this is a discussion within the Saints Community Forum; Saints Notes: Hilton moving up tight end chart By SHELDON MICKLES firstname.lastname@example.org Advocate sportswriter METAIRIE -- It's certainly not the way he wanted to do it, but New Orleans Saints tight end Zach Hilton continues to skyrocket up the depth ...
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|08-09-2005, 09:28 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: new orleans
Saints Notes: Hilton moving up tight end chart
Saints Notes: Hilton moving up tight end chart
By SHELDON MICKLES
METAIRIE -- It's certainly not the way he wanted to do it, but New Orleans Saints tight end Zach Hilton continues to skyrocket up the depth chart in his third training camp with the team.
Hilton, who has played in only three regular-season games since making the roster as an undrafted free agent in 2003, came to camp 1ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‚Â° weeks ago as the third-teamer behind Ernie Conwell and Shad Meier. He moved into the No. 2 spot when Meier injured his knee on July 30 and Monday night was with the first unit after Conwell pulled a groin in the morning workout.
Ironically, Hilton, a 6-foot-7, 265-pounder, worked with the first-team in Saturday night's Black & Gold Scrimmage. The coaches gave Conwell a rest to get a long look at Hilton, and he had four catches for 23 yards.
"He's doing a great job and I think he has really improved his blocking," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "He always could run and catch, but that's something we've stressed the last couple of years. He had an excellent scrimmage, and I think the preseason games will be big for him."
They became even bigger, at least the first one, when Conwell was hurt.
"The last couple of seasons I tried to take advantage of any opportunity I had," Hilton said. "I think this year will be good one for me. They're going to try and give me some opportunities, so I need to take advantage of them."
The injury to Conwell was the second in recent days to a key member of the offense. In the scrimmage Saturday night, wide receiver Az-Zahir Hakim injured his right hamstring while finishing a 26-yard catch.
Haslett said Monday that Hakim has a slight hamstring pull, but did not know how long he'll be sidelined. Hakim is unlikely to play in the exhibition opener Friday night against the Seattle Seahawks in the Superdome.
In addition to Conwell and Hakim, Meier (knee), SLB James Allen (knee), G/T Spencer Folau (shoulder) and MLB Roger Knight (knee) did not work.
Allen, who finished the 2004 season as the starter at strongside linebacker, has practiced only once since injuring his left knee toward the end of the first training camp workout on July 29.
Allen has missed 13 of the 15 practices even though an MRI showed no structural damage. Allen, a fourth-year pro, was told he has tendinitis, but still can't get on the field despite rest and hours of treatment daily.
"I'm concerned about it because it's just not responding at all," said Allen. "I can run in a straight line, but I can't do any explosive movements. I can't get in my linebacker's stance. It's like I'm on one leg -- and it's not working."
"I'm frustrated with it, and I know he is," said Haslett. "There's no swelling, and there is nothing on the MRI. There's really no indication that there's a problem, but obviously there is because that's the way he feels."
Play of the day
Free safety Dwight Smith intercepted a pass off rookie quarterback Adrian McPherson in Monday night's practice, which was held in the Superdome for season-ticket holders. McPherson tried to hit wide receiver Keron Henry, but Smith, who came over to help cornerback Mike McKenzie, soared high to snare the pass and tapped both feet down before going out of bounds.
The Saints signed veteran linebacker T.J. Slaughter on Monday. Slaughter, who was in uniform Monday night, formely played with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Baltimore Ravens in his five NFL seasons.
Saints defensive end Darren Howard marvels at the intensity veteran defensive line coach John Pease, who is 61 years old, brings to practice.
Pease, in his second stint with the Saints after working on Jim Mora's staff from 1986-94, scurries from drill to drill regardless of the heat index and often gets in the trenches with his players.
"He's like a Tasmanian Devil," said Howard, a sixth-year pro. "If we're doing (individual) drills where an offensive tackle should be lined up, he'll step in and play tackle. We'll be doing moves on him and he's trying to stick us and everything."
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