Jun 5, 2009

Saints Hold Mini Camp this Weekend

You smell that? It's the smell of football in the air. Sure teams don't even report for training camp for another about two months, but with Saints mini camp being held this weekend, fans know football season is right around the corner.

I won't be attending the practices that are open to the public, but here are a few things I'm interested in hearing about from them:
  1. How's the running back situation? There has been a ton of talk about bringing in another running back, but this weekend will be the first of many evaluations to see if the players on the roster, Pierre Thomas, Reggie Bush, Lynell Hamilton, Mike Bell, P.J. Hill and Herb Donaldson, can provide a solid running game.
  2. Is the secondary really improved? This is an area that's been the weakest point on a less than average defensive unit. In the offseason, the Saints have brought in Darren Sharper and Jabari Greer, drafted Michael Jenkins (who won't be at mini camp) and Chip Vaughn, moved Usama Young to safety and get a healthy Tracy Porter back. Will all these moves pay off?
  3. Is Sedrick Ellis ready to step up? Ellis had a solid rookie season, but this year he could be the anchor for the entire defense. Just look at what Albert Haynesworth meant to the Titans last year. Ellis is poised to become one of the top DT in the league. Is this the year that he takes the step?
  4. How improved is Robert Meachem? After being drafted in the first round, Meachem can be considered nothing but a bust so far with the Saints. There have been a few bright moments for him, but first round picks are looked to contribute more than he has. Finally healthy, reports say he was impressive in the OTAs and has been getting a lot of reps with Marquis Colston and Lance Moore nursing injuries.
  5. Was it really worth trading two draft picks to select a punter? Thomas Morstead will be one of the most scutinized players on the field in training camp, and he's a punter. The scutiny comes from the Saints trading their 7th rounder this year and a pick next year to take him. Most fans didn't even think punter was a need area, but Coach Payton and Mickey Loomis did. Hopefully, the pressure doesn't affect Morstead, and he can show why the team valued him so highly.
There are lots of other storylines to follow this weekend. Jeremy Shockey will certainly get a lot of coverage due to his recent "dehydration" spell in Las Vegas. Reporters will likely have an eye on the defensive end roation to see who could get playing time if/when Will Smith and Charles Grant have to serve their suspensions. And of course, although we take his efforts for granted since he's so good, Drew Brees is always fun to watch since he gives the same effort in mini camp as he does in Week 6 of the regular season.

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