The Saints held a morning walk-through today, and then broke camp to fly to Oakland for the third preseason game of the season vs. the Raiders, which kicks off Sunday night at 8:00 pm. Sunday night is football night, people!!!
Follow the jump to get the news, notes, features, videos, transcripts, tweets, and videos from Friday's practice and other final Camp Reports.
Fun question for the comment thread - What's in the CD player as the T-P Beat Writers head up the Pacific Coast Highway? I think they've got America's Greatest Hits, and they rolled the windows down so they could jack up "Ventura Highway" and scream-sing it like there's no tomorrow. Side note: I bet Varney gets a little carsick.
Epiphany in Oxnard?
New Orleans Saints will wrap up camp with walk-through this morning | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - News and notes from Friday's practice.
New Orleans Saints' Sedrick Ellis, Roman Harper unlikely to play vs. Oakland Raiders | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - 15 players miss practice Friday with injuries.
Fiery Gregg Williams dishes on New Orleans Saints' defensive regimen | NOLA.com
James Varney - Preseason is 'not a dress rehearsal'. Includes video and photo gallery from Friday's practice.
New Orleans Saints appear set with Jonathon Amaya as No. 3 safety | NOLA.com
Mike Triplett - They aren't likely to bring back unsigned free agent Darren Sharper.
Herring fits bill for Saints defense | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - The longest 4-1/2 months of Will Herring’s NFL career took a turn for the better early on July 26, when teams could finally begin contacting free agents after a new collective bargaining agreement was approved.
Saints like what they see in Bell | The Advocate
Sheldon Mickles - If the New Orleans Saints had won their wild-card playoff game against the Seattle Seahawks in January, coach Sean Payton could have faced quite a dilemma the following week. (JOIQUE-MANIA!!!!!!)
Sproles grateful for new start with Saints | SunHerald.com
Greg Beachem - When the New Orleans Saints defense stayed on top of Darren Sproles a bit too long during a practice drill earlier this week, most of the offense jumped in to rescue the new running back, setting off a brief scuffle on an otherwise peaceful California afternoon.
Oxnard reception shows New Orleans Saints still resonate nationally | NOLA.com
Jeff Duncan - Oxnard Who Dats turned out in big numbers.
Ellen Visits Saints Practice | neworleanssaints.com
Photo gallery from Ellen Degeneres' visit to Saints practice - the bits she filmed will air in September.
camjordan94 Good meeting great people even better team good night
ivory_29 Watching True blood
JohnnyPatrick32 Goodnight people... Go to sleep because I am hahaha
JonVilma51 Titles last forever...
GregRomeus91 Can't fall asleep smh
T_Porter22 Last day in Oxnard before we head to Oakland to handle business
LanceMoore16 Have a great saturday everybody! Be blessed and thankful
ChaseDaniel Absolutely gorgeous morning in Oxnard! Walk thru then headed to the airport to fly to the Bay Area.
JonVilma51 I can't lie...SO glad camp is over lol
JohnnyPatrick32 Camp is over.....
camjordan94 I woke up thinkn too much... How's that work
ivory_29 Pick ya friends like you pick your fruit
moosedenied The Rising Tide webcast has been chock full of awesome the last couple minutes.
Mark_Ingram28 It's bout to be a good day
drewbrees Just had our final practice here in Oxnard. Off to Oakland to play the Raiders on Sunday Night. Stopping by Pt Mugu first to visit military
alexbrown96 Oh yeah and I am packing up to get back to the house. Camp is over and truth be told I am happy lol... Season just around the corner
ivory_29 If you had to live as an animal what would you be?
ivory_29 Keep in mind Your animal reveals characteristics about you as a person
Brees: "We Accomplished What We Hoped to Accomplish in Oxnard"
It feels like this week went by in a flash...
"It did go by fast and I felt like we got great work while we were here. I know guys are pretty sore at this point. Obviously now we get 48 hours to rest and prepare for the Raiders on Sunday night in Oakland. I think it's safe to say we accomplished what we hoped to accomplish by coming here. We were able to really maximize the amount of reps we were able to get, complete installation of both the offense and the defense and really able to focus on some of the important details of the offense and defense. Also, do some extra work that might have been hard to do back in New Orleans with the time restraints."
How important was it for you guys to complete your installation of the offense and defense?
"That was the point. The point was so that we could get out here, finish our installation and then we could maximize reps. We want to be outside we want to be on the grass. It's easier on the joints. We wanted to be able to hit and have some really physical practices. Obviously, the fact that we are playing the Raiders it made a lot of sense to come out here and try this venue. I feel like we got great work done while we were in New Orleans and it was great to be with our fans. That heat just takes it out of ya and you are only able to do so much."
With the third preseason game typically being the one starters play the most, does it feel any different this year with how the offseason was?
"No, we played these guys in the third preseason game two years ago. That mindset was just like this one is. This is the last significant amount of playing time the starters are going to get prior to the regular season. It's hard to believe but we are going to be in Green Bay in 13 days playing a game for real - first game of the regular season. It is right around the corner. We want to continue to progress as the preseason goes along and obviously improve from what we did last Saturday in our second game because this is the final rehearsal before the season."
How does this game compare to that preseason game against the Raiders two years ago?
"They are obviously a much better team than they were two years ago. I feel like we have the ability to be a better team than we were last year, two years ago or three years ago. I think that is the goal here - to continue to build this team and develop young guys. We are in position now where I think we are set for a great opportunity with all the pieces to the puzzle we have in place.
"We just want to play well every time we step on the field. If we walk away from that Oakland game and we have played really well, does that guarantee success for the first game? No, but it makes you feel good about where you are at and it makes you feel like you are on track to where you want to be at. If you play poorly then obviously there is a tremendous sense of urgency to say ‘we have to clean some stuff up before we go out and play Green Bay.' I think there is a confidence level and pride level amongst this team where there is no meaningless game. Even though it is the preseason and it doesn't count for anything in the stat book, it counts with us as far as our sense of pride and the statement that we want to make every time we step on the field."
Coach Payton updates the injury report, talks about the team's plan moving forward and the progress of the team's secondary.
"These players didn't practice: Ezra Butler, Tom Johnson, Johnny Patrick, Jeff Charleston, Fabian Washington, Chris Taylor, Aubrayo Franklin, Clint Ingram, Roger Allen, Jarred Fayson, Carl Nicks, Junior Galette, Lance Moore, Joseph Morgan and we held out Sedrick Ellis with a right shoulder - nothing serious. Also, Roman Harper with his left ring finger. Most of today was an Oakland preparation day. Tomorrow morning we well have a walkthrough and then we bus and get on a plane to fly to the Bay Area."
With Roman Harper out, that will give you a good look at Jonathon Amaya. What do you like about Amaya?
"He has really good instincts. He's a guy that plays really well in the kicking game. He does a lot of things well and that starts with special teams but also playing the strong safety position. He's smart, it seems like each day the ball finds him and he makes the play, so he's doing well."
There's a report that Darren Sharper is still in talks with the Saints. Can you comment on that or how you're doing with the safety position?
"I think we're doing well. We have to get some guys healthy of course, but we're doing well."
Are you surprised with the turnout on short notice?
"Not really. This is exactly what I thought it would be like even though we haven't been here before. This is a region that has a close-knit community, a real prideful community. The thing that's unique is there's over 50 volunteers, much like a golf tournament, that are here to make this happen. They're lining the fields, they're cutting the grass, they're working security, they're setting up tents, and most of these people on behalf of this city are volunteering their time. You have more than anything else passionate NFL fans than you do any specific team. There are some things that are different here than the last time I was here. With the number of camps they've had, there are certain things they've tweaked and adjusted to. All the bumps and the little things that come up when you go to camp somewhere new have been taken care of here because they've been through it time and time again."
Are you surprised any more with how much you guys travel the extent of your team's popularity?
"That comes with winning. You win Super Bowls and that changes. You play more primetime games. You play on Thursday night to open the season three out of the last five years. You're playing two Monday nights. You're playing a Sunday night. That comes with it and if you're not winning you're playing at noon or one o'clock. I think we have a great fan base. It's a unique fan base. To try to draw a comparison - it would be hard to. You might make a comparison to what they have in Green Bay. There are some similarities in regards to how big that region expands when you actually evaluate who's in your stadium on game day and I think that's the case with us."
Who will be taking Joe Morgan's place returning punts?
"We'll have a couple guys. Obviously we won't be able to use Joe (Morgan). So we'll put Montez (Billings) out there. I might have (Darren) Sproles go out there and catch a couple. We'll use some of the guys more down the line to give us a good look."
You mentioned Junior Galette is now practicing, can you talk about that?
"He's limited. A few of these guys are working through some nicks and fortunately for us they aren't as serious. Let me give you some guys that I think have a chance to play and make it easier: Butler - no, Tom Johnson, Patrick, Charleston, Aubryao Franklin, Clint Ingram, Allen, Fayson - we'll see where he's at - I don't think so though for him, Carl Nicks - no, Galette - possibly, Lance Moore - no, Joe Morgan - no, and then Sedrick Ellis - we'll see where he's at."
With Joe Morgan's injury, how do you see that affecting him?
"We'll see. He's done well and he's made a good first impression. He has this meniscus that we have to have this procedure done Monday. He won't be able to play anymore in the preseason, so we'll see how it unfolds."
What's your opinion on the limitation of full contact practices?
"I don't think it's impacted us that much. We're still getting the work we need to get done with the walk-through and the one full-padded practice in the afternoon. I don't think that in-season it will be that much different at all. We've normally just gone pads on Wednesdays and then kind of backed off so I think our guys will be able to work through that."
Do you think that will be for the better part of the game?
"From the players' perspective it certainly helps. They look at their longevity and I understand that. I think we'll work through it pretty well."
What do you think about opening Thursday night against Green Bay?
"It's a privilege when you get to play the Super Bowl champion from last season and play in that spot. This is the third time we've been in that game in five years. We played Indianapolis in 2007 when they won the Super Bowl and then of course we played in this game last year against Minnesota and now we're going to Green Bay so that's something that is pretty important."
Training Camp must have been on speed-dial with the opener.
"I think you have to be mindful of that date as it pertains to how you play later in the preseason here because it comes quickly. It's two weeks from yesterday."
V-Roll Roll Call
Camp Conversation: Sean Payton | neworleanssaints.com
NFL Video - Former Saints FB Heath Evans sits down with his old Head Coach Sean Payton, who shares his excitement heading into the 2011 season.