Postcard from camp: Saints
Loosely translated, the word "swelter'' means football practice in Jackson, Miss., in early August. But hey, if
Imitating the Giants is all about having lots of options, and fresh legs late in the game to bring the heat. In their nickel package, the Saints plan on using the quick and athletic McCray at left end, and shifting starting left end Charles Grant inside to tackle, alongside Ellis. Pro Bowl pick
"I've even seen what I've never seen from Deuce,'' Brees said. "Some top-end speed, some explosion. I think he looks great.''
I'm among those who think the adversity the Saints went through last season will serve them well this season. They're hungry again, and they've got something to prove to themselves, just like they did entering their magic carpet ride of a 2006 season. New Orleans didn't deal well with playing the front-runner last year, but its losing record, in reality, wasn't an indication that there were widespread problems that needed fixing. My bet is that last season was the aberration, not 2006.
Folks might not think of Saints defensive line coach
Suffice to say the Saints thought they had Orgeron all but locked up in Mobile, and then Cowboys owner
"We just put on our recruiting shoes and basically spent two and a half hours talking him into it,'' Payton told me. "Best recruiting job I ever did.''
The Saints open the season at home against Tampa Bay, and close it at home against Carolina -- their two most talented division rivals. But unlike last year, a fast start seems in the offing. New Orleans has four of its first six games at home, including a three-game homestand against '07 non-playoff teams San Francisco, Minnesota and Oakland in Weeks 4-5-6. The Saints' December isn't so tough either, with their last four games all coming against teams that finished below .500 in 2007 -- Atlanta, at Chicago, at Detroit and Carolina.
I guess it's a rite of passage that's been happening to NFL rookies almost as long as there's been training camps, but there was the Saints' No. 1 pick,
You know the drill. The rookies, especially the high-priced variety, are made to carry the equipment of the veterans at their positions. That's why Ellis had his own helmet and shoulder pads, as well as the helmets of defensive tackles
I saw the same basic scene at Falcons camp Monday, with first-round quarterback
"They didn't tell me about this part before I got to the NFL,'' Ellis said, smiling. "That's OK, though. I'm only a rookie this year.''
• Though he's not practicing right now, I saw new Saints tight end
• The 37-year-old
• It's too early to make predictions, but Saints 2007 first-round pick
• The Saints sure don't mind pulling the trigger on a big trade, do they? They dealt for Vilma this spring with the Jets, swapped top 10 draft picks with the Patriots in order to move up to No. 8 and take Ellis, and finally consummated the deal that brought Shockey to town just before camp opened. I like the chances of all three of those moves to pay off in '08.