30 days in the off-season strength and conditioning program. So really what we are looking to do with these players is to bring them up to speed and how we call things. There is a little bit of orientation that goes into it, because when the veterans are here, it is already understood.”

“It’s an opportunity for us to see what they can do,” Payton remarked about the players here on tryouts. “We have had players in here, like (tight end) Billy Miller, that were here on tryouts before, and (wide receiver) Jamal Jones in 2006, that we’ve had success with. We’re just trying to find players that can help our team and it gives us a chance to increase the number of players that are here and competing. We take a good look at these players and give them an opportunity to show what they can do.”

“What’s most important to us as a coaching staff,” Payton said, “is that we have a tempo and a pace that we expect based on the periods. It’s not important to me that we get a lot of offense and defense taught as it is that we get the base fundamentals in.

“It’s a chance for us to get some first impressions of what we think we have in the draft class, the free agent class or the guys we invited in for tryouts. It’s really designed to get them off and running and to help them get ready for mini-camp, the OTA’s and training camp.”

For an opinion on the whole Shaun Alexander meeting thing-a-ma-jiggy, which by the way is happening today, check out this article at The Fanhouse.

But let's not overreact. This is just a (flat) tire kicking. Alexander is making visits, the Saints might need a back at some point. The two sides are familiarizing. That doesn't mean either will like what they find.

For Alexander, it doesn't make sense to sign with any team right now; his value is at its lowest. He'll wait until camp to capitalize on injuries, when he'll command more money. And if the Saints really had an interest in replacing Deuce, they would have surely been better off addressing the need in the draft or with a rookie free agent. They didn't bring a single back into the fold.

My favorite part is the picture of the beat up car. Funny.

FYI: Denver is also reported to be interested in Shaun Alexander, as well as Dominic Rhodes. From ESPN.

As a rebuttal to Peter King's rankings yesterday (I am still angry. Sixteenth? The Panthers? Dude.) I found this analysis of the five teams that should get over the playoff hump from Fox Sports. Yeah, you know who is on the list.

New Orleans Saints (7-9 last season): OK, while they could have been a bit better at upgrading pass coverage, the Saints' defense just has to be improved with established pro Jonathan Vilma at linebacker and rookie tackle Sedrick Ellis plugging the middle. The efforts of Ellis should enable ends Charles Grant and Will Smith to pressure quarterbacks with enough gusto to prevent excessive danger to the Saints' corners.

With QB Drew Brees still in his prime, the New Orleans offense should be fit as a fiddle. The key here may be the continued emergence of a young running back (but do I mean Reggie Bush or Pierre Thomas?) and the return of Deuce McAllister.

The addition of Jeremy Shockey would have been nice, but it's been demonstrated that great success can be achieved without him.

You know who else was on this list though?

Carolina Panthers (7-9): I just couldn't muster enough faith in an NFC West team, so we're going with another upgrade from the NFC South.

This pick, of course, is making the huge assumption that QB Jake Delhomme will go from bad elbow to beyond competent. I also nearly talked myself off the Panthers while remaining unconvinced that the return of Muhsin Muhammad will make things easier for superstar receiver Steve Smith.

But, as a card-carrying Pac-10 guy, I think a lot of rookie runner Jonathan Stewart, who -- teaming up with DeAngelo Williams -- should give John Fox a nice running game to build around.

I'm also a fan of adding rookie linebacker Dan Connor to a defense that really needs Julius Peppers to impersonate Julius Peppers this year.

Ugh! This is crap. Check out the whole article though, the intro is pretty funny.