Time for another Saints Chat with Mike Triplett from the Times-Pic. As always, you can find the entire thing right here.
On Reggie and the running backs.
I think the question you’re asking is probably the first question that Sean Payton asked himself heading into this offseason, and I think the answer is a definite yes. … The Saints will absolutely find ways to make Bush more effective this year and to take advantage of his unique talents. I think back to the final two months of that 2006 season, and Bush stood out to me as one of the most dangerous playmakers in the entire NFL.
The Saints will be the first to admit that they didn’t use Reggie to his full potential last year after Deuce went down with his knee injury. But now they’ve had a full year to get back to the drawing board, and I think Payton is one of the most creative offensive minds in the league. I expect really big things from Bush this season – and keep in mind, he’s healthier after fighting through that nagging knee injury most of last year.
Also, I think the Saints know they can trust Pierre Thomas and Aaron Stecker a little more now than they did last year, so they’ve got some better backup options if Deuce isn’t healthy.
On Devery Henderson.
I think Devery is definitely on the hot seat heading into training camp. He needs to prove that he is one of the three best receivers on the roster to keep his job, and that means out-shining Robert Meachem, among others. … But he has the skill set to do that. There’s a reason the Saints keep sticking with him despite the inconsistency and all those dropped passes. He’s a legitimate deep threat who gives defenses an extra dimension to worry about.
My best guess? Devery has a great preseason and wins the No. 3 job. He always seems to shine in July and August. Whether or not he continues that success into September and October, I’m going to wait to see it before I’m a true believer.
On Marques Colston's contract.
Obviously, this is a hot topic, but it’s not one I’m too worried about. Eventually, the Saints will pay Colston what he’s worth. They know how special he is, and they’re not gonna let him get away.
Obviously the Saints have proven time and time again that they see the value in getting these deals done before they become distractions. I don’t know for certain how they will operate with Colston, since he’s only set to become a restricted free agent next year and they’ll still have the first right of refusal with him. But my best guess is that they work something out before this season. … He won’t come cheap, though. He’s already a top-10 receiver in this league, and if you’re projecting forward, you might even rank him in the top five.
On Pierre Thomas.
Of course my first instinct is to tell you that’s a ridiculous question – that he was an undrafted tailback and that he’s only started one meaningless game in his entire career so far. But I’m not going to rule out the idea completely. He’s been very impressive every time he’s had a chance to audition, and he’ll probably continue to get better throughout training camp and the preseason. … He probably needs to get better at blitz pickups and reading defenses, and all the intricacies of the game that take years to master. But I’m sure the Saints will use him a lot more often in the rotation this season, especially if Deuce is limited by his injuries.
On our kickers.
Unfortunately, I can’t offer too much insight on the kicker battle just yet. You can’t tell too much on the practice field. Those first few preseason games will tell us a lot. … But I think Gramatica is the favorite. He earned the coaches’ trust last year, and now that he’s healthy, there’s really no reason to doubt him.
They might keep two kickers, if the rookie clearly has a stronger kickoff leg than Gramatica. They used two kickers down the stretch in 2006, so that’s obviously important to them. But it’s not like Gramatica is useless on kickoffs.
On Mike McKenzie.
So far, Todd, he’s supposedly on target to be practicing in training camp and playing in September. He hasn’t had any complications or setbacks. But "full speed" is always a case-by-case question. McKenzie plays a position that relies on speed and cutting ability. We won’t really know until he gets out there on the field in a preseason game.
On Skyler Green.
Skyler has been looking decent – but then again, he’s the kind of guy who really stands out when a team is practicing without pads because of his pure speed. … Unfortunately I’d consider him a long shot to make this roster. He’s already been cut by the Cowboys and Bengals, so he’s obviously not quite at the Devin Hester level. He needs to be superb to earn a roster spot solely as a return man, because the Saints do have guys like Reggie Bush, Tracy Porter, Pierre Thomas, etc., who can also return kicks.
Here's an interesting tidbit reported by Pro Football Weekly. It's short so I will just repost the whole thing.
With Saints FS Josh Bullocks out for OTAs while on the mend from knee surgery, Kevin Kaesviharn has moved ahead in the race to become the team’s starting free safety, the way we hear it. Bullocks is the incumbent at the position and has started 43 of the 46 games he has played in during his three seasons in the league, but his performance has been inconsistent, particularly in coverage. Missing a large chunk of time that could have been spent working on eliminating mistakes that plagued him in the past didn’t help his cause as he enters his contract year. Kaesviharn started three games last season, his first with New Orleans, but sources say he looks like the more dependable option at this point and is penciled in as the starter next to SS Roman Harper, who also has encountered consistency issues. Competition throughout the Saints’ secondary should last through training camp and the preseason as defensive coordinator Gary Gibbs tries to improve his unit’s pass defense, which ranked 30th in the league last season.
Interesting. Good to know.
The Sporting News did a breakdown of wide receivers in the NFC. Nothing new here for the Saints.
8. New Orleans Saints: Marques Colston is a big target and a go-to guy in the red zone. David Patten was a pleasant surprise as the No. 2 in '07. Devery Henderson has too many drops, and Robert Meachem must rebound from a lost rookie year.
Marques Colston was in the last spot on their Top 5 NFC receivers list.
Yet another episode of The Manning's. Today we follow brothers Peyton and Eli as they host 'Iberia Bank Air-It-Out' session in John L. Guidry Stadium on July 12 at 11 a.m. as part of the Manning Passing Academy. This is the fourth year the Manning Passing Academy has been held at Nicholls.
The Manning Passing Academy helped spearhead the complete renovation of the playing surface in John L. Guidry Stadium last year. Archie Manning, former New Orleans Saints quarterback and current spokesman for AstroTurf, was responsible for getting the turf donated by General Sports Venue. In a ceremony last year before the camp, the field in John L. Guidry Stadium was officially named `Manning Field by AstroTurf.'
Man this family is busy. And Archie is the spokesman for AstroTurf? Is there any gig this family doesn't turn down?
After yesterdays pole I see that its a pretty even split down the middle as far as the jumps are concerned. In an effort to compromise I will try and mix it up a bit.