I hope you all got your fill of New Orleans Saints football for the time being because that's it. It's over. You won't be seeing anymore until training camp gets underway later next month. The team has just a couple of weeks of OTA's remaining, all of which are closed to the public, before they get some final vacation time. As we say goodbye to this three day tease they call minicamp I wanted to recap some of the major (and not-so major) themes I think are most important and open this bad boy up for one last discussion.
You know how I know Jeremy Shockey is going to return to form and have a great season on the field in 2009? Because off the field he has become the attention-grabbing, media magnet that all NFL fans have come to know and love. Shockey has done a pretty good job of staying out of the spotlight since coming to New Orleans. Unfortunately, he's also done a fine job of staying out of the end zone too. But The Shockmeister has made a return to national headlines with this most recent incident in Vegas. And wouldn't you know it - he had a damn good minicamp weekend too. I'm starting to think the off-field controversy and on-field production go hand it hand. Regardless, Shockey is creating a buzz and as of now it's the good kind. Don't kill my buzz.
Secondary No Longer Primary Concern
If Who Dat Nation wasn't talking about Shockey this weekend than they were talking about the ridiculously upgraded secondary. Though nothing is guaranteed when it comes to Saints football, with so many new talented faces on this years team the odds just have to be in favor of improvement. And if the increased depth doesn't get you excited, the fact that the secondary actually looked good this weekend should. Sharper, Jenkins and Greer all made interceptions on Saturday while Harper, Porter, Torrence and Reis each knocked down passes. Even Danny Gorrer is stepping it up. If we learned absolutely anything this weekend it's that the secondary should be better in 2009. Comforting, I know.
Is Different Better?
It was my main point when I gave my report back from Friday's minicamp and it's been a major theme of this weekend. The Saints defense has been given an extreme makeover worthy of Fox's The Swan. We're seeing different fronts and blitz packages. Gregg Williams was even tinkering with the 3-4 this weekend. I caution everyone to try and curb their enthusiasm because different doesn't necessarily mean better. It does, however, raise a million questions about what to expect this season.
Mike Bell Running Away With It
The battle for that third running back position will be intense this year but given the nature of minicamp we didn't really get a good look at the competition. If I had to pick a front-runner, though, it would have to be Mike Bell. He seemed to garner the most attention and praise from the media this weekend, moreso than Lynell Hamilton, P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson. Guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens in training camp
Injuries are Scary
There were some injury scares this weekend with regards to a couple of players. First was, who else, Dan Morgan who left practice Friday with a calf injury. Darnell Dinkins was out with an ankle. Then Sedrick Ellis tried to hack Pierre Thomas's wrist off and Jammal Brown did his best Shockey impression (dehydration). Don't forget Scott Shanle missed time with a calf injury as well. All of which should hauntingly remind us of last season. It's frustrating to be reminded how quickly the potential for a great season can come crashing to an end at the hand of injury but unfortunately it's part of the game. All we can do is hope for some better luck this season.
Sean Payton is the Next Steven Spielberg
I don't know about you but I thought the story about Payton shopping his "XBox Kid" movie script was the most interesting news of the weekend. I'm sure it will be just a shell of it's original self once Hollywood gets its hands on it, but learning about Payton's creative side was certainly the most shocking fact of the weekend.
Biggest Surprise Players
Mike Detillier says Danny Gorrer and Jermy Parnell have been impressive.
Why Didn't We Hear Much About...
Chip Vaughn? DeMario Pressley?
Whose Job is in Jeopardy?
Glenn Pakulak. Thomas Morstead drew praise for his big leg and his hang time.
Who Picked Up Right Where They Left Off?
Billy Miller. He continues to be underrated and a fan favorite.
Quote of the Weekend
Billy Miller again...
"If Jeremy Shockey is at the best of his ability, Billy Miller in year 11 is going to win a Super Bowl," Miller said. "And that's all that matters. Nothing else really matters at my age but winning. Not money, not any of that. Just winning ball games.
"Jeremy Shockey was brought in to be the starting tight end and to provide me with a nice shiny ring."
Popular Minicamp Trend
The Times-Pic reports that Courtney Roby, Roman Harper, Jason David, Skyler Green and Anthony Waters all have mohawks.
Completely Stupid Random Fact
There are three players on the current roster with the last name Evans. Jahri, Heath and Troy.
Feel free to now discuss anything else you think I've missed and offer your final thoughts on Saints minicamp.