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Saturday morning report

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Posted by Mike Triplett July 28, 2007 1:14PM You could hear the pads crunching out at Saints camp on Saturday morning. Day 2 started with a physical practice session. Players aren't tackling all the way to the ground, but they ...

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Old 07-29-2007, 12:44 AM   #1
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Cool Saturday morning report

Posted by Mike Triplett July 28, 2007 1:14PM

You could hear the pads crunching out at Saints camp on Saturday morning. Day 2 started with a physical practice session. Players aren't tackling all the way to the ground, but they make some decent contact when they stand each other up. And Coach Sean Payton mixed in some pretty intense 1-on-1 and 2-on-2 drills between the linemen, linebackers and tight ends

"It's the only way I know how to prepare guys to actually get used to the contact," Payton said. "There's going to be some drills where they do get physical."

Some of the best moments over the first two days have come when Pro Bowl defensive end Will Smith goes head-to-head with Pro Bowl offensive tackle Jammal Brown.

Brown pancaked Smith during 2-on-2 drills in Saturday morning's practice after Smith lost his footing a little bit. But both of these behemoths have looked good so far in camp.

During those same 2-on-2 run-stuffing drills, linebacker Scott Shanle hit tight end Eric Johnson with enough force to pop his helmet off.
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It's been a rough couple days for Johnson's noggin. He was back in practice after missing Friday afternoon with a nasty migraine. Johnson said he gets about one migraine a year, and this was just bad timing. He felt better after a day of rest.

Johnson, who spent his first six seasons in San Francisco, said the Saints' training camp is a lot more grueling than the ones in Northern California - dorm rooms instead of cozy hotel rooms and the infamous Gulf South humidity.

"I grew up in Boston, so I'm used to humidity, but it's nothing like this," Johnson said. "It's not what I'm used to at all. But we're all in this together, just fighting to stay alive out here."
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Johnson hasn't seen anything yet. The weather has been mild so far compared to the brutal heat from last year. The temperature stayed in the low 80s during Saturday's morning session, with a decent amount of cloud coverage. However, the artificial grass surface inside Millsaps' stadium does get a little more steamy than the real grass fields the Saints practiced on Friday.
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One of the themes I've noticed most in these early days of camp is that nobody is concerned about the quarterback position.

Take a look around the league, and at least 20 quarterbacks are under the microscope during training camp: Can Joey Harrington fill in for Michael Vick? Who will start in Tampa Bay? Can Eli Manning take it to the next level? J.P. Losman, Rex Grossman, Vince Young, Tarvaris Jackson ... the list goes on and on.

But here, Drew Brees isn't even a story. It's just a given that Brees will be the same MVP-caliber leader that led the Saints to the NFC championship game last year.

That's a nice problem NOT to have.
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Looking for some early sleepers who could be worth watching during the preseason? I like receiver/return man Lance Moore, who could fill in for departed veteran Michael Lewis. Listed at 5 feet 9, 177 pounds, Moore is even smaller than Lewis. But he is extremely fast and elusive. He has been working as a punt returner and a kick returner throughout the offseason.

How about a super sleeper? Undrafted rookie cornerback Joe Porter is another guy who has impressed coaches with his speed and athleticism. The 6-foot 200-pounder was also a track star at Rutgers. He's competing with a crowded group at cornerback, but he has a great chance at making the practice squad, at the very least.
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Defensive tackle Hollis Thomas was working with the second-team defense on Saturday morning after struggling a bit with his stamina during Day 1. Free agent newcomer Kendrick Clancy filled in for him with the first string.
I still think Thomas will work himself into shape and be the Week 1 starter - the same way he's done throughout most of his 12-year career. But I'm sure Payton wants to send a zero-tolerance message to Thomas and the rest of the team.
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Check back tonight for updates from the afternoon practice, which is scheduled for 4:20 in Veterans Memorial Stadium.

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Old 07-29-2007, 09:40 AM   #2
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Thanks for the updates. I appreciate you posting these.
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