NFC South: Marques Clark

The New Orleans Saints obviously are happy with what they have seen so far out of rookie defensive tackle Akiem Hicks.

That became evident Monday as the team announced it has released veteran defensive tackle Remi Ayodele. It’s pretty obvious the Saints plan to use Hicks and Tom Johnson as the backups in the rotation behind starters Sedrick Ellis and Brodrick Bunkley. The Saints initially had brought Ayodele back to New Orleans as insurance in case Hicks, who played his college football in Canada, did not develop quickly.

Ayodele joined the Saints in 2008 and started 29 games over three seasons. He left for Minnesota as a free agent last year, but was re-signed by New Orleans in free agency.

Ayodele was the biggest name on the list of transactions made by the Saints to get down to the 75-player limit. The only other veteran released Monday was quarterback Luke McCown. He had been signed during the offseason before the Saints and starter Drew Brees were able to work out a new contract. The Saints are set with Brees and Chase Daniel as their top two quarterbacks. Sean Canfield remains on the roster for now, but the Saints often have carried only two quarterbacks on the roster in recent seasons.

The Saints also waived linebacker Aaron Tevis, center Brian Folkerts, tight end Jake Byrne, safety Johnny Thomas, receiver Derek Moye, guard Paul Fenaroli, tackle Hutch Eckerson, defensive end Donovan Robinson, receiver Kevin Hardy, cornerback Kamaal McIlwain, defensive tackle Swanson Miller, cornerback Cord Parks and receiver Marques Clark.

Double duty for Joe Vitt

July, 24, 2012
New Orleans assistant head coach Joe Vitt already is in a unique position. He’s been running things with coach Sean Payton suspended for the season, although Vitt also will serve a six-game suspension at the start of the season.

But things will get even more unique for Vitt on Thursday. That’s the day the Saints take the field for the first time this training camp.

Vitt’s got one other obligation going on that same day. As he addressed the local media Tuesday evening, Vitt revealed he’ll be leaving the team’s facility for a bit on Thursday. He plans to testify on behalf of linebacker Jonathan Vilma, who is scheduled to have a hearing on his attempt to get an injunction on his season-long suspension. Vitt previously filed an affidavit on Vilma's behalf.

On an actual football note, the Saints announced they have agreed to terms with tight end Derek Schouman and signed receiver Marques Clark, while waiving receiver Kevin Hardy. That puts New Orleans’ roster at 90 players.