At the Saints' complex in Metairie, La., where the club is doing construction to expand the practice facility and offices. I miss the recent days when the Saints used to travel to Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., one of the great camp sites because of the cozy campus and the closeness of the fans to the team. This afternoon, because of a thunderstorm earlier that drenched the area, the Saints had to cancel the public practice and move indoors to the practice facility. No fans. But there was a huge poster of Sean Payton glaring down on the boys at practice with a "DO YOUR JOB'' warning underneath. Owner Tom Benson ordered it to be installed in time for the players to see it at practice this afternoon.
Well, I didn't eat at the Saints' cafeteria Friday. I figured it's probably not such a good idea to eat a team's food when half the organization (and that might be conservative) wants me to fall off a cliff because of my reporting on the bounty affair. But I sat with Brees while he ate, and it looked lovely -- a couple of grilled vegetable wraps and three bottles of water to stave off the inevitable summer dehydration at the Saints' afternoon practice. I will give Abita Brewery a B+ for two bottles of their fine Amber Ale while waiting for a plane at the New Orleans airport in the evening.
I wouldn't want to be Robert Griffin III opening the season, and his career, at the Superdome with a mad-at-the-world crowd in the stands. The schedule has this advantage: two of the first three at home, two of the final three at home. It also has the disadvantage of a relative murderer's row of quarterbacking foes. Out of division, the Saints are at Aaron Rodgers' Packers, Eli Manning's Giants, Peyton Manning's Broncos and Tony Romo's Cowboys, with visits to the Superdome by Philip Rivers' Chargers and Mike Vick's Eagles. Yikes.