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Monday Musings

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com Monday, August 06, 2007 - 4:30 PM The Saints arrived back in Jackson, Mississippi sometime around 2:00 a.m. on their chartered flight from Canton this morning and wearily boarded five buses that transported the entire traveling contingent ...

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Old 08-06-2007, 09:55 PM   #1
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Cool Monday Musings

Doug Miller, NewOrleansSaints.com
Monday, August 06, 2007 - 4:30 PM

The Saints arrived back in Jackson, Mississippi sometime around 2:00 a.m. on their chartered flight from Canton this morning and wearily boarded five buses that transported the entire traveling contingent back to their dorm rooms for some much needed rest.

To say that the first preseason game didn’t go the way the Saints, and their fans, would have liked it might be putting it mildly. Head Coach Sean Payton was disgusted throughout the game and afterwards when meeting with the press and it’s a good sign that many players, particularly the veterans, were equally as put out. One erstwhile reporter was attempting to get the players to say that the team looked sluggish because of the grueling practices the team has undergone the first ten days of training camp. But the players wouldn’t take the bait. One veteran player said following the game as he headed towards the waiting buses outside the stadium, “This is going to be a tough, tough week of practice. It’s going to get worse for us before it gets better. We have to get right back to work and show the coaches that wasn’t us out there tonight.”

Payton and his coaching staff and pro personnel staff will meet throughout the day and breakdown the film of last night’s game and make the plans for this week’s practice schedule. The first order of business, meetings aside, will be when the team convenes for full squad meetings and then has a walk-though session on Tuesday morning at Harper Davis Stadium at 8:50 am. Each player will be coached up and corrected on mistakes that occurred against the Steelers and further implementation of the playbook will be injected.

From my seat in the press box last night, there were some encouraging signs:

*DE Will Smith was extremely impressive. He knocked Pittsburgh blockers around and applied good pressure on the quarterback during his short playing stint. Smith recorded four tackles and a sack. One of the tackles was when he stopped RB Najeh Davenport after just one yard, tackled him for a three-yard loss in the next series, and then finished his night off by sacking QB Charlie Batch for a two-yard loss on a second-and-14.

*The battle for the middle linebacker spot will be interesting to watch in the final four preseason games. Currently Mark Simoneau holds the starting spot and he’s been steady and heady in practices and again last night, including dropping Batch for a four-yard sack. The Saints defense rarely blitzed, but when they did, the results were pretty favorable. Simoneau, the starter at MLB last season, and Brian Simmons, a free agent acquisition from the Bengals during the off-season, are both highly capable. Simmons generated tremendous heat on QB Brian St. Pierre in the third quarter and flattened the quarterback just as he released the ball. St. Pierre lay face down on the field for a few extra seconds and was shaken by the big hit.

*Every receiver that comes into the NFL usually has a moment or two early in their careers when they get welcomed to the league. First-round pick Robert Meachem had his when CB William Gay decked him coming across the middle. Meachem had the wind knocked out of him and said after the game it was the hardest he had ever been hit. But give the rookie credit, after just one play on the sideline, he returned and went right back over the middle on a pass route.

*DT Kendrick Clancy was quite active from his nose tackle position. Clancy generated good push consistently and on one play, shot into the backfield after knocking the center straight backwards.

*WR Lance Moore and WR Tramain Hall were sure-handed in fielding punts in less than idle conditions. Moore turned in a 12-yard return by simply outracing a pursuing defender to the edge and breaking down their punt coverage before getting push out of bounds. Moore, not the biggest receiver on the team, displays a pretty fearless demeanor and approach to the game.

*LB Dhani Jones, a long-time veteran in the league, was fast getting downfield in punt coverage. Jones, a starter throughout his career, might have a different role this year on the team, but when he displayed the speed and tenacity in getting down the field, it is a good sign because he could replace Steve Gleason as a leader on the special teams units.

*WR Terrance Copper, who rarely makes headlines, just continued to make plays. He took an end-around on a third-and-two and somehow found the two yards. Copper lowered his shoulder and absorbed a fairly sound hit from an alert defender in the open field, but the East Carolina product was determined to pick up the first down. On the next play in the third quarter, he made a nice 18-yard reception from QB Jason Fife.

*FB Kevin Dudley scored the Saints’ lone touchdown of the night, coming on a fourth-and-goal from the one on a reception from Fife. Dudley also turned in one of the biggest plays on the drive, reeling in a 14-yard reception. He also had a two-yard carry. Dudley, who spent a portion of last season on the practice squad, could very well be a more than capable back-up to Mike Karney.

*P Steve Weatherford had an outstanding night. Weatherford had six punts for 283 yards for a 47.2 average and a 42.0 net average, and placed one inside the Steelers’ 20.

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Old 08-07-2007, 10:28 AM   #2
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Re: Monday Musings

AMEN!!!! Nice read Black... thanks for the find.
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