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Black & Gold Back on the Field

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; by Dave Lawrence, NewOrleansSaints.com Friday, July 27, 2007 - 2:30 PM The 2007 New Orleans Saints training camp officially is underway with Head Coach Sean Payton’s team completing the first of their 28 scheduled camp practices Friday morning at Millsaps ...

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Old 07-27-2007, 10:16 PM   #1
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Cool Black & Gold Back on the Field

by Dave Lawrence, NewOrleansSaints.com
Friday, July 27, 2007 - 2:30 PM


The 2007 New Orleans Saints training camp officially is underway with Head Coach Sean Payton’s team completing the first of their 28 scheduled camp practices Friday morning at Millsaps College. 1,116 eager fans were on hand to watch their heroes get their season started.

Players trekked up the hill from their locker room to the upper practice fields through the muggy Mississippi morning air and prepared themselves for the two-plus hour workout that was on the horizon.

“That hill wasn’t this steep last year,” defensive tackle Hollis Thomas said, striding onto the grass to loosen up with some of his fellow linemen.

An air horn was blown at 8:50 and the players took to their positions with Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego barking instructions to the punt coverage unit in the first period of the workout.

The 81 players participating in the morning session then paced through a walkthrough period before being led in the team stretch.

Individual drills were next with position coaches reacquainting themselves with their pupils and leading them through their respective drills, be it the linebackers hitting the sled or the wide receivers zigzagging around a series of cones while catching passes.

A period of one-on-one competition was up next with defensive backs taking their shot at covering their counterparts from the receiving corps.

Jason David made an impression on Saints fans in his first training camp practice with his new team, jumping in front of Devery Henderson as the wideout made his cut and picked off a pass.

After the summer punting derby began with Steve Weatherford and Chris Hanson taking turns skying kicks, a brief team session brought out the first real contact drills of the year. The shoulder pads of the linemen crashed together loudly as the offense worked on running plays.

Another round of one-on-one drills featured the catch of the morning with first-round pick Robert Meachem hauling in an over-the-shoulder grab on a long pass down the sideline from Drew Brees.

On the other field, offensive and defensive linemen were lining up for individual battles in a pass-rush/pass-protection drill. Overall, the session was evenly matched with a pair of youngsters bearing that out as rookie offensive tackle Jermon Bushrod and second-year defensive end Rob Ninkovich both got the better of each other on a few occasions.

The final team period of the day got going with linebacker Scott Shanle sniffing out a screen pass to Mike Karney, arriving at the fullback at just about the same time as the ball.

Not surprisingly, Reggie Bush highlighted the final period by showing off his speed after catching a pass over the middle and stutter-stepping around two defenders before blazing his way up the sideline.

Payton was happy with his team’s debut training camp effort.

“It was a pretty good practice,” the coach said afterward. “I thought we had good pace; we got a little ahead of schedule and that was good. It seemed like the guys had their legs back from yesterday’s conditioning run and I was pleased.”

81 of the 85 players on the roster participated in the morning workout. Missing out were offensive linemen Jamar Nesbit (stomach virus) and Jon Stinchcomb (groin) along with defensive tackle Brian Young (foot fracture) and cornerback Usama Young (quad). Payton said after practice that he anticipates Nesbit and Stinchcomb to back on the field for the afternoon session.

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