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