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pakowitz 05-24-2005 07:19 PM

Saints Team Report
 
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.



http://msn.foxsports.com/nfl/story/3632906

WhoDat 05-24-2005 10:42 PM

RE: Saints Team Report
 
Yoda is alive?

ScottyRo 05-24-2005 11:17 PM

RE: Saints Team Report
 
Quote:

The team also went after Az-Zahir Hakim, but he had reservations about coming to New Orleans.
What possible reason could he have for not coming to the Saints? Every fan I know LOVES him.

CheramieIII 05-25-2005 12:28 AM

RE: Saints Team Report
 
Waz up Pakman, I knew you were alive. You've got the black and gold in your veins and those of us who do will live forever.

pakowitz 05-25-2005 02:09 PM

RE: Saints Team Report
 
im alive, ive just been hiding out on a swamp planet waiting for the right time to come out of hiding

WhoDat 05-25-2005 04:43 PM

RE: Saints Team Report
 
You missed it. I am the one... Lord Billy has already been defeated! :)

Danno 05-25-2005 05:23 PM

Quote:

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?

WhoDat 05-25-2005 10:25 PM

You're right. I'd say Dwight Smith alone gets the unit to C+, even if you have to put Sullivan on the field across from him. Bellamy had a monster year two years ago, and last year wasn't that bad. If he can keep playing the way he has the safeties have to be at least a B. If Bullocks or Mitchell can step it up and compete or take that spot, the grade can only go up. I'm with you Danno.

4saintspirit 05-27-2005 01:21 PM

I think our safeties deserve higher than a C+ == I would put them in the B category -- I think Josh Bullocks is a promising rookie and feel that if he plays well we will see Smith playing some cornerback alongside of McKenzie giving us a pretty solid Defensive backfield altogether -- I am also looking at Fincher making the starting line up solidifying our linebacking core


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