Tuesday, August 9, 2011
Observations on the Saints
By Pat Yasinskas
METAIRIE, La. -- The New Orleans Saints just finished a fully-padded practice on what unquestionably has been the hottest day of the 2011 NFC South Training Camp Tour.
How hot was it? Well, let’s skip the weather terms and put a different kind of number on it. Defensive end Alex Brown just tweeted that he was nine pounds lighter after he got back to the locker room. Brown said he weighed in at 243 pounds -- that’s linebacker size.
Speaking of the heat, the Saints are going to get away from it. The Saints are going to play a preseason game at Houston. After that, they’re heading to Oxnard, Calif. They’ll spend a week practicing there before playing the Oakland Raiders.
“I think we’ll benefit for a lot of reasons,’’ coach Sean Payton said. “The weather and the environment is something I’m familiar with. Going out there and playing Oakland, it will be a good week for us to finish up.’’
Payton’s familiar with Oxnard from his days with Dallas because the Cowboys have trained there. Oxnard’s known for its low humidity. Payton also said the trip sort of gives the Saints an extra week of training camp.
A few other observations from Tuesday’s practice.
- Receivers Marques Colston, Adrian Arrington and Jarred Fayson all missed practice. Payton said he’s not worried about a shortage of receivers for Friday’s preseason opener. Payton said he expects some or all of the injured receivers to return soon.
- Backup quarterback Chase Daniel had a very nice practice. I saw him throw three touchdown passes in team drills. The high-light was a back-shoulder touchdown to Jimmy Graham.
- Until Tuesday, I had only seen rookie running back Mark Ingram play on television. In person, he’s even more impressive. I saw him running with power and the best thing I can say is he looked faster than I thought he was. The Saints are bringing just about all their other rookies along slowly, but Ingram’s getting all sorts of work with the starters.
- The outside linebacker spots are still up for grabs, but Scott Shanle's working with the first team on the weak side and Will Herring's working on the strong side. But Clint Ingram got some first-team reps on the strong side on Tuesday and is very much in the mix. I like the way the Saints are handling the situation at outside linebackers. They've got a whole bunch of candidates and they're going to use the preseason to throw them all out there and see who rises up.
- One thing that really stood out was the fact that the middle of the defensive line is a lot bigger than last year. That’s largely due to the arrival of Shaun Rogers and Aubrayo Franklin.
- I'll have more on the Saints on Wednesday and their Camp Confidential profile is scheduled for Friday.