Yesterday marked the end of the Saints first mini camp. By all accounts, it was a rousing success and definitely a very solid showing for the new look defense.
Reports have the Saints defense playing with more intensity and energy than in recent years—safeties flying in for sacks, linebackers stopping runs at the line of scrimmage, the secondary blanketing coverage and picking off passes, and constant pressure on the quarterback.
What a difference a year makes, as new DC Williams is clearly installing his brand of defense, changing the culture once and for all. There is only one word that can describe it, ATTACK.
Do you think the rest of the NFC South is paying attention now?
The general consensus among players and coaches is that this offseason is one of the more spirited in recent memory.
Every player or coach interview you read or watch emphasizes how much this team wants to win and the renewed dedication of everyone to achieving that goal.
To be honest, it's about darn time this team starts to show a little confidence in what they can do defensively; they have lacked swagger for far too long.
All this just tickles the mad visor (Sean Payton) to death. The head coach couldn’t be happier about the progress his team has made this offseason and has had this to say:
“I have been very pleased with where we are at this time of year in the different facets, whether it be overall fitness of the team or the way they are picking up what we are giving them,” Payton said. “I’m very encouraged.”
Does it get any better than this, Saints fans? Personally, I don’t think it can.
The wealth of positive information flowing from the Saints training camp is an enormously good sign, positioning the 2009 Saints for possibly their best season since 2006.
Some of the more memorable moments from the three day camp, as reported on the Saints Web site, are as follows:
-QB Drew Brees connecting on a timing route to Devery Henderson over the middle of the field for a nice gain.
-Reggie Bush bursting through a hole on the left side of the offensive line for a nice gain.
-CB Jabari Greermaking a highlight film interception deep down the middle of the field on a pass intended for WR Robert Meachem.
-DE Bobby McCray applying heavy pressure on QB Mark Brunell.
-MLB Marvin Mitchell knocking down a pass intended for rookie RB Herb Donaldson.
-DE Jeff Charleston flying off the edge to “sack” Joey Harrington.
-Bush taking a pass from Brees out of the backfield and racing up field for a long gain.
-LB Jonathan Vilma and S Roman Harper meeting RB Mike Bell at the line of scrimmage.
-DE Charles Grant displaying a strong pass rush move during one of the team periods.
-Brees to Bush over the middle of the field, DT Sedrick Ellis quickly spun away from the line of scrimmage and doggedly pursued the speedy running back.
-WR Marques Colston making a nice one-handed grab of a Brees offering across the middle of the field.
-TE Billy Miller made a diving reception for a 12-yard gain.
-DT DeMario Pressley knocking a ball loose from Brunell as the quarterback backpedaled.
-TE Jeremy Shockey made two nice receptions during the second portion of the team drills.
-DT Rod Coleman splitting a double-team and getting to the quarterback.
-S Usama Young recorded a pass defensed with a strong play on the ball.
-Henderson making a double move to shake free from DB Pierson Prioleau for a 20-yard gain.
-Colston making a hard catch look easy in front of speedy cornerback Leigh Torrence.
-Bush teaming up with RT Jon Stinchcomb to perfectly pick up a blitz and giving Brees time to find WR Robert Meachem for a nice gain.
-DE Paul Spicer knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
-WR Paris Warren making a nice reception from Harrington, who released a pass a split second before a blitzing Chris Reis could get to the quarterback.
-LB Jo-Lonn Dunbarrunning stride for stride with FB Olaniyi Sobomehin, causing a pass to fall incomplete.
-WR Matt Simon making a nice grab on a pass from QB Mark Brunell.
-Charleston beating his man and getting to Brunell for a would-be sack.
-DT Remi Ayodele getting into the backfield for a would-be sack.
-CB Tracy Porter applying blanket coverage on Meachem and forcing an incompletion.
-Brees to Colston for a nine-yard third down conversion.
-DE Will Smith reading a play and knocking down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
-DT Sedrick Ellis snaring RB Pierre Thomas at the line of scrimmage.
-Billy Miller making a nice catch from QB Drew Brees for a 15-yard gain.
-Jonathan Vilma corralling Thomas on a toss sweep play.
-Mike Bell bursting through a hole, on the play CB Tracy Porter came up and deftly punched the ball loose and LB Tory Evans alertly pounced on it.
-Bobby McCray batting down a QB Mark Brunell pass at the line of scrimmage.
-Devery Henderson tracking down a long bomb from Drew Brees against man-to-man coverage for a touchdown.
-Mark Simoneau teaming up to stop rookie RB Herb Donaldson at the line of scrimmage.
-Remi Ayodele and S Chris Reis joining forces to sack QB Joey Harrington.
-Will Smith and DE Charles Grant halting Thomas near the line of scrimmage.
-Heath Evans on a wheel route out of the backfield for a 10-yard gain.
-Robert Meachem for a gorgeous play deep down the middle in front on a diving FS Darren Sharper.
-Jeremy Shockey making a nice catch and run for a nice gain.
-Buck Ortega, who had found a crease in the zone defense and quickly turned around to give Brees an open target that the quarterback zipped an intermediate pass into.
-Roman Harper jumping a route by Robert Meachem and forcing a pass to fall incomplete.
-Darian Barnes making a nice reception in traffic and pinballing through some would be tacklers.
-Paul Spicer recording a sack of Brunell.
-Lynell Hamilton making a nice catch and run out of the backfield.
-Tracy Porter knocking down a pass along the sideline.
-Leigh Torrence also recorded a pass defense when heavy pressure on Brunell forced the veteran signal-caller to get rid of the ball a few seconds earlier than he would have liked.
-Chris Reis knocking down a pass. Sedrick Ellis hustling to the sideline to defend a screen pass intended for Mike Bell.
-Vilma jumping up from his middle linebacker spot and knocking down a Brees pass.
-A coverage sack where the secondary and linebackers blanketed the eligible receivers and forced Harrington to scramble out of the pocket.
-Shockey catching a pass in front of Sharper, who reached in and wrestled Shockey for the ball as the two fell to the grass field. Shockey retained possession of the ball.
-Meachem making a nice reception down field from Brees.
-Spicer getting to the quarterback for what would have been his second sack of the morning session.