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tiggerpolice 06-14-2005 07:27 AM

SAINTS NOTEBOOK: Mini-Camp wrapup
The Saints completed their offseason work with three Mini-Camp workouts at the club's facility in Metairie on Friday and Saturday.

The club conducted Friday morning's workout indoors before going outside in front of Saints fans on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning. The Saints had held 14 OTAs (Organized Team Activity) in the three weeks prior to the mini-camp.

"I thought it was excellent work," said Saints Coach Jim Haslett. "The guys were really into it. They had crisp practices, probably the best we've had from that standpoint. We didn't see a lot of mental errors or balls on the ground, and I think that's important, but it is the offseason. It's been that way the whole time and that's the way it should be."

Friday morning, the club went through a 60-play walkthrough before taking on special teams work and three 10-play drives. The afternoon session and Saturday morning's work was structured more like in-season practices will be when the club reconvenes in late July for training camp.

Now, the players will be in and out of the club's facility on their own to work out before reporting officially for camp on Friday, July 29.

ON THE LINE: Haslett said that the offensive line worked on being together as a unit during the mini-camp and that the depth along the line would be a strength of the club this season.

Saints G Jermane Mayberry & T Jammal Brown share a light moment during the workouts
Michael C. Hebert
"Well, it's hard to judge those guys without pads," he said Friday afternoon. "But right now, we want to get all the line calls, feel comfortable being around one another. The whole right side of the line is new with Jammal (Brown) and (Jermane) Mayberry, so they need to get accustomed to each other, and also get accustomed to the system. You've got LeCharles (Bentley), who is a fixture at the center position. And then you have a battle on the left side. I think Jon Stinchcomb is doing a great job, along with Wayne (Gandy). You've got Montrae (Holland), (Jamar) Nesbit, and (Kendyl) Jacox at the guard position. So, it's a good situation to be in from a depth standpoint, and depending on who your five starters are."

Haslett also thought the signing of Mayberry and the addition of Brown through the 2005 Draft addressed a key offseason need.

"I thought that was one area that we could have upgraded and I think we did," he said. "We knew we had to get better. And you win in this league up front, you win with offense and defensive lines, along with people making plays, but I didn't think we did a great job the last couple years on that side of the ball."

BACKING THE LINE: On the defensive side of the ball, Haslett discussed his young linebacker corps of James Allen, Courtney Watson and Colby Bockwoldt.

"James is a guy who played the last eight games and made big plays," he said. "I think he has the type of capabilities to force a lot of fumbles. He had some turnovers, some fumble recoveries and big hits. Courtney is night and day from where he was last year. He's cognizant, the way he's calling plays, the way he's attacking the line of scrimmage, he's smart. I think he'll be much better than he was last year. Colby Bockwoldt is kind of the surprise of the group, and I think he's picked up right where he left off last year."

"They're young," Haslett continued. "There are no really experienced guys in that group. I think Sedrick Hodge has the most experience with four years in the league, so that's kind of a concern. But one thing about it is all those guys are heady guys, they're smart, they work hard, and they're very mature for their age. So, I feel good about that part of it."

TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND: In the morning session on Friday, WR Michael Lewis hauled in a long pass from QB Aaron Brooks...TE Ernie Conwell looked strong after bringing in a couple of passes on the first team offense.

In the afternoon, RB Aaron Stecker scampered through the defense after taking a dump-off pass...WR Nate Poole ran down a long pass from QB Todd Bouman...CB Fred Booker bowled over WR Keron Henry to break up a pass...WR Chris Vance made an acrobatic catch in the end zone for a score...CB Jason Craft had an interception...Poole had a sliding catch in the end zone...Poole took a reverse handoff from RB Antowain Smith and went around right end for a decent gain...QB Adrian McPherson made a nifty move to get out of trouble...RB Deuce McAllister showed good hands on a swing pass from Brooks.

Saturday, McAllister showed his speed in run drills&Brooks rolled out of pressure and found WR Donte' Stallworth downfield for a long gain...rookie S Josh Bullocks intercepted a pass.

SETTERSTROM, ARCHIBALD PART OF NFL EUROPE CHAMPS: Offensive linemen Chad Setterstrom - an All-NFL Europe selection - and Ben Archibald were part of the Amsterdam Admirals' 27-21 victory over the Berlin Thunder in World Bowl XIII in Dusseldorf, Germany.

Amsterdam won their first NFL Europe title with a strong offensive performance as they raced to a 24-7 lead in the third quarter and hung on for the victory.

The Admirals got a huge game from quarterback Kurt Kittner, who was the MVP of the World Bowl, as he completed 15-of-28 passes for 239 yards and two scores. His favorite target was WR John Booth, who had four catches for 103 yards. RB Ruvell Martin had one touchdown to add to his league-leading total of 12 during the regular season.

Amsterdam's defense held tough on a final desperation drive by Berlin as Admirals S Norman LeJeune jumped up to knock a pass away in the end zone on the game's final play.

Setterstrom started at center and Archibald started at right tackle for the World Bowl champs and they part of an offensive line that gave up one sack and helped the Admirals to 346 net yards of offense for the game. Archibald helped his squad with a key fumble recovery after a one-yard run by RB Jarrett Payton with three minutes to play at the Berlin 37.

Saints-assigned QB Chris Finlen did not play as a backup to Thunder QB Dave Ragone.

papz 06-14-2005 09:41 AM

I'm drooling over the possibility of our secondary intercepting many passes this season. Just what our defense needs... playmakers. Momentum changing plays... I can't wait.

Will this be the year we finally let Venturi out the dog house?

saintswhodi 06-14-2005 09:53 AM

Not to reign in anyone's excitement about the secondary, but our defense was number 10 in the league in takeaways last year. Didn't help much cause our offense was inept at times. I hope we can repeat that number, but with a more efficient offense to actually take advantage of it. It's not gonna help if we are number 10 again, but have nothing to show for it from the O. SO I am excited about the fact we have more "play-makers" in the secondary possibly, but won't be fully excited until the O shoes the consistency to take advantage of it and not aquander it like last season.

Euphoria 06-14-2005 09:59 AM

I like the attitude change though, and I do think an interception can change the game much more than a fumble. I do like having a secondary that can stand on its own to free up the front 7 to stop the run and get some sacks. Whats going to be funny and amusing if the Defense turns it around and the Saints make a run, Venturi will get lots of credit for it. I hope people realize there has been a coaching change/stardegy on that side of the ball with Defensive game planning coach.

papz 06-14-2005 10:10 AM

Good point sw... absolutely agree. But with a healthy Deuce, and more aggressive defense, this year it should lead to more points EARLY in the game and not in the 4th quarter. I'm getting tired of those attempted 4th quarter comebacks.

If our defense improves a lot this year, FireVenturi is going to need a new name. :wink:

Yea Euph that guy from the 49ers... I wasn't to thrilled with his addition, but I guess his signing has helped produce positive results. I'm still skeptical on him though because the 49ers secondary blew so bad last year. But he did have some good seasons with the Steelers prior though... anyways as much as I love to hear good news, it's still early. Couple of more months to preseason... :( Hopefully when the time comes, they'll show us a product to get excited about.

Euphoria 06-14-2005 01:02 PM

I wasn't to crazy about the signing of Jimmy Williams from the 40-whiners... The more I looked into it he has been progressing as a DB and maybe worth a look. I am not sure how much playing time he go in SF but, give em a shot and see if he can make the team. I since he could be brought in and brought up like Craft. Craft looks great and will get considerable amount of playing time this year.

Danno 06-14-2005 01:08 PM


Originally Posted by Euphoria
I wasn't to crazy about the signing of Jimmy Williams from the 40-whiners... The more I looked into it he has been progressing as a DB and maybe worth a look. I am not sure how much playing time he go in SF but, give em a shot and see if he can make the team. I since he could be brought in and brought up like Craft. Craft looks great and will get considerable amount of playing time this year.

I think Williams is in the same boat as Fahkir Brown was 2 years ago. They see talent in him, but he still needs polishing. If it doesn't work out, no biggie.

papz 06-14-2005 01:28 PM

Haha I wasn't talking about Jimmy Williams... he's a pretty decent corner. I was talking about the coach we brought in as Venturi's assistant/co-coordinator... consultant or whatever the heck they want to call the guy.

Euphoria 06-14-2005 04:05 PM

well geez 'the guy from SF' could be the waterboy as well. lol.

papz 06-14-2005 06:45 PM


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