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saintswhodi 08-10-2005 03:51 PM

Blog & Tackle: What we Know

Blog & Tackle: What we know
Aug 10, 2005 – 9:50 am

The last few days of training camp have been a blur: up to Jackson, Miss. for the BankPlus Black & Gold Scrimmage, back down for a season-ticket holder workout at the Superdome, followed by a day of normalcy at the Training Facility in Metairie. Tonight the team heads back to Hahnville High School for an evening workout and Friday, unbelievably, we'll already by opening the preseason at home against Seattle. After roughly two weeks of training camp, what do we know?

- We know that it's really going to be fun to watch our defensive backs this season. New safety Dwight Smith and cornerback Mike McKenzie -- back for his second season in New Orleans -- are flying around, making plays. Their sidekicks, Jay Bellamy and Fakhir Brown, are quietly productive. Youngsters like Keith Bullocks and veterans like Jason Craft are pushing for playing time.

- We know Deuce McAllister is a big celebrity in his home state of Mississippi. I don't know how many autographs he signed during the weekend in Jackson, but I suspect it was at least a five-figure number.

- We know that Az-Zahir Hakim still has a lot left in the tank. Before tweaking a hamstring, we saw him split the defense in the Black & Gold Scrimmage. I asked him how he hurt the hamstring and the conversations went like this:

ME: "How'd you hurt your hamstring?"
AZ: "Running."
ME: "Just normal running?"
AZ: "I'm fast."

- We know Talman Gardner is doing all he can to make the competition at third receiver interesting. With Hakim nursing that sore hamstring, Gardner, Michael Lewis, Devery Henderson and Nate Poole are getting more reps.

- We know that the new PlayStar video boards in the Superdome are clear and visible -- a great first step as our marketing department looks to improve in-game entertainment this season. If you didn't make it out to the season-ticket holder workout at the Dome on Monday, wait until you see the difference at the Seattle game.

- We know that one of the nicest guys on the team, Jon Stinchcomb, is probably out for the season with a knee injury. What a bummer for Jon, who was looking to make a step forward in his third season. As hard as he worked this offseason, there's little doubt that he'll be back, stronger-than-ever, in the near future.

- We know that Zachary Hilton is emerging as this season's "camp favorite," drawing loud cheers from fans that attend practices. Some past camp favorites have fared well, including current Redskins return man Chad Morton. Others, such as former wideout Onome Ojo, have not fared so well in their careers. Things are looking up for Hilton, who has improved his blocking ability and continues to show soft hands on a big, 6-foot-8 frame.

- We know this team is itching to hit someone other than their teammates.

- We know the offense is getting to the line more quickly, with quarterbacks looking decisive and in-charge. Maybe there's something to this wrist band thing (quarterbacks are wearing play-calling wrist bands) that reporters are talking so much about.

For Friday morning, we'll be back to talk about what we don't know heading into the Seattle game. --Paul Corliss

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