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Fleur-de-Links, July 26: Saints Training Camp is here to stay

The first day of Saints training camp came and went, and now we have tons of storylines to follow.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Minicamp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Word on the Street

News on the New Orleans Saints and from around the NFC South.

Saints defense hoping to become a top-5 group in the NFL |
"When you look at the pieces that we have, when you look at the commitment of the guys we have and then obviously the talent, I think this defense not only can be, but should be a top-five defense," said safety Kurt Coleman, one of the veteran acquisitions this offseason.

Sean Kelley's takeaways from Day 1 of New Orleans Saints training camp presented by Verizon
The most important observation of the day was noting the health of the roster at the start of camp. Wide receiver Brandon Coleman and tight end Michael Hoomanawanui are the only two players on the Physically Unable to Perform list. They both worked through rehab off to the side. All other players who either had injuries related to late last season or this offeseason, or who missed some part of OTAs or mini camp were available. That list includes Michael Thomas, Alex Okafor, Cameron Meredith, Marcus Davenport and Andrus Peat.

Mark Ingram closing in on Saints' rushing record in what will be an abbreviated season |
Mark Ingram has the number memorized, regurgitating it with ease when asked if he knew how close he was.

"734?" he responded a bit inquisitively, in case he was a yard or two off.

He wasn't.

The number is important to Ingram.

It represents the number of yards he trails Deuce McAllister on the New Orleans Saints' all-time rushing list.

LSU defensive coordinator Dave Aranda watches first day of Saints training camp |
Aranda said he reached out to Saints defensive coordinator Dennis Allen and linebackers coach Mike Nolan about attending the practice session. Aranda already had been at the facility a few times this year, but he wanted to see how the Saints would start their camp. He plans to watch practice again Friday, too.

Saints' line turns to 'unsung hero' Max Unger for leadership |
"I think Max is one of these guys that's a little bit of an unsung hero for our club," Loomis said. "I think Max is a really good leader in that room, he's a smart player, a tough player.

"He's seen a lot of things, there's not many things he hasn't seen. He can communicate that and settle the group down."

New Orleans Saints ordered to cough up $400K in dispute with Tom Benson's former personal aide |
The New Orleans Saints violated federal labor law by failing to pay overtime wages to the former personal assistant of late owner Tom Benson, according to an NFL arbitrator who this week ordered the team to cough up nearly $400,000.

The arbitrator ordered the Saints to pay $100,000 in overtime to the ex-aide, Rodney Henry, as well as a fee of about $105,000 that Henry's contract guaranteed him if he was dismissed by someone other than Benson.

Drew Brees finally makes switch to new helmet -- because his old one is about to be banned |
"I'm trying to move into the 21st century here," Brees said. "Turns out my helmet's on the banned list as of next year, so I tried to preemptively get out ahead of that."

The Falcons expertly trolled a local news anchor over Julio Jones screensavers
The whole thing is a nice reminder that Twitter can, sometimes, still be fun.

Julio Jones of Atlanta Falcons to report to training camp, GM Thomas Dimitroff says
Atlanta Falcons star receiver Julio Jones will report to training camp on Thursday, general manager Thomas Dimitroff announced late Wednesday night.

Team and league sources told ESPN's Chris Mortensen earlier Wednesday that both sides were working to resolve the contract differences that had Jones planning to hold out of camp.

Superdome renovation renderings could be produced by end of 2018 |
The Louisiana Stadium and Exposition District unanimously approved a $1.83 million expense Thursday (July 26) for New Orleans-based Trahan Architects to produce a projected cost estimate and construction timeline for what could be a significant overhaul of the New Orleans Saints' home stadium.

This is the next step in what the LSED and Thornton have called the investigative phase of the project that Thornton said could "change the look and feel of the Dome."


The latest updates from far and wide around the NFL, and the greater world of sports.

Big Ben: Bruce Arians to call Steelers-Browns opener -
Ben Roethlisberger revealed Thursday, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, that former Cardinals coach and new CBS game analyst Bruce Arians is slated to broadcast Pittsburgh's Week 1 matchup at Cleveland. CBS did not confirm the assignment to the Post-Gazette.

Kenny Stills: NFL should have no anthem policy, let players decide for themselves – ProFootballTalk
“Obviously I’d like to see there be no policy at all and the guys have a choice to go out there and do what they want to, and we can support each other and the decisions we want to make,” Stills said, via the Miami Herald.

Will Jerry Jones be fined for breaking anthem gag order? – ProFootballTalk
Here’s a guess: The league won’t do anything, because to fine Jones is to invite a tweet from the Commander-in-Chief chastising the league for attacking Jones for trying to ensure that his employees show proper respect for the flag. If the guess is wrong, maybe it means the league is inching toward a position of no longer caring about the comments of the President.

Donald, Rams don't view Aug. 7 deadline to report -
Despite the potential diminished leverage, NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Thursday that the Aug. 7 date is not considered relevant by those involved, according to sources informed of the situation. Without that deadline to spur action, we could be in for an elongated holdout from the reigning Defensive Player of the Year.

What is the PUP list? Rules, how it works for NFL injuries |
Players who start the preseason on the PUP list may not practice until cleared by team medical personnel. They can attend team meetings and work out. Once cleared, they can return to the field.

If a player practices during training camp, they are not eligible for the PUP list. Instead, the team has to cut the player or put them on injured reserve.