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this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; The plan to simplify the offensive playbook and reduce the verbiage and volume of formations has been a big hit with players. Coaching session workouts were noticeably faster than in recent years because players were playing instead of thinking. Several ...

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Old 05-23-2005, 10:24 AM   #1
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SAINTS NEWS

The plan to simplify the offensive playbook and reduce the verbiage and volume of formations has been a big hit with players. Coaching session workouts were noticeably faster than in recent years because players were playing instead of thinking. Several players say the streamlined playbook and play calls should help reduce the mental mistakes and blown assignments that plagued the unit in recent years. The staff hopes the simplification and reduction will have a similar effect on the offense as it did on the defense, which improved dramatically down the stretch after the coaching staff simplified the weekly game plan. . . .

The Saints are still in hot pursuit of a veteran free agent to man their No. 4 receiver spot. They tried to sign ex-Patriots standout Troy Brown last week, but the veteran backed out at the last minute. The team also went after Az-Zahir Hakim, but he had reservations about coming to New Orleans. As a backup plan, the Saints signed Nathan Poole and worked out Ron Dixon, a former New York Giant. Currently, Michael Lewis and Talman Gardner are the leading candidates for the spot, but the Saints would like to add a veteran player to the mix and are still keenly interested in Brown. . . .


QB Aaron Brooks has earned rave reviews for his offseason work in the weight room and film study. Offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard says Brooks has committed himself to improving his mental and physical game after a disappointing 2004 season in which his numbers declined in nearly every statistical department. Brooks has gained strength through diligent work in the weight room. He's also become a more conscientious student of the game. Coaches are hopeful the extra work will pay off in a banner 2005 season.


SCOUTING REPORT: Free safety Dwight Smith brings tremendous versatility to the back end of the defense. A former cornerback, he has excellent coverage ability and ball skills. His instincts and nose for the ball help him create turnovers with interceptions and fumble recoveries, an area the Saints desperately need to improve. Smith is also physical in run support and as a blitzer. Although his aggressiveness is a strength, it can also be a weakness. He has a tendency to bite on double moves and misdirection plays and can be beaten for big plays.


POSITION BATTLE: The left side of the offensive line will feature a pair of battles at tackle and guard. Veteran Wayne Gandy is the incumbent at left tackle, but he'll face a challenge from seldom-used third-year veteran Jon Stinchcomb. A former second-round draft pick, Stinchcomb has been a star of the offseason program and is hungry. He's not as athletic or experienced as Gandy, but he's an ascending talent while Gandy is on the downside of his career. At left guard, Montrae Holland is expected to challenge incumbent Kendyl Jacox for the starting spot. Holland started at right guard last season but was switched to left guard when the club added right guard Jermane Mayberry and right tackle Jammal Brown in the offseason. Jacox has battled health and weight issues in recent years and could be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot if he fails to beat out Holland. Jacox's ability to play center is mitigated by the presence of Jamar Nesbit, who can also play guard and center.


JUNE 1 CUTS: The Saints roster and salary cap situation is in excellent shape, so it would be surprising if anyone was released before the start of training camp.


SAFETIES ANALYSIS: Grade: C+. The addition of Dwight Smith upgrades the talent level and playmaking ability. Veteran Jay Bellamy might be the most underrated player on the team. Depth is solid.
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:30 AM   #2
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His instincts and nose for the ball help him create turnovers with interceptions and fumble recoveries, an area the Saints desperately need to improve.
The Saints defense was 10th in takeaways last year, should we be first?
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Old 05-23-2005, 10:59 AM   #3
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Some observations from Coaching Sessions this week: While I am admittedly an untrained eye, rookie safety Josh Bullocks looks like he could give Lewis or Donte' Stallworth a run for their money in a footrace. The second rounder from Nebraska is F-A-S-T...Another safety, Dwight Smith looks like the playmaker the Saints envisioned upon signing him as a free agent from Tampa Bay. Though the team is just in shorts and helmets at this point, Smith just "looks the part" and is so versatile that it wouldn't shock me to see him get a little time at cornerback...Tight end should be an interesting position battle in training camp. With Ernie Conwell, Boo Williams, Lamont Hall and Zack Hilton returning, and new free agent signee Shad Meier added to the mix, the position has come a long way in the five seasons that I have worked for the Saints. My first season we had guys like Dave Stachelski make the active roster at tight end. No knock on Dave, but we have a five-way battle going on right now that's as deep and diverse as any I've seen...I don't handle weigh-ins, but several guys look to have really worked on their bodies this offseason. Charles Grant seems even more barrel-chested than in past years, and Jon Stinchcomb also looks more muscular -- must be a University of Georgia thing. Rodney Leisle, on the other hand, looks more slim and fit than he did in his rookie season a year ago -- perhaps he's ready to compete for more time at defensive tackle this season. If Leisle keeps it up, he may not live to the "Swoll Daddy" moniker he has hung on himself since arriving from UCLA.
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Old 05-23-2005, 01:29 PM   #4
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The plan to simplify the offensive playbook and reduce the verbiage and volume of formations has been a big hit with players.
...players were playing instead of thinking.
...should help reduce the mental mistakes and blown assignments
...similar effect on the offense as it did on the defense,
That combined with the tremendous improvements to the O-line spells trouble for every team we play, especially those who aren't solid against the run.

The Saints are still in hot pursuit of a veteran free agent to man their No. 4 receiver spot. They tried to sign ex-Patriots standout Troy Brown last week, but the veteran backed out at the last minute.
So we lost 2 guys we really wanted to the Pats? Man that team continues to screw up our plans.

The team also went after Az-Zahir Hakim, but he had reservations about coming to New Orleans.
Yea, It would be pretty embarrasing to be beaten out by a 50 year old truck driver and a 7th round local. Also, the job description didn't exactly fit his area of expertise.
"Tough WR, good hands, not afraid to cross the middle and get absolutely pummelled"
Note to Hakim: "Not exactly the job you want, kinda falls right below the guy who cleans up after the camels at the circus"

As a backup plan, the Saints signed Nathan Poole and worked out Ron Dixon, a former New York Giant.
All disrespect to Hakim intended, but I think he's the back-up plan to Poole and Dixon

SAFETIES ANALYSIS: Grade: C+. The addition of Dwight Smith upgrades the talent level and playmaking ability. Veteran Jay Bellamy might be the most underrated player on the team. Depth is solid. Free safety Dwight Smith brings tremendous versatility to the back end of the defense. A former cornerback, he has excellent coverage ability and ball skills. His instincts and nose for the ball help him create turnovers with interceptions and fumble recoveries, an area the Saints desperately need to improve. Smith is also physical in run support and as a blitzer.
That combined with an extrememly promising rookie who can play SS or FS, A promising 3rd year player who's development was cut short by a cheap shot in pre-season, a special teams kamikaze who's added 15 lbs of muscle in hopes of contributing when it really counts, and we get a C-plus? I'd say at least a B-minus, more correctly a B.
Not really all that consistent with our other grades he's given. Am I missing something?

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Old 05-23-2005, 02:11 PM   #5
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Good to see that they went after Troy Brown. That would have been a good pickup. I guess Poole was a last option kind of signing. That's OK, I like him better than Hakim. Why did we even look at that bum? He is entirely a product of the Rams... Az sucks.
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