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2008 Training Camp Review - Day 5

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I would like to start off today by talking a little business. This is the part where I get all serious. Sorry for those of you who have been here a while, please be patient. With the Shockey trade and the start of training camp, CSC has seen quite an increase in traffic. In fact, double. Being a fairly new community in comparison to other SB Nation sites, I am making a concerted effort to grow this community and increase participation. That is really what this is all about. Though this is considered a blog, SB Nation has provided us with something that is much more than that. Though I provide you with probably every single tidbit that is ever written about the Saints in any given day, literally, this is not just a place to come to find links. Its also not a place for you to come to just listen what I write. If people came here to read what I wrote...well, they just wouldn't come. CSC is for all of you to come share your feelings, questions, experiences and knowledge about the Saints and get more of that in return. I will be the first to admit I have not been as engaging as I know I can be and I am going to try and make a better effort with that. But this website also gets infinitely better when you guys get involved.

When we first started, I wrote sort of a tour of this site and you can now find that tour here, or on the left sidebar under sections. Though some of the things may have changed around, that will give you a general idea of some of the features here on CSC. The most important thing for you guys to know are the FanPosts and the FanShots. The FanPost section is basically like a message board. Actually, its cooler. You guys can use them to start topics that YOU want to discuss. Want to know whats up with Roman Harper and his neck? Put it up in a FanPost. Incredibly pissed off at at the fact that two players were injured on one play yesterday? FanPost that s***! And the rest of you put in your two cents. If you particularly like a FanPost, Recommend it. When a FanPost gets 4 Recs. it goes toward the top. Thats how this thing works. The best thing about the FanPosts and all comment threads on CSC for that matter...they are auto-refreshing. That means you don't need to hit your refresh button. Comments just magically appear on your screen when someone else makes one. Oh, and by the way, if I like what you write in a FanPost, I can choose to put it right up on the front page in all its glory for everyone to see. The same goes for the FanShot section, only the FanShots are just for quick pictures, videos, audios, links, quotes, whatever! So if you've got some time on your hands, volunteer yourself and put up some of those training camp pictures I keep giving you the link for. We can never have too much Shockey. Finally, the other great thing about CSC are the game day open threads. Anytime the Saints have a game, there will be what is called an "open thread." When the game starts, stop by CSC and chat with other Who Dats about the game. Live! And again, with auto-refreshing comments, it's reads just like a chat room!

Of course this only works if we all stop lurking, do our part and make this fun. There is power in numbers. It's cool that I update this site fairly often and give you guys fresh stuff to read, but its even cooler if there are also new pictures and videos posted and a new topic to discuss in the FanPosts. that some of you guys add. The more the merrier and everyone's opinion is valid...unless you like Aaron Brooks.

I also ask that if you like what you are seeing here, help us grow and spread the word. Tell all your friends and share this site as much as possible.

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Also, in case any of you missed this, you can still register to win a spot to play in CSC's Fanhouse fantasy football league against other Saints fans and take a shot at beating me! You won't, but you can at least try. It's free so you have got nothing to lose! Register here! Winners will be notified by email at the end of the month, so hurry up and register. Check out my original post here. Some of you have gotten personal emails to join the league and not signed up yet. If you think this might be you, check your SB Nation email and make sure to check Spam/Bulk Folder.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

The big story of late is the continued absence of first round pick Sedrick Ellis. I have as much information as everyone else, which is nothing, so I won't waste your time pretending I do. Other writers are giving you long quotes from Coach Payton about missing reps, yada, yada, yada. Payton really summed it up in two words at yesterday's press conference. I love this one.

When do you really start getting concerned about him not being here?

"Last Friday."

- New Orleans Saints official website

'Nuff said.

Will Smith and Jammal Brown got into a little tussle in the afternoon.

"It was just a little scuffle, that's all," he said. "Me and Jammal have our battles from time to time, and it gets a little heated. But he's a good friend of mine and I love him to death. It just gets competitive. One morning he'll win and one morning I'll win. I'll keep winning and I'll keep winning and he gets a little mad and it gets a little heated. But it's just competitive." - Times-Pic

I listened to Bobby McCray talk with Bobby and the boys on Sports Talk. His nickname is 93 Octane. He sounded very optimistic and very positive about the entire defense. He has been pretty impressive in training camp and I think what he can bring to this defense is incredibly more valuable and important than people are giving him credit for. McCray is not as big as other lineman but he is much faster, making him effective on third downs and passing situations. The Saints defensive line is much deeper with McCray and having a talented third end to rotate in keeps everyone fresh and allows the Saints to really wear down the opposing line. It also provides insurance in case of an injury to Smith or Grant.

Good news on the injury front. Coach Payton said in a press conference yesterday that neither Tracy Porter nor Devery Henderson's hamstring injuries are too serious. We can all breathe now. Other good news with Mike McKenzie returning to the field for the first time this afternoon. This doesn't seem right to me. Isn't this way too early? Deuce is barely ready to go full speed and gave us al a scare the other day. McKenzie injured himself two and half months after Deuce, so how could McKenzie be ready so soon? There is no way Deuce was ready two and a half months ago. I know Payton said they are going to keep an eye on it and not push it, but why even risk it?

Notes from the day:

  • It was freaking hot out there.
  • The defense was on fire in the morning. Usama Young, who needed to step it up, did.
  • A lot of red zone work yesterday. The offense struggled in the morning.
  • None of the quarterbacks were very impressive, all throwing interceptions.
  • Arrington was Brunell's favorite target, going to him a few times. Arrington again looked great, but dropped an easy one in the end zone.
  • Brian Young finally practiced in the morning and sat out the afternoon.
  • McKenzie missed the morning but practiced in the afternoon.
  • Colston uncharacteristically dropped two passes.
  • Meachem needs a little work on special teams.
  • We got a little look at the punter battle. Waylon Prather seems to be putting up a good fight. In reference to my "mock" draft a long time ago, how funny is it going to be if he makes this team?
  • Hollis Thomas took the afternoon off.
  • Lance Moore will have to help out on special teams to make the team.
  • Skyler Green seems to be a long shot to make the team.
  • Bobby McCray missed the afternoon session.
  • The play of the day was, of course, an Adrian Arrington catch in the end zone. Chris Reis nailed him, but Arrington hung on. I am picturing something ala "Jerry Maguire"

With week one in the bag, its time to give out some awards to those players who deserve them.

Most Impressive: Definitely Adrian Arrington. AA is on the mouth's of everyone and there is a good possibility he might make this team even in a crowded race. Special teams play is going to make the difference in obtaining one of those final receiver spots and Arrington seems only average in that department (and blocking) but everything said about him so far leads me to think he is too good to pass up.

Player I really didn't think I would even be talking about: Jo-Lonn Dunbar. Bobby Hebert is pretty high on this guy and he's not the only one. Obviously we have made an upgrade at linebacker with Vilma, but how nice would it be to get some more depth at the position out of someone we least expected.

Biggest Disappointment: Gotta be Sedrick Ellis. Nothing more disappointing then not seeing someone play. Maybe today is the day we finally get to see him.

Interesting battle: Punt returner. Nobody really discussed this before training camp as one of the battles to look at, but it seems wide open at this point. Reggie, Pierre, Skyler, Lance, maybe even Tracy Porter.

Feel free to give out your own awards in the comment section.

Check out this video from CST about backup quarterback Mark Brunell.

The Times-Pic has three separate articles on three separate players.

The first one is about Jonathan Vilma.

"I'm excited about it, excited to be on a new team, " Vilma said after another hot practice. "I have brought nothing but positives. I just want to win. I want to bring a winning attitude to this defense and help guys win. The transition has been smooth. My teammates have helped that a lot."

The competition is great, " Vilma said. "You've got Mark Simoneau, a proven player, great player, so that makes me play harder. I hope I'm making him better. It's always great to have competition. Whatever happens from there happens."

"This defense can be a whole lot better, " he said "Last year, (30th) in the passing game, you can do nothing but improve from there. But it's one thing to improve, and it's another to be a top-tier defense. We want to improve, but we want to be up there with the best.

"It takes a little bit of everything. A little improvement on tackling, on scheme, on technique. Guys want to improve a little bit, and if they do, the defense gets better.

"I'm seeing from the first day that guys are really trying to get better and improve. You don't see guys taking plays off. "

"It's definitely the guys up front. We have a really talented defensive line; a really talented set of defensive ends, " he said. "They're going to be able to carry us. We're going to hold our own at linebacker and at defensive back, but we're going to really count on the defensive line to get the job done."

The next goes in depth with Charles Grant.

"This is what I get paid to do, " Charles Grant said. "When you're in training camp, nothing else matters but football. That's the only thing I'm focused on right now.

"I barely talk to my mom when I'm here. I probably talk to her one time when I'm here. There's a lot that doesn't even exist in this world besides football when you're here."

"I'm doing good, " Grant said when asked how he was holding up. "All of us are doing good. It's a blessing. God is good all the time."

"It's not hard, " he said of keeping off the weight. "This is what I love to do, play football. And if it's going to add five, six more years to my career, why not do it? I've got family to take care of, my kids, and I want to make sure they're happy.

"By me shedding that weight, it helped my ankle injury out. All that weight isn't on it anymore; I'm just playing football."

"I want to be the best, " Grant said. "There's nothing else. When Coach Has (Jim Haslett) and (General Manager) Mickey (Loomis) drafted me, they drafted a player to go out and be the best. I want to be the best, and being the best means being in top shape, going out there and doing what's right and helping the guys on this football team have a chance to win a Super Bowl."

Finally, Mike McKenzie tells his side of the story.

"All offseason I have really been working hard, " McKenzie said. "I did a lot of conditioning work and a lot of covering, so this was the next natural progression, for me to come on out and get some team work."

"Actually I'm looking forward to Week 1; this is just part of the process."

"I want to get enough work to know that I'm ready to go. The next procession is, how long can I go for? Can I go for a whole game; can I go for a half? I have to gauge at what point do I feel pain, at what point do I wear out. That's kind of what training camp is for me right now."

More about Vilma and the linebacking corp from The Advocate.

“If you’re getting that knock, you just have to prove them wrong,” Vilma said. “I’m not big into reading the newspapers and watching ESPN to see what they’re saying about us and things like that. But I know if we go to work and produce, people aren’t going to say that anymore.”

“I didn’t have bad times in New York, the only thing that was bad was my injury,” he said. “But it’s a new start for me with a new team, new teammates, new system. So we’ll see how it goes from here.

“I’m very excited to be here. I’m excited about the guys I’m around, the teammates that are with me and the competition at the linebacker spots. The competition is very healthy. Mark is really pushing me and doing a great job. Everything about this camp has me happy, and I’m in good spirits.”

Fujita speaks.

“Obviously, Mark responds to competition,” said Fujita, who led the Saints last season with 119 tackles while Simoneau was second with 97. “He did last year and he has throughout his career. He took a lot of flack last year and it was completely unwarranted.”

“The numbers don’t lie,” Fujita said. “If you look at the numbers from last year, we didn’t do our job. That’s what we’re working on right now. The big plays we gave up, that’s what killed us. Those are the things people see and remember, so that’s the kind of stuff we have to eliminate.

“With an offense that is so good and so prolific, they really hold up their end of the bargain. We’ve got to do our part, so I think it’s definitely time to show up.”

Here is the transcript of a live chat Jim Henderson did for WWLTV.com. He is not very high on Jason David.

Kila Chi: what is it about Jason David that you don't find impressive? You stated the other day that he was being more aggressive and that is something to see as a positive

Henderson: He always seems to have somebody running past him with the ball in their hands. He just doesn't seem to have man-for-man skills. He just seems to give too much cushion in man coverage.

Here are a ton of video's for you to watch. This should be a treat for the out of towners.

The Saints second practice today has been moved from 4:20pm to 7:30pm.