Archive for July, 2009



Training Camp – Friday July 31st

Here is another update from Gus Kattengell, thanks Gus cannot wait to see you new site !

A humid and partly cloudy morning welcomed the New Orleans Saints to the practice portion of Training Camp 2009. Fans packed the stands along the two grass fields on Airline Drive in Metairie, home of the Saints training facility.

The team got their work and media requirements in minutes before a mid-afternoon shower began. Rain forced the Black and Gold inside for the afternoon practice, which was closed to the public.


Without question, the top topic of conversation among the fans and media has been the Saints defense. What’s the difference this year? Will we be able to notice a change already in scheme and attitude?

The early answer is yes.

 While training camp is just one day old, one can see that the defense under new Defensive Coordinator Gregg Williams will be an aggressive, “go get the ball” style of play that’s different from the previous seasons’ “bend but don’t brake” approach.

 In team drills, one clearly hears the defensive coaches screaming, “get the ball out” or “get to the ball.” Players on every play must try to either knock the ball loose from the receiver or running back and even on incomplete passes, defenders must run to the ball to pick it up. “That’s just forming good habits.  Even if it’s just an incompletion, any ball that’s on the ground they’re picking up and running with it just to get used to that mentality,” said Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  He also says the difference in Williams’ defense is visible. “In the game, you see a ball on the ground, you snatch it up and run with it. I think that’s a very opportunistic type mentality.”

Several defensive players say that already in just the few offseason practices and onset of camp, the overall approach to playing defense has changed. “You have to understand that it’s a violent game, and you just can’t play it half-heartedly. We have to go out there.  We have to be aggressive. You have to impose your will on players, impose your will on teams,” said linebacker Jonathan Vilma following the team’s first full practice of camp. “We really want to get after it. We want to build an attitude and carry that into the games.”

Part of that new attitude is that pigskin being carried under the arms of opposing offenses belongs to the defense. “That’s what we want to take into the games, really emphasizing stripping the ball. The only way we can do that is by getting it done here at practice,” said Vilma, who during the morning workout stripped a completed pass by tight end Jeremy Shockey that could have been ruled a fumble or at worst and incomplete pass. Shockey held onto his right wrist following the play but did not miss practice time.

“We’re not trying to hurt our teammates or anything, but we have to do a good job of really being cognizant of stripping the ball in practice.  Now, when we get in the game, it becomes second nature. We go there.  We make a tackle.  We try to strip the ball.”

The defense on the first day seemed to get the better of the Saints offense, forcing check down throws by the quarterbacks.  Every time an offensive player touched the ball, a swarm of black jersey’s were there to stop forward progress, all the while punching at the football. This is an early indication of the type of practices that could wind up helping last season’s top ranked offense.

 “They’re doing some good things, mixing it up quite a bit. They’re bringing a lot of pressure, playing with an aggressive mentality. That’s definitely making us better as an offense,” says Brees who sees the chance to go up against Williams’ defensive schemes as a golden opportunity.

 “In my mind I know he is one of the best. If I feel like I can handle what he’s throwing at me then I can handle what anybody can throw at me throughout the league. That gives me a great sense of challenge each and every day. It’s a challenge going up against him and, obviously, the guys that we have on the defensive side.”


 The morning workout had a few highlights, all of them really coming on defense.

      – CB Jabari Greer made a nice move to bat down a Drew Brees pass in team drills.

CB Tracy Porter, following the yelled instructions from defensive coaches of “knock the ball out,” poked the ball out of a Saints running back during team drills.

  S Darren Sharper showed off a bit of his veteran skills by coming back on a curl route, taking away the catching lane and knocking down a pass.


 WR Lance Morre wore a red jersey signaling to defenders that he was free from contact Friday. Moore had shoulder surgery in the offseason following a weight lifting injury. The injury isn’t limiting that many of his reps, however, as Moore worked in team and individual drills.

 LB Jonathan Vilma was limited in the number of snaps he played in as he works his way back from a scope in his abdomen to repair the beginnings of a sports hernia. Vilma says the goal is to work back slowly paying careful attention to his body.

 “It’s a little tricky. I can maybe go a whole period, do 5 to 10 plays, sit out the next period, or maybe I can do 3 in one period, 3 in the next period,” said Vilma. “It’s really just gauging how my body feels, knowing that this is the first day of two-a-days. I’m not going to win any championships out here right now. I’m putting in the work to get to where I want to be.”

 WR Adrian Arrington did some light work and spent the team drills section riding a stationary bike. The second year player, who was placed on injured reserve last season during training camp, is recovering from an aggravated hamstring injury. It’s important for Arrington, who showed promise last year in Jackson, to get back on the field healthy.  He’ll be battling for the final wide out position.

 Marques Colston and Lance Moore are your starters with Devery Henderson the third wide out. 2007 first rounder Robert Meachem is likely your fourth wide out in certain set. Courtney Roby, who was brought in towards the end of last season as a kick returner, appears to be the competition for Arrington. Head coach Sean Payton has said from day one of his hire, players that can play multiple positions will be favored when it comes down to making cuts. Arrington needs to get healthy quick and make the impressions he made last year and more.


 Saints cornerback Jason David is wearing a new number. Safety Darren Sharper is now donning the number 42, David’s number last season, and the number Sharper wore with the Minnesota Vikings. David will be wearing 29 this season



Training Camp !!

Whodatnation has some good news, here is a little update from Gus Kattengell !

It’s here! Saints Training Camp 2009 is underway and with it the start of a highly anticipated season. The Black and Gold had a busy offseason, one that has fans excited by not only the moves made by the front office, but also because for the first time since the 2005 season, the team will hold camp at it’s training facility in Metairie.

With camp at home this year, players will stay at a hotel instead of a college dorm. There are also just 12 two a days and most of the afternoon practices will be held indoors. Overall it will be a more comfortable Camp Payton this go around, but despite the comfortable settings of their home base, head coach Sean Payton believes the team will still get the work environment it needs to prepare for the new season.

“I think in the end the training camp will be what we make it to be,” Payton said at the camp kick off press conference Thursday evening.

Moves such as the hiring of new defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, and free agent signings Darren Sharper, and Jabari Greer have the fan base believing the defense has already improved. Time will tell if draft picks Malcolm Jenkins (1st round), safety Chip Vaughn (4th round) and punter Thomas Morestead (5th round) will make an impact this season, but Payton says he’s happy with what they’ve shown during the offseason.
Add the return of last season’s league leading offense, and you can see why some are arguing that this could be the most talented Saints team ever. As Payton enters his fourth season as head coach, he believes it’s the best collection of talent he’s had since his hiring. “We’re anxious. We’re anxious for the challenge. We think we’ve gotten better. We think we’ve had a real good offseason,” says Payton. “ I think overall the offseason was clearly the best we’ve had. It was competitive. I think training camp is going to be competitive.

The past two seasons have been disappointments as the team has suffered through injuries and lackluster performances after reaching the NFC Championship game in the 2006 season. While Payton warns that a meaningful game has yet to be played and that camp is just getting underway, the potential of the group he may be going to war with on Sunday’s has him feeling good about the upcoming year.

“I think there is a sense of excitement I would say in the organization not just in the football end of the building but by in large a pretty good feeling about this team.”

Saints first round draft pick Malcolm Jenkins has not reported to camp and it appears it could be a while before the cornerback from Ohio State joins the team. “I would say there is no progress at all on Malcolm and I’m very pessimistic on having anything done with him in the near future,” said Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis Thursday.

Fourth rounder pick safety Chip Vaughn and fifth rounder punter Thomas Morestead have been signed and were at the team meetings Thursday morning. The team also released DE / LS Rob Ninkovich.

Loomis and Jenkins representatives have only spoken once and during that talk, the team sent over an offer and the Jenkins camp has yet to respond. While first round holdouts are commonplace, the weak economy and the looming labor talks could make for a difficult sighing period.

“I think every year part of the issue is the dollars. I think the economy definitely affects that,” said Loomis. “It’s affected all of our teams and we all have to be conscious of our costs and expenses, and yet it seems like the agents and representatives for these guys are oblivious to that.”
When the Saints put the pads on Friday for the first time, just three Saints will be taking it easy. WR Lance Moore (shoulder), WR Adrian Arrington, and LB Jonathan Vilma (abdomen) are currently on the Player Unable to Perform list or PUP. Payton says they will do work and practice but will be worked into team drills slowly.

Vilma underwent a scope to repair a developing sports hernia. The procedure was done following the team’s final mini camp.



Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian breakup “a case of conflicting schedules”

by The Times-Picayune

Monday July 27, 2009, 5:51 PM

In happier times: Reggie and Kim at a Hornets game in 2008.

Superstar Saints running back Reggie Bush and longtime romantic interest Kim Kardashian have split up, according to reports on Usmagazine.com and People.com.

Usmagazine.com quoted a source close to the couple as saying, “Nobody cheated. This is just a case of conflicting schedules and their lives going in different directions. … It was a totally mutual decision.”
People.com’s report quoted a source as saying, “They never get to see each other, ever. It’s been a long time coming. They still love each other and are part of their lives, but Reggie spends six months out of the year in New Orleans, so it’s tough.”

Kardashian, 28, and Bush, 24, began dating in April 2007. The star of the E! TV network reality show “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” has been spotted in attendance at several Saints games in the Superdome the last two seasons, and was seen canoodling with Bush in courtside seats at a New Orleans Hornets game last season.

The breakup came as a shock to fans of the pair. In June, E! Online quoted Kardashian as saying that she was shopping for her engagement ring. (She later posted a denial on her Web site, according to Usmagazine.com, writing: “I am not engaged! … I don’t know where all this comes from!!”) And as recently as Monday afternoon, the Kardashian fan site KimKardashian.net offered as its top headline: “Reggie Bush and Kim Kardashian Headed to Botswana” on a July 12 humanitarian mission.

A spokesman for Kardashian has confirmed the breakup, the two Web sites reported. No comment from Bush, who is scheduled to report to training camp with the rest of his Saints teammates on Thursday (July 30).



Drew Brees raises eyebrows with comments about Guantanamo Bay

Posted by Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune July 28, 2009 10:24AM

Drew Brees is a great quarterback but every once in awhile he makes a bad pass.

Off the field, he’s a terrific ambassador, not only for the organization, but for the NFL and city of New Orleans. That’s why he’s asked to represent various organizations on trips like the U.S.O. tour he went on earlier this summer to the U.S. Naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees
has been open in his support for the U.S. military.

After the visit, Brees conducted several interviews to discuss the trip, including one with the Times-Picayune’s Mike Triplett and one with San Diego-based radio station, XX1090-AM.

I was on vacation at the time of the radio interview on July 10, but I’m surprised his comments about the controversial facility did not raise more eyebrows locally or nationally.

“I can say this after that experience — the worst thing we can do is shut that baby down, for a lot of reasons,” Brees said. “But I think there’s a big misconception as to how we are treating those prisoners; those detainees over there. They are being treated probably 10 times better than any prisoner in a U.S. prison.”

Brees made some other eye-opening statements:

“I mean, they’re allowed to call and write letters home, and receive letters and calls. They get five opportunities a day to pray, and they have arrows in the prison pointing towards where Mecca is. And the prison goes dead silent so these guys can have their religious time. They have rooms where they can watch movies and play Nintendo Wii. So I think that just goes ahead and says it right there.”


“And you just talk to all the guards that are Army and Navy personnel, they’ll tell you stories about how these prisoners, they’ll be walking the cell blocks as they’re keeping an eye on these guys and they’ll be throwing the feces and urine in the faces of the guards as they walk by and the guards are not allowed to do anything. They’re not allowed to physically retaliate or do anything hardly to try to restrain these guys at all. These guys get away with whatever they want.”

I’m sure Brees accurately described the conditions at Gitmo during his visit. But clearly that wasn’t the case previously.

An 18-month investigation by the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 2006 charged U.S. officials with human rights violations against the prisoners and urged the U.S. to close the military prison in Cuba.

President Barack Obama announced in January plans to close the detention center at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base within a period of no later than one year and to prohibit cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment in interrogations of detained individuals.

Brees’ comments flew under the radar but did resonate with some Saints fans on Canal Street Chronicles, a popular fan blog which covers the team. The link to the radio interview elicited these negative comments from Saints fans.



New Orleans Saints staff looks forward to hosting training camp

Posted by Nakia Hogan, The Times-Picayune July 28, 2009 9:23PM

For their three-day minicamp last month at their Metairie headquarters, the Saints had an overflow, shoulder-to-shoulder crowd on hand to watch practices. Some fans even were left to peer in from outside the gate just to get a glimpse of the Black and Gold.

Getting to see the team for the next month during training camp might not be as much of a strain.

In preparation for Friday’s start of training camp, which will be held at the team’s facility for the first time since 2005, the Saints have added more seating and standing areas to accommodate larger crowds.

Saints administrative director Jay Romig, who also serves as training camp manager, said about 3,000 fans will be able to sit comfortably (August heat not withstanding) to watch practices, a number that more than doubled the capacity for minicamps. Meanwhile, hundreds more can be added to the standing-room-only areas.

To have room for the larger crowds, the Saints and Jefferson Parish brought in more temporary bleachers, adding larger sections of stands along the Airline Drive sideline and placing the smaller bleachers along Elise Street end zone.

Romig also said that extra concession and memorabilia kiosks are being added.

“This came right from (Saints owner) Mr. (Tom) Benson,” Romig said. “He wanted to make sure everybody was accommodated. We were so excited about the crowds we got at the minicamp, he wanted to make sure we could accommodate the fans.

“We just kind of moved some bleachers. We didn’t have to reconfigure anything. We just kind of redistributed some areas that were not used before. Every available space we have is going to be used, either by practice or by the fans.”

One other change the team is making from the last time it hosted training camp in Metairie is the team will not hold meetings at its practice facility. Instead the meetings will take place at the hotel where the players are staying during training camp.

Other than that, Romig said he expects a seamless transition.

“This kind of puts a bigger burden on the marketing and administrative sides because of the space restrictions we have,” Romig said. “But on the football side, it’s probably a relief to the trainers and the equipment people who get to operate out of their own space that they operate everyday.”

This will mark only the fourth time the Saints have held training camp at their permanent facility. The team held training camp at the Metairie facility from 2003-2005.

The Saints moved camp to Jackson, Miss., from 2006-2008, before returning this year to Metairie, where 21 of the 29 practices scheduled at the Airline Drive facility will be open to the public, weather permitting.

“We’ve had training camps here before, and it worked well for us,” Romig said. “Before Katrina we had training camps here, and we sort of had the same plan, but we added additional bleachers. We hope it’s filled up everyday to the max. That would be exciting for the players and the fans and everybody in the organization.”

Nakia Hogan can be reached at nhogan@timespicayune.com or 504.826.3405.



Saints Training Camp !


7-31 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-1 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-2 Afternoon 3:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-3 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-4 Afternoon 3:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-5 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-6 Afternoon 3:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-7 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-8 Afternoon 2:30-4:30* Outdoor Facility Open
8-9 OFF
8-10 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
  Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-12 Afternoon 3:40-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-13 OFF
8-14 Gameday 7:00 Superdome vs. Bengals
8-15 OFF
8-16 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-17 Afternoon 3:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-18 OFF
8-19 Morning TBD at Houston Texans
Afternoon TBD at Houston Texans
8-20 Morning TBD at Houston Texans
Afternoon TBD at Houston Texans
8-21 OFF
8-22 Gameday 7:00 Reliant Stadium at Texans
8-23 OFF
8-24 Afternoon 3:40-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-25 Afternoon 3:20-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open
8-26 Morning 8:50-11:00 Indoor Facility CLOSED
8-27 Afternoon 3:40-5:45 Fields Open to the Public
8-28 OFF
8-29 Gameday 3:00 McAfee Coliseum at Raiders
8-30 OFF
8-31 Morning 8:50-11:00 Outdoor Fields Open to the Public
Afternoon 4:20-5:45 Indoor Facility CLOSED
9-1 Afternoon 3:40-5:45 Outdoor Fields Open to the Public

Please be aware that practice times and field locations are subject to change with or no advance warning due to weather considerations or at the discretion of the head coach. 

Directions to the Saints Practice Facility from Local Airport
… Turn left onto Airline Drive. Take Airline Drive 4.4 miles. Practice facility on the right side.

*From New Orleans and Points East: Take I-10 West to Clearview Parkway South. Follow Clearview Parkway to Airline Drive. Turn right on Airline Drive. Practice facility approximately 1.5 miles on left.

*From Baton Rouge and Points West: Take I-10 East to Clearview Parkway South. Follow Clearview Parkway to Airline Drive. Turn right on Airline Drive. Practice facility approximately 1.5 miles on left.