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Saints News: 6.10.08

Yes I know, Colston was not at voluntary OTAs. If you haven't already heard this news, the Times-Pic has all the necessary info. The Sun Herald also has some news. But just so you don't have to click those links, here is what you really need to know.

"Colston was a miss, again these are voluntary," said Coach Sean Payton, who said he had not heard from Colston, though two other players were listed as "excused" from Monday's work, first-round draft choice Sedrick Ellis and center/guard Matt Lehr. "A lot of times guys will be traveling, in his case, probably traveling West. I'll find out today. I'll give him a call and find out what the deal is. He's done pretty well so far."

I think we should wait and see what the deal is before we start saying he is holding out. I hope he's not.

The Sun Herald article also tells us that Mehlhaff and Gramatica are neck and neck at this point.

"I haven't seen enough, really," Payton said. "Hopefully once we get into training camp and get into some live situations we'll see a lot more. I think that really defines itself. He has a strong leg and you see that.

" I'm anxious to get started because we'll have a good competition there, which is a positive. Once we start playing and he's able to kick live in games - we've kind of created that scenario a little bit, but it's harder to do right now."

The Times-Pic also had an article today about TE Mark Campbell. They tell us that his absence on the field last season was part of the reason for the poor running game. With Campbell all cleaned up and ready to go, fans should expect to see a better running game. Here are the quotes.

Campbell on the Saints weak running game.

"I think it was a combination of a bunch of things, and I was a piece of that," said Campbell, who now considers himself 100 percent physically. "To say how much it affected it, personally I'd like to think that was a good part of it. I know I could have helped. That's for sure. But obviously without Deuce in, that's huge, and it kind of takes away our identity."

 On being a run blocking tight end.

"I think throughout my career that's what I've been," Campbell said. "The tight ends in the NFL kind of get labeled one way or another, receiver or blocker. I think throughout my career, I've been more of a blocker anyway."

"I agree with that," Campbell said. "I think when it comes down to it, and this comes from my background at Michigan, we were taught you run the ball to win games. When it comes down to it, at some point during a game you're going to have to control the line of scrimmage. And normally that's done through running the ball.

"Now whether you have your passing game set up your running game, or your running game set up your passing game, one way or another, you have to be able to run the ball when you need to, whether it's third-and-1 or fourth-and-goal, these are all essential times when you have to be able to run the ball, and I think this is where I can contribute."

And of course coach Payton has something to say about him.

"I think it's important for him to be healthy because he gives you a little bit more mass at the point of attack," said Coach Sean Payton, who conceded that Campbell is probably the best run-blocking tight end on his roster. "We talked about this very subject a few weeks ago in regards to the competition specifically at that position as it pertains to a run-blocking tight end, someone that's a little more stout.

"Having him back out here right now is a good thing, and hopefully he can stay healthy. How much effect that specifically had on the run game a year ago is a good question, but it certainly helps to have him out there."

The New Orleans Saints official website did one of its usual "get better acquainted with" stories. This one was about Jason Craft. The angle here is basically the fact that Craft is a veteran, almost surprisingly, and he has seen a lot new faces and young talent come through the Saints locker room. And still he remains. It was actually pretty informative and I didn't know all of the info contained in the article. Definitely worth a look. Here are some quotes from the man of the hour.

“There have been a lot of new faces in here,” Craft said of the team’s locker room. “But I look around and you think of all the good guys in here that really want to win and how much fun it is to come to work and be working towards that goal of a championship. The offense really tests us on a daily basis and we test them back. There is a lot of pride in here.”

“By nature, every player worries anytime a new player is coming in that could potentially take your job,” Craft said. “But I think back during my career and think about some players that got caught up worrying about something they couldn’t control and it psyched them out and they mentally were not tough enough to battle through it. And, it cost them.”

And here is what other had to say about Craft.

“He’s done a good job in the offseason,” Head Coach Sean Payton said of Craft. “He’s been here throughout and he’s familiar with what we’re doing. We’ve tinkered with a few things defensively and he’s handled that. He’s a pretty quick study, and he’ll be in competition with some of these other guys. Once we get into the heat of things, he’ll be in the mix and I think he knows that.”

“Jason makes you reach into your bag of tricks,” said WR David Patten, also a double-digit veteran of the NFL. “Just lining up against him, he can read where you line up on a field and start to eliminate the type of routes you are going to run, and that’s just something he has picked up on over the course of his career. Younger guys might not understand it quite yet, but a vet like Jason does, so you have to work even harder against him.”

“He is always working with the younger players at his position,” Patten said. “But the thing that impresses me the most about what he does after a play is that he will pull a young receiver aside and work with him and explain things to him. That’s pretty rare, and it’s a sign of a true team guy.”

“He’s a true pro,” said third-year safety Roman Harper. “He’s smart and picks up things very quickly and then he can tell which of the young guys might struggle with a concept or scheme and he jumps right in to help them out.”

“And, he’s one of the nicest guys I have ever met,” Harper said. “He likes to laugh and kid around when it’s time, but he is dead serious about the game. You can rely on him and know that when it comes right down to it, he’ll be ready.”

Peter King had his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback article . And he did his usual "Ten Things I Think I Think." Number 3...

3. I think if any GM wants New Orleans cornerback Jason David, he should give Saints GM Mickey Loomis a call.

This is kinda out of left field. I haven't heard anything about this. Does Mr. King know something we don't know ? I can't imagine Jason David's trade value is very high at this point.

In light of the recent Triple Crown upset at the Belmont Stakes, has compiled its own list of quarterbacks who could possibly win their version of the NFL triple crown: league leader in QB rating, yards and touchdowns. Believe it or not, it's only been done three times since 1978, Tom Brady in 2007, Kurt Warner in 2001 and Dan Marino in 1984. Among the possible contenders this year is our very own Drew Brees.

For being one of the smallest QBs in the NFL, Drew Brees has been one of the most consistent performers over the last three seasons. Brees doesn’t have the kind of playmakers that the other nominees possess, but he has the ability to locate his receivers quickly and deliver the ball with precision. Although Brees is highly accurate, he’s been haunted by the one or two lapses in a game where he will turn the ball over. The amount of interceptions Brees throws each year will hurt his attempt to win the Triple Crown, as he’s averaged 15 interceptions over the last three seasons. But, during that same period, he’s averaged 4,139 yards, 26 touchdowns and a respectable 91.6 QB rating. During the last three years, one in San Diego and two in New Orleans, Brees has led his teams to a 26 - 22 record.

Instead of practicing today, the Saints will be helping rebuild New Orleans. Per the New Orleans Saints official website.

Working in tandem with Rebuilding Together New Orleans, Inc., the four busloads of players will depart the club’s facility and work for four hours at all three sites – painting the interior and exterior, building fences, installing lattice work and landscaping the yards of all three sites.