The ABC's of New Orleans Saints Training Camp
We're just a week out from New Orleans Saints training camp kicking off. While Sean Payton has downplayed the notion of this being an actual camp, it's going to be a quick speed to execution type of setting for the team. Here's a comprehensive A-to-Z look of what to look forward to over the several weeks.
A is for Adam Trautman. There's a lot of excitement for the third-round rookie Saints tight end, and his role in the offense will be interesting as we move forward. New Orleans has Jared Cook and Josh Hill in the fold as the primary guys, and we have to see what happens with Taysom Hill. Trautman could be an interesting red zone threat.
B is for Brees. Drew Brees has had a roller coaster offseason, but the 41-year-old enters his 21st season in the league and 16th with the Saints. With him at the helm, it gives New Orleans their best chance of getting back to and winning a Super Bowl.
C is for C.J. Gardner-Johnson. He enters the season as the favorite to hold slot duties for the Saints, and is primed for a breakout year. He's going to be one of the most exciting players to watch in 2020. He announced recently via his Instagram that he's changing his name to Ceedy Duce.
D is for Demario Davis. He enters the final year of his contract, and has been outstanding for the defense since coming over as a free agent. He's truly underrated, but is starting to get more respect around the league.
E is for Emmanuel Sanders. As one of the best prizes of free agency, Sanders enters as a legitimate No. 2 receiving threat opposite of Michael Thomas. There's a ton of anticipation for what he'll bring to the table in 2020.
F is for Florida. Some 12 players on the Saints roster have ties to colleges in the state of Florida.
- Central Florida (2): Latavius Murray, Tre'Quan Smith
- Florida (2): Alex Anzalone, C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- Florida State (6): Mario Edwards Jr., Derrick Kelly, Patrick Robinson, P.J. Williams, Jameis Winston, Nigel Bradham
- Florida Atlantic (1): Trey Hendrickson
- University of Miami (1): Anthony Chickillo
G is for Gayle Benson. The Saints owner enters her third season in charge since the passing of her late husband, Tom Benson.
H is for The Hill Boys. Josh Hill and Taysom Hill are important weapons for the New Orleans offense, and that won't change in 2020. Taysom's role doesn't seem set in stone, while Josh's will be underrated. Also, some 10 Saints players hold a last name that begins with the letter 'H'.
I is for Idaho. Kaden Elliss is one of two Saints to represent the state of Idaho, with Josh Hill being the other. Elliss saw his rookie season cut short due to a knee injury, and is ready to do whatever the team needs in 2020. Elliss was temporarily placed on the COVID-19/Reserve list, but was activated after testing negative twice.
J is for Jared Cook. The expectations are high for the veteran tight end, who caught fire during the back half of last season. At 33, he has plenty of fuel left in the tank to play at an elite level.
K is for Kiko Alonso. He's expected to start camp as a limited participant, but appears to be heading in the right direction. He'll be an important piece of the puzzle for the Saints linebacking corps.
L is for Latavius Murray. Murray enters his second season with the Saints, and is destined for a good run. Alvin Kamara is the started, but Murray is a necessary handcuff to have if you are playing fantasy football. He's sure to get some touches, and will be important in the team's quest to make a deep postseason run.
M is for Michael Thomas. "Can't Guard Mike" is fresh off a year being the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year after setting the single-season record for the most receptions of any wide receiver in history. He's only focused on being better and not settling, which doesn't come as a shock to anyone.
N is for Nigel Bradham. He's a latecomer to the Saints, but helps shore up a linebacking unit that already has some question marks. Bradham can cover and can be a tackling machine. Whether or not he cracks the final roster remains to be seen, but a veteran like him would be important going into this season.
O is for Ochsner Sports Performance Center. The 77,504-square-foot practice facility is once again the home for this year's 'training camp'.
P is for P.J. Williams. Williams re-signed with the Saints and looks to be a relatively inexpensive piece of depth to help in the secondary where needed. A strong sampling from him could help make a decision on Patrick Robinson.
Q is for Quarterbacks. New Orleans arguably has the best quarterback room in the NFL with Drew Brees, Jameis Winston, and Taysom Hill. Winston came over as a very cheap insurance policy for the Saints, while Hill is expected to have a different role in 2020.
R is for Rookies. The Saints recently signed all four draft of their picks: Cesar Ruiz, Zack Baun, Adam Trautman, and Tommy Stevens. The first three are expected to deliver big for New Orleans this season, while Stevens and many of the other undrafted rookie free agents will look to earn a spot on the team's final roster or practice squad.
S is for Sean Payton. Payton enters another season at the helm leading the Saints, being the league's second-longest tenured head coach behind New England's Bill Belichick.
T is for Ty Montgomery. The veteran just wants an opportunity to show his talents, and there are plenty of ways the Saints could use him. He could emerge as a legitimate receiving threat in a questionable receiving corps behind Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders.
U is for Undrafted Rookies. It might be a bit tougher to crack the roster for UDFAs this year, but the Saints are likely to get a few on the final roster and practice squad. Malcolm Roach, Juwan Johnson, and Calvin Throckmorton would be three to keep an eye on over the next month.
V is for Villanova. Ethan Greenidge represents the small school and returns for his second season after being on the 53-man squad all last season. The Saints have a need for a reserve offensive tackle, and Greenidge hopes to make his case.
W is for Wil Lutz. The Saints kicker is gearing up for another season handling kickoffs, field goals, and extra points for the team. He's fresh off his first Pro Bowl appearance, and is entering the second year of his five-year contract extension from last March.
X is for Xi. It's that annoying two-letter word that people play in Scrabble or Words With Friends that effectively kills you. I could have used Xenon, which is the atomic number 54 for Super Bowl LIV (54) from last season. Using 'X' receiver seemed a bit redundant after using 'M' for Michael Thomas.
Y is for Youth. Cesar Ruiz, the team's first-round pick in the draft, is the youngest player on the roster at a relatively fresh 21 years old (Birthday was June 14). The team currently has 37 players on their 80-man squad who are 25 or younger.
Z is for Zach Wood. Long snappers don't get a ton of love, but the Saints gave Wood a four-year, $4.78 million deal in March to keep holding down the duties. He recently popped on the COVID-19/Reserve list, but has since been cleared as of Saturday.