Training Camp ! August 25, 2009

 Thanks Gus for another article !


The Saints practiced Tuesday outdoors under cloudy skies that at times solicited remarks from those watching, that it was unseasonable cool for late August. The low humidity helped the Saints defense fly around as they enjoyed yet another dominating day.


In individual drills or team drills, defensive backs routinely knocked down balls, defensive ends put pressure on the quarterback and linebackers cause havoc. CB Randall Gay had a nice pass break up while covering WR Lance Moore. Linebacker Jonathan Vilma had a pair of interceptions. Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar also picked off a pass in team drills.


Throughout training camp the defense has had very good days at Saints camp and in the pair of preseason games played, they have been able to get turnovers as well. An area of concern has been the slow starts however in the games.


Against Cincinnati it seemed to take a while for the defense to assert it self and in Houston last week, the Texans took the opening kickoff and scored a touchdown rather easily. What’s the problem?


“Don’t know. Honestly we don’t know,” Vilma said following Tuesday’s practice.  “We know we try to come out here and practice fast and get into the swing of things early here at practice so we’re hoping that’s going to correlate and help us in the game.”




Receivers Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson and Robert Meachem are all secure and have roster spots at the position group. The question that’s coming up is who will pick up that fifth spot, assuming that the team keeps just have wide-outs.


Sklyer Green, Courtney Roby, Rod Harper and Adrian Arrington all are fighting for that spot. Saints head coach Sean Payton has said that the fifth receiver must be a receiver that can play special teams. Green, Roby and Harper have seen time as kick returners, while Arrington has not. Harper helped himself with a punt return for a touchdown in last week’s preseason game.


“I know we have 50 or 60 practices before preseason and only four games before the season starts. So a lot of our evaluation happens in practice,” says Harper. “I joke around with some of the guys, its like every day is a game for us. We really have to approach it like that. We have to come out and want perfection just like a game.”


Payton has said that Green has had his best camp since joining the Saints and Roby was the returner for the team in games last season. Arrington appears to be the odd man out, amazing considering that this time last season he was being talked about as a player to keep an eye on. Injuries however have hampered Arrington.


In mid camp last season, Arrington suffered a toe injury that landed him on injured reserve. Then in the offseason, he suffered a hamstring injury. “It was frustrating mainly because that fact that I had to start back from the bottom when in the first week of OTA’s I was getting reps in with the first group,” Arrington said Tuesday. “Having to sit out, other guys stepped in and I had to start back from the bottom.”


Arrington had three catches against the Texans one of those a highlight type grab, but says he knows time is running short on impressing the coaches enough to earn a spot on the roster. “We got a big log jam for that fifth wide receiver spot, hopefully they make it a sixth spot,” Arrington said chuckling. “You know you never know how that’s going to work out but my whole thing is to go out here and be consistent. Show these coaches what you can do on a daily basis and ultimately it’s in their hands from there.


I feel that every opportunity I get whether its practice or in a game, it’s huge for me. Especially have sat out so many OTAs, I feel that every opportunity that I get is needed. I’m going to go out here everyday and work my hardest, to show these coaches that I’m a guy they can have faith in that can come in that game and help the team.”


With the startes likely to play through three quarters on Saturday in Oakland, the players battling for the final spot have just a few more practices, and about four and a half quarters of football left to prove they belong.




RB Reggie Bush, DE Charles Grant, S Darren Sharper, QB Joey Harrington, TE Billy Miller all practiced on a limited basis.


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