Free Safety, Who's Hot, Who's Not, etc...
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Heat index: Indoors
In the spotlight: Free safety.
No. player | Ht. | Wt. | Exp. |
24 Dwight Smith | 5-10 | 201 | 5
29 Jason Bullocks | 6-1 | 207 | R
37 Steve Gleason | 5-11 | 212 | 5
Starter Dwight Smith should be an upgrade over Tebucky Jones. He's versatile and a better fit for coordinator Rick Venturi's scheme. Rookie Jason Bullocks has come on after a slow start to camp. He's getting more comfortable each day. He'll get playing time in the dime package. Gleason is primarily a special teamer, but his knowledge of the defense makes him a valuable reserve.
GET TO KNOW:
Height/weight: 6-3, 330
Hometown: Powell, Ohio
Did you know? Ikechuku means "God's Might" in the Ebo language spoken in Ndukwe's parents' native country of Nigeria. ... One of four children of Nuenna and Stephen Ndukwe. ... Younger brother, Chinedum, plays defensive back for Notre Dame. ... Has another brother who is a 2002 Notre Dame graduate and a sister who is a freshman at Saint Mary's College in Indiana. . . . Father, Stephen, fought in a civil war in his native Abia, a small state in southern Nigeria. . . . Played soccer as a youth before a growth spurt at age 8. . . . Started football as a running back and moved to tight end before growing into an interior lineman. . . . From the Columbus, Ohio, area, he was heavily recruited by Ohio State but chose Northwestern over Michigan and Stanford.
He said it: On a talk Pro Bowl wide receiver Joe Horn gave to him and roommate Jammal Brown last week: "Joe (Horn) came by (our hotel room) and gave us a lot of knowledge of how it is being a rookie and the pitfalls to look out for. It was great coming from a guy who's had such great success in the league. Being a free agent, it meant a lot to me. Jammal is a first-round draft pick so everybody is going to talk to him. I really appreciated Joe taking the time and giving me some insight on how to perform and get better every day."
WHO'S HOT: Tight end Zachary Hilton has taken advantage of the injury to Shad Meier to gain the upper hand in the competition for the backup spot behind Ernie Conwell. Hilton had a good Black and Gold Scrimmage and followed that up with a solid day Monday. "He's doing a great job," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "I think he has really improved his blocking."
WHO'S NOT: Linebacker Roger Knight is a favorite of the coaching staff because of his intelligence and versatility. But the improved depth at linebacker has placed him on the bubble and now he is sidelined with a knee injury. Knight needs to get back on the field as soon as possible.
PLAY OF THE DAY: During his stint in the two-minute offense, rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson flashed the athleticism that convinced the Saints he'll one day be a star. He scrambled right, abruptly reversed field back to his left while juking past a defender, then zipped a 40-yard laser while on the run. Alas, the pass sailed well over the head of wide open Keith Joseph, who had broken free during McPherson's scramble. Regardless, McPherson's Michael Vick imitation drew several oohs from observers and players.
Pos. | Player | Injury
WR | Az-Zahir Hakim | right hamstring (out)
TE | Shad Meier | torn knee meniscus (out)
OL | Spencer Folau | sore shoulder (out)
LB | Roger Knight | sore right knee (out)
QUOTE OF THE DAY: "That's really the big difference. (Defensive coordinator Rick Venturi) really has got a lot of confidence in us. When I first here I thought he had something against rookies because I didn't play until probably the sixth game. Over the years, he's grown more comfortable with us." - Defensive end Charles Grant.
TODAY'S SCHEDULE: Morning, weightlifting, 9 a.m.; evening, practice, 3 p.m. (open to public).
RE: Free Safety, Who
I note that this report has Bullocks projected in playing in the dime package. That is pretty good for a rookie. A sign of his signifcant ability even at this early stage in his career.
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