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Saints Training Camp Update: Day Four



jeffduncantp Sean Taylor's father Pedro is a guest of DC Gregg Williams @ camp 2day.

jeffduncantp Reggie Bush & Jo-Lonn Dunbar not dressed, on the bike.

jeffduncantp Best CB in camp so far: Jabari Greer

jeffduncantp Devery Henderson not looking good on punt returns. 3 drops!

jeffduncantp Another good day for the D. Greer, Gorrer with picks to end team drills.

jeffduncantp Bush strictly a precautionary holdout. Dunbar, a tweaked hammy. Nothing serious, per Payton. No progress on Jenkins talks. Could be a while   

jeffduncantp Hearing the Saints are low-balling Jenkins. Talks stalemated. Jenkins has little leverage. Wouldn't surprise me if he left NOLA soon.

jeffduncantp Lone offensive highlight: Pierre Thomas broke big run for long TD on 1st play of 2nd team drill session. Juked Sharper & outran DBs to E.Z.   

jeffduncantp Saints just announced the Black & Gold scrimmage will be closed to the public on Saturday.    


 Former New Orleans Saints cornerback Mike McKenzie works out with Seattle Seahawks - Times-Pic

 Negotiations drag on for New Orleans Saints and first-round draft pick, Malcolm Jenkins - Times-Pic

NFL: ESPN analyst Chris Mortensen has observations on the New Orleans Saints during his bus tour of training camps. - ESPN

Video: Camp Thoughts Day 4: Jim likes the continued defensive intensity - WWL

Day Four Notebook - New Orleans Saints official website

Stinchcomb Anchors Saints Offensive Line - New Orleans Saints official website

"This group has been together for three years, which is invaluable to an offensive line because of the chemistry aspect. Also, we can recall situations from the past that we’ve been through together, and we feel comfortable leaning on each other."

-Jon Stinchcomb

"We’re a very tight group of guys, which stands out to me. When we’re on the field, we can rely on that." -Jon Stinchcomb "I’d like to think of myself as one for the offensive line. However, we have all been here together so we don’t need such labels."

-Jon Stinchcomb

"We must earn being a good running offensive line and have to give coach confidence in the running game. We’re putting a heavy emphasis on running because we want to improve on that. Converting third and short situations is crucial to winning football games. We need to keep our mental focus on execution during those situations in order to succeed."

-Jon Stinchcomb

"I can see why we are called a finesse line and it’s our job to change that reputation and to earn a new one."

-Jon Stinchcomb

"The defenses are very complex, but it is making us that much better. We have to constantly be on alert for the different looks that they are showing. In the past, we used to do sessions of blitz pickup, but it seems like we are always doing it because of the constant blitzing that Coach Williams has implemented. Seeing the number of schemes we see now will help us on game day.

-Jon Stinchcomb

"Being on the offensive line is about will and grit on every play of every game, and we need to bring that."

-Jon Stinchcomb

 A look at the New Orleans Saints' unofficial training camp depth chart - Times-Pic


 New Orleans Saints punters trying to put one foot ahead of the other - Times-Pic

"You get with the team for seven or eight minutes and try to impress the coaches," Morstead said. "There are no excuses."

-Thomas Morstead

"I think I'm having a good camp and he's having a good camp," Pakulak said, adding one of the ways you get noticed is by giving the opposition little room to get a big gain.

"The closer you can get the ball to the sidelines, the better," he said. "That way, they don't have much room for a return."

-Glenn Pakulak

"That's the business," Morstead said. "There are only 32 jobs in the world and we're trying to get one."

-Thomas Morstead


  Training Camp, Day 4: D gets best of O, Greer picks off Brees again, Bush takes a breather - WWL 

Defense counting on Harper's improvement - WWLTV

"Mentally and emotionally, I feel like I’m so much better as a player than I showed," Harper said. "I’ve never been as confident as I am now. I just understand where I’m at and my physical ability and I really can play this game."

-Roman Harper

"He called me into his office when he first got here and sat me down and talked with me," Harper said. "He put a lot of faith in me and understanding where he stood with me and where I stood on this team. He put a lot of weight on my shoulders to see how much I could tote."

-Roman Harper

"Sometimes it takes that," Harper said. "You’ve got to have a down year and sometimes look at yourself and get back into it from the ground up and build yourself."

-Roman Harper

"You always think you’re the greatest and this that and the other," Harper said. "When you have somebody actually sit down and talk to you and tell you to work on this that and the other, you can really become a better player.

"If they put it on me to do that, I need to go do that."

-Roman Harper   


Bush, Clancy hurting as Arrington returns - New Orleans Pro Football



Saints Training Camp video with practice footage
New Orleans Saints training camp video log (Aug. 3, 2009)



Sean Payton Morning Press Conference

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Opening Statement:

"We held out Dan Campbell this morning; we drained his knee yesterday and we'll see how he is this afternoon. We'll probably wait and start him back this afternoon. We held out Reggie Bushthis morning. He just had some mild swelling in his knee - not significant - but enough to where I didn't want to see that thing to start to get irritated. Most of the emphasis was on the nickel; most, if not all, was on third down. There were a few inside drills at the beginning of practice. I thought defensively we did a real good job this morning, not only in the rush but in the coverage aspect of it. We have some work to do certainly offensively. This afternoon's practice will be inside and much of the same type of categories will be emphasized - third down and nickel."

In Reggie's case, is this more swelling that you've seen since the surgery?

"No, it just got inflamed a little. Again, I don't think it's anything significant yet it's significant enough to where I don't want it to become irritated and keep him out for more than just a practice or two. We'll see how it is this afternoon."

Did he have to have the knee drained or anything?


Why was Jo-Lonn Dunbar not practicing?

"He has a hamstring. I think it will probably be day-by-day with him and he'll be back probably within the next two days. I don't think it's real serious but it's significant enough to where it has slowed him down some."

How far behind is Malcolm Jenkins falling by continuing to not be in camp?

"We're on our third install, so three installs."

Any news on his contract progress?

"None that I'm aware of."

Could you comment on the play of the cornerbacks this morning?

"Those guys had their hands on balls and it was real good to see. They made a number of plays. It starts with the pass rush and carries over into the back end. I thought they did a good job, especially in that last period."

Does the depth at corner make Jenkins not being here a little easier to swallow?

"You want your first-round pick in camp, so I don't know that it's ever easy to swallow. The key is getting all your best players in and having the competition, but right now we practice with who's here and we're really just missing one guy."

Are you encouraged with what you're seeing from the other corners?

"Yes. I think we have good depth there. It's probably the best depth that we've had since I've been here at corner. It has been encouraging."

How much will you be committed to run-pass balance on offense this year?

"I think in each game it's different. There are some weeks where based on the team you're playing and the fronts that we're seeing, you're more prone to doing one or the other. There's no set ratio going into the season - we don't do that. The key is to score. There are some weeks I'm sure where we'll feature one aspect more than the other."

Is it hard to justify taking the ball out of Drew Brees' hands?

"No. Part of his job is to get us in the right running play. I consider the ball in his hands at the line of scrimmage - although he's handing it to somebody - there is still a decision made in regards to what run. He's smart enough to see the front and get us in the right play. So the ball is still in his hands. I just think that a lot of that depends on week-to-week and who you're playing."

What kind of emphasis are you having on short-yardage during this camp?

"I think it's about three days away and then we'll get into our short-yardage installation. That will be something that we'll spend a lot of time on. The key is not only what we're doing, but who we're doing it with. That's part of the evaluation, as well as the preseason games."

Is that more than usual?

"That's about when we install short-yardage. It's usually the fifth or sixth installation that goes in."

Will you spend more time on it than usual?

"The time on task with it is going to really give us information. In pads you can get to where you're going live so the time we spend on it - which may be more - will be mainly who we're doing it with. Who's our short-yardage runner? Bush was someone that had real good numbers in that category before he got injured last year. That being said, I don't think you need a lot of plays. The key is deciding who you're doing it with and then who you're attacking each week when you play."

Reggie could be your third-and-one guy?

"Potentially, yes."

How much will Heath Evans figure in that package?

"Primarily as the lead-blocker and occasionally as a change-up as a carrier."

Is time running out on Adrian Arrington?

"The key for him is just getting healthy and getting out there. We're finally starting to see that come around. For a lot of young players that we really haven't seen yet, there is a sense of urgency. He'd be one of them but I could give you eight more in his category. The key is just getting him out here so we can start evaluating him."

How would you evaluate the punter competition right now?

"Both of those guys are doing a good job. I'm anxious to see them in the line of fire. We've had enough drill work though where we've gotten outside and had a chance to see both of those guys kicking. I thought (Thomas) Morstead has handled the adjustment quickly into this camp. (Glenn) Pakulak has more experience but I think those two are going to have a good competition. Fortunately for us, we have four preseason games to just watch them punt."

Is there a certain yardage you're looking for out of them?

"We chart every kick they make and keep track of the hang time and the distance, and also the get off. There are three aspects - how quickly they're operating and then the result of the kick. We'll chart in practice and then we'll chart it in the games. I'm anxious to see how they do in the games."

Have you decided what you're going to do on Saturday?

"We're going to go outside here. It will be pretty typical of what we've done in the past with that scrimmage. We'll have about nine rolls of about seven to eight snaps. We'll mix in the special teams and then there are some spontaneous parts of that. If there's a drive going, we'll continue the drive. Those reps have kind of been laid out right now."

Was Joey Harrington working with the second team just to give him an opportunity to work with a different group?

"Yes. What we're trying to do is in each practice to rotate those two players. A lot of time when you're working with the third unit, there are a number of things that you have to handle as a quarterback. The route might be open but there might be a protection flaw. So you're seeing both Mark (Brunell) and Joey take those snaps. I'd like to get to a point where I'm going to rotate those guys in with the ones as well and rest Brees a period or two."

How do you determine the number of balls that each quarterback is going to throw in a practice?

"It's more the reps. We just try to stay on top of each day after practice of where they're at. I'm not as concerned with how many throws they make. The arm can sometimes get tired, but it's not like a pitcher. But I do want to see the other two guys get some work with the first group, if not early on in camp, then later in camp and in the preseason."

How did Jonathan Vilma solidify the linebackers last year and become the leader of that group?

"He's a guy that runs well. I think his leadership really came on mid-season once he became more comfortable and confident in what he was doing. He's someone that plays with that intensity that we look for. He's the quarterback of the defense, if you will. He has good leadership skills and he works extremely hard. He had a great offseason. He was one of the guys that was at 100% with the workouts and he is truly one of the leaders of this team."

How much did that say about him that he practiced that first day when he probably could have taken a day or two to get going after the surgery?

"I think that was pretty important. Players understood that he had the scope done, but it also tells you that he worked hard in those three weeks after the surgery."

How good is Jahri Evans?

"I think he's a real good player and I think he's going to be a real good player in this league for a while. He has power, he's good in his pass sets, he's one of our best run blockers, he's very smart and he has the size that you look for at that position. He's certainly an anchor for us and one of if not our top offensive linemen."

Did you see that in him when you drafted him?

"I don't know. When you take a player like that in the fourth round, I would say we hit on him. If we knew he was going to be that good and the draft was held again, some club would take him in the first round. You see guards taken in the first round and I think Jahri is a guy that's going to play in a lot of Pro Bowls before his career is over with."

Did you give some thought to bringing a second kicker to camp?

"We talked about it. The challenge we have is with the roster at 80 now it's a little different. We don't have any exemptions from the old Europe league so it challenges you a little bit when it comes to a fourth quarterback or backup special teams spots. Those are things that you have to work through."

Jon Stinchcomb said that it seems like they're working on blitz pickup on every down in every situation. Is that how this defense is going to play?

"The install today was certainly that part of the pressure package. I think you'll see combinations of looks from those guys. I told Gregg Williams early on in the process that some of his best plans against us were coverage plans. When you go back three years ago to the game we played here against Washington, there wasn't a lot of pressure in that game. It's understanding your opponent and doing what's necessary to win the game."

Do you think Reggie might not practice every day during the season?

"You just watch what you do when you practice. I think he'll be fine. He's strong. He had a procedure done this spring, so it's not uncommon where he's at right now."



Sean Payton Morning Press Conference

From the New Orleans Saints official website

Opening Statement:

"There's really nothing new to report this afternoon. A couple of guys were back; obviously Reggie Bush practiced this evening and tomorrow we'll be on a ‘B' schedule."

Are you encouraged by how Reggie looks?

"Very. I think the balance between reps and attrition is something that we have to weigh always and that's something that we're doing. I thought he looked real good this afternoon."

Do you credit that to his rehab?

"I think he's had a great offseason. He has his weight where it needs to be and again, the key is just keeping him healthy. He's far enough along with what we're doing to where we just have to monitor his practices. Tomorrow is just a walkthrough in the morning and then we'll practice in the afternoon, but we'll keep doing that judiciously and just try to find that balance. But he looked real good."

After seven practices, does it seem like the secondary has more interceptions than they had all of training camp last year?

"There were two plays today that were impressive. That last interception was something else. It was low and away and kind of in an oddball location and (Tracy Porter) did a great job of getting it in his hands. I thought this afternoon we came back and did some things offensively that were encouraging. Like I said, I really felt like the defense got the better of us this morning. By and large it was a good day. I thought we got a lot done. I'm pleased with the schedule right now and the routine that we're in and the flexibility that we have in coming in here. We have a long time to go and we just have to keep working. Tomorrow we put in red zone and we get that installation in tonight and really practice it the next two days."

Was this one of the better practices the running backs have had in camp so far?

"There are a few faces that a lot of people don't know about. I think Mike Bell is a familiar name and he's having a real good camp after a good offseason and then you can look at Lynell (Hamilton) and Herb (Donaldson) and P.J. (Hill) - a couple of these other backs have done a good job and I'm anxious to see them in this preseason. I like what I'm seeing from that group right now. By giving them some reps out here we're getting a chance to evaluate those guys pretty cleanly and that's important."

Is Rod Coleman someone who can lean on what he's done in the past even though he didn't play last season?

"There are about seven players that would kind of be in his shoes in that we've seen him play at a high level; the key is that you still have to see it - not every day - but you still have to see that they have that in '09. There are a number of veteran players like that on our roster that are competing for a spot that we're hopeful that they still have some gas left in the tank. We'll have enough chance to take a look at those guys - Coleman is one of them - but there will be a handful of players that we have to see can still do it."

Will it be difficult for Skyler Green to make this team? Could he be a victim of the numbers?

"I wouldn't say that. He's always going to be a guy that's right on the edge. He has to excel in special teams; he has to be versatile as a receiver. He is smart; he knows where to line up and he has his weight down. He's doing a good job."

Does DeMario Pressley have to prove something to you this summer?

"There are a few of those younger players that we're just now getting a chance to evaluate and he's one of them. He has done a good job so far. When we get into the games we'll have a better feel for how he's doing. But he would be one of the younger players that is healthy now that we're looking forward to seeing some things from."

Who are the seven guys that you were talking about in the group with Coleman?

"You could look at the age of a number of players. There are guys like Coleman and Dan Campbell. There are guys like Paul Spicer. I'm going through a list of veteran players that in the past we have seen some good things from, guys that we evaluated. We have to monitor their practice snaps and closely monitor what we're seeing from them and see if they still have it. That's not a secret. When we meet as a team, we say to the younger guys that they're looking to make an impression and some of you older guys at some point I still need to see that you can do it. I think you could go through the roster and pluck the names yourselves."

Would Darren Sharper be one?

"He'd be one of them."

With all the talk about the slotting of draft picks, having had the players before and after Malcolm Jenkins signed for a few days now are you surprised that hasn't sped up his negotiations?

"I'm never surprised. It's always a challenge this time of year to get these guys into camp. It's certainly more beneficial that the player in front and the player behind have been signed and we just go from there. It's a process. We're hopeful that it's sooner rather than later and that's really all I have on that."

Do you know if there have been proposals recently?

"There has been dialogue. But you guys are waiting to hear the news that it's done and as soon as we know that we'll let you know. But there's a process that's involved and I know that Mickey (Loomis) and Khai (Harley) are working real closely on it and I'm sure that (Tom) Condon and (Ben) Dogra are doing the same from CAA. Like I said, the sooner the better."

How did it make you feel to see Jeremy Shockey make a catch like he did out there today?

"It was a good play. He's running and he's healthy now. It was good to see him get down the field. I've said that this is really the healthiest that he has been since he's been here and that was good."

Is there anything you have done in the offseason to combat faster kick returners?

"The first thing is that you start with your own personnel. It's important that your core players are guys that can run and tackle, guys that can run themselves. It starts with your personnel. I think Greg (McMahon) and Mike (Mallory) do a great job each week with the scheme that we implement to cover a good returner or defend a good punt returner. The key for us is to continue to improve our kicking game and our return game. But it really starts with those core players that are on the cusp of playing but are playing in a backup manner. I think as you improve your depth as a team, chances are that you're improving your kicking game as well."

Do you see a situation where more and more front line players in the league will be playing on special teams as well?

"You're seeing front line players play special teams because of the roster size and will continue to do the same."