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Archive for July, 2018

Jul

31

Weekend hot take aways from Saints training camp

The Sports Hangover’s Gus Kattengell and Bryan Bienemy recap the first two days of padded practices. Among the topics covered are how a rookie is making some noise, did a 1st round pick get a message sent and why Sean Payton talked about the television show “The Bachelor”.

Also Gus and WDSU’s Sharief Ishaq talk about what they are seeing so far in camp.

Jul

31

Sports Hangover

Want to hear more about the Who Dat Nation, well check out Gus Kattengell the host of the
Sports Hangover show.  He can be heard weekdays on 100.3 FM – ESPN New Orleans Monday through Friday 12 to 3pm.

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Jul

31

SAINTS TRAINING CAMP: UPDATE #1

5 days in, the scheduled day off comes at right time

By Gus Kattengell / @gkatt_17

Tuesday, the final month of July, couldn’t come at a more perfect time for the New Orleans Saints. The bumps and bruises of training camp have begun to take a toll on the team as they wrapped up their third straight padded practice on Monday.

Sunday saw wide receiver Travin Dural suffer per several reports a broken left humerus. It’s the most severe of the injuries so far through five days as we’ve seen a few players leave early from practice. Center Cameron Tom was seeing with his arm in a sling on Monday as he reportedly has a chest injury. Rookie defensive back Kamrin Moore reportedly has a hamstring injury. Head coach Sean Payton has made it clear he will not comment on injuries and won’t do so until he is required to release an injury report.

HOW THEY LOOK

It’s the question that’s asked during training camp to those that attend the practices so here are a few things that have stood to me through five practices. We got to watch 5 practices before camp with three OTA and two mini camp workouts but then and even through the first two days of training camp practices, coaches and players kept saying just wait until the pads come on to start evaluating. Well the hitting has started so here is what has stood out so far.

ROOKIE SHINE: When answering who’s stood out, you have to start by saying “well besides QB Drew Brees, WR Michael Thomas and RB Alvin Kamara as they are on another level. So other then the trio the player that has stood out so far easily is rookie receiver Tre’Quan Smith. The UCF product has made play after play day after day. I’ve referenced him as a “must roll” player as in you better be rolling video when he lines up cause here comes a play.

Smith has shown the long speed that got him drafted but he has also shown the ability to catch the ball in traffic, catch and run, jump up and grab the ball over defenders and earned an “atta-boy” from QB Drew Brees after going up and coming down hard on the final play of Sunday’s practice. Brees ran 40-50 yards to help him up and pat him on the helmet.

He just stands out with his 6-2 frame and at times flashing solid balance to stay upright after contact. It’s been to the point where at times many in the media while watching hold up two fingers after a play as in “this is the second best receiver on the team”.

D-FENCE

In the past when QB Drew Brees showed signs of frustration by snapping off his chin straps quickly, slamming down his helmet, or giving a brief yell to go with a hard hand smack you were concerned it was the offense not performing up to expectations. Shockingly it’s been the norm so far at training camp.
The Saints defense has frustrated Brees and company with pass break ups, interceptions, tip balls at the line, strips on ball carriers, coverage sacks, and stretching out runs where the defense looks like a flowing school of fish. Head coach Sean Payton still is unhappy that the consistency level isn’t where he would like it to be in that they’ll be a big play given up after several good plays but trust me there has been many more good plays then bad ones.

Monday’s practice alone was a defensive clinic as the defense collected four interceptions with three coming from the linebacking corps in Alex Anzalone, Craig Robertson and Demario Davis. The linebacker position group is the best and deepest it’s been I dare say since the Dome Patrol, which isn’t saying much for as we all know there have been some lean years in that group.

I’ve had one heck of a challenge so far this training camp in trying to temper my enthusiasm and praise of this Saints defense but man I KNOW the Saints offense has weapons and I’m telling you Brees and company are having to fight for every yard or catch.

PBU-CITY

Ok it seems like I’m just continuing for the above point but specifically the Saints secondary seems to record a PBU literally on every other play if not every play. If it’s not a clean pass break up, the defensive backs are doing just enough to keep the play from being a completion. Several times the receivers have won the route and are open but at completion or coming down with the catch, a hand dislodges the ball and poof you got an incompletion. On my radio show I’ve asked and suggested we tweet during games after a PBU a catchy hash tag. I’m suggesting “#PBUcity”.

TESTY SEAN

One of the concerns you had heading into camp was how would a talented yet young team handle expectations. Competition helps. This team has so many areas on the squad where snaps if not jobs are up for grabs or on the line that if you’re not focused on that it could me a pink slip. Another way to keep a team grounded and focused is the coaches staying on the players. You can’t feel or act like you’ve made it if you’re constantly being told or shown you haven’t.

An example of this was Sunday when Payton was asked about where the team is and he brought up sloppiness such as dropped snaps and areas of concern such as the return game. He likened it to the television show “The Bachelor” referencing there were 12 roses and it was anybody’s job for the taking.

Many saw it as Sean being funny but to me it was coach understanding the importance of that area on his team and what it could mean come game time. Look the NFC is loaded and the Saints schedule looks daunting so it’s not impossible to think that the black and gold will be in some tough games this season. Think a return outside the ten yard line matters? It opens the playbook to more then okay let’s not make a mistake and punt it. A return close to or over the 30 could mean points or flips the field. I love that Sean is putting the emphasis on the return game. He knows every yard will matter in a season that can be special but for that to happen you have to give yourself the best chance at a win and special teams will play a vital role this season.

NEXT UP

Six practices remain following the team’s day off on Tuesday with only two of those being closed to fans. Sunday the team will practice at Tulane’s Yulman Stadium in an evening practice that begins at 7p.

The Saints will kick off their preseason schedule on Thursday August 9 at Jacksonville. Many national analysts consider the Jaguars as a team that could represent the AFC in the Super Bowl this season. Thanks to several seasons of futility Jacksonville has drafted high in past drafts and have hit on some pretty good players especially on the defensive side of the ball. It will be interesting to see which team is deeper when starters come out of the game early.

Gus is the host of the Sports Hangover and can be heard weekdays on 100.3 FM ESPN New Orleans Monday through Friday 12 to 3pm.

Jul

31

SAINTS TRAINING CAMP: CAMP OUTLOOK

By Gus Kattengell / @gkatt_17

The 2018 NFL football season is here, well at least the part of the season where teams try and figure out the right 53 man roster they feel will lead them to a successful season.

An 11-5 season a year ago has the Saints fans amped up for the new season and as always there are a number of storylines as camp begins. These are my 5 top storylines for me heading into the upcoming season and refreshingly for once it mainly has to do with non-football specific issues.

EXPECTATIONS

At the top of the list is Expectations. The fact the team was a game, or really a play away from playing for another shot to be in a Super Bowl has raised the expectation level for the team. Fans are as excited about the upcoming season as they have ever been arguably in franchise history. On my radio show for the past several weeks, I have asked listeners if the Minnesota loss was on their minds or if it hurt like the San Francisco loss did back in 2011. I believe the answer is overwhelmingly no. Don’t get me wrong, that Vikings game, play, isn’t one anyone wants to watch but I feel that a “the best is yet to come from this team” mindset lives among many Who Dats.

2017 was a pleasant surprise. Sure there was hope the draft class would help but who had the Saints drafting the offensive and defensive rookies of the year? Not many had the team drafting a tackle of the future that started every game much less starting the season on the left side and finishing on the right side. Add a starting safety and linebacker, to go with second year receiver in Michael Thomas who had back to back thousand yard seasons and the team quickly built a foundation of young talented players that made the post Drew Brees era seem doable.

Entering training camp the Saints roster is talented. It’s as deep as it’s ever been and local observers join national analysts that this is at the very least a playoff team with some believing they are Super Bowl contenders.

A slight difference from two seasons ago where the expectation levels were can this team even win six games? The Saints have five primetime games this season and that doesn’t happen if people think you’ll suck.

THE NFC IS LOADED

My second storyline is that the Saints could have a Super Bowl contending team despite only winning 10 or 11 games. The NFC is loaded. 2018 sees the Saints play the NFC East, and the AFC North and both of those divisions have challenging opponents. Also the Saints will get another go at the L.A. Rams as they come to the Dome but once again will have to travel to Minnesota. The Vikings and Rams are also picked to have solid teams and are considered by many as contending teams to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

2017 saw three teams come out of the Saints NFC South division and there is no reason to believe that Atlanta and Carolina will not be as competitive as they were a season ago. The NFC North were the Vikings call home also have a Packers team many nationally like to contend and Detroit has a chance to be a playoff team. Oh yea and what about Philadelphia? Incredibly they were underdogs in every post-season game they played in last season mainly and understandably due to starting quarterback Carson Wentz not playing. They still were the top seed and if he isn’t hurt he is the league MVP winner. So yea the NFC is loaded. I’ve referred to it over the past few weeks as the NBA’s Western Conference.

HOW HUNGRY WILL THE INJURY BUG BE

This goes without saying that that damn injury bug better have died due to obesity. 2017 saw a ridiculous 20 plus players get placed on season ending injured reserve with many being starters. The defense lost several key players and there is no question that after Alex Okafor and A.J. Klein were lost the defense slipped a bit. The Saints approach this offseason through free agency and the draft was to solidify the ability to withstand injuries. It’s going to happen. Players will get hurt. I commend the “next man up mentality” but for many teams those players are backups and not starters stuck behind talent. The Saints I believe have helped that cause in the competition exists a several position groups where the backups were starters last season or can start on other NFL teams.

WHO REPLACES MARK INGRAM

Mark Ingram’s four game suspension initially may have you, like many, thinking “who replaces Ingram”? I have a different take in that yes it’ll be interesting to see who gets the reps in his place but I don’t feel the team will look to “replace” him per say. There are a number of candidates to get carries as the team has Trey Edmonds and Jonathan Williams from a year ago. They drafted Boston Scott, signed Terrance West and Shane Vareen this summer. West and Vareen have veteran status that would be good if Kamara can’t go but I truly feel that it’s a battle to see who spells Kamara.

The Saints brought in three new pass catching weapons this offseason in receivers Cameron Meredith and Tre’Quan Smith and tight end Ben Watson. I have a hard time believing that Sean Payton will look to have those backs carry or catch the ball 15-20 times. The calling card of the Saints has been through the air and as long as a hall of fame quarterback is around they’re going to pass the football. I’m not saying they won’t run it or won’t need to run it and can’t run it but I don’t think who ever the backs are that they’ll be key roles in the game plan.

Gus is the host of the Sports Hangover and can be heard weekdays on 100.3 FM ESPN New Orleans Monday through Friday 12 to 3pm.

Jul

22

Tickets on sale for Saints Hall of Fame Induction and Gala for Moore, Thomas, Hebert

Tickets are now available for the 30th annual Saints Hall of Fame Induction and Gala.

The event is set for Friday, Sept. 14 from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at Club XLIV and Encore at Champions Square.

New Orleans Super Bowl heroes Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas will be formally inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame while long-time Saints director of photography Michael C. Hebert will receive the Joe Gemelli Fleur de Lis Award.

New Orleans Saints alumni from around the country will attend, providing a great opportunity to meet them and obtain autographs and pictures.

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A gala will follow, catered by 27 restaurants and caterers providing outstanding food, including:

1718 Catering at The Hyatt
Acme Oyster House
Antoine’s
Aroma Catering
Bayou Staffing, LLC
Bonefish Grill
Centerplate
Chateau Café
Chisesi Brothers/Rickey Jackson Smoked Sausage
Copeland’s
Deanie’s Seafood
Gambino’s Bakery
Impastato’s Restaurant
Hooters
Jambalaya Girl
Katie’s in Mid City
Krispy Kreme
Manning’s Restaurant
Messina’s At The Terminal
Ole Saint
Pigeon Caterers
PJ’s Coffee
Rock’n’Sake
Varino’s Italian Sausage
Walk-On’s
Zea Rotisserie & Bar
Zoe’s Kitchen

There will be a silent auction of outstanding sports memorabilia and door prizes as well.

ORDER TICKETS: You can order tickets to the 30th annual Saints Hall of Fame Induction/Gala on Friday, Sept. 14 honoring Lance Moore, Pierre Thomas and Michael C. Hebert by calling (504) 471-2192 or e-mailing saintshalloffame@yahoo.com.

There are two ways to order and pay. The cost is $75 per ticket.

1) You can pay by check. Mail a check for the proper amount to: SAINTS HALL OF FAME, P.O. Box 640394, Kenner, LA 7064-0394. Upon receipt, your tickets will be mailed to you immediately.

2) You can pay by credit by calling (504) 471-2192. Your tickets will be mailed to you immediately.

Jul

22

John Fourcade to be inducted into New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame

Congrats to a friend of the Who Dat Nation, John Fourcade !

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At just 8 years old and then again as a 13-year-old high school freshman, John Fourcade learned about the execution of an about-face. On his first day of practice on the West Bank playgrounds his coach pegged him as a defensive lineman, but by the end of that first workout Fourcade had been switched to quarterback. That switch to quarterback proved to be effective – he went on to an exceptional career at the high school, college and professional levels.

Read more here !

Jul

05

Saints Hall of Fame 2018 ~

Hey Who Dat Nation !

As you know the Saints Hall of Fame picked Lance Moore and Pierre Thomas to be introduced into the 2018 Saints Hall of Fame class.  The pair will be inducted Sept. 14 and recognized two days later on the field at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome at halftime of New Orleans’ game against Cleveland.

As we know, the museum is a non-profit museum, the Hall of Fame is always looking to help raise monies to finance the museum and items needed.  They are looking for help this year finding a sponsor for the portraits for both guys, if you know anybody who would want to help the Hall of Fame and sponsor the portrait of Pierre and Lance please contact Ken Trahan at saintshalloffame@yahoo.com and let him know you saw the story here on WhoDatNation.com

Just so you know this is what the sponsor gets !

**Portraits hang in the Saints Hall of Fame Museum permanently
**Sponsor receives an engraved name mention at the bottom of each portrait
**Sponsor receives mention and logo in Saints Hall of Fame induction/gala program (This year’s event is Friday, Sept. 14 from 7-11 p.m. at Club XLIV at Champions Square)
**Sponsor will be allowed to speak for 2-3 minutes on honoree at induction
**Sponsor will be allowed to help unveil the portrait at the event
**Sponsor will receive six tickets to the induction/gala event (Sept. 14, 2018)
**Sponsor will receive six tickets to Saints Hall of Fame annual reception/auction in Biloxi (June, 2019)

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Come on Who Dat Nation I know we know somebody who can help out with an amazing cause and also be part of the
Saints Hall of Fame !