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Danno 08-10-2004 07:01 AM

Team Report 8-10-04
 
Inside Slant
After missing 11 practices during an eight-day training camp holdout that finally ended last Friday, rookie wide receiver Devery Henderson had no time to lose when he got on the practice field.
So the former LSU standout did his best to make up for lost time in his first two days of work in pads.

Henderson had a nice workout in his first practice Friday night — just hours after signing a four-year deal. Saturday night, he thrilled fans who attended the team's annual Black & Gold Scrimmage by catching two passes for 75 yards.

His first catch, a 65-yarder from reserve quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, set up the only touchdown of a 51-play scrimmage. Henderson delighted the crowd by flashing the sprinter's speed he displayed just an hour up the road at LSU, racing past cornerback Ahmad Brooks to make the grab.

Saints' coaches and officials were puzzled throughout the week by the prolonged holdout of Henderson, but they quickly saw flashes of what they saw when they made the former LSU track and football star their first of two second-round draft picks this spring.

The 65-yard reception by Henderson was one of the few offensive highlights of the scrimmage, which capped a practice session that opened the evening.

"I'm just trying to come out and do my best," said Henderson, who bruised a heel when Brooks dragged him down. "I missed a whole lot of valuable work. But I'm here now, I'm just trying to put all that behind me."

Henderson, who figures to battle Jerome Pathon, Michael Lewis and Germane Crowell for the No. 3 receiver spot behind Joe Horn and Donte Stallworth, quickly put Brooks behind him on the first play of the third series of the night.

"Basically, it was a go route," said Henderson. "I just got behind him and caught the ball pretty well. I'm just trying to make plays and do whatever I have to do.

"I don't think I'm too far behind because I didn't have to look to anybody for help tonight," he said. "But it's been a crash course so far."

CAMP CALENDAR: Camp closes Aug. 25.

NOTES, QUOTES

—After 10 days and 13 practices, including a live 51-play scrimmage, Saints coach Jim Haslett liked where his team was as he wrapped up the first week of a four-week training camp.

"It's been 10 days of excellent tempo," Haslett said after the team held its annual Black & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday night. "We've been in pads for 11 of the 13 practices and the physical and mental aspect of fighting through the heat has been excellent.

"We don't have a perfect tempo yet," he added. "We're not in the best football condition yet, but that will come over the next four weeks. We'll have them ready for the first game."

—Wide receiver Joe Horn is taking a low-key approach to the season, which has been evident in the way he has done interviews the first week of camp.

Horn, who's always been brash and boisterous when speaking to reporters, is speaking in hushed tones — especially in the locker room — and plans to keep on doing that.

Horn, a three-time Pro Bowl pick, said some players wanted a more professional atmosphere in the locker room, which led Haslett to remove card tables and ban game-playing in the practice facility. So Horn plans to play along by toning down his act — during the week.

"I'm on a mission," said Horn, who plans to play the way he always has on Sundays. "The word in the locker room this year is professionalism. I don't want to rock the boat, I'm just a part of the crew rowing the boat. I don't have to be in the front of the boat, the back is fine with me."

—Like other first-year players, rookie wide receiver Devery Henderson is getting his initiation into the NFL by having to carry the gear of veteran players to the locker room after practice.

Even after making the biggest play of the Black & Gold Scrimmage on Saturday night, a 65-yard catch from reserve quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan, Henderson was being interviewed on the field when wide receiver Joe Horn approached him with Donte Stallworth's shoulder pads and headgear.

"Put that on camera," Horn said as he handed the pads to Henderson.

"I still have to do the dirty work," said Henderson, who was seen leaving the field with pads belonging to Horn, Stallworth and Deuce McAllister.

—The Saints waived rookie kicker Nicholas Setta, an undrafted free agent from Notre Dame, to make room on the roster for Henderson, who was signed on Friday after an eight-day holdout.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "You can fry an egg out there ... bacon, too. You can cook a breakfast out there, that's how hot it is." — Saints quarterback Aaron Brooks after a hot and steamy practice in New Orleans.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Courtney Watson vs. Cie Grant for starting MLB — Both youngsters played well in the Black & Gold Scrimmage after coming back from injuries earlier in the week. Watson, who is working with the first team, missed two days with a strained quadriceps muscle and Grant was sidelined for three days with a hyperextended knee. Their battle is the most intriguing of camp considering neither has started an NFL game and incumbent starter Orlando Ruff is still on the team.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: Jamar Nesbit vs. Montrae Holland for starting RG — Holland was penciled in as the starter in the off-season, but Nesbit has been receiving reps with the first team since the start of camp and started in the Black & Gold Scrimmage.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK: WR Nathan Black — Little-known receiver who played for Carolina in 2001 is having a solid camp, drawing praise this week from offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy. A longshot to make the 53-man roster, Black made two long catches in the second practice of training camp. On one, he ran down the right sideline and beat veteran cornerback Ashley Ambrose to make a circus catch. Black is also getting extra reps because of several injuries at the position.

ROOKIE REPORT: DE Will Smith (D1) has shown lots of speed and quickness off the ball and had a sack in the Black & Gold Scrimmage. ... WR Devery Henderson (D2a) ended an eight-day holdout late last week and immediately got into the mix with a good first practice Friday night and had two catches for 75 yards — including a 65-yarder — in the scrimmage. ... MLB Courtney Watson (D2b) has been working with the first-team defense from the first day of practice and was praised by coach Jim Haslett for his play in the scrimmage. ... DT Rodney Leisle (D5a) is working with the second-team defense. ... FB Mike Karney (D5b) is a starter. ... LB Colby Bockwoldt (D7) is trying to make an impression on special teams.

INJURY REPORT: DT/DE Willie Whitehead, who has been on the physically-unable-to-perform list since camp started, was expected back last week but continues to be bothered by a bone bruise on his right knee.

—TE Lamont Hall had arthroscopic knee surgery Aug. 7 and should be sidelined for two weeks.

—SS Steve Gleason, who plays mainly on special teams, underwent surgery after breaking his left thumb in practice last week. He is expected to be out 3-to-4 weeks, Haslett said.

CheramieIII 08-10-2004 08:17 AM

Team Report 8-10-04
 
Look\'s like that professionialism is rubbing off on everyone. Horn is the man and will be again this year and I like how they are keeping Henderson in his place for now.


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