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tiggerpolice 08-17-2005 09:03 AM

Williams impresses coaches
Williams impresses coaches

Advocate sportswriter

METAIRIE -- After almost three weeks of training camp, former Episcopal High School standout Jimmy Williams continues to make quite an impression on the New Orleans Saints' coaches.
Williams, a five-year veteran, is battling to earn a roster spot as the team's fourth or fifth cornerback. While he's done a good job on defense so far, he also gained attention in the Saints' exhibition opener last week on special teams. He returned three kickoffs for 85 yards and two punts for 20 yards and also had three tackles on defense with one pass defensed.

"Jimmy was a pleasant surprise," Saints coach Jim Haslett said of Williams' play in a 34-15 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. "He played extremely well on special teams. He's fearless and he's got a great knack for catching the ball and dodging people.

"Really, he has done a great job in camp," he added. "I think we've got some pretty good corners, so he's fighting for the third, fourth and fifth positions right now."

Versatile lineman

Because the Saints are thin at tackle with backups Jon Stinchcomb and Spencer Folau injured, guard/center Jamar Nesbit was asked to give right tackle a shot when the team returned to practice this week.

Nesbit, a seven-year veteran, laughed when a reporter asked when he last played that position. The former South Carolina standout was an All-SEC first-team pick at left tackle as a sophomore and junior in 1996 and '97 before moving to guard as a senior. He hasn't played there since.

"I don't know how it's going because the real bullets aren't flying yet," he said. "We'll see when I play in a game. Right now, I'm just trying to get my technique down and get used to seeing how the field looks one man removed from where I usually line up.

"It's mental gymnastics right now, so getting my assignments and techniques down is the big thing. It's going to take some getting used to."

Preparing for champs

The Saints closed out the heavy work for Thursday night's exhibition game against the New England Patriots with a 1-hour, 45-minute practice in steamy conditions Tuesday afternoon.

The team, which was given off from meetings on Tuesday night, will have a light walkthrough practice today before departing for Foxboro, Mass., and the nationally televised game with the two-time defending Super Bowl champions.

"I think it's a good test because we're going against a two-time (Super Bowl) champion that's won three of the last four," Haslett said. "They will play their starters a lot more, (Tom) Brady and those guys will be playing this week."

Play of the day

Former LSU cornerback Fred Booker intercepted a pass by backup quarterback Todd Bouman to save a touchdown during the red-zone portion of team drills. Booker, who was covering wide receiver Joe Horn, faked a blitz and then dropped back into coverage to make the grab.

Injury report

Tight end Boo Williams joined the list of players on the sideline when he strained his left hamstring late in Monday night's practice. Also sitting out Tuesday's workout were LB James Allen (knee), LB Cie Grant (knee), T/G Spencer Folau (shoulder), TE Shad Meier (knee), and WR Az-Zahir Hakim (hamstring).

Stinchcomb recovering

Stinchcomb went through his fifth day of rehab Tuesday following his season-ending knee injury on Aug. 9 and reconstructive surgery the following day.

Stinchcomb, a third-year player, ruptured the patellar tendon in his right knee on a routine running play during goal-line drills. He said he wasn't hit, but heard a pop when he went to plant his right leg. He'll probably have to go through six-to-seven months of rehab before returning to the field.

"Right now, I'm disappointed for the season," he said. "I was excited just about the potential of the team in general. I'm frustrated more than anything, but I'm looking forward to getting back and being able to play next season."

Euphoria 08-17-2005 09:45 AM

RE: Williams impresses coaches
yeah yeah... go jimmy. great game this past week.

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