Monday, August 31, 2009

Saints Nation's 53 Man Roster Prediction

Back on April 28th I took a stab at what the Saints' 53 man roster would look like (CLICK HERE) and the one I've compiled today looks a good bit different. As we close in on the deadline for cuts of September 5th the Saints will have some very difficult decisions to make. Here is what I believe will be the most likely 53 man New Orleans Saints roster as of today:

QB: (3) Drew Brees, Mark Brunell, Joey Harrington
HB: (4) Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Mike Bell, Lynell Hamilton
FB: (1) Heath Evans
WR: (5) Marques Colston, Lance Moore, Devery Henderson, Robert Meachem, Rod Harper
TE: (4) Jeremy Shockey, Billy Miller, Darnell Dinkins, Buck Ortega
C: (2) Jonathan Goodwin, Nick Leckey
G: (3) Jahri Evans, Carl Nicks, Jamar Nesbit
T: (4) Jammal Brown, Jon Stinchcomb, Jermon Bushrod, Zach Strief

E: (4) Bobby McCray, Paul Spicer, Anthony Hargrove, Jeff Charleston
DT: (4) Sedrick Ellis, Kendrick Clancy, DeMario Pressley, Rod Coleman
OLB: (4) Scott Shanle, Scott Fujita, Troy Evans, Jo-Lonn Dunbar
MLB: (2) Jonathan Vilma, Marvin Mitchell
CB: (5) Jabari Greer, Tracy Porter, Randall Gay, Malcolm Jenkins, Leigh Torrence
FS: (3) Darren Sharper, Usama Young, Pierson Prioleau
SS: (2) Roman Harper, Chris Reis

K: (1) John Carney
P: (1) Thomas Morstead
LS: (1) Jason Kyle

Keep in mind Charles Grant, Will Smith and Garrett Hartley are all suspended in weeks 1 through 4, and when they return the Saints will have to cut 3 players.

Notable Cuts: Skyler Green, Courtney Roby, PJ Hill, Herb Donaldson, Olaniyi Sobomehin, Danny Gorrer, Anthony Waters, Jonathan Casillas, Adrian Arrington, Remi Ayodele

I believe many if not all of the players listed under "notable cuts" will be signed to the Saints practice squad assuming they clear waivers. In some cases that may be an unsafe assumption.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Saints Nation: Bullet Points from Raiders game

Hard to find a lot of fault with the Saints 45-7 blowout win over the Raiders. To the objective bystander watching this game the apparent question was "Are the Saints really this good or are the Raiders this bad?". Well, maybe it's both. One thing is for sure: The Raiders were horrible. They couldn't hold on to the ball, the play of their quarterback was erratic at best, and their defense was incapable of getting off the field. We knew the Saints' offense was that good. Maybe they surprised us a little bit with their effectiveness in short yardage situations, and maybe they surprised us in their ability to move the ball without Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas. But they are the #1 offense for a reason, and that's Drew Brees. He was on full display during his 14-17, 179 yard, 2 touchdown performance. Brees was supposed to play 3 quarters in this game - and he was so dominant coach Sean Payton decided he had seen enough with 11 minutes remaining in the second quarter. The surprise through 3 preseason games has been the defense's ability to create turnovers. Once again the Saints forced fumbles, three this time, with heads up plays by Pierson Prioleau, Roman Harper and Remi Ayodele. I don't care if from a yardage standpoint they end up the 25th defense in the league, if they create turnovers at this volume this team will blow people out on a weekly basis.

Other notes:

-- Safe to say Herb Donaldson's chances of making the roster are now dead. Perhaps he still has a shot at the practice squad, but he's clearly last in the pecking order based on the reps he gets. Add to that the STELLAR performances of Lynell Hamilton and PJ Hill and it's hard to see him moving up the depth chart by September 5th. The only question that remains is who will win the #4 running back slot between Hamilton and Hill? This may come down to the final preseason Dolphins game. I think it's a safe assumption the Saints will keep 4 based on the injuries Bush and Thomas have going into the season.

-- While it's also safe to say former LSU Tiger Skyler Green's chances are dead as well, it was nice to see him run a very clean route and catch a perfectly thrown ball by Harrington for a touchdown. Perhaps it will build his resume and help him catch on with another team.

-- While rookie free agent Danny Gorrer has been a very pleasant surprise all of training camp, the TD he gave up which included a horrible missed tackle could do him in. He just couldn't afford a slip up based on the uphill battle he was facing, but perhaps the practice squad is in the cards for him too.

-- It's great that Thomas Morstead won the punter job without really showing us anything, but now that he can relax without Glenn Pakulak looking over his shoulder - can he show us why the Saints drafted him? Through 3 preseason games this guy has yet to do a good job.

-- Great to see John Carney perfectly nail his 35 yard field goal attempt. Right down the middle. Makes me feel slightly better about our kicking game going into the season.

-- Jamar Nesbit wants to get back in the starting lineup, I'm sure, but he did himself no favors negating a touchdown run with a blatant hold that was flagged.

-- Brees went to Moore and Shockey almost exclusively on the touchdown drives, and also looked Henderson's way a good bit. With Asomugha on Colston, Brees worked his other weapons. Be careful in fantasy leagues picking Saints players because you just never know what target Brees is going to go at from week to week.

-- Mike Bell converts a 3rd and 1 from the 5, and Heath Evans punches in the TD from the 4 on the next play. That's what I call power running. Awesome to see. Maybe not the Saints bread and butter, but making plays like that will be the difference between 8-8 and 11-5.

-- On the touchdown pass from Brees to Henderson (3rd and 10 play, no less) - Jermon Bushrod did a FABULOUS pass blocking job at left tackle to buy Brees enough time to make the big play.

-- Lance Moore looked healthy and back to his old tricks. I almost forgot how good that guy was.

-- Mark Brunell's interception in the Raiders' end zone was horrendous. I'm not even going to say what I'm thinking but I'm sure all Saints fans know and agree.

-- Don't feel too bad about Meachem getting caught from behind. First, he made a terrific move and showed great speed to get separation, and second, the guy that caught him (Chris Johnson) reportedly ran a 4.18 40 at his pro day 6 years ago (Fastest recorded at an NFL combine has been 4.24 by RUNNING BACK Chris Johnson of the Titans).

-- Saw good things out of Troy Evans, Randall Gay, Chris Reis and Pierson Prioleau. Bobby McCray also got a sack.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints embarass Raiders 45-7

To say the Saints covered the 3.5 point spread is a gross understatement. The Saints obliterated the Raiders 45-7 today (BOX SCORE HERE). Check back tomorrow for my bullet points on the game.

Saints Nation: Pregame @ Raiders

The Saints face off against the Oakland Raiders today in Oakland at 3pm Central, 4pm Eastern for the third preseason game of the season. This game will be aired live nationally on NFL Network. The Raiders are 1-1 in preseason after blasting the Cowboys at home and narrowly losing to the 49ers on the road. The starters for both teams are expected to play into the 3rd quarter.

Out for the Saints: Pierre Thomas (knee), Jammal Brown (hernia), Charles Grant (hamstring), Anthony Davis (elbow), Darnell Dinkins (ankle), D'Juan Woods (neck), Chip Vaughn (knee).

About the Raiders: The Raiders are coming off a dismal 5-11 season that included a lot of inner office turmoil. This season has started off no different as a report emerged of head coach Tom Cable haven't a physical confrontation with another coach. The Raiders had a head scratching draft choice in Darrius Heyward-Bay, and feature JaMarcus Russell (of LSU) and Darren McFadden (of Arkansas) on offense. On defense they arguably have the best cornerback in the NFL in Nnamdi Asomugha. The Raiders were ranked 29th on offense a year ago and 27th on defense.

other notes:

-- Reggie Bush (calf) and Darren Sharper (Achilles) are both questionable and game time decisions.

-- JaMarcus Russell was the former 1st overall pick and prepped at LSU.

-- Jeff Garcia was signed in the offseason to back up Russell, but don't be surprised to see him compete for the starting spot at QB.

-- Longtime Cowboy Greg Ellis, a recent roster casualty, now plays for the Raiders.

-- Saints Defensive Tackle Rod Coleman was originally drafted by the Raiders in 1999.

Enjoy the game and Geaux Saints!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Jeff Faine Is the All NFC South 1st Team Center

Former Saint and current Buc Jeff Faine has been elected by the Saints Nation fans to the All NFC South 1st team. The offense is now complete and features 6 Saints, 2 Panthers, 2 Falcons and 1 Buccaneer. Thanks for your participation, and please now vote for your 2 starting defensive ends (right side of the site).

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saints Nation: The Punting Job is all Thomas Morstead's, Pakulak released

The Saints made the announcement late last night that veteran punter Glenn Pakulak (pictured) was released along with young receiver Paris Warren (STORY HERE). Pakulak became the punter for the Saints last year after the Chargers game in London, and performed well enough to keep his job through to the end of the season. The release means that rookie 5th round draftee punter Thomas Morstead has now officially won the punting job. He'll open the season booting the Saints out of bad field position, but with last season as evidence he'll need to be consistent as Sean Payton has shown no hesitation to part ways midseason with a struggling punter. Still, it's nice to see the rookie outperform a veteran to validate the draft selection the Saints made. Admittedly both punters had struggled a little bit overall through two preseason games, but now Morstead will have the luxury of having the last two preseason games to himself as he preps for week 1 against the Lions. With the release of Pakulak and Warren, the Saints roster now stands at 78, and it will need to be down to 75 by September 1st.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Saints Nation: Around the NFC South

In case you were curious how the other NFC South teams are doing so far, here's a scoop:

ATLANTA FALCONS: They're 1-1 in the preseason with a loss at Detroit 26-27 and a win at St. Louis 20-13. Team stats through 2 games can be found HERE. Looks like Ryan is looking sharp, and they are running the ball extremely well. On the injury side they've lost receiver Harry Douglas for the season, but replaced him with veteran Marty Booker.

CAROLINA PANTHERS: They're 0-2 in the preseason with losses at the Giants 17-24 and at Miami 17-27. Oddly both the Falcons and Panthers have been on the road for their first 2 games and will close out their last 2 at home. Team stats through 2 games can be found HERE. Looks like the quarterback play has been mediocre and they're running the ball well. As it's been well documented, the Panthers can't really afford injuries because they are completely strapped for cash. Julius Peppers' one year franchise tag contract has completely handcuffed them and if injuries mount on them they'll be in big trouble because they won't be able to afford suitable veteran replacements. What's more they've already lost run stopping star Maake Kemoeatu for the season and his replacements have looked terrible thus far.

TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS: They're 1-1, and they've also started with 2 games on the road. Tampa lost 20-27 at Tennessee and won 24-23 at Jacksonville. Team stats through 2 games can be found HERE. So far Luke McCown looks like he'll be their starter as he's outperformed the others. It will be interesting to see who starts week 1 between him and Byron Leftwhich, and who starts as the season progresses. Mike Nugent has missed a couple kicks already in 2 games, and they've average 2.7 yards on 6 punt returns. It was announced 2 days ago they also lost starting linebacker Angelo Crowell for the season.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Saints Nation: Thoughts on Saints win over Texans

So I finally got around to watching the Saints-Texans game. "Some Saints fan" I'm sure you're thinking... I know I know. I feel guilty but I wasn't about to miss my buddy's bachelor party in San Diego. Great times. Anyway, here are the game bullets:

-- The first thing that jumped out at me was that the Saints missed Scott Fujita (pictured). Troy Evans started in his place and was victimized on a couple play action pass plays and he was out of position at least a couple times.

-- Kendrick Clancy, I continue to say, is the most underrated player on the roster. He plugged the gap numerous times and looked terrific in run support in limited snaps.

-- Anthony Hargrove played the entire game and was productive at times. I think he's a lock at this point. The Saints took a very long look at him in the game and he was pretty good.

-- Mike Bell is a LOT quicker than I realized. Some of the hard cuts he made were very impressive, and he juked at least a couple guys out of their shoes. He's a lock. He's the game's MVP and I guess the lost weight is making a big difference. Speaking of which, I actually thought Pierre Thomas looked a little slow.

-- The 1st team offense hasn't missed a beat from last year. Drew Brees is so good at getting the ball out of his hands and he has so many weapons at his disposal - this team is going to score a lot of points in 2009.

-- I like Tracy Porter. He's not a shutdown corner and he gave up some pass plays, but he's scrappy and he's not afraid of sticking his nose into a play. That kid is only going to get better.

-- You can just tell the additions of Jabari Greer and Darren Sharper are making the world of difference. Replace those guys with Jason David and Josh Bullocks and you have the 2007-2008 versions of the Saints' defense. What a difference 2 players can make.

-- Penalties - what is with the penalties? They had double digits out there. The lack of discipline on special teams especially was outright pathetic. I don't know why the Saints can't figure out how to line up in a field goal/punt formations but they better figure it out.

-- I don't know if it's the lack of Addarall in his system but Garrett Hartley looks like crap and I wonder if 2009 verison of the Saints will showcase Carney as the kicker for the duration.

-- I thought Joey Harrington's performance, especially with the starters, was outstanding. Brunell was arguably even better. I hope Joey's head is ok because that hit was UGLY, but I liked him running for a 1st down on 3rd and 8 - he showed some guts.

-- Why is Herb Donaldson so far down on the depth chart? Lynell Hamilton and PJ Hill have impressed me about half as much as Donaldson, and don't forget Donaldson was also the best runner in the Black & Gold Scrimmage. I hope he gets more of a chance in these last two games.

-- What to do about Courtney Roby vs. Rod Harper for a roster spot? I think at this point it's safe to say Skyler Green is toast. Props to Roby, by the way, for a TERRIFIC block on Donaldson's touchdown run. Harper's punt return for a TD was electric, and Roby looked dangerous on kick returns.

-- Jenkins was mediocre at best, and I was actually glad. I think he's off to a roaring start after signing late and he needs a little humility at this point. With a little hard work and learning from his mistakes he'll be fine.

-- I wasn't so much happy for Randall Gay getting that last INT as I was thinking "why on earth is he still in the game?". Has he fallen down that deep on the depth chart? The most reliable corner last year is now a #4 corner at best? I have to say I'm surprised because I thought the staff really loved him.

-- Colston is the man and an absolute stud. Grab him in your fantasy leagues if you can.

-- Martrez Milner is horrendous.

-- Bushrod handled himself admirably at left tackle. I'd give him a solid B, though he did let Mario Williams beat him and crush Drew Brees on one play.

That's all I got.

Saints Nation Poll: Fans picked Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans as the All NFC South 1st team Guards. You guys are a bunch of homers! The new poll is for the starting center. Please vote on the right side of the site!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Saints Nation: Through 2 games, Saints on course

I'm back from a long weekend in San Diego for a friend's bachelor party, and let me tell you guys that's a long trip. As I mentioned on twitter, I couldn't escape that city without of course being told Rivers was better than Brees. Funny. Sadly I missed the second preseason game due to the trip, and I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. It is saved on my DVR from the NFL Network's replay, so I will get a chance to finally watch it tonight. I'll give you guys some bullets of what I saw once I review the game tape, so check back tomorrow for more on that game.

Through 2 games what I can say is the Saints look like they haven't missed a beat offensively, and their defense is creating more turnovers. 6 turnovers in 2 games is HUGE. If the defense can continue to create problems for teams the Saints might very well be poised for a playoff run. The stats Mike Bell put together also shows a major improvement over last week's weak run game showing. He's now a lock to make the 53 man roster after that performance. The Saints will play this Saturday at Oakland next, schedule for 3pm Central (4pm Eastern). On the injury front regarding Jammal Brown - the good news is he may be ready for week 1 after successful surgery on his sports hernia.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints smoke Texans 38-14, move to 2-0

Mike Bell (pictured) was the man on a night where the Saints blasted the Houston Texans 38-14. The defense continued to create turnovers, and the offense looked beyond solid in the run game. You can check out the recap HERE and the box score HERE. Awesome effort by the Saints, and again no major injuries. Harrington did get a mild concussion, but should be ok.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saints Nation: Pregame @ Texans

The Saints face off against the Houston Texans tonight in Houston at 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern for the second preseason game of the season. The Texans (1-0 in preseason) defeated the Chiefs in Kansas City 16-10 in their first game. The starters for both teams are expected to play the entire first half. Joey Harrington is expected to quarterback the second and third units in the 2nd half (Mark Brunell is not expected to play).

Out for the Saints: Reggie Bush (calf), Jammal Brown (possible hernia), Chip Vaughn (knee), Zach Strief (knee)

About the Texans:

The Texans are coming off an 8-8 season, and they were very similar to the Saints last year as they struggled defensively and relied on the performance of their offense for wins. They showcase arguably the best receiver in pro football with Andre Johnson, budding NFL runningback Steve Slaton, and defensive stars DeMeco Ryans and Mario Williams. The Texans were the 3rd ranked offense last year and the 22nd ranked defense.

other notes:

-- With Jammal Brown and Zach Strief both banged up, Jermon Bushrod will get the start at left tackle. He'll have the tough task of going up against Mario Williams - let's hope he doesn't get Brees killed.

-- Rookie free agent center Brett Helms of the Texans played college ball at LSU.

-- Ryan Moats, the veteran backup runningback, went to Louisiana Tech.

-- Mario Williams was picked 1st overall, and one spot ahead of Reggie Bush in the 2006 NFL draft.

-- The Texans feature Matt Schaub at quarterback, who backed up Michael Vick in Atlanta for years, and his backup is well known ex Bear Rex Grossman. was used for research.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Saints Nation: Jammal Brown's injury is an opportunity for Bushrod

Jermon Bushrod (pictured) will finally get his chance to show what he can do. Bushrod, who was drafted in the 4th round in 2007, has been buried on the depth chart for his short lived career behind Pro Bowl tackle Jammal Brown and reliable backup Zach Strief. Despite the fact that Strief was a 7th round pick the previous year (2006), he's managed to continually hold off Bushrod as the top reserve at tackle. This despite Saints coaches constantly raving about Bushrod's ability. Even with the amount of bottled up ability Bushrod witholds, sooner or later he won't remain on the team if he can't live up to his potential. Zach Strief has been limited with a day to day injury and with the latest news that Jammal Brown may be suffering from a sports hernia, it's now or never for Bushrod. Brown's situation is of major concern for a couple of reasons: one, it's the same injury that plagued both Will Smith and Jeremy Shockey and severly stunted their 2008 performance, and two, he's a guy that protects Drew Brees' blind side and is the anchor of the Saints line. It's bad news for the Saints, but with their reliable backup in Strief banged up - this couldn't be a more perfect opportunity for Bushrod to finally jump on an opportunity. This much is certain: a chance to showcase his ability in a prime situation may never come around again. The glass half full theory here is Bushrod will rise to the occassion and prove to the Saints that he was worth keeping around those years he hibernated week to week on the inactive roster. Keep an eye out for his performance tomorrow, because he'll be blocking Mario Williams and going up against one of the best. He'll be responsible for Drew Brees getting through that game healthy, and it will be no easy task. The good news is if he can get through this game with flying colors, the Saints' depth at tackle will be better off for it and perhaps he'll be trusted more in the future.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Saints Nation: Malcolm Jenkins starting to make his mark

In limited time with limited reps, 1st round draft pick and rookie Malcolm Jenkins has made the most of it. Whether it's been in practice or the first preseason game, Jenkins has been making plays all over the place. Yesterday in a practice against the Houston Texans, Jenkins had the play of the day, stepping in front of a Matt Schaub pass attempt and taking the interception 70 yards for a pick 6. Shockingly, Jenkins is already getting time ahead of Randall Gay in nickel situations and may have passed the veteran on the depth chart after having only been with the team for 10 days (or 11 days late). This all despite the fact that Gay had a very solid season a year ago, and was arguably the Saints' most reliable corner. Based on Jenkins' incredibly fast progress it's not impossible to think Jenkins could even challenge Jabari Greer and Tracy Porter for a starting spot at some point this season - though Greer has been without question the most impressive corner through camp thus far. So far it seems the Saints pick is far more hit than miss - though I want to guard Saints fans (and myself) in getting ahead of ourselves. Still, very promising stuff from the 1st round pick.

In other news Drew Brees has returned from his mother's service and is back with the team. He is expected to direct the first team in practice today - again in Houston going up against the Texans, who the Saints will be playing this Saturday in their second preseason game.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Saints Nation: Injuries at tight end mounting

Depth at tight end is starting to get extremely thin for the Saints, and surprisingly it's not because of oft-injured starter Jeremy Shockey. Currently the Saints top 3 backups, Billy Miller (pictured), Dan Campbell and Darnell Dinkins, are all out with injuries that have varying degrees of seriousness.

Current status for each injury are as follows:

Billy Miller is also suffering from knee issues that have kept him out of practice for the last week, including the first preseason game. He is listed as day to day, but continued pain and swelling have delayed his return to practice.

Campbell is out for the season after having been placed on IR with a knee injury, so his season is already over.

Dinkins had what looked to be a severe ankle sprain in the preseason game against the Bengals. He's officially listed as out for 1 to 2 weeks, but this injury could easily linger past the start of the regular season.

This leaves the Saints with Buck Ortega, free agent rookie Jermey Parnell (moved from Defensive End to Tight End due to the injuries) and recently signed Martrez Milner as the primary backups. To say these guys are unproven is a larger understatement than saying you see a little bit of Brett Favre news in the media. Hard to see one of those 3 stepping up and really making a significant impact, which means the Saints cannot afford an injury to Jeremy Shockey in the slightest. It's scary to think the Saints are relying on Shockey's health more than ever, but it's come to that. Billy Miller and Dinkins will hopefully recover and be healthy for the start of the season, but with the possibility of a lengthy recovery and the possibility of a set back for either player, it may be imprudent to count on. The cupboard at tight end is looking bare in Who Dat Nation, and ultimately the longer this position is hampered the longer it will be that we'll see a guy like Derrick Brooks signed. This has to be a major concern as the season approaches, and we'll see if the Saints add a veteran - or if Dinkins/Miller can recover. As the weeks pass, if these guys stay on the treadmill, it will become more and more necessary to add a veteran tight end to the mix.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Jammal Brown and Jordan Gross Land All NFC South honors

Saints Nation fans voted for Saints tackle Jammal Brown and Carolina tackle Jordan Gross as the 1st team all NFC South reps. Thanks for voting, and please participate in the new poll selecting your two starting guards on the right side of the site.

The Saints travel to Houston today where they'll practice against the Texans all week, in preparation for their preseason matchup on Saturday.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Saints Nation: The Jason David Experiment is Mercifully Over

The news was first broken this morning by (story HERE), so props go out to them for breaking the story and beating many major media outlets to the punch. Always good to see a blogger out scoop those who do it for a living :)

You'll remember me writing just yesterday that it's time to part ways with Jason David (HERE) and today all our wishes came to fruition. The Saints have waived Jason David and have replaced him with cornerback Greg Fassitt. Fassitt played college ball at Grambling and has been on the Saints preseason roster before (prior to getting injured and being placed on IR). Sadly Derrick Brooks was NOT the replacement signed, but the move did save the Saints a little over $2 million in cap room which now places them approximately $6 million under the maximum and gives them plenty of space to afford Brooks.

Saints Nation: John Carney rises from ashes, Garrett Hartley facing suspension

You may or may not remember THIS ARTICLE entitled "When can we stop missing John Carney?". Turns out, we didn't have to wait long at all. Turns out the Saints signed Carney in an effort to proactively deal with current kicker Garrett Hartley's upcoming 4 game suspension. Hartley will likely be suspended the first 4 games of the regular season after failing a drug test (STORY). Hartley was apparently driving from Dallas into New Orleans late in the night, so he scored some Adderall from his college buddy that suffers from ADD. If you're familiar with Ritalin, Adderall is a stronger drug with similar effects and is typically pescribed to students who's attention spans can be measured in nano-seconds.

I'll suspend my joy at the return of Carney for a moment, who while now 45 is coming off a trip to the Pro Bowl in one of the best seasons of his career. Instead, I'll first point my thoughts towards the stupidity of Hartley. Hey, let me borrow my buddy's perscrition drug, which I don't have a perscription for, so I can stay awake on this long drive. Hey Garrett: drink a red bull. Or better yet, go to bed and get up early to start driving. What an idiot. He claims he didn't realize it was on the banned substance list. Borrowing a perscription drug from someone else is at the very least illegal, so that should be a clue. As a highly paid athlete who gets drug tested more than a grunge era rock star with numerous jail stints, he should watch what he's putting in his body. He jeopardized his job and career for that? Let's face it, Payton is going to have a hard time letting John Carney go if the Saints are 3-1 through 4 games and Carney is 8 for 9 on field goals. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Despite the TERRIBLE news about Hartley, any of us Saints fans can't help but feel a little excited. Even if it's a short stint, it's just good to see Carney back. He was nothing short of terrific for the Saints during his career, and he was nothing short of THE BEST IN THE NFC last season kicking for the Giants. Couple all that with the misery the Olindo Mare's, Taylor Mehlhaff's and Martin Grammatica's put us through - it's nice to have a kicker we have confidence in. While Hartley was solid last year, I the jury was and is still out, maybe now more than ever. As far as suitable replacements go, it doesn't get much better at this point in the preseason. Welcome back John, we wish you had never left.

ROSTER MOVES: To make room for Carney on the roster, the Saints placed reserve linebacker Mark Simoneau on injured reserve for the second consecutive year. Cornerback Reggie Jones was also placed on IR (torn achilles tendon), and tight end Martrez Milner was signed to take his roster spot.


Sean Payton's Press Conference post practice Sunday: HERE
Q&A with Gregg Williams: HERE
John Carney speaks about his return: HERE

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Saints Nation: It's Time to Part Ways With Jason David

I'll never forget the first regular season game that Jason David played as a member of the New Orleans Saints. David poked out a ball from the hands of Colts' receiver Reggie Wayne, scooped up the loose ball and ran 55 yards to paydirt. I received a text within about 10 seconds of the play from my cousin and it said "Jason David = pimp". Fast forward to today, and it's almost a shock he's still on the roster, and those sentiments of praise changed all too quickly. David finished that first game yielding 3 long touchdown passes to Peyton Manning in a 41-10 Colts rout. 2 years later, the same issues still plague David. There's no question he has ball skills, as he's made plays and even led the Saints in interceptions last year. But along with big plays comes mistakes, and they come all to often. Evident from the Saints's first half of their first 2009 preseason game was that while David is still capable of making things happen, he's just too much of a liability.

Jason David had the unfair stress of expectations from minute one as he left the Colts a starter for a SuperBowl champion and received a hefty contract to come play for the Saints. To his credit, he has ALWAYS said the right things and has always conducted himself as a professional. Anytime the finger was pointed at him he accepted blame and refused to give up. The attitude alone probably bought him more time than the average player would get, because he picked up believers on the Saints' coaching staff. But fair or not, David has gotten plenty of rope and plenty of chances - and it just has not worked out.

If the Saints want to win the SuperBowl this year, or even make a run in the playoffs - having Jason David on the squad will not help. As much as I love him when he steps in front of an errant pass, the Saints cannot afford the three blown coverages that come along with it. As the Saints play more meaningful games deep in the season against better teams, the opposing quarterbacks will make less mistakes and will magnify any shortcomings on the Saints' defense. Jason David's play has and will continue to be their undoing. If J.T. O'Sullivan can victimize him so badly, I just don't want to imagine what Matt Ryan, Eli Manning or Donovan McNabb would do to him in the playoffs should the Saints make it that far. I want to be clear that it's not personal and Jason David the person should only be commended for the way he's acted. Jason David the player has been outperformed by others on the team, and couple that with the fact that he's overpaid on a team right up against the salary cap - the writing is on the wall. I still think David is capable of having a good NFL career, but a change of scenery would need to occur. It's pretty clear things just weren't meant to happen with him in New Orleans, and it's time to move on.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints beat Bengals 17-7, win first preseason encounter

It wasn't the prettiest win, but the Saints got their 2009 preseason campaign off to a good start with a 17-7 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Saints took the lead with a 22 yard touchdown pass from Drew Brees to Jeremy Shockey. The Bengals tied the game at 7 with 7 seconds left in the first half thanks to a touchdown pass from former Saint J.T. O'Sullivan (who played a terrific game) to Chris Henry. The Saints scored all the points in the second half, first on an impressive bomb from Mark Brunell to Robert Meachem that covered 64 yards, followed by an huge 54 yard boot by Garrett Hartley. The Saints will next play the Houston Texans in Houston a week from today. (BOX SCORE)


-- Brunell looked like a pretty viable backup. If we ever need him to step in for spot duty, I wouldn't feel completely hopeless. His bomb to Meachem for 64 yards was a perfectly thrown ball, and he also showed very impressive arm strength on a 35 yard strike to Rod Harper. The guy still has a cannon at 38.

-- Shockey is healthy and he looked awesome. He's going to be a huge weapon in this offense if he can stay away from injury. Brees looked his way often, and he had two phenominal plays on the touchdown drive. The touchdown catch, in particular, was a grab in between 3 defenders that was pro bowl quality. Good game by Shockey.

-- Malcolm Jenkins jarred a ball loose with a hard hit that results in a tipped interception for Jonathan Casillas. In limited action, Jenkins looked good.

-- Robert Meachem still looks poised for a breakout year. Playing against backups he was a man among boys. He burned his coverage severely on the touchdown pass from Brunell, and had a couple other nice catches.

-- Garrett Hartley nailed a 54 yard field goal, so obviously leg strength is no issue whatsoever.

-- Jo-Lonn Dunbar was all over the field. He finished with 8 tackles and was solid in run support. Maybe he's making a case against the Saints signing Derrick Brooks? After getting off to a slow start in camp, he's roaring back.

-- Charlest Grant (who pulled a hamstring) looked fast on the field, and he hustled. It was encouraging to see. On Vilma's first fumble recovery he ran out to put a lead block on Carson Palmer and he looked fast and focused. On a missed tackle by Jason David later in the game, he almost chased down the player formerly known as Chad Johnson in a foot race and made a tremendous effort diving to clips #85's ankles.

-- Jonathan Vilma was terrific. First he recovered a fumble caused by a jarring hit by Darren Sharper, and rumbled inside the 10 yard line. Second he picked off Carson Palmer and once again returned it inside the 10. Vilma fumbled as he went down on the INT, but I thought he looked down. Vilma was also in the backfield making plays in run support.

-- Anthony Hargrove got a sack, and showed once again his tremendous pass rushing ability.

-- Not too many injuries to report. Grant tweaked a hammy, Darnell Dinkins turned an ankle, and D'Juan Woods was a little banged up. Otherwise a good result injury wise.


-- Look, Jason David says all the right things. By all accounts he's a great guy and I'll be the first to say he had a much improved season last year. It's time for him to go. The guy was burnt so badly in yesterday's game, it was almost like the Bengals would just throw to whoever he was covering. The guy makes way too much money to be a 5th cornerback. I love his playmaking/ball skills, but not at the expense of the constant plays he gives up. It's time to move on. I feel bad for him because I've always thought he handled himself perfectly - but clearly his tenure with the Saints just isn't working out. He's just too much of a liability.

-- Before the first TD, the first string offense looked pretty flat. It's early and I'm not worried about Brees, but they didn't come out firing on all cylinders.

-- The running attack was horrible. Mostly I blame the offensive line for the poor job getting push at the line of scrimmage. They weren't physical at all. The running backs combined for 2.9 yards a carry and that's just not going to get it done.

-- Lynell Hamilton coughed up 2 fumbles. Sorry buddy, but this isn't kindergarten recess and sharing the ball with others is not the name of the game.

-- The pass rush was pretty poor - but keep in mind Gregg Williams isn't showing his intricate blitz packages in preseason. That's the one area that looked mediocre that I'm less worried about.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Saints Nation: Pregame vs. Bengals

The Saints face off against the Cincinnati Bengals tonight at 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern for the first preseason game of the season. Saints Nation will be updating it's twitter account: during the game - so check it out. I'll be tweeting like a madman. As mentioned before, starters for both teams are expected to play approximately a quarter each.

Out for the Saints: Lance Moore (shoulder), Courtney Roby (hamstring), Mark Simoneau (triceps), Tracy Porter (hamstring), Reggie Jones (Achilles tendon) and safety Chip Vaughn (knee).

About the Bengals:

The Bengals are coming off a rough season at 4-11-1, though they did win their final 3 contests of the regular season to end strong. Back in the fold is star quarterback Carson Palmer, who is returning from injury, and controversial loud mouthed receiver Chad Johnson (I refuse to call him Ochocinco). The Bengals were the 32nd ranked offense last year and the 12th ranked defense.

other notes:

-- Andrew Whitworth, former LSU Tiger, is their starting left tackle.

-- Former Saint J.T. O'Sullivan is currently #2 on their depth chart and should see extended action.

-- The Bengals traded for Brian Leonhard of the Rams and they also feature Cedric Benson and Kenny Watson as their rushers. Gone is TJ Houshmanzadeh, but they added Lavernues Coles to replace him.

-- Former Saints draftee David Jones is a backup corner, and former Saint Dhani Jones is their incumbent starter at MLB.

-- The Bengals feature many talented promising young defenders including Keith Rivers, Rey Maualuga, Leon Hall, and Chinedum Nduke. was used for research.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Saints Nation: Brooks leaves without contract, Saints set to face Bengals

The Saints worked out veteran linebackers Derrick Brooks and Derek Smith yesterday, but for the time being they have let both go home without contracts. According to Sean Payton: "Those guys are both in great shape, we're not going to do anything right yet" (LINK). The Saints are possibly in the search for a backup linebacker after Mark Simoneau was diagnosed with a torn triceps muscle this week. Apparently the Saints will wait until after the game Friday (tomorrow) against the Cincinnati Bengals before they do anything - so Brooks would be a Saint Saturday at the earliest. There was no sense for which one they liked better, but if both guys are in good shape you'd have to think the Saints would prefer Brooks.

Tomorrow vs. the Cincinnati Bengals: The starters are scheduled to play approximately 1 quarter, with the 2nd unit playing quarters 2 and 3 and the 3rd unit closing out the 4th quarter. The game is scheduled for 7pm Central, 8pm Eastern and will not be televised nationally.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saints Nation: Injuries starting to mount

On the heels of the announcement that tight end Dan Campbell was placed on injured reserve, the Saints suffered two more pieces of bad news yesterday. First, Mark Simoneau was diagnosed with a torn triceps muscle, then it was announced that rookie safety Chip Vaughn would undergo knee surgery to repair a partially torn meniscus.

In Simoneau's case, the injury is not only serious but fairly detrimental to the Saints' depth because he was the primary backup at each linebacking position. What's more, the Saints have already lost backups Dan Morgan to retirement and rookie Stanley Arnoux to an achilles tendon tear. While no timetable has been set with Simoneau's recovery - the injury took approximately 8 weeks plus for Hollis Thomas to recover from last year. This means Simoneau will either be released or placed on IR this week. With the linebacking core's depth getting thinner by the day, the Saints will apparently bring in veterans Derrick Brooks (pictured) and Derek Smith for a workout. Both players are old and have long passed the peak of their performances, but if they have anything left in the tank they would be very serviceable backups. One thing that is undeniable is both players have accomplished careers: Brooks has been to 11 Pro Bowls and was the NFL defensive player of the year in 2002, while Smith started in every single one of his first 11 seasons in the league. At this point, assuming he's healthy, the only thing standing in the way of Brooks signing with the Saints is the apparent amount of money he expects coupled with the Saints' current salary cap woes.

In Vaughn's case, it's possible he could be ready by week 1 of the regular season - but his chances of going on injured reserve are there as well. The reason is the Saints have 5 other safeties that all have legitimate shots at making the team: Darren Sharper and Roman Harper are the starters, Usama Young is a project learning the position, Pierson Prioleau is a Gregg Williams favorite, and Chris Reis is enjoying a terrific camp. The Saints could decide these 5 are currently the best they have and they could place Vaughn on IR to shelve him until next year so they don't have to release the rookie. I think given the time he's going to miss it's a very plausible scenario.

Expect a decision on Simoneau (IR or release) to happen sometime today, and the signature of Derrick Brooks (or Derek Smith) to be on the heels of that. With Vaughn I think the Saints will wait to see how he recovers from surgery before making a decision.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Tony Gonzalez Is Tight End for the ALL NFC South Team

It was close, in fact one vote separated Tony Gonzalez from Jeremy Shockey for the Saints Nation All NFC South tight end spot. Recently added this offseason by the Atlanta Falcons, Gonzalez is not only the best in the NFC South - he's arguably the best in the entire league. Thanks for participating and please vote for the 2 tackle spots on the team (please limit yourself to two choices).

Other news:

Two star receivers for division rivals suffered injuries today as Antonio Bryant of the Bucs torn his meniscus and has been ruled out for the entire preseason (STORY) and Carolina's Steve Smith injured his right shoulder (STORY).

The Saints had back luck of their own as they decided to place Tight End Dan Campbell, who had been injured the entirety of mini-camps and training camp, on injured reserve. They also signed guard Nathan Bennett and released guard Joe McMahon.


Check out Sean Payton's press conference after Monday's practice: HERE
Drew Brees' press conference after Monday's practice: HERE

Monday, August 10, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints finally ink Malcolm Jenkins to 5 year deal

The lengthiest draft hold out in the past decade for the Saints ended late last night, with the Saints signing first round pick Malcolm Jenkins to a 5 year contract (STORY). Jenkins showed up to practice this morning and was apparently hurting severely due to the heat and the coaches running him ragged. Welcome aboard, Malcolm! Better late than never and now roster is all aboard. Hopefully he can get caught up quickly.

In other news, Drew Brees is already back to practice this morning after his mother passed away. Quick trip for Brees to and from Colorado, where his mother lived, and he is of course practicing with a very heavy heart. Check back at Saints Nation for more later.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Saints Nation: Notes from the Black & Gold Scrimmage

-- With Drew Brees out of town for what Sean Payton described as an "indefinite" amount of time, quarterbacks Joey Harrington and Mark Brunell both stepped in and played a significant amount of snaps. Both QB's did reasonably well, though both had bad interceptions. Brunell had a tipped pass from Jeff Charleston that Jason David picked off, and Harrington was intercepted by Roman Harper on his very first pass attempt. The main thing with each QB was Harrington was a little safe in his throws after the first pick, and Brunell held on to the ball way too long.

-- Top 5 studs at scrimmage: Jeff Charleston, Herb Donaldson, Marques Colston, Garrett Hartley, Roman Harper.

-- Whether it was Chris Reis or Roman Harper, Gregg Williams used the safety blitz early and often - especially on third down passing plays. Expect to see that during the season.

-- pulled up an unofficial stat sheet of the game you can pull up HERE.

-- Garrett Hartley made every single kick (8 for 8), and his kickoffs were good. Sounds like he's right where the Saints want him to be. I talked to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune yesterday and he confirmed that Hartley was very having a solid camp - "strong leg and accurate". This is encouraging.

-- Of all the running backs, Herb Donaldson probably looked the best. He ripped off a 26 yard burst, granted it was against the 3rd team defense - and finished with 56 yards. Mike Bell lost of fumble on the opening drive and the main concern with him continues to be ball security.

-- No surprises, the main targets all day were Marques Colston and Jeremy Shockey.

-- On the injury front: Mark Simoneau (elbow) who forced Bell's fumble, Tracy Porter (hamstring) and Chip Vaughn (partially torn meniscus) all got banged up. Hopefully not too serious.

-- With Gay out a few days and Porter now hurt, it makes Jenkins that much more needed. A great chance for him to get reps with the 2nd unit if he can sign ASAP.

-- Speaking of Malcolm Jenkins, his agent's broke their silence and gave somewhat promising news: HERE

-- Players who didn't play: Randall Gay, Dave Campbell, Reggie Bush, Drew Brees, Adrian Arrington.

-- The Saints are off today and will resume practice Monday.

Saints Nation: Mina Brees passes away, RIP

Sad news in Saints camp took place yesterday. Mina Brees, Drew's mother (both pictured), passed away at the age of 59. She was working in Colorado and Drew has left training camp to be with his family during this difficult time. Thoughts and prayers from Saints Nation are sent out to the Brees family. May she rest in peace. Drew is part of the Saints family and I know I speak for everyone in Saints Nation when I say that we are all thinking about him during this terrible time of grief.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Saints Nation: Saints to Scrimmage Today

The Saints will have their first live game like situation today as they scrimmage at the indoor Saints facility in Metairie. You can read THIS PRESS CONFERENCE with Saints head coach Sean Payton to get an idea of the schedule. This scrimmage will be held indoors, unfortunately, and thus will be closed to the public. Players, according to Payton, who will not play: Randall Gay, Adrian Arrington, Darren Sharper, Lance Moore, Dan Campbell and possibly Reggie Bush. Scott Fujita will be back in time from a funeral yesterday to play. We'll get a chance to see how the 1st team defense fares against both the 2nd team offense AND the 1st team offense.

Stay tuned and come back to Saints Nation for a full report on the scrimmage.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Saints Nation: Camp notes, Gruden visits

-- Former Tampa Bay Buccaneer coach Jon Gruden (pictured) visited Saints camp yesterday and addressed the team at various points. Gruden was a targeted addition to Sean Payton's coaching staff this season but he decided he wanted to give announcing a try. Gruden mentioned to the press "I really think that with the additions that they've made that they have a real chance (to make the Super Bowl)" (source). Can't dislike those comments.

-- Don't rule out Robert Meachem as a starter this year. Seriously. He is still absolutely TEARING IT UP in camp. I hope he stays healthy because this could be his breakout year. You know he'll get his chances with Brees at QB.

-- Per Billy Turner, the Saints tried a Wildcat formation today in practice with Pierre Thomas taking a direct snap.

-- Malcolm Jenkins is now officially the longest holdout draft choice of the current Saints era. It's officially time to start getting worried, especially with Randall Gay getting banged up (not supposed to be too serious).

-- Mark Simoneau has apparently had a terrific camp, of all people. The former starting middle linebacker (before Jonathan Vilma joined the team) for the Saints has been the primary backup at all 3 linebacker spots and should play a key role if he can stay healthy. He's looked fluid despite back and hip surgery last year when he was placed on IR.

-- Speaking of Jonathan Vilma, he's only gotten better from a year ago. He's another year removed from microfracture surgery, and he apparently abused veteran fullback Heath Evans in pass protection drills.

-- Mike Bell is banged up with a hip injury. Doesn't appear serious but Lynell Hamilton is getting more reps and this is a huge opportunity for him to state his case for making the team.

RECENT UPDATE AS OF THIS MORNING: Sharper tweaks hamstring (time for Usama to get starting reps), Jammal Brown and Jonathan Goodwin struggle in the heat: LINK

Joey Harrington apparently had an incredible morning practice. Maybe he can give Brunell a run for the #2 spot. At the very least it's good to see him making plays because up to this point he has really struggled in camp. LINK

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Saints Nation Fans Have Spoken: Heath Evans as fullback for the All NFC South team

Saints Nation fans voted former SuperBowl Champion and former New England Patriot Heath Evans, now a Saint, as the fullback for the Saints Nation All NFC South team. Thanks for your participation and please vote for the All NFC South 1st team tight end - in a new poll on the right side of the site.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Saints Nation: Camp Studs and Duds

So far we've seen a lot of players tearing it up in training camp, and a few that have faltered. Here are the top 5 performers and the top 5 struggling players through this point. Keep in mind it's still VERY early, so these 10 guys could completely flip-flop by the time it's week 1 of the regular season.


1. Robert Meachem (pictured): Meachem has run his routes to perfection and has literally caught every single ball thrown his way. He has routinely beat any corner he's been matched up against deep, and no one seems to be able to cover him. This could be a huge year for Meachem, who Brees is beginning to trust more and more.

2. Reggie Bush: Despite the banged up knee, Bush has looked fluid and healthy. He's been held out a couple times... once as a precaution and once with swelling, but each time he's bounced back to have a tremendous practice.

3. Mike Bell: In minicamps Bell added muscle and showed up to camp 10 pounds heavier in what he called the best shape of his life. After the coaches told him they preferred him without the extra weight, Bell returned in time for training camp trim and light. Bell has completely solidified the #3 back spot with his camp performance this far, and I continue to believe he'll play a prominent role on the Saints this year.

4. Jabari Greer: So far the new cornerback addition seems like it was a good one. Greer has looked great in coverage, breaking up numerous plays and even intercepting Brees a couple times. He started with the second strings and has crept closer and closer to the starting unit with every practice.

5. Jeremy Shockey: Light years ahead of his progress from this time last year, Shockey is healthy and performant. Whether it's standing his ground in blocks or running seam routes in traffic over the middle - Shockey has impressed. He could be a huge part of the offense this season. Pro Bowl in 2009?

honorable mention: Anthony Hargrove. He'll need to keep up the good work and keep his nose clean to make the team, but his potential is promising.


1. Adrian Arrington: How can he make the team if he never practices? His grade 2 hamstring tear is a big disappointment for him. I just don't see him making the team with an injury like that. Even if he gets on the field and plays in preseason games, it's going to be hard to outperform other players running on a bad wheel. It's too bad because he's got terrific potential, but when you can't stay healthy there's only so many lives the team will give you.

2. Jo-Lonn Dunbar: Injured as well, Dunbar's job isn't safe as a backup linebacker. He was a fan favorite last year but he needs to be out there showing he can make plays on special teams, because he's not going to inherit a starting job and Anthony Waters and Jonathan Casillas are no slouches challenging for backup spots.

3. Devery Henderson: Is back to his dropping antics. He's had bad practices fielding punts, admittedly not his stock and trade, and he's followed that up with struggles catching passes. Hopefully he can turn it around. According to Jeff Duncan of the Times-Picayune he is getting badly outperformed by Meachem.

4. Skyler Green: Has had trouble fielding a lot of balls cleanly as well. Unfortunately for the former LSU standout he only has a shot at making the team if he impresses on kick/punt returns. So far he's really struggled in practices. By no means is he out of the running against Courtney Roby, but it's going to take a big effort in preseason games.

5. Roman Harper: He looks improved, his confidence is up, and he's more active in this new defense that sometimes features him blitzing off the edge. That said, he's still struggling with the deep ball. Meachem, namely, has beaten him numerous times as he tried to provide help up top. He's still a liability in pass coverage and needs to clean that up.

Honorable mention: Charles Grant. While he seems to be playing fairly well, he's struggling with weight as always.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Saints Nation: Around the NFL

A couple pieces of big news around the league that affect the Saints have been announced in the last 24 hours:

Mammoth Defensive Tackle Maake Kemoeatu of the Saints' bitter rival Carolina Panthers has torn his achilles tendon and is likely out for the season (story HERE). The last time he missed a game was last year against the Giants when the Panthers yielded over 300 yards against the run. You get the idea, this guy is a premiere run stopper and this is a big blow for the Panthers. What's more, they have ZERO depth at DT because they are cap strapped by their $16.7 Franchise tag commitment to Julius Peppers and they didn't sign one single free agent this offseason. Of all people, former LSU Tiger and rookie Marlon Favorite got some time with the starting unit with Kemoeatu out. You never wish for players to get hurt, especially good ones, but this is a tough blow for Carolina and will affect their defense's performance this year.

The NFL upheld it's decision to suspend Bills running back Marshawn Lynch for 3 games this upcoming season (story HERE). Lynch was appealing the suspension in hopes of having it reduced. Good thing it didn't work out, the Saints play the Bills in week 3.

ALL NFC South Team: Saints Nation fans have picked Michael Turner as the running back for the division's best. A new poll is now active (right side of the site) to vote for the best fullback.

Saints Nation: Is it time to start getting worried about Malcolm Jenkins?

Through Monday night, Malcolm Jenkins is still without contract and I'm starting to resign myself to the fact that Jenkins' rookie season awaits the same fate that Robert Meachem endured. The dreaded "redshirt" rookie year is coming closer and closer to fruition. Before I get ahead of myself, let's wait and see what happens this week. But the fact remains that, according to Sean Payton, Jenkins has already missed 3 defensive installments. It's not so much that Jenkins couldn't sign soon and make up for lost time, it's that there's a lot of pretty good players ahead of him. Just like Meachem, who had Colston, Moore, Henderson and Patten ahead of him prior to signing, Jenkins has 4-5 players he's not guaranteed to beat out. Tracy Porter, Jabari Greer and Randall Gay are all three entrenched at the top 3 corner spots (in no specific order), and Leigh Torrence and Jason David are no slouches either. What's more, free agent rookie Danny Gorrer has had a pretty impressive camp up to this point. While I don't doubt a little time on the field would help Jenkins move ahead of some of these guys, they are all good players and most have more experience at the NFL level than Jenkins.

The thing that's so frustrating about this situation is that Malcolm Jenkins wants to be here. He's already in New Orleans, and if you read his twitter you know he's staying in shape by working out everyday and studying the playbook to stay as sharp as possible before joining his teammates. There's really no excuse for this happening, because Brian Orakpo (drafted ahead of him) and Brian Cushing (drafted after him) are now both signed which means the benchmarks for his contract are set. Jenkins is handcuffed by the ping pong match Mickey Loomis is having with his agents. It's too bad because the guy wants to play, and he's going to sit on the bench. The longer the negotiations go, the less chance Jenkins will have of seeing the field this year unless there are serious injuries to a couple of guys ahead of him.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Saints Nation: Training Camp Photos

Courtesy of Geovanni Velasquez - look on the right of the site for a Saints training camp slideshow. Many thanks to Geovanni for sharing the insider's look with Saints fans, much appreciated!

Saints Nation: Charles Grant misses weight assignment

It turns out Charles Grant was the one player who missed his weight assignment, coming in at a swollen 288. In his defense that's lighter than he was last year, though the team has given him a target of 283. Really, it's infuriating to see that one of the top paid guys on the team that has mailed it in ever since his payday still can't report to the team at his needed weight. One might think the upcoming 4 game suspension AND lackluster seasons he's produced would motivate him to work hard. I wonder how much he'll even play once he's back from the suspension, to be honest.

Will Smith, on the other hand, showed up 10-11 pounds lighter at 274. Nice to see. He was looking a little heavy last year and I'm sure the hernia didn't help his workout routine. This year he's light and healthy, so I fully expect him to come back from his 4 game suspension and tear it up.

Other notes:

-- Jabari Greer continues to impress. I've said it before, but the guy might be the best corner we have. He'll definitely be in the starting lineup by week 1 at this rate, whether it's alongside Randall Gay or Tracy Porter.

-- Word is Bush is sitting out of practice and on the bike again this morning. Hopefully it's just a precaution, but they're definitely taking it easy on his knees.

-- According to, Jason David has been tearing it up to, albeit against backups. Maybe he won't be cut just yet.

-- Jo-Lonn Dunbar and Kendrick Clancy are banged up and have sat out the past couple practices. Dunbar has a tweaked hamstring and should be fine, Clancy has back issues that might take more time to recover from.

-- Per Jeff Duncan on twitter: "Devery Henderson not looking ood on punt returns. 3 drops". Better not let that bleed to your pass catching skills, Dev, we've been down that road before.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Saints Nation: Camp notes, Bush tearing it up

Who's Hot: Reggie Bush (pictured). After sitting out of a practice to rest his knees as a precaution, Reggie Bush bounced back to have his best practice so far. He was electric, blasting through holes and showing no problem with his cuts and turns. Looks like his knee is in good shape so far.

Who's Not: Leigh Torrence - not only has Torrence dropped a very easy interception in practice, he also sucker punched Jermon Bushrod and incited a scuffle on the field.

Other notes:

-- Arrington is still not practicing and Jenkins is still unsigned. The good news on the signing front is that now both Orakpo and Cushing (the players drafted before and after Jenkins, respectively) are signed. There's really no excuse for Loomis or Jenkins' agent to strike a deal quickly now that the benchmarks are made.

-- While still practicing with the second unit mostly, Jabari Greer has looked active and disruptive in the passing game. So far he looks like a good pickup.

-- Roman Harper has been beaten deep already a few times in training camp. As much talk as there's been about him emerging as a stud this year, he is still plagued by the same issues that stunted his growth as a safety up to this point. He needs to correct this ongoing issue he has with playing the deep ball so poorly.

-- ESPN's Chris Mortensen visited the Saints' camp today, check out Sportscenter for a piece on Drew Brees and the Saints' camp.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saints Nation: camp notes, Defense ahead of the Offense

--Read THIS ARTICLE and tell me you don't just get that feeling the Saints might win the Superbowl this year. The offense has been suffering from drops, poor timing and has been overall out of sync. Not alarming, most offenses come to camp a little rusty. What's encouraging is the defense is taking it to them early. Defenses usually have the advantage on offenses early in camp anyway, so while it doesn't mean much it's good to see that the league's #1 offense is being challenged. How can you not love Gregg Williams' quotes in the article?

-- With Brian Orakpo (drafted 1 spot ahead of Malcolm Jenkins) now signed, this should speed up Jenkins' signing. Mickey Loomis has been negative with the press in terms of the progress with contract talks, but I don't think it's time to get frustrated just yet as a fan. Loomis' attitude is a ploy in negotiations, and everything he does publicly is calculated. Jenkins will be signed early next week, and I'll be shocked if he's not. That said, he's not getting any closer to challenging Porter, Gay and Greer for playing time.

-- Adrian Arrington (pictured) is hanging out on the sidelines nursing that sore hammy. You're not going to make this team if you don't start proving yourself, buddy.

-- Special teams drills went very smoothly for the most part. Coverage units look solid so far. The one player that really struggled was Skyler Green, and he's not going to beat out Courtney Roby with a performance like that.

-- Pierre Thomas is looking thick and Mike Bell is looking thin. Don't look now, but Bell could go from a bubble player to a guy that plays a significant role in this year's offense. That's not anything against Thomas, either, who I think will have a great season.

ALL NFC SOUTH TEAM SAINTS NATION POLL: Saints Nation fans have picked Steve Smith and Marques Colston as the two receivers for the All NFC South team. Please vote (on the right side of the site) for the All NFC South runningback.