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Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; [Comment From Guest] what do you expect Duece's impact to be this year? He's older, recovering from inury, etc. Can he still be a part of a threatening 1-2 punch with Reggie? 12:01 timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: No one will ...

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Old 04-09-2008, 04:47 PM   #1
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Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

[Comment From Guest]
what do you expect Duece's impact to be this year? He's older, recovering from inury, etc. Can he still be a part of a threatening 1-2 punch with Reggie?

12:01
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: No one will work harder on his rehabilitation than Deuce McAllister. But it’s going to be difficult to come back from two surgeries, one on each knee. The microfracture procedure, just recently revealed, is the more troubling of the two. Ordinarily, those could take up to a year from which to fully recover. He’ll be OK from the ACL because he’s had so long to recover. The next few weeks, perhaps six or so, will be crucial to see just how far he has come back from the injuries.



12:02
[Comment From Noel Anderson]
Do you think that since our def. secondary has added depth between this off season season and last, there is a chance we will trade up to get either Ellis or Dorsey or maybe even Mcfadden?

12:02
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Well, Noel, you have to ask yourself about that depth first, and Jason David’s future. Speaking with Sean Payton last week at the owner’s meeting, I get the feeling he’s still committed to Jason David as a cornerback, despite his troubles last season. That being said, it’s awfully hard to see David as a starter again in 2008. Can he be a quality backup as a nickel back? Based on last year, it’s tough to say. Aaron Glenn is up in age and Mike McKenzie is coming off late-season ACL surgery. That leaves Jason Craft as a backup as well. So even though there’s some depth there, the quality of that depth is still unknown until it hits the field. If the Saints stay where they are, they should still get a good defensive lineman if that’s where they choose to spend the pick.



12:02
[Comment From Les]
What do you think about the signing of Aaron Glenn?

12:03
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Les, it certainly seems that the Saints have created something of a pattern in their offseason free agent signings, going after older, veteran players. It remains to be seen whether Glenn or Dan Morgan, both dogged by injuries, will be sufficiently recovered to make substantial contributions this season. What’s also disturbing about Glenn’s signing is it was just a one-year deal, obviously because of his age and the uncertainty whether he can contribute to the Saints’ defense.

[Comment From Amis]
I am looking at every possible scenario involving the Saints pick. But one thing bothers me: the possibility of the Saints getting an OT. Please tell me this can not happen, not after last couple of seasons.

12:04
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Certainly, Amis, you’ll agree that the Saints’ offensive line has performed well beyond anyone’s expectations the last two seasons. The team seems to have adequate depth at offensive line, with Zach Strief having the ability to play on either side. Some might think Strief is better than Jammal Brown. So I don’t think the Saints would go after an offensive tackle. But you never know. Mickey Loomis sat down on the first day of the draft and told the media that the last likely position the Saints would go after the rest of the way was running back, then he made a second-day trade, up, to pick Antonio Pittman. You just never know.


12:04
[Comment From ChrisinBR]
Are the Saints planning on using Randall Gay to solidify the Nickle Back position, or do they think he can start opposite of McKenzie? My fear is that the organization will take another defensive back from another team who had experience in another system/position and try to convert his skills to a starting CB a la Jason David.

12:04
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: That’s an insightful question, Chris, but I believe your fears are unfounded. I don’t think you’ll see another free-agent signing in the defensive backfield. I do think they’ll give Randall Gay every opportunity to unseat Jason David for the starting job at right cornerback. Sean Payton seems to like what he has seen in Gay, his instincts, and he spoke highly of him during a conversation we had last week at the owner’s meeting. At the same time, Payton also said he thought David would have a better year in 2008. This is an area no doubt that everyone will be closely watching.



12:04
[Comment From David and Joel]
The Saint's draft philosphy has been to take the best player available instead of what they really need. Based on last year's draft result (pretty much a bust on almost all players) we really aren't very good at estimating the best player better. What is your opinion about going after what you really need instead in the draft?

12:05
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: A double-team from David and Joel. OK. In fairness to last year’s draft, and this is certainly no defense of how it went top to bottom, it takes a while to accurately gauge the impact players will make coming out of college, usually three years or so. When Sean Payton says it’s easier to make a determination on a free-agent class, he’s correct. Robert Meachem was a suspect pick because of his injury situation and last year was basically a red-shirt year, and would have been anyway because the Saints were pretty deep at wide receiver. Based on what has transpired so far in the free-agency market, I see the Saints going after some help in the interior of the defensive line, where Bryan Young and Hollis Thomas are aging and where there is the greatest need for depth.



12:05
[Comment From Reniel]
Do you believe there is a possibility that Vernon Gholston will fall to the Saint's and would they select him? Perhaps moved to Linebacker?

12:06
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: If you’ve followed NFL drafts, Reniel, and from the sounds of your question you have, you know that anything can happen when teams start picking. Who would have thought the Texans would pick Mario Williams two years ago having Reggie Bush fall into the Saints’ laps? While speculation is just that, speculation, it’s possible that Gholston could drop down to the No. 10 spot. Whether he’s high on the Saints’ wish list, no one knows.


12:06
[Comment From Chris]
Jimmy, do you really think Mark Brunell will be a quality backup at this point in his impressive career? Do you think we are leaning towards a LB or CB in the draft? Finally, how do you feel about our WR depth after M. Colston? Patten is older and after that it is kind of scary...

12:06
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Chris, speaking of Mark Brunell, I’ve written this before: the scariest aspect of watching the Saints practice the last two seasons was seeing the drop off between the starting quarterback, Drew Brees, and his primary back up, Jamie Martin. We really won’t be sure about Brunell until we see him on the field, but based on his resume, he should be a stronger understudy than Martin.

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Old 04-09-2008, 04:49 PM   #2
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

[Comment From Thomas]
Will the Saints trade for Shockey ?

12:07
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Thomas, the Saints have quite a few tight ends on the roster right now. But there seems to be some unhappiness on Shockey’s part in New York, perhaps to the point that he won’t play there again. If the price is right, and the deal can be negotiated, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Shockey’s name on the back of a black-and-gold jersey this season.

12:07
[Comment From John]
your take on 3rd rd pick Usama Young. When / if he will help defensive backfield?

12:08
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: As stated before, John, sometimes it’s difficult to accurately assess draft choices early on in their career. But from what little regular-season practice we’re allowed to view, and from what we saw last summer in Jackson, Usama Young appears to have some ability. It’s tough to throw a youngster, especially in the defensive secondary, into NFL action so quickly. But Young, if he stays on the same course as last season, should see a little more playing time in 2008.

12:08
[Comment From GREG DAWSEY]
IF THE SAINTS GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO DRAFT MATT FLINN, SHOULD THEY. Do you think he could help the team

12:08
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Nice to see the Matt Flynn fan club check in, Greg. Sorry to burst your bubble, but I don’t see the Saints drafting another young quarterback. Sean Payton seems pleased with Tyler Palko’s up-side, so they’ll stick with him. Flynn might get a shot with some team as a free-agent, the same way Palko did last year with the Saints.



12:09
[Comment From Jose]
What you think will happen to the Saints if the NFL decides to go without salary cap after next season?

12:09
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: That’s a great question, Jose. But if the owners opt out, the uncapped season won be until 2011. Nevertheless, an uncapped year would be very difficult on small market teams such as the Saints, especially if some of the wealthier owners decided to spend freely on free-agents the way George Steinbrenner has often done in baseball with the Yankees. A salary cap helps to keep every one in line, and in some cases, keeps small market teams solvent. An uncapped season would be a scary proposition.



12:09
[Comment From Tony Duplessis]
Are the New Orleans Saints interested in WR Chris Henry. He is a local talent and very good player. I think he would behave better, because his family would be close at hand. a great compliment to Marques Colston.

12:10
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: If we’ve learned anything about the Saints under Sean Payton, Tony, is that character counts. It’s highly unlikely the Saints would be interested in a troubled player such as Chris Henry, local ties or not.

[Comment From Jeff]
The Saints made some moves on defense again this year. Did they improve themselves? What positions are they likely looking for a starter in the draft?

12:11
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Look back to last year, Jeff, and ask yourself if you thought the Saints improved themselves with their 2007 free-agent signings. You’ll probably say they did. Sean Payton admitted last week that Brian Simmons was a mistake. He still defends the signing of Jason David, though David’s performance was certainly sub-par. Kevin Kaesviharn began to get on the field more as the season went along. Of those major defensive additions, Kaesviharn was the most positive. All that’s a roundabout way of saying we just won’t know if the Saints have improved themselves defensively until games are played. Certainly on paper, you’ve got to like what they’ve done, even though getting Jonathan Vilma is recovering from knee surgery. The Saints aren’t giving up much for him, though, so it’s a low-risk deal. When healthy, Dan Morgan is a solid player. Bobby McCray should be a positive depth addition the way the Saints like to rotate defensive linemen. We’ll know more in December.


12:11
[Comment From John]
Do you know when Mike McKenzie will be ready to practice/play?

12:12
timespicayune - In speaking with Mike a month or so ago, John, he said he’s not rushing his re-hab but thinks he’s on schedule. The problem might be, though, that the injury was sustained so late in the season – the repair was done in December – that there might not be enough time to fully recover by the time training camp rolls around. Hopefully, he’ll be ready to go by the end of July, but it’s possible he could be limited for a while during two-a-days. We’ll know more at the end of May when we can see if he gets on the field for minicamp.



12:12
[Comment From darrell]
matt forte'...your thoughs

12:13
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: We’ve heard from the LSU folks with a Matt Flynn question, so Darrell your query about Matt Forte is timely. Yes, I can see the Saints taking a chance on Matt Forte. He’s a special player who embodies the type of qualities you want in a person and a running back. He’s big, fast, bruising and has good hands. He’d be a great fit in the New Orleans offense. If he’s still around when the Saints pick in round two, I think it would be a good addition.


12:13
[Comment From mike]
WILL WE MAKE THE playoffs

12:15
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: After watching things in training camp last year, Mike, I told everyone who asked not to expect the same things as the previous year, that the Saints wouldn't be quite as good as they were in 2006. Not to dodge the question, but it's hard to make a determinion on playoff chances until we see the product on the field. Ask again before the season opener, and I'll be better able to give you an educated answer.

12:15
[Comment From Andrew A.]
Do you think Colston will get paid before the season starts?

12:17
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Andrew, Colston's agent, Joel Segal, obviously will have his work cut out for him dealing with the Saints' front office during this offseason. Colston has defintely proved his worth in the league. My feeling is they'll get Will Smith done first, then concentrate on Colston, perhaps both after the draft, when they have a better handle on what they'll have to spend on draft choices. Eventually, Colston will get his new deal. He's too valuable to let get away

[Comment From Tyson]
What Will Pierre Thomas's Role be this season

12:19
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Tyson, things will depend on the health of Deuce McAllister and what the Saints might do in the draft if they pick a running back. But Thomas, in his performance last season in Soldier FIeld in the season finale, certainly earned a long look as a top-tier running back. He has all the tools and above all, Tyson, he has the desire to succeed. He should, if healthy, have an interesting training camp.


12:20
[Comment From shank]
Do you think the saints should trade for Lito Shepperd?

12:21
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: A player such as Lito Shepperd is certainly attractive if the price is right. He's a solid player and defender. I'm of the opinion that you can never have enough good cornerbacks, and after seeing the cornerback play Saints fans saw last season, adding a player with Shepperd's ability would be a plus. If, of course, the price is right.


12:21
[Comment From John Doe]
What do you expect from robert Meachum

12:24
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: John, watching Robert Meachem go through his rookie season last year, there were times when you couldn't help but feel sorry for the kid. He genuinely seemed forlorn that he wasn't making a contrbution, even though he seemed to be working hard at it. We haven't see him on the field yet in - the OTA sessions won't begin for another three weeks or so. We'll have a better understanding, then, of his recovery from knee problems. He was getting better toward the end of last season, but with the receiving corps coming back practically intact from last year, he'll have to show a lot to get some playing time.


12:24
[Comment From Sam]
Is DC Gary Gibbs on the hot seat this year?

12:26
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Sam, you must have been zeroing in on that Saints' defense last year asking a question such as that one. Yes, I can see the seat warming a bit under Gary Gibbs this season. For the second straight off season the team has taken steps to improve the defense. Hopefully the moves they've made in the last two months will translate into better play on the field. But it's up to the coaches to get the most out of the players they have. And the buck should stop with the defensive coordinator.


12:26
[Comment From Will]
Will Coach sticking with Dev Henderson pay off? He has all the potential to be a HUGE play guy.

12:29
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: No player on the roster seems to be as confounding as Devery Henderson, Will. He'll make a spectacular catch on one play then turn around the next and drop an easy ball. You hit the mark, though. He can make a great play at times. It's that ability, the chance for a quick score at any time, that makes Henderson so valuable. Remember during the 2006 season he led the league in yards per catch. That's why you like to keep him around, no matter how much hair you'll pull out during the season.

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Old 04-09-2008, 04:53 PM   #3
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

[Comment From John]
Will Reggie Bush ever be the back he was projected to be? Can he make an impact as a starter?

12:31
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: John, during Bush's tenure as the featured back in the offense last year, you'd certainly come away with the feeling of wanting more. He got the carries, but he didn't produce the numbers. You'd hope to see some improvement in that area. I think last year showed he needs a supporting cast around him, someone such as a Deuce McAllister, to take some of the pressure off. He's better as a change-of-pace runner and receiver.


12:31
[Comment From scott]
when will the regular season schedule come out?

12:32
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Sometime before the draft, which is April 26-27, the league will be announcing the regular-season schedule, Scott. You'll have to wait to fill up your date book for another couple weeks.


12:33
[Comment From James]
Do you think Vilma will play as one of the most deadly or effective middle linebackers this year?

12:35
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: As we've said, the move to acquire Jonathan VIlma was rather low risk on the Saints' part, but could be high reward if VIlma successfully recovers from his knee surgery. As best can be described, a piece of new bone was grafted onto an area in VIlma's knee where a dead piece of bone had broken off. It's a problem has has experienced since childhood apparently. Sean Payton believes that Vilma is the same type of player regarding his re-hab as Drew Brees was coming off his shoulder surgery in 2006. If he can put up the same kinds of results on the defensive end, it'll be a steal. It's worth the gamble.


12:37
[Comment From Sam]
Granted it's way too early to tell, but at this point with FA being mostly settled, which division rival looks to be the Saints biggest competition this season?

12:40
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Sam, Sean Payton was asked the question last week at the owners' meeting why no one has repeated as the champion of the NFC South since the division was formed. His response was about what you'd expect, talking about the great teams and the great coaches in the division, as well as the lack of history in the newly formed South. Taking all that into account, it's tough to say who has made the most strides during free agency. You never know how the football gods will look upon you. Will the Bucs' lose as many running backs as last year? Will the Falcons' find a quarterback in the draft to replace Michael Vick? Are they going after Matt Ryan? Will the Panthers get their quarterback spot settled? Seems as though I'm pasisng the buck,,doesn't it. You've got to go with the defending champion with so much uncertainty. Until someone beats the Bucs, Tampa Bay is the pick.

[Comment From Dexter]
How much of an impact do you think Bush working out with the team and doing our workouts vs his own free flo doe plan?

12:43
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Well, Dexter, with Bush hanging around in the offseason it will certainly win him some points with his teammates, some of whom were somewhat put off by his decision last year to train in Southern California in the offseason, I don't think players will be as upset with Will Smith, say, who's sitting out the offseason conditioning program in a contract dispute. Smith's absence will be accepted because of his good soldier stance last year, and the fact that he's played at a Pro Bowl level. Bush hadn't done that yet, so he was really in no position to make such a decision last year. Being around in the offseason this year will go a long way to proving he's committed to winning, and being a good teammate.

12:44
[Comment From John s]
If dorsey isn't available at 10, is Cromartie the best choice, even though he only has one kidney?

12:46
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: John, I don't think the one kidney issue is very important. Guys have played with all kinds of medical problems in the last - one eye, diabetes, and though I'm not sure, I'm certain the NFL probably has a player somewhere who has played with one kidney. That shouldn't be a concern. Don't see Dorsey falling down to 10. The Saints just won't say, though, who's at the top of their draft board.

12:47
[Comment From scott]
will we draft a kicker this year to compete with gramatica

12:49
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Remember once before, Scott, when the Saints drafted a kicker named Russell Erxleben? Yeah, that was a forgettable move. But they also drafted a guy named Morten Andersen who likely will end up in the Hall of Fame in Canton. However, I don't see the Saints going after a kicker. There are too many legs out there as free agents who can come in and compete for a job. Look at Martin Gramatica last year. After they brought in Gramatica, some sources were saying he didn't even miss a kick in practice. Certainly they'll sign a few camp legs to keep Gramatica fresh, but don't expect a kicker to be among the draft choices.

[Comment From octavia henry]
do you think skyler green will be a good return man ?

12:50
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Skyler certainly has all the tools you'd want in a return specialist, Octavia. And the Saints could definitely use some improvement in the kick return area. I'm sure Green will get a long look during the OTAs, minicamp and during training camp to prove he can handle the job. We'll have to wait to see if he's as fast now as he was at LSU.


12:50
[Comment From Chris]
Great work guys. Seems all the fans, rightly so, are concerned about the Saints Cornerbacks. But is there relly one worth taking at 10? It seems the safer pick, assuming we can't trade up for Ellis, is the USC Linebacker Rivers. Your thoughts?

12:53
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Thanks for the kind words, Scott. Unless the Saints figure that the cornerback available is a game-changing type player, and you really never know, it's doubtful they'll go with a cornerback that high. Rivers should be available at 10 without any manuevering necessary. He'd definitely improve an area that the Saints seem to be unhappy with, judging from their free-agency fascination with linebackers the last two years.


12:53
[Comment From John s]
We all know that Drew Brees is the best, or most accomplished player on offense. Who would be his deffensive couterpart?

12:54
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: John, there's little doubt in my mind that the Saints' best defensive player is currently their most unhappy defensive player: Will Smith. He didn't put put up the Pro Bowl type numbers last year, but with Charles Grant playing sub par, it was easy for defenses to scheme against stopping Smith.

12:54
[Comment From Al]
Will Jonathan Goodwin be a good replacement for Faine? The O-line struggled last season early then pulled it together allowing the fewest sacks in the NFL, but the run-blocking wasn't that great. How can we improve the O-line?

12:57
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: We've touched on the offensive line earlier in this chat, Al, but it's worth revisiting regarding Jonathan Goodwin. Goodwin might not have the same kind of dominant, outgoing personality that Jeff Faine had the last two seasons. He's quiet and more reserved. But that doesn't mean he's less talented. The Saints did OK in the two games that Goodwin started last season when Faine was out with injury and Goodwin has been around enough to be well versed in the offensive system. There shouldn't be much of a drop off. The fact that Mark Campbell, probably the best run-blocking tight end the Saints had, missed the year with an injury hurt the run blocking as much as anything last season.


12:57
[Comment From ken]
Given all your insight of the saints and their needs, what would you do with the No. 10 pick

12:59
timespicayune - JIMMY SMITH: Wow, Ken, giving me a chance to play general manger or head coach. That's an awesome responsibility, but I'll take the opportunity to make the choice. What we're hearing from the West Coast about Keith RIvers sounds awfully encouraging. So with the 10th choice, if he's there, the pick is Keith Rivers.



______________________________________________________

The above comments were provided courtesy of the Chairman LMAO from another board. Thanks brother.


Last edited by pakowitz; 04-09-2008 at 05:05 PM..
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Old 04-09-2008, 04:54 PM   #4
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

got a link??

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Old 04-09-2008, 05:11 PM   #5
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

Originally Posted by pakowitz View Post
got a link
This is a recap from a radio broadcast.
Talk Saints with beat writer Jimmy Smith - New Orleans Saints Beat - Times-Picayune NFL - NOLA.com

Last edited by foreverfan; 04-09-2008 at 05:13 PM..
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Old 04-09-2008, 05:12 PM   #6
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

K thnks..
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Old 04-10-2008, 08:54 AM   #7
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

Nice read. great post
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Old 04-10-2008, 07:51 PM   #8
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

yeah good stuff
thanks for posting it
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:48 PM   #9
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

Damn, you took the time to type all that up? Good job FF. Very good read.
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Old 04-11-2008, 01:51 PM   #10
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Re: Conversation with Saints beat writer Jimmy Smith

Originally Posted by LordOfEntropy View Post
Damn, you took the time to type all that up? Good job FF. Very good read.
The transcript is on the link that he posted. Cut and paste is your friend.

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