this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; There was something palpable in the air Sunday morning at the New Orleans Saints' facility. Maybe it was the crowd or the slightly cooler (less hot) weather, or maybe it was the players' finally having a chance to vent out ...
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|07-28-2013, 09:32 PM||#1|
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There was something palpable in the air Sunday morning at the New Orleans Saints' facility. Maybe it was the crowd or the slightly cooler (less hot) weather, or maybe it was the players' finally having a chance to vent out the frustration of last season.
After months of individual workouts and non-contact drills, Saints players pulled on their pads for their third practice of training camp, marking an unofficial beginning to the offseason for some.
Playing in helmets and shorts is one thing, but when the pads come, football really begins.
In some ways, explained offensive guard Jahri Evans, it's more difficult for players during non-padded practices, because they have to go half-speed, an unnatural feeling for athletes used to going full throttle most of the year.
"With pads on, you can be a lot more physical, and that's when you are at your best," he said.
That's why some players, like defensive tackle Akiem Hicks, have had Sunday circled on the calendar since organized team activities started earlier this summer.
"I love it," Hicks said "You wait for this day all offseason. You are on your break, but you are really looking forward to coming out and hitting and getting back to doing what you are used to doing."
Sean Payton on intensity of practice: video
Saints head coach Sean Payton on the intensity during practice and on the aggressiveness of rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro at Saints Camp on Sunday, July 28, 2013.
The Saints didn't do much full-contact work, but the mere psychological effect of putting on the pads was enough for some.
"Guys are flying around here," said Saints coach Sean Payton. "What's encouraging is (that) you want it to be competitive and I thought toward the end of practice, it wasn't as crisp.
"But when you are having that type of competition in your periods, it benefits both sides of the ball."
Things even got a little chippy at one point when rookie safety Kenny Vaccaro threw running back Tavaris Cadet to the ground during team drills.
"It is just the nature of how I play," Vaccaro said. "I just wanted to kind of set the tone.
"I know I am a rookie, but I feel like if someone is physical, everyone gets physical. I was having fun."
Payton said that's not something he necessarily wants to see, but he understands the anxiousness of a young player finally getting to play in pads.
"One of the things you find with a young player, especially rookies, they know and they want to and they feel that sense of urgency to make an impression and so the key thing is making it the right way," Payton said.
But the feeling isn't just limited to rookies.
Junior Galette, who is switching from defensive end to outside linebacker, said he was pumped up just putting on his pads. Even as a someone who has gone from one of the last players on the roster to a starter, Galette said a player can never afford to lose that edge.
"Year in and year out, when you don't play football for a while, you get anxious. As someone that loves the game, you really want to get that first start and it really feels good to have contact again," he said. "We were really eager but, of course, that dies down a bit once you get out here."
Whatever the feeling was, it was shared among the team.
"This is football, with the pads on," said rookie lineman Terron Armstead.
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