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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

Weekdays 4-8pm

Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com


Deke: Saints did not look good against Texans

It was about as ugly and boring a game at any time of the season (pre-season/regular) that anyone could ever wish not to see. The Saints and Texans took to the field Sunday afternoon in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and aside from everyone bringing their own pillow with them it was was nap time in the Big Easy.

I caught myself with my eyes closed on two occasions in the second quarter and I said to myself, man I better wake up before Hebert sees me. Hell, he was nodding too! It was supposed to be the most meaningful pre-season game, but it was flat out bad, ugly and the Saints did not look too good. And if you factor in who was not playing for the Texans, well then it makes things look a little worse, and sadly they actually are.

Let's take a look at the Saints and Texans and a few observations I came up with.

On a positive note

In their 27-13 loss to the Texans, if you look at the glass half full then you would point to the Saints' first team offense and how they looked on their first drive of the game. Drew Brees led his offense down the field with a 12 play 75 yard drive that led to a 28 yard field goal. After that the report was lukewarm at best.

West Banked-OUT

He's from the West Bank but on Sunday we did not see the best from #21 Keenan Lewis. On the Texans first drive of the game, the Saints veteran CB was responsible for giving up a total of five plays for 64 yards. Lewis was victimized by Texans WR DeAndre Hopkins for a 29 yard reception and #21 was flagged twice on the drive once for being off sides and once for pass interference.

M-n-M

"He's making this team, he's making this team." What else needs to be said. Coach Sean Payton said that after the Saints and Texans game and he was speaking of Saints rookie RB Marcus Murphy. The Saints signed free agent RB C.J. Spiller this off season in the hopes of finding that every-down type RB. Well the Saints have found that every down back in the fast, speedy and versatile rookie. Against the Texans, Double M touched the football 13 times for a total of 141 yards. Murphy carried the ball eight times for 43 yards, had three receptions for 67 yards, one punt return for 11 yards and returned a kickoff for 20 yards. Murphy averaged 10.8 yards per touch in the Texans game and the former Missouri Tiger has made impact plays in all three pre-season games.

Waving those flags

For the second time in three preseason games the Saints gave were penalized for over 140 yards and double digit flags. Against the Texans the Saints were flagged 11 times for 148 yards. I know it's the pre-season but the Saints need to clean up real quick!

Cut time #1

Tuesday the Saints and the other 31 NFL Teams have to trim their rosters down to 75 players. The final cut of getting down to 53 is Saturday afternoon at 3PM.
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Bobby: Saints offense gets slight edge at Thursday practice

After the seemingly improving New Orleans Saints defense had gotten the best of them at each of the last two Black and Gold practices, the offense stepped up and took what our resident pro Bobby Herbert says was a slight edge.

Practice today at Saints camp on Airline Drive was under dream-like weather conditions. "Anytime you get weather like this, players have a little more pep in their step. It felt like football weather today and I thought it was a good, crisp, sharp practice."

Bobby's notes had WR #10 Brandin Cooks hauling in a 40 yard grab beating CB Brian Dixon. Cooks would later beat CB Delvin Breaux for a TD in the drill. CB Delvin Breaux had a shot at making an interception but the ball hit his facemask falling incomplete.

Second year CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste was active today. #23 had good coverage on WR Brandon Coleman, but then got beat on a later one on one battle with WR Jalen Saunders.

Can I kick it?
The daily kicking report on the new feet to the franchise had Zach Hocker going 2-for-4 on his field goal attempts while Dustin Hopkins was perfect today, going an impressive 4-for-4.

7 on 7
In the Saints seven on seven drill TE Josh Hill came up with a couple of nice receptions, beating LB Henry Coley. Coley would later come up with nice pass coverage against WR Seantavius Jones.

Saints RB Tim Hightower reeled off runs of 20 yards and 10 yards in the drill. Bobby thinks due to his play and injuries to others, Hightower may be in town for a while. "I think when you look at Spiller being out and what Hightower has done, he could be with the team for a while."

Team Drills
When the Saints offense took on the Saints defense, QB Luke McCown hit WR RJ Harris on a 40 yard gain. The Saints then began to work on two minute/hurry up offense. QB Ryan Griffin hit WR Willie Snead on a skinny post for a 20 yard gain, WR Brandon Coleman beat CB Keenan Lewis on a long TD play for about 40 yards. Drew Brees hit Ben Watson for about a 15 yard gain and then hit WR Brandin Cooks for an eight yard gain. And then Brees hit TE Josh Hill for a 12 yard TD.

Up next
The Saints will practice at Tulane tomorrow night from 7PM-9PM. Practice is free and open to the public
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Deke: Will the SEC win a national title this year? Here's the rankings

SEC, SEC, SEC! The mighty SEC has not won a national title in two years. Is that a drought? For this conference it is. Here are my first SEC rankings of the season. Enjoy!

1. Alabama – Maybe the best front three in college football history? A slew of RB's and a tenacious defense - but no starting QB with experience! Oh no, what does that mean? Roll Tide Roll!

2. Georgia – RB Nick Chubb is as legit as they come, and these Dogs look like the class of the East. But will they be?

3. LSU – Yes, they have QB problems, but when don't they? And if they can get a decent QB - oh snap! Back to the ATL dey shall GEAUX!

4. Ole Miss – Like Bama and LSU, the Rebs are sound across the board with the exception at QB. This Rebels roster is as talented as any. Hotty Toddy!

5. Auburn – Another team that is loaded on offense and will score at least 40 points per game this season. But can they play defense when it matters most? Will Muschamp says hell yes they will! WAR EAGLE!

6. Missouri – QB Matty Mauck and another underrated team means that Coach Gary Pinkel will again be overlooked in the SEC East. Hey rest of the world - this team has won the last two SEC East crowns. That's no easy feat!

7. Arkansas – The biggest O-Line in the nation, a good running game, improved defense and a rising QB. Does that mean pork's for dinner? I'll bring the sauce! Let's eat.

8. Tennessee – The sexy pick in the East with 18 starters back this season, yet some say still a season away from getting back to the top. Oh well, being on the top of the mountain in good ole Rocky Top will just have to do for now.

9. South Carolina – Their defense can't be as crappy, and this season look for WR Pharaoh Cooper to become one of the top playmakers in the nation.

10. Florida – Florida seemingly has a new young QB to lead them back to the land of scoring 7's not 3's. And the Gators always have a good defense. Don't sleep on this team but maybe a nap is ok in 2015.

11. Texas A&M – The SEC West is so deep I could see every team with at least eight wins by the end of the bowl season. A fast start could happen with a win over a very good Sun Devils team next weekend.

12. Mississippi State – How can a team that was ranked #1 for five weeks in 2014 be ranked dead last in their own division? That's life in the SEC West. I'm here to tell you these barking dogs will knock off a big boy or two this season. How do I know you ask? Cause Dak (Prescott) said so!

13. Kentucky – After a 5-1 start last season, the UK Cats fell apart. I like this team and I like what Coach Stoops is doing. I think a bowl is coming this season.

14. Vanderbilt – Well they can't be as bad as they were last season can they? Vanderbilt was once a good program and then what? James Franklin left for Penn State Deke! Duh! I get it I get it now I do!
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Bobby: Saints WR Colston definitely still has it

For veteran players in the NFL, after being in the league for a handful of years their age comes into question, as does whether or not that player can still be productive. The Cajun Cannon says that #12 WR Marques Colston was as smooth and cool as the pleasant summer breeze today. Colston had a very good day. He beat StanleyJean-Baptiste for about a 10 yard gain, and generally, Colston is having a very good camp this year.

The Cajun Cannon says
Bobby noted a lot of highlights from the Saints offense today. Bobby said that Saints QB Drew Brees hit WR Joe Morgan on a long pass. "He beat Rafael Bush to pick up a TD," Bobby said.

Bobby said that Morgan and Bush did a little smack talking to each other during some exchanges today. "I like to see the players get after each other, and I think it's good for competition. Morgan and Bush both made some plays today and it was some good exchanges between the two."

WR Lance Lewis was active on Special Teams. "He redeemed himself after he dropped a pass from QB Garret Grayson. Lewis came down field and beat the double team and was in position to make a good play on return coverage."
Delvin Breaux is the real deal

The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert says Saints CB Delvin Breaux is the real deal, and calls out a few other players who impressed today. Awesome!

Posted by WWL Radio on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Rafael Bush had a sack this morning on QB Drew Brees in team drills. "It was legit... he needed to make up for being burned by WR Joe Morgan earlier and Bush did make up for that with the sack," Herbert said.

Other defensive notes from Bobby included Saints LB Kasim Edebali doing a good job in pass coverage as he defended a pass during team drills. "Edebali had a good day overall. He did well in team drills and he sacked QB Ryan Griffin."

DT Kevin Williams had a sack and DT Jon Jenkins batted down a pass during the team portion of practice. And to close out the day, Saints LBs Jerry Franklin and Henry Coley did good in covering the Saints tight ends Orson Charles and Josh Hill.

Bobby said that QB Ryan Griffin had a bad day today. "He did not have one of his best days. He struggled throwing the ball, as he overthrew a couple of times, he got sacked - today was one of Griffin's poorest days."

Up next for the Saints, the Black and Gold will practice in the morning from 11AM to 1:30PM and then the Saints will practice at Tulane Friday night from 7PM to 9PM.
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Deke: Steele and Orgeron will get the best out of Tiger defense

If emotion helps win games, then look for the Bayou Bengals to win a lot. To say that LSU defensive line Coach Ed Orgeron is an emotional person is an understatement.

This past January, Coach Les Miles added Alabama linebackers Coach Kevin Steele as his new defensive coordinator, and Orgeron signed on to be the Tigers D-Line Coach.

And so far from what Coach Miles and others close to the program have said, Steele and Coach O are already making a difference. I'd say for the last six recruiting classes (at least), LSU has signed some of the nation's top defensive line prospects. And the majority of those prospects have not met their pre-college expectations.

Now with a coach that has a resume as impressive as perhaps anyone could have, and looking at players that have learned from Coach O and the amount of success those players have had, LSU's future on the D-Line is as bright as it has been in a long time.

I am expecting a complete transformation of the Tigers D-Line at end and in the interior part of the line. Orgeron is a coach that can get the maximum potential of the players at the position. Steele and Orgeron seem like a good fit that should benefit the Tigers defense.

Coach O's strength of getting players to produce their best is something Tiger fans look forward to. Names that came into the program that may have not been heard as loudly since those players inked scholarships should be brought back into the fold this season. Players like Cortez Kennedy and Simeon Rice are just two of many college football greats that Coach Orgeron has taught in his previous coaching years on the college level.

Current players at the defensive end position include Deondre Clark, Isaiah Washington and Lewis Neal and the depth at defensive tackle is something I expect will be much better this season and in seasons to come.

After a breakout freshman season, sophomore Davon Godchaux has gotten good praise from Coach Orgeron, and when you toss in fellow starting DT Christian LaCouture, LSU looks good on the starting line interior wise.

But to me, strength in defensive line numbers plays heavily in a team's success or lack thereof. Coach O told me and the Cajun Cannon that DT's Greg Gilmore, Frank Herron, and Quentin Thomas have all had good fall camps with the Tigers.

So as the Tigers kick off the season in less than two weeks on September 5 against McNeese State, taking a look at the new defense and especially the Tigers defensive line is something that I am interested and honestly excited about.

And I think that if Coach Steele and Coach Orgeron can get the best out of the players LSU has on hand, we can expect to see an improved defense that features one of the better defensive lines in the SEC in 2015.
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Resident Pros: Saints defense gets upper hand at Tuesday practice

Both of our resident pros agree that the Saints defense had the edge at today's practice. "I think the defense has played well as of late. Going back to the Patriots game and the last two practices, I like what I've seen from the Saints defense," said Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan.

The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert agrees with his former teammate. "I think our secondary has been doing a good job. We've had to deal with injuries back there, but players have stepped up and made plays."

The Saints defense came up with two interceptions at today's practice and has so far tallied nine interceptions during the total practices at training camp.#43 Vinnie Sunseri is leading the pack with five interceptions to his credit.

Hokie's Call
Hokie Gajan highlighted several defensive backs and plays they made today. "I saw CB Keenan Lewis break up a pass, Brian Dixon made a couple of nice break ups and I thought Kyle Wilson was very active out there today."

Hokie said that all he can go by is what he sees each day, and lately the Saints defense has looked better. "This third pre-season game is the most important. Is it a must that the defense plays good... you would like to see the defense continue to play well and take another step in the right direction."

On offense Hokie pointed out some of the Saints wide receivers that stood out. "Willie Snead just keeps making plays. He really got the best of rookie DB Damian Swann this morning in one on one drills. I thought Joe Morgan used his speed to take advantage of busted coverage to haul in a long reception, and Jalen Saunders had two nice grabs - one from QB Luke McCown."

Hokie said that Saints RB Tim Hightower got a lot of carries at today's practice. "You see a guy like Hightower and you tend to pull for him in his comeback. He's doing everything he can as far as play on the field but it seems like it's going to be hard for him to make the team."

Saints D Has another strong day at practice

Posted by WWL Radio on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The Cajun Cannon says
We all know the Cajun Cannon and all of his unique sayings he uses - one of his more common used being "look at the glass half full instead of half empty." With that frame of mind, the Cajun Cannon is concerned with the lack of a pass rush from the Saints defense thus far.

"We're not seeing a rush at practice or in games. A good pass rush aids the secondary in pass coverage. We are getting good pass coverage and if we could get a consistent pass rush our defense could be that much more improved this season," Bobby said

Bobby continued saying that Saints DB's Stanley Jean-Baptiste and Terrance Fredrick both had interceptions this morning at practice. "We should have actually had three pick-offs but we were able to get two interceptions today."

Bobby gave good marks to LBs Henry Coley and Jerry Franklin. "Both of those LBs have a shot to make this team. Their youth, the way they impact special teams and both have taken good snaps at the linebacker position. Franklin had a good game against New England and looked good at practice and Coley also was active today."

Up next
The Saints will practice on Wednesday from 11AM to 1:30PM with the practice open to the public at the Saints Facility on Airline highway.
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Deke: The spirit of New Orleans was alive during Katrina

There are so many things running through my head right now when I think back to ten years ago. Seeing so many people that needed help to live, and seeing those people not getting help until sadly it was too late.

One night as I was hosting while we were a part of United Radio, I got a call from a lady named Margaret. She got about two sentences out and then she exploded on air with emotion that led to her crying and just breaking down.

Margaret had finally reached her point of having enough. This total stranger sounded desperate and she obviously needed help. Margaret, like so many others had no lights, she had no food, she had no anything. I can remember trying to let her get her message of need across the airwaves, and at the same time I had to gather myself from boiling over with my own emotion of just listening to this lady that was crying, pleading for help.

Then and I must say, to no surprise, our phone board got lit up with people wanting an address of where Margaret lived how to get in touch with her. And wouldn't you know, later that night before my show was over people had gone and helped Margaret get her lights back on, many brought her food and some had even offered a total stranger - someone they had never heard of or had never met - a place to live.

To me, that was the real spirit, pride and uniqueness of New Orleans. I don't mean to sound disrespectful, but unless you're from here, all of us who are can do is try to explain - caring for others and giving everything we've got (and many don't have much to give) is just what we do down here.

After hearing Margaret's call, and seeing the way the people in this region responded gave me reassurance that everything was going to be alright because we are fighters. People in this city care and they show love.
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Deke: A preseason look at the top ten teams in college football

Each week during the season I rank what I think are the top 10 college football teams - here is my first poll of the 2015 season!

1. Ohio State – Three major, big time playmakers at QB, the nation's highest rated RB, a speedy WR and several first round defensive prospects lead me to start off with the Buckeyes. It's always harder to repeat as a national champion, but this team has as good as a shot as any.

2. Alabama – I always go with sure money. Yes, they have a new QB again and only three returning starters back on offense. But I'm banking on seven starters back on defense, including three first round picks along their D-Line to carry the Tide this season. Oh yes, RB Derrick Henry ain't too bad either!

3. Baylor – Baylor or TCU here is basically the same thing. I just like the fact that the Bears have nine starters back on defense this season. DE Shawn Oakman is going to have NFL scouts drooling even more over his skills and his mountain-like 6-9 height, and his fellow D-linemen give Baylor as legit as a defense as the Bears have had in a long time. For a offense that will average at the very least 41 points per game, Baylor does not need much defense, but they will get it this year!

4. TCU – Again, it's a toss up with Baylor and the Frogs at three and four. QB Trevone Boykin looks to pick up where he left off after a 42-3 showing in the Horned Frogs blowout bowl win over a very good Ole Miss team. TCU has 10 starters back on offense, but just five on defense. Road games at Kansas State, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma lead me to think that one road loss is likely. And then there is that season ending regular season finale on a Friday night with Baylor coming to Fort Worth!

5. Auburn – Auburn is a team that will score on anyone they play, and a team that has gotten better with the addition of former Florida Coach Will Muschamp. Like the teams ranked above, Auburn does not need much defense. But the Tigers have some talent on defense and two of the SEC's most touted freshmen defenders in the fold.

6. Oregon – The Ducks are a consistent program that will be in the hunt for years to come. Replacing QB Marcus Mariota is nothing to sneeze at, but Oregon has a well balanced offensive attack that allows plug and play players to step right in. Look for the Ducks to again be the team to beat in the Pac-12 until otherwise.

7. Michigan State – The NFL's top rated QB leads a team that always has one of the nation's best defensive units. Connor Cook looks to be NFL ready and the Spartans should be better on defense in 2015. MSU allowed 21.5 points per game in 2014 which was eight more points per game than allowed in 2014. A week two home date with Oregon looks interesting and mid season road games at Michigan and Nebraska could be dangerous. Then a late season trip to Columbus to take on the Buckeyes followed by a home date with Penn State looks harder than it appears. Ranking the Spartans here is out of respect for their coaching and their program. I would not be shocked if this team loses three or more games this season.

8. Georgia – Nick Chubb at RB and four returning starters to the O-Line give me hope that if all else fails, these Dogs will line up and pound the rock. Georgia's defense improved greatly last season allowing just over 20 points per game. If that can stay the same in 2015, the Dogs will win the SEC East again in 2015.

9. Notre Dame – I like the way the Irish finished the season and Notre Dame now has their QB in Malik Zaire. I think the Irish will be a double digit win team in 2015 and we know how the media loves the Irish!

10. LSU – Yes, kind of a homer pick, but I'm betting on some "what if's" coming true for LSU. LSU is a decent QB away from being a solid top six team. The O-Line is set with some of the best in the nation and the Tigers defensive front seven will finally catch up to the consistent salty play of their defensive backfield. A week three win over Auburn is a must for the Tigers to be ranked this high this soon.

Others in the hunt: Clemson, USC, Arkansas, Ole Miss, UCLA and Florida State.
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Deke: Fast start could see LSU Tigers climb high in polls

"If if's and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a Merry Christmas." With that said, I shall write this piece using that word - if. If LSU beats Mississippi State in week two, and then knocks off Auburn in week three of the season, the Tigers will be 8-0 when they head to Tuscaloosa to take on the Alabama Crimson Tide.

A goose egg in the loss column would lead me to believe a few things that would make the Tigers start even more promising. Again, if LSU comes out of the gate 3-0 I'm betting the Tigers will stretch that 3-0 mark to 8-0.

At 3-0 LSU would have won on the road in a difficult environment with a win over Mississippi State and have done so in the backyard of the leagues' best QB's home stadium in 'Dogs QB Dak Prescott.

And LSU would have beaten a top 10 team in Auburn, and seemingly the Tigers will have finally solved their yearly fan torturing QB question - "why can't we find a good QB to lead such a talented offense?"

LSU would have won two conference games on the road at Mississippi State and South Carolina and the Tigers would have to be ranked in the nation's top 5 with such an impressive start. Again, all this hinges on that if. And that if that could lead to an 8-0 start for LSU could also turn into another if, and one that's not so good.

What if LSU is 8-0 and ranked in the top five, and the November 7th game at Alabama is a battle of the unbeaten again for the second time since 2011... what if the Tigers lose to Alabama?

That's not that bad, being 8-1 after nine games anyway you slice it. In fact anyone would be out of their mind not to take a 8-1 LSU team after nine regular season games. But what if the Tigers lose the next two road games after an 8-0 start with road losses at Alabama and Ole Miss? And what if the Tigers do lose to Alabama and have a dangerous possible top 15 team coming to town on November 14th when Arkansas comes to town? Being 8-1 with Arkansas coming to town with another road game on the front at Ole Miss on November 21st could see such a bright, promising season dwindle down and see a possible shot at an SEC title evaporate with in a matter of two weeks!

So be careful of those if's, because we saw just last year how those if's turned out for the Tigers. After two blowout losses to Mississippi State and Auburn, Tigers fans wondered if LSU could win two SEC West games.

What happened after a 0-2 start in SEC play in 2014 saw LSU claw their way back to contention in SEC West play. After wins over Florida, Kentucky and a home win over a top five ranked Ole Miss Team had LSU go from doom and gloom to playing Alabama with first place in the SEC West on the line.

So it's very early, and I certainly don't want to get too far ahead. But again if LSU starts 3-0 I'm thinking that leads to 8-0. But after that, many more if scenarios will come into play with many outcomes possible.
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Deke: Big differences in Saints play against Patriots

What a difference a week makes, right? Folks, all I can do is call it like I see it. And if you look back at my observations from last week and compare those observations to this week's, you will see a big difference in the New Orleans Saints play.

If you breakdown the game film and focus on the starters for both teams the Saints did a very good job on both offense and defense. The Saints did not allow a score on New England's first six offensive possessions. The Saints defense forced four three and outs, the Patriots punted four times, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on downs.

Got it right the first time!

I talked about the Saints first team players getting off to a better start this week. Well, wish granted. After going three and out on their first two drives against the Ravens, the Saints flipped the script and gained 123 yards on 17 plays and scored nine points on their first two possessions. The Saints would go on to score on their first three possessions to gain 186 yards on 20 plays with a FG and two TD's to take a 21-0 lead. Basically put the Saints dominated the Patriots starters in the second pre-season game.

Whose defense is dat?

After getting manhandled by the Ravens first team unit, the Saints defense also flipped the script on the Pats offense. New Orleans played lights out on defense and did so with a depleted defensive backfield. The Saints defense was as solid as they have been in quite some time. New England did not score on their first six offensive possessions of the game. In fact the Patriots were forced to punt four times on four three and outs, New England missed a field goal and the Patriots turned the ball over on downs. New England gained their first points of the game after New Orleans built a commanding 21-0 lead.

Bright spots

Drew Brees was 8-of-10 for 159 yards with 2TD's and a QB rating of 158.3. Saints WR #10 Brandin Cooks had four grabs for 117 yards including a 45 yard TD reception. DB Vinnie Sunseri had five stops including a tackle for a loss. And rookie LB Hau'oli Kikaha had five tackles with two of those stops behind the line of scrimmage. And the Saints defense as a combined unit had six tackles for a loss against the Patriots.

Still Flagging

The Saints still need to clean up the penalties. After being flagged 16 times for 143 yards last week the Saints did improve this week but still were flagged eight times for 88 yards.

What's next

The Saints will play their third and most meaningful game of the preseason with a 3PM kickoff against the Houston Texans next Sunday. Historically the third pre-season game is the one pre-season game that the starting players see the most playing time.

Will the Saints take another step in the right direction? If the Saints can build off their effort against the Patriots and find a pass rush in the process then Saints fans would have to be pleased with what they have seen during the pre-season.
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Saints vs. Patriots Game Notes

Ok here we go. It's the second week of the preseason, so the starting players play more in this game than they did in the first preseason game. However, the Saints have their fair share of injuries. New Orleans had a lot of young players make good first impressions against the Ravens. Can the rookie class keep stepping in the right direction? Will the Saints starters play better when they are in the game? Will the Black and Gold clean up their act when it comes to penalties? We will soon find out.

What to look for

Throw out all of the in-season breakdown stuff here. Let's keep our minds focused on how the Saints did last week, and what they want and need to do this week.
  1. Start faster – I'm sure you all have heard me and Bobby Herbert say over and over again how bad the Saints started last week in their 30-27 loss to the Ravens. Baltimore scored on their first four possessions to take a 20-3 lead. On the flip side, the Saints had the ball for 3:06 in the first quarter. They ran six plays for 11 yards and zero first downs. You get the point? So a much better start is and should be expected against the Patriots.
  2. 1st team look better, please – It's not how long they are in the game, but more importantly how they look when they are in the game. The Ravens first team clearly had their way with the Saints starters. That is a good measuring stick to see if the Saints have improved from last week to this week. The Ravens O-line paved the way for four scores on their first four possessions, and the Ravens defense held the Saints first team offense to back to back three and outs. Asking for better play from the Saints starters is fair; and I'm betting if the Saints look like they did to start the game last week against the Patriots, the likelihood of hearing some boos is much greater than not!
  3. Turned over! – The Saints finished the game plus +2 in the turnover department against Baltimore. For a team that wants to stress forcing turnover that's good in two ways. The Saints picked off two Ravens passes and the Saints also did a good job protecting the football.
  4. Keep that flag to yourself - 16 flags for 143 yards is downright ugly, but the Saints were the 2nd least penalized team last season. Cleaning things up this week should not be an issue since the Black and Gold have so much room to improve in being penalized. Some penalties are tolerable, but when a nine year veteran lines up in the neutral zone… well that's just not paying attention to detail.
  5. Youngsters on the money – The Saints had a bevy of young players make quite an impression last weekend. Rookie LB Stephone Anthony did not disappoint with six tackles, DB Damian Swan had a nice interception, QB Garrett Grayson gave the Who Dat Nation some exciting plays and RB Marcus Murphy averaged 26.4 yards per kick return and scored a TD. Another showing of solid play by the Saints young players is encouraging since this team seemingly in desperate need of impact play from rookies and newcomers right away.
  6. Can I kick it? The kicking battle produced a good look in the first pre-season game. Zack Hocker missed a 50 yard FG but came back and nailed a 47 yarder followed by another 50 yarder. Hocker also looked good kicking off with three touchbacks. The guy battling for the spot also had a nice game against Baltimore. Dustin Hopkins made two extra points and he sent two kickoffs into the End Zone. So this battle looks pretty tight going into preseason game #2.
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Deke: A look at the 2015 Heisman hopefuls

Each year I compile a little list of some players that I think are going to be in the hunt for the annual Heisman Trophy. Last year Oregon QB Marcus Mariota took home the Heisman and 2015 again will have a handful of QB's that are in the running. Heck, one could make the case for three QB's from the same school all being Heisman-worthy. So here's my thoughts on the players that could be in the mix to win this December. The current (as of August 18th) odds are listed in parentheses

Trevone Boykin QB TCU (5-1) – Remember his first game when he played against LSU three years ago? From then until now, TCU QB Trevone Boykin has become the odds on favorite to win the 2015 Heisman Trophy. During his junior season while guiding the Horned Frogs to an impressive 12-1 mark, Boykin threw for 3,901 yards, rushed for another 707 yards and totaled 41 touchdowns last season (33 passing, 8 rushing). And Boykin left a good taste in the mouths of Heisman Voters going into the season as the last time we saw him play he was solid in TCU's 42-3 rout of Ole Miss in the Peach Bowl against one of the nation's premier defensive units.

J.T. Barrett QB Ohio State (9-1) – Second behind Boykin as far as what the odds makers think, Barrett is one of three great QB's that are all more than deserving of being among the best QB's in the game today. J.T. did all he could do, and most importantly Barrett led the Buckeyes to two big post season wins in which the Buckeyes were clearly underdogs against both Alabama and Oregon. Barrett's biggest problem lies in his teammates in fellow QBs and RB Ezekiel Elliott.

Nick Chubb RB Georgia (12-1) – Not a harder, more physical runner in all of CFB . UGA has become running back U and this season Mr. Nick Chubb is the main man between the hedges. I truly think that Nick will have the numbers but can he play the entire season? He may not need to. But Chubb runs so violently and with such physical force he is almost assure to see some bumps and bruises along the way.

Cardell Jones QB Ohio State (12-1) – Talk about a special season! That is exactly what Cardell Jones had in 2014. Starting the season as the unexpected top signal caller for the Ohio State Football team, Jones took control of the Buckeyes offense and guided the team to an 11-1 regular season record.

Braxton Miller QB Ohio State – He's 28-2 as a starter, he is a two time Big Ten offensive player of the year. And one of the nation's most talked about QB's could be third string on his own team. If Miller somehow takes back the job he lost due to injury he has as good of a shot to win the Heisman as anyone!

Leonard Fournette RB LSU (12-1) – Leonard had a big time season as a freshman and he will be a player that everyone wants to play their best against this season. The main thing that LF may have in his favor is the style of offense he's in. LSU ran the ball nearly 70% of the time in 2014. Should the Tigers have to do that again this season the former Purple Knight could be in the 1500-1850 rushing yard neighborhood. This is a man among boys, even in the SEC.

Dak Prescott QB Mississippi State – 4,500 yards and 41 TD's is enough said. Dak is as solid as a CFB player as you will find. And should Dak lead a MSU Team to let's say a 9 or 10 win season, he should me right there atop of the list of legit, most serious candidates.

Jared Goff QB Cal – No one outside the Golden State or those who know West Coast Football have really ever heard of Jared Goff. But his numbers 3,793 passing yards, 35 TD's and only seven interceptions make him more than worth mentioning. Goff will fly well below the radar again this season. But with his Bears team being underdogs most of the time and with a good schedule against some top tier ranked teams, Goff could be a good long shot bet this season to take home the hardware. Goff will have bigger numbers but will Cal have enough W's to make him worth mentioning?

Ezekiel Elliot RB Ohio State – He rolled the Tide, bucked the Ducks and set the table for a tremendous shot at the Heisman going into the 2015 CFB Season. Has there ever been four Heisman candidates on one team in one season? That is more than valid when talking about the three star QB's and Elliot finished the 2014 season better than anyone else. Double E averaged over 230 yards and 2 TD's in the Buckeyes final three wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. He is one of the early odds makers best bets to win the trophy!

Jeremy Johnson QB Auburn (12-1) – Johnson is getting a ton of hype and why not! Cam Newton, Nick Marshall are names that have flourished and starred in a Gus Malzahn offense in past seasons. Auburn has a lot of talent and that bodes well as Johnson has the use of all those weapons at his disposal. Should Auburn be in the national title hunt this season, Johnson will be among the favorites to take home the Heisman.

Cody Kessler QB USC (12-1) – He's the Golden Boy of Trojan Football and in the nation's 2nd largest media market. And toss in 39 passing TD's with only five interceptions is pretty salty. Kessler will be in the conversation all season long and the better USC is the better his chances are to win the Heisman.

The Dark Horse

Malik Zaire QB Notre Dame – Hey it's Notre Dame. Zaire won the job in the Irish's bowl win over LSU. Now the young signal caller can become a legit contender for 2015 and beyond by making ND a winner. Look his numbers will matter, but if the Irish are in the national playoff picture you can bet your bottom dollar that Malik Zaire will be on a short list of top contenders.
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Bobby: Saints-Patriots practice was productive and professional

The defending Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots were in town today to practice with the New Orleans Saints. The two teams held the first of two joint practices at the Greenbrier practice facility in West Virginia.

Bobby said he thought that the Saints came out with a little more pep in their step compared to the Patriots. "I liked how the Saints came out and practiced today. The main thing teams want to get out of a joint practice is good, substantial work. I don't think the more accomplished teams, the teams that know what the main purpose is for these joint practices is to get better. Fighting does happen some times. But fights impede progress which in turn keeps both teams from getting their work in," he said.

Bobby said that today's practice was very professional. "Both coaches want to get better looks at how players do against other players from a different team. You're trying to evaluate your roster and get the best 53 players you can. That's the objective for all 32 teams."

Bobby's notes point out that Saints WR's Joe Morgan and Josh Morgan made nice grabs at the end of today's practice. "I thought both of the Morgans came up with good receptions and they came while each were going against some of the league's better secondary players."

Saints work against Patriots without top 3 corners and do well.

Posted by WWL Radio on Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Saints second year DB Vinnie Sunseri picked off Patriots QB Ryan Lindley, getting his fourth INT of training camp off of a tipped pass. "That was a big play for the Saints defense. We've have had six interceptions at practices during training camp and Vinnie Sunseri has had four of them."

The emphasis of being better at pressuring the opposing team's QB has been a focus for the Saints defense this camp. Tyler Davidson and Akiem Hicks both did a nice job pass rushing against the Patriots. "They both would have had sacks - Hicks got off the ball and got up the field quickly and Davidson just beat his man off the block and got into the backfield."

Bobby feels like the Saints secondary is going to be better this season, and the aid of a pass rush will go a long way in helping improve the NFL's 31st ranked defense in 2014. "We need to get a better pass rush. Getting a consistent pass rush is critical for the Saints defense going forward!"

On offense Bobby said he was pleased with the way the Saints ran the ball at practice. "The line did a good job of giving our RB's some room to work with. We did not gash the Patriots but I thought the Saints did run the ball effectively." RB Mark Ingram had a nice six yard gain and overall the Saints ground game had a nice showing against the Patriots.

Up next, the Saints and Patriots will practice with each other again tomorrow before both travel to New Orleans on Friday and play Saturday night in the Mercedes Benz Superdome.
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Deke: Decent QB play could net big results for LSU

"A sleeper! Look out for those Tigers! I'm telling you, they could be the surprise team not only in the SEC but maybe all of college football." Those are a few of the things I've heard this summer from parts all over when it comes to looking ahead to LSU's 2015 football season.

LSU is coming off another season of "what if," "but only if we could have," and the dreaded "we should've won that game." It's been the same ole song and dance when it comes to the Tigers stumbles the last few seasons.

First and goal late in the game with a chance to sew up a win against Alabama, and the end result another Tide Win! A chance to put away Ole Miss and Texas A&M but then only making life tougher on themselves instead of padding their lead. And the sore look of third and anything over four yards stares Tiger fans miserably in the face - all these have become things that go back to square one. And square one with the Bayou Bengals is quarterback.

LSU looks like a team that has solid starters across the board on offense and defense, LSU has sound special teams. And the Tigers look to be building depth at vital positions on the team that have plagued them in past seasons.

But can LSU get the kind of play from the QB spot that they need to get over the hump and be the team that so many think they can be? Let me paint a clear picture of what I'm talking about here. We are talking about an LSU team that is built to be even across the board. LSU is not a team that needs an RGIII kind of season, a one-year wonder in what Cam Newtown did at Auburn five years ago. No, what LSU needs is a game manager, a QB that knows how to guide his team, and more importantly a QB that uses all of his skillful, dangerous weapons to his full advantage to win the big games.

Regardless of who is under center when September 5th gets here and LSU opens their season in Death Valley against McNeese State, the chosen QB only needs to be part of the team. Coach Miles likes to run the football early, late and often. So the QB will never be asked to go out an win the game for his team. What LSU needs is that QB to not hurt the team when he goes out.

There are 125 teams in Division I football. LSU ranked 114th in passing yards per game averaging 162.9 yards each week and the Tigers averaged less than 150 yards per game in SEC contest in 2014.

To me, what LSU averages is irrelevant to their success this season. If I said right now all LSU needs to do is average 200 yards passing per game this season, they will win 12 games.

There is no way to tell how many passing yards the Tigers will need to average this season or any season for that matter. What LSU needs is to be effective and have teams respect, hopefully fear the threat the Tigers passing game poses. It seems as if teams don't respect or fear what LSU is able to do or going to do against them each week. There are a few reasons for that.

One is that LSU runs the football nearly seventy percent of the time and teams know this. LSU also does not do well on third down and longer distances. Anything over four yards has been a real challenge for LSU to convert, and opposing teams see that the LSU QB struggles far more times than not in passing situations.

LSU is a team that does not need a certain number of passing yards to be a successful, title winning team. To me LSU has to be able to dictate when they pass the football more times than not.

If the Tigers choose more when they pass instead of being forced to pass, it makes things easier on their QB and offense and it makes things more difficult on opposing teams to figure out what LSU is doing. In fact teams are more times puzzled at the Tigers because it's not a big deal when LSU rushes the football on third a long situations because they have done so plenty in past seasons.

So again, the Tigers don't need a 300 yards per game passer, hell LSU doesn't need a 200 yards per game passer. In my own humble opinion what LSU needs is to average consistent numbers on third down and the Tigers need to have a QB that helps aid and plays his role at the position and to not hinder the Tigers from winning games.
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Bobby & Hokie eager to see Saints strap up against the Patriots

The Saints practiced for a little over two hours today at the Greenbrier facility in West Virginia. New Orleans did their annual live goal line drill, which in this day's NFL has become the most physical part of a team's training camp.

The Saints will practice the next two days against the New England Patriots in West Virginia and then the two teams will square off in pre-season game #2 Saturday night in the Mercedes Benz-Superdome.

The Saints will wind down their four-week Greenbrier training camp with two more practices in West Virginia and then fly home on Friday and finish the remainder of training camp at their facility in Metairie on Airline Drive.

Hokie's Call

"It was only a handful of plays, but they were live and full go out there!" said Gajan. Hokie said that Mark Ingram had a good run for a score on one play, and then the Saints defense then looked pretty good for the rest of the goal line drill.

"I thought that Stephone Anthony looked real good today in goal line work. He can get after the passer, and he's done well against the run this training camp as well." Hokie said he like the intensity at today's practice and he's looking forward the Saints and Patriots joint practices the next two days.

"Anytime you practice against another team it does tend to bring out the best in players. You want to do your best and you want to go out and perform well."

The Cajun Cannon says

The goal line drill features the Saints offense in full contact mode going up against the Saints defense, and simply enough, if the offense scores, they win. If they don't, then the defense comes away the winner.

"It was like a 50-50 deal between the offense and defense, which is good to me. I didn't think the offense nor the defense had that much of the upper hand over each other. In the eight goal line plays, I would say it was a tie between the offense and the defense," Bobby said.

Bobby said that Saints defensive lineman Kevin Williams and Akiem Hicks both had nice sacks on Drew Brees. Bobby's notes also stated that TE Josh Hill and Rookie RB Marcus Murphy both did well this morning at practice.

"Hill has good hands - if he touches the football he's a guy that makes the catch. And I really like the play over the last couple of weeks from Murphy. Murphy is a real good asset in the Saints return game and he has nice moves and good vision when coming out of the backfield.

Rookie DL Travarious Barnes had a nice day and Bobby likes the groove that young kicker Zach Hocker is currently in, though fellow kicker Dustin Hopkins is also doing extremely well. "I don't know if Hopkins has missed a kick yet. He's obviously kicking with a lot of confidence and in a nice rhythm right now. And it's not like Hocker is doing bad. Right now I'd give Hopkins an A+ and Hocker an A. With the battle so close it's good that each player is performing at a real high level."

The Cajun Cannon is also eager to see the Saints and Pats strap it on. "It's two teams that have head coaches that respect each other. Coach Payton is always talking about how much success the Patriots have had under Coach Belichick and how much the Saints organization respects what the Patriots have been able to accomplish. I think it's going to be an opportunity for both teams to get in some good work and improve from these joint practices," Bobby Hebert said.
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Deke: The good, bad and ugly from Saints vs Ravens

No need for any introduction - let's get down to business.

The Good

The play of QB Garrett Grayson, RBs Khiry Robinson, Marcus Murphy among others on the offensive side of the football was encouraging. There were several more players that had impact plays like WR Brandin Cooks, TE Josh Hill and WR Willie Snead.

The Saints were among the best in the NFL when it came to covering kicks last season. But when it came to kick and punt returns the Saints lacked in that area. I think RB Marcus Murphy is going to be a hard cut. Murphy looks like one of those true returners in the NFL. The Saints stand to be a much improved in kick and punt returns.

QB Garrett Grayson did not do bad at all in his first NFL game. Grayson has really improved, as has fellow rookie OL Andrus Peat. Looking back at my practice notes, the start of camp did not get off so well for both of the aforementioned rookies, but in the last week I could make a case that both Grayson and Peat have improved as much as anyone in that time span.

The play of rookie LB Stephone Anthony was not bad, and although he gave up two plays after a nice interception, I have to credit rookie DB Damian Swann for making an impact play (interception) is his first NFL game played. Rookie DL Kaleb Eulls as well as fellow rookie DL Bobby Richardson have clearly let it be known that both will be in the hunt to make the roster as undrafted players.

The Cannon fires after the Saints drop a sloppy, undisciplined preseason contest to the Ravens

Posted by WWL Radio on Thursday, August 13, 2015

The Bad

The first team Saints offense and defense were just plain bad. The Ravens offense had their way with the Black and Gold defense - a 17-0 start said it all.

The Saints first two drives resulted in two three and outs, 11 yards, two punts and no first downs. The Saints did not pick up a first down until the 11:06 mark of the second quarter. Ouch! Nine year veteran LB Anthony Spencer lining up in the Neutral Zone is inexcusable.

The Ugly!

Where do I start? Rob Ryan's defense? 16 penalties for 143 yards? How about starting there? You can't beat anyone making those mistakes. The Saints under Rob Ryan have a disturbing pattern of bad, big yardage breakdowns on key down and long distances. And the defense still has no pass rush and the same bad things we've seen in the past we saw again in the Ravens game.

Is the Saints defense closer to being better or still as bad as they've been? Only time will tell but right now the signs are not good ones and that is more than fair when discussing the Saints defense at this point.

Penalties

Coaches have things they go by. When it comes to penalties when a team has nine or more penalties or 100 yards or more in penalty yards, coaches say that equals a touchdown for the opposing team.

My people we are talking professional sports here. These are all 32 pro teams. No team, not even the All Madden Team can afford to spot another team double digit penalties and 100 or more penalty yards.

That's like being in a court room and Perry Mason gives Matlock a nine witness cross examination advantage. You just can't do that and expect to win.

In closing

This was a pre-season game. And there is a reason why pre is in front of season. It's not the regular season it's the pre-season. As the wise Hokie Gajan always tells me "Deke when it comes to preseason don't get too high and don't get too low. Use caution and your best judgement when it comes to making comments about a team."

I saw improvements in many areas from the Saints Black and Gold Scrimmage to their game against Baltimore. I saw things that were just as bad as the scrimmage game. And I saw a thing or two that was worse than a week ago.

No titles are played for or won in August. There are three pre-season games left and the Saints are going to need all three to iron out and correct the things that hindered them from being a good team in 2014.

In Who Dat I trust!
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Deke: Watch Peat, Anthony in Saints preseason opener at Ravens

New Orleans Saints vs Baltimore Ravens Game notes
When: Thursday August 13, 2015
Where: M&T Bank Stadium-Baltimore, MD.
Time: 6:30PM Kickoff
Noteworthy: This is the first pre-season game for both the Saints and Ravens. The Saints started off 3-0 last year in pre-season action only to lose their last preseason to the Baltimore Ravens. Saints Coach Sean Payton is 19-14 in preseason games.

The Game
Basically put, there are two meaningless pre-season games when it comes to the front line and starting players, and that is the first and the last games. There is no game planning for the first pre-season games.

When it comes to the regular season teams put hours and hours into game plan preparations. That is not the case when it comes to pre-season games. In fact, only the third pre-season game is the one that closely resembles a regular season game.

I don't expect the Saints starting players to play much other than a few snaps. So there is not much to break down this week!

The Cajun Cannon on what he's looking for from the Saints in tomorrow's preseason game vs the Ravens #WHODAT

Posted by WWL Radio on Wednesday, August 12, 2015

What to look for
The main thing I want to see is the back-up players. Will the Saints back-up/reserve players be able to line up correctly and be in the right place at the right time? In other things to keep an eye on, I'm looking at a few of the Saints WRs. Seantavius Jones, Lance Lewis and Brandon Coleman are all good practice players so far this training camp. Will those guys be able to step up in the games? One or more of these players could begin to pull away from each other.

How will first round picks OL Andrus Peat and LB Stephone Anthony look in their first ever NFL game? Both players have made strides in camp, but with Anthony looking the far better of the two. Peat has seen action on the Saints offensive lne at both guard and tackle. How much the big rookie progresses in the next four weeks could very well determine if the Saints feel like their top draft pick is going to be an impact player this year.

And of course - let's watch the battle of kickers! Zach Hocker and Dustin Hopkins are locked in a battle to see who will be the Saints field goal kicker this season. Coach Payton has said that the player that kicks the best during the pre-season would be the one that wins the job going into the regular season at Arizona.
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Bobby: Saints defense bounces back from bad scrimmage

The Saints worked on the lower field this morning at the Greenbrier in West Virginia and will travel tomorrow to Baltimore for Thursday might's pre-season opener against the Ravens. "I thought this was one of the best practices for the defense. The defense did a real good job in coverage especially in Red Zone work," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. Bobby was pleased overall with the Saints practice on Tuesday.

Both of our resident pros Hokie and Bobby thought that the Saints defense did a nice job this morning. "They have been doing a pretty good job throughout camp in coverage. To me that's a good sign of play on the back end of the defense and good pressure up front," said Hokie Gajan.

The Cajun Cannon Says

Bobby noted that Saints DB Rafael Bush laid a nice lick on RB Mark Ingram during the morning practice. "Normally you don't see that much physical contact that close before a game. But the Saints were more physical this morning than I thought they would have been, since their game is Thursday," said Hebert.

Bobby's notes gave thumbs up to CB's Delvin Breaux and Brandon Browner. Both players came up with nice plays in pass coverage this morning. "The defense kept all of the Saints offensive units out of the End Zone and that was impressive."

Bobby said that rookie LB Hau'oli Kikaha came up with a sack during team drills, DE Cam Jordan forced QB Drew Brees to throw the ball away, and that WR Willie Snead made four nice grabs.

The Cajun Cannon said that he's looking forward to seeing how the Saints back-up players will react to lining up correctly in the game compared to not doing a good job of that in last week's Black and Gold Scrimmage.

Hokie's Call
Hokie Gajan says that today's practice was a typical right-before-a-game practice. "Although there is really no game planning before the first pre-season game, there are things that the Saints have worked on to prepare for the Ravens."

Hokie said that making sure that all Special Team units are filled and player assignments are things that are worked on little bit more prior to the first pre-season game. And Hokie continues to like the play of DB Delvin Breaux.

"I can tell you he's one of the best defensive players the Saints have. He won't start over Brandon Browner or Keenan Lewis but I can tell you, when he's in there, it's no drop off in play."

Hokie's been pleased overall with the Saints training camp up to this point. "I think the Saints have gotten in the necessary work they needed to up to this point and now I want to see how they progress from last week to the pre-season game."

Up next
The Saints will have a walk through tomorrow before flying out to Baltimore to take on the Ravens Thursday night. The Black and Gold's next practice in West Virginia is on Saturday.
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Bobby: Saints defense bounces back from bad scrimmage

The Saints worked on the lower field this morning at the Greenbrier in West Virginia and will travel tomorrow to Baltimore for Thursday might's pre-season opener against the Ravens. "I thought this was one of the best practices for the defense. The defense did a real good job in coverage especially in Red Zone work," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. Bobby was pleased overall with the Saints practice on Tuesday.

Both of our resident pros Hokie and Bobby thought that the Saints defense did a nice job this morning. "They have been doing a pretty good job throughout camp in coverage. To me that's a good sign of play on the back end of the defense and good pressure up front," said Hokie Gajan.

The Cajun Cannon Says

Bobby noted that Saints DB Rafael Bush laid a nice lick on RB Mark Ingram during the morning practice. "Normally you don't see that much physical contact that close before a game. But the Saints were more physical this morning than I thought they would have been, since their game is Thursday," said Hebert.

Bobby's notes gave thumbs up to CB's Delvin Breaux and Brandon Browner. Both players came up with nice plays in pass coverage this morning. "The defense kept all of the Saints offensive units out of the End Zone and that was impressive."

Bobby said that rookie LB Hau'oli Kikaha came up with a sack during team drills, DE Cam Jordan forced QB Drew Brees to throw the ball away, and that WR Willie Snead made four nice grabs.

The Cajun Cannon said that he's looking forward to seeing how the Saints back-up players will react to lining up correctly in the game compared to not doing a good job of that in last week's Black and Gold Scrimmage.

Hokie's Call
Hokie Gajan says that today's practice was a typical right-before-a-game practice. "Although there is really no game planning before the first pre-season game, there are things that the Saints have worked on to prepare for the Ravens."

Hokie said that making sure that all Special Team units are filled and player assignments are things that are worked on little bit more prior to the first pre-season game. And Hokie continues to like the play of DB Delvin Breaux.

"I can tell you he's one of the best defensive players the Saints have. He won't start over Brandon Browner or Keenan Lewis but I can tell you, when he's in there, it's no drop off in play."

Hokie's been pleased overall with the Saints training camp up to this point. "I think the Saints have gotten in the necessary work they needed to up to this point and now I want to see how they progress from last week to the pre-season game."

Up next
The Saints will have a walk through tomorrow before flying out to Baltimore to take on the Ravens Thursday night. The Black and Gold's next practice in West Virginia is on Saturday.
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Bobby: Sunseri, Grayson impressive at Saints camp today

The New Orleans Saints started the second week of training camp with a full pads practice this morning at the Greenbrier in West Virginia and worked for a little over two hours. A bright spot came during team drills when second year DB Vinnie Sunseri picked off a pass. Sunseri, #43 has three interceptions to his credit this camp.

"You can tell he has a knack for the football," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. "The Saints need somebody to step up and create turnovers, and so far this camp, Sunseri has done a good job of coming up with the football.

The Black and Gold worked on Red Zone offense and defense and the team went through two minute offense work, but the drill was performed about half speed. The Cajun Cannon explains - "That drill (2 minute) can be done full speed or about half speed. When you see the Saints run 2 minute offense about half speed it is done to make sure everyone knows where to line up and where each player should go once the ball is snapped."

Holie Gajan & Bobby Hebert Vinnie Sunseri has a nose for the football

Posted by WWL Radio on Monday, August 10, 2015

Hokie's Call

"Today the Saints ran their Red Zone offense, and I thought the offense had the upper hand," Gajan said. Hokie also said that the Saints defense had the upper hand during seven on seven drills, while the Saints offense took control during full team activities.

Hokie said that the Saints game against the Ravens will be about as plain and vanilla as a game can be. "There is no game planning for this first pre-season game. The starters won't play much if at all, and it's basically about getting guys out there and everything you've been doing in practice up to this point to see if those players know what they are doing and how they perform."

The Cajun Cannon says

Bobby said that rookie QB Garrett Grayson has had back to back pretty good practices. "He's been able to complete some good throws the last two days."

Fellow Rookie OL Andrus Peat has been getting some reps at Guard. "Coach Payton has said he's looking for the best five guys to put on the offensive line. Peat has not looked bad at Guard."

Bobby also said that the veteran play of CB Brandon Browner has been impressive at camp. "I saw him make a nice play today as he was fighting off a block." Browner was being blocked but was able to fight oit off and disrupt an attempted wide receiver screen play.

Bobby gave kudos to Safety Vinnie Sunseri for making his third interception this camp. "Vinnie did a good job of reading QB Luke McCown and he came up with a big play."

Up next

The Saints will have a walk through practice this afternoon and then get back to work for their final practice of the week tomorrow. The team will fly out for Baltimore on Wednesday for Thursday's game against the Ravens.
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Sloppy defense sours Black and Gold scrimmage

For those of you who have had optimism when it comes to an improved Saints Defense, your positive outlook took a hit today.

"I'm gonna tell you - that was retty bad out there today. You can live with certain mistakes. But when you line up wrong, have too many men on the field or just repeated mental busts it kind of leaves doubt in your mind," said Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan. The dismal defensive play was so out of sync that after the team did their conditioning, Coach Rob Ryan had each defensive player do twenty-five up-downs on the field.

Now, I'm not harping on the negative only - there were some good signs in the scrimmage. But anyone who tells you that the undisciplined defense did not overshadow everything else is flat out not telling you the way things were!

"I give the edge to the Saints offense for sure," Bobby Hebert said. He thought WR Marques Colston had a nice day as QB Drew Brees led the Saints down the field for a score on their first possession.

LISTEN: Bobby - "that doesn't look like a ten-win team out there"


Bobby and Hokie were both pleased with the play of RB Mark Ingram. "He's becoming more a complete back in this league," said Hokie. "Mark had some nice cut backs and he looked good today," Hebert said. Bobby also liked the play of RBs Marcus Murphy and Tim Hightower. But regardless of how much of a spin anyone tries to put on things, today was not a good day for the Saints.

The most action and intensity came from Saints Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan. Ryan was blasting the play of his defense rather loudly during the scrimmage yelling at his defense and selecting a few choice words for them in the process.

DE #94 Cam Jordan and #91 Kasim Edebali both had QB Sacks and DB Vinnie Sunseri picked off back-up QB Garrett Grayson and had a nice long return after the pick off.

The Saints defense looked confused, and that's not a good sign for a team that said they brought in certain players and a former head coach to simplify things.

Too many men on the field, not enough men on the field, lining up in the wrong place were the lowlights. So the first week of Saints Camp ended on a sour note and now the team is off until Sunday when they get back to work with an evening practice at the Greenbrier in West Virginia.
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Deke: Saints set to scrimmage in Black and Gold action

The first full week of the Saints 2015 training camp is in the books and the team will wrap up the week with their annual Black and Gold scrimmage. Our resident pros Hokie and Bobby gave their thoughts on what they are looking for in the Saints first pre-season scrimmage.

Hokie's Call

Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan is looking to see how the players react to having the scrimmage action called by NFL officials. "The officials being out there is kind of like a tune up to what the players will see next week in the first pre-season game at Baltimore," Gajan said.

Hokie said that the scrimmage is more like a glorified practice and there are a few players that he wants to see and how they do in the scrimmage. "Guys like Delvin Breaux, Ramon Humber and Bobby Richardson are off to real good starts at camp. And I want to see how they do in the scrimmage and if they can continue to play well."

Hokie went on to say that the least amount of mistakes, penalties and mental miscues, the better when it comes to scrimmaging. "It's going to be like a regular practice. There won't be any tackling to the ground but there will be some things that you can get a good feel for during the scrimmage."

The Cajun Cannon Says

Bobby says the main thing he wants to see is if the Saints defense can create some turnovers. "We've seen some turnovers but not as many as we'd like to see. Guys like DL Bobby Richardson, DE Cam Jordan and DL Akiem Hicks have been doing a good job of getting pressure on QB's during camp. I'd like to see that continue during the scrimmage," Bobby said.

Bobby likes what he has seen from the core of Saints running backs and that is a plus moving forward. "Each of the RBs brings something different to the table. Mark Ingram and CJ Spiller are two very good all around backs and Tim Hightower and Khiry Robinson are both having good camps. The Saints are solid in the RB area."

Bobby thinks that back-up QB's Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin have both had good camps up to this point. And the Cajun Cannon says that several Saints WR's will want to finish the first week of camp on a high note. "WR's Seantavius Jones, Willie Snead and Lance Lewis have all done a good job as of late. Jones kind of got off to a slower start but he's come on the last two practices. Brandon Coleman is someone that the Saints want to work out because he causes such a match-up problem for opposing DB's. The battle at WR is a good one thus far."

The Cajun Cannon said that players being lined up in the right place at the right time, mental bust and making plays given the opportunity are something that coaches will pay close attention to during the Saints scrimmage.

The Big Chief's Final Analysis

Can guys like CB Stanley Jean Baptiste, WR Brandon Coleman, DL Bobby Richardson and LB Markus Pierece-Brewster continue to progress? Baptiste looks much better in year two while the others mentioned above have to me set a good tone and put themselves in the spotlight as far as getting good attention from the coaches during the first week of practice.

And will the Saints be better this season? It's only a scrimmage and I certainly caution myself more this season than ever before when it comes to calling what I see on the Saints. With that said I do think there is a more sense of urgency this camp among the coaches and the players. I don't sense any panic or any rush.

I do think that there is a seriousness in place as far as how the players and coaches approach each snap, each drill, each practice and in turn each pre-season game. Now if that translates to more wins is the ultimate sign if 2014 was an aberration or a sign of the times!
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Deke: Saints D takes edge in Red Zone at Thursday camp

The Saints worked for two hours and 20 minutes this morning at The Greenbrier in West Virginia. The weather was nice and cool as the Black & Gold practiced under cloudy skies.

After stretching and working on drills in position groups, things kicked up a notch when the focus became goal line situations. The Saints defense got off to a good start, but QB Drew Brees scrambled to his left and was able to connect with WR #15 Seantavius Jones for a TD.

Jones was very productive in goal line work. He later hauled in another TD from QB Ryan Griffin. Then Jones scored another touchdown for the Saints offense.

Another offensive standout, TE Ben Watson, who had another productive day hauling in several grabs in all of the team sessions. RB Tim Hightower also scored on short run at the very end of a team drill.

Defensive highlights included DL Bobby Richardson with a sack, and rookie LB Hau' Oli Kikaha picked up a sack.

Defense wins the Red Zone portion of practice at Saints Training Camp

Posted by WWL Radio on Thursday, August 6, 2015

Bobby Hebert's take:

The Cajun Cannon gives the overall edge to the Saints defense. "I liked the play of the defense in red zone work. Sometimes it's hard to tell if a play would be extended when you're not tackling. I think the defense would have had the upper hand," concluded the former Saints QB.

Bobby's impressed by Saints LB Ramon Humber. "Not only is Humber the best cover LB we have, but he's also the best inside pass rushing LB," said Hebert.

On the offensive side of the ball, QB Luke McCown had a solid practice according to Hebert, "Luke hit WR Willie Snead on a deep ball for a 50 yard gain, and McCown later hit TE Ben Watson for a 20 yard pick up."

Hokie's Call:

Hokie thought the Saints would be in full gear, instead the Saints practiced in helmets and shorts. "There was a period during the middle of practice in which the Saints worked on tackling."

Like Hebert, Hokie was impressed by TE Ben Watson. "He's a target that the Saints have a lot of confidence in. Ben Watson is doing well right now," concluded the former Saints running back and scout.

Hokie also gave high remarks to the Saints defense for covering receivers well. "A lot of times the defense would have come up with a sack. I saw a lot of scrambling and flushing out of the pocket. All in all I was pleased with the red zone defense and their coverage as a hole," concluded our resident pro.

Up next:

The Saints will have a walk through this evening. Then the Black & Gold will scrimmage in the morning before taking Saturday off.

Who Dat Nation, don't miss SportsTalk LIVE from Saints Training Camp in West Virginia. Our resident pros Bobby Hebert & Hokie Gajan sit down with the Big Chief Deke Bellavia to share insights on today's Black & Gold drills. PLUS: we'll hear from head coach Sean Payton, cornerback Delvin Breaux, linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha, running back Khiry Robinson and more. Huddle up with the pros weekdays 4 to 8pm. After that, join Saints sideline reporter Kristian Garic and our resident Tiger, T-Bob Hebert for "Double Coverage—SPORTS & MORE" 8 to midnight here on the home of the Saints and LSU – WWL!
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Deke: Payton keeps everyone on their toes at Saints camp

"Back in the huddle. Get lined up quickly. If you're not on the field, pick up your helmet and pay attention." Those are some of the things I've been hearing from Sean Payton at his team's 2015 training camp. From what I've seen through about the first week of practice is a head coach that has everyone on their toes.

As he paces from one end of the practice field to check on a pass scale drill, to a brisk walk to the opposite end of the field to place an eye on the linemen in the one on ones, Payton has made it clear he wants everyone's full attention at each practice.

Payton is as vocal as I've seen him at practice in his now 10 years with the Saints, and he makes sure that when players are not in action or on the field that they are paying close attention to what's going on at all times.

Call it what you want, but I sense that Coach Payton wants an environment that has a "serious" feel to it. They say in life if you ever come to work with a "I've got it made" kind of feeling then you're not doing your job correctly.

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To me, the feeling that I have to perform at the highest level because if I don't, someone else will, is one that everyone should carry with them. I don't think the Saints players felt that way a year ago.

Whether or not Coach Payton wanted to make more of an emphasis on making players, coaches and personal more attentive - I can't really say that I know that for sure. But what I do see is that the first week of training camp there has been a "serious, more disciplined team at all times" kind of feeling.

Now I don't want to give the impression that the Saints were just way off base last year during camp. But I do know that Coach Payton has placed more attention to detail on his players and his coaches have seemingly been instructed to do the same as well.

Ultimately the proof is in the pudding, and all of this I've typed up so far sure sounds good. But the little things add up, and in turn count a lot. Little things that may only seem like a radio guy finding something to write about could be key in the entire scheme of things to get the Saints back in contending mode!

At Wednesday's practice Coach Payton called his team to get back into the huddle as the players were not lined up properly. I think nothing gets under coaches skin more than when the players don't know where to go. Will all of this amount to anything? Only the final record will answer that question.

But if you're one that wants the Saints to be in a serious mindset, and the Black and Gold to be that team that works hard, is focused on their jobs, and don't take things lightly, then I'd say you would be pleased with the current workplace environment that Sean Payton has his players in.
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Bobby: Saints defense wins the day at Wednesday practice

After their first day off, the New Orleans Saints went back to the practice fields this morning at the Greenbrier in West Virginia, and for the first time worked in front of NFL officials during team drills. NFL officials generally come to practice a few days before the Saints hold their first scrimmage Friday morning. "I thought they got a lot done. I think it was a very effecient practice for the team," said Bobby Hebert.

Bobby talked a bit about Rookie LB Markus Pierce-Brewster continues to excel in one on one drills. "He has beaten a lot of people he has faced. He looks good coming off the edge in pass rushing situations which is an area the Saints need a lot of help in."

Other action in one on one drills had #94 Cam Jordan looking good, #92 DT John Jenkins with a good showing and #99 Anthony Spencer drawing praise from defensive line Coach Bill Johnson.

DT #78 Bobby Richardson had another solid showing. Richardson has done a good job getting noticed by coaches and the media. At every practice so far the rookie out of Indiana has made some type of impact. Richardson looks to be a overall good pick-up for the Saints as he has done well in run support and rushing the QB in camp.

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The Cajun Cannon Says

The Cajun Cannon gave the nod to the Saints defense at practice today. "I thought the defense did a good job against the run this morning. And we were able to pick off a pass at the end of practice. Those were good signs," said the Cajun Cannon.

RB Khiry Robinson had another good day. "He's gotten better in developing his overall game. He's a power runner, he can make people miss and he does a good job blocking in one on one situations."

Bobby also said that RB C.J. Spiller is the best option from a running back standpoint when it comes to getting the ball out of the backfield. Bobby says that the competition and group of RB's in camp is deep and talented.

Bobby said that rookie OT Sean Hickey did a god job and stood out in pass protection this morning. Bobby's notes also pointed out DB Vinnie Sunseri being in the right place at the right time picking off a pass from QB Luke McCown.

Hokie's Call

Hokie said that during camp, coaches always want to see how the players respond to coming back from a day off. "I did not see any let down. I thought the Saints got in some good work and the practice overall was a good one in my opinion."

Hokie said that LB Ramon Humber is having a nice camp and is drawing praise from defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. "Humber does a good job when he's in there and he is good as a cover linebacker as the Saints have," said Gajan.

Hokie also pointed out that practicing with officials allows players and coaches to get a grasp of the new rules that have been voted in by the league. "It's a good situation because the flags don't count right now. If a player commits a foul now the officials will walk over and let the players and coaches know what was done wrong and how things will be called in the real games."

Top plays, nice lick!

WR Josh Morgan caught a nice pass from QB Drew Brees working up the far side of the field during team drills. And later in the team period second year DB Vinny Sunseri picked off QB Luke McCown for the Saints defense.

WR #86 Kyle Prater made a nice grab at the end of practice to end things on a high note for the Saints offense. In the physicality department #24 Kyle Wilson had a nice little pop on RB Khiry Robinson towards the end of practice.

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Up next and small bites

The Saints will have a walk through session this evening, and then the Black and Gold get back to work with an 8:50AM practice in the morning. Above you may ask what is Deke trying to say? What does small bites mean?

Well I figured to keep my attention span a little more broadened, and in case some of the great folks back home are coming up to watch the Saints practice, I would point out some of the things I've eaten and taken in since I've been up in West Virginia.

So yesterday I took a ride to the middle of Lewisburg to take in a movie with the family. Emma and Jackie wanted to see "Pixels," but the movie was in 3D and they don't like wearing those shades indoors, so that prompted Richelle and I to alter our shot and go to the "Minions" movie instead.

While I was buttering up my popcorn I ran into big #94 Cam Jordan. Cam is a real nice guy and always speaks when I see him. Cam and a few other players were enjoying their time off, taking in the new boxing movie "Southpaw." No word yet on if they liked it or not.

Anyhow, after the movie we rode to downtown Lewisburg and went to Del Sol. It's a nice little Mexican spot that has tacos, burritos and other Mexican fare. Richelle and I split a beef burrito and it was excellent. So Who Dats, when and if you're in town you might want to take a bite of dat burrito.
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Bobby: Saints WR Brandon Coleman makes play of the day

The first five days of training camp are now in the books - the Saints have had two days in shorts and helmets and three days in full pads. "I think the Saints are getting done what they need to do up to this point. I like the intensity and I see guys starting to get settled in out there!" said Hokie Gajan after practice Monday.

Hokie said that he thought that he thought that the Saints had a little more physicality at Sunday's practice compared to today's session. "They're still getting after it. I just thought that yesterday was a little more physical."

Hokie says that players usually hit what is called the "camp wall" right about now. What Hokie means is that the fatigue and wear and tear of doing the same-old-same-old over and over again becomes more of a mental challenge.

The Cajun Cannon says

In one on one drills the Saints pitted RBs taking on the LBs. "I thought that Ramon Humber and David Hawthorne looked good in pass coverage," Hebert said, mentioning that Humber did a god job of covering the Saints RBs. DL Akiem Hicks did a nice job of getting up field against veteran OG Jahri Evans while newcomer DL Bobby Richardson continues to have a good camp.

"Bobby Richardson is active just about everyday. He's done a god job in getting off to a nice start and I'll be interested in seeing how Richardson does in the pre-season games.

Joe Morgan hauled in a nice grab from QB Luke McCown. Morgan had a 20 and a 30 yard reception in a seam route - Lance Lewis caught a pass on a skinny post route for about 30 yards.

Bobby said the catch of the day came when WR Brandon Coleman snagged a ball from QB Drew Brees. Coleman outmanned DB Kyle Wilson for the football to make the reception.

After getting two interceptions at Sunday's practice, the Black and Gold defense was unable to pick off a pass today. "Keenan Lewis and Kyle Wilson both had chances at the football. But credit WR Nick Toon for coming up with the ball going against Lewis."

The Cajun Cannon loves what he is seeing from rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony

Posted by WWL Radio on Monday, August 3, 2015

Some top plays

Cam Jordan had a sack today, taking down QB Drew Brees in team drills. RB Khiry Robinson reeled off two long runs today. "K-Rob is off to a good start this training camp," said Hebert.

Bobby thinks that the core of the Saints RB's are a real good group with a lot of depth. K-Rob had two long runs and the shifty RB has made more waves than not the last three practices.

WR Joe Morgan had a couple of nice grabs this morning and WR Brandon Coleman showed off his yards after catch skills hauling in a pass from QB Ryan Griffin and then taking it to the house.

Up next for the Saints

The Black and Gold will take their first day off of training camp 2015 tomorrow. The team gets back to work on Wednesday with an 8:50 AM start time.
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Hokie: Saints have most physical outing yet

Sure it's just the fourth day of 2015 training camp, but this Sunday morning in beautiful, cool White Sulphur Springs, it was a little hotter on the field in the form of physicality.

"I tell you they got after it. You could feel the intensity out there today. And I thought the players really got after each other," said Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan.

Hokie and the Cajun Cannon both agreed that the fourth practice of Saints camp was the best thus far. "You could tell the coaches put an emphasis on getting to the football and that the players knew today was a full contact day," said Hebert.

Saints DB Kenny Phillips had a nice interception at the end of practice, and little known LB Henry Coley was the recipient of a tipped ball that landed in his hands for another interception for the Saints defense.

The Cajun Cannon says

The CC says that the Saints defense forced several turnovers this morning at practice. S Kenny Phillips picked off a pass during the team drills. Phillips picked off QB Ryan Griffin. Then a few plays later LB Henry Coley picked off a pass also.

Bobby said that the Saints were sloppy at times but the best play according the the Cajun one came when QB Drew Brees hooked up with WR Brandin Cooks. "Cooks hauled in about a 50 yard pass from Brees. Brandin got behind the Saints defensive backfield for a big gainer."

Bobby said that Free Agent CB Delvin Breaux had a shot at a good interception but was unable to catch the ball. "It would have been another pick off for the defense today. When you're a defender if the ball hits your hands you've got to come down with it. You could tell that Delvin was frustrated he did not get the interception."

Bobby said he saw good physical contact when veteran RB Tim Hightower lowered his shoulder and ran into LB David Hawthorne. "Both players lowered their heads and it was a good physical exchange near the sidelines."

Saints much more physical in practice today

Posted by WWL Radio on Sunday, August 2, 2015

Hokie's Call

Hokie was impressed by the Saints physicality at todays practice. "I think the players knew that they were going to be hit today. Strap it up and get ready because the players got after it."

Hokie said that he thinks today's practice was the best by far this camp for the Saints. And Gajan says that you can tell the coaches want the players to know this camp is going to be a physical one.

"When you get to about that third day in pads your body starts to wear down some and you start to feel the pain of training camp even more. Tomorrow I look forward to see which players can bring that intensity at a high level after being in pads for three days."

The Temp & Top plays

The morning temp up here folks was a cool, crisp 57 degrees. Practice was sunny and cool with a good breeze the entire practice.

S Kenny Phillips picked off QB Ryan Griffin, LB Henry Coley intercepted a pass off a tipped ball. # 78 DL Bobby Richardson had another sack at practice today.

Up next

The Saints will have another walk through this afternoon and then another full padded practice in the morning. The Saints will have their first day off on Tuesday.
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Resident Pro's: Saints Practice live and in color!

Those who follow sports know that there are, and will continue to be, many cliché's and sayings. I can remember back in my days at good ole Amite High School Coach Nick Labarbera would yell, "Ok we are live and in color."

What Coach meant was that the pads were on, and it was time to hit and light things up a bit. Well the Black and Gold were live and in color this morning with their first practice in full pads.

If we were back home, it would be late October. The most perfect weather conditions highlighted day 3 of Saints Training Camp. "It is a beautiful day," I heard the voice of the Saints Jim Henderson say as I greeted Jim, Hokie and the Cajun Cannon in the far stands at the Greenbrier Practice Facility.

The practice start time temp was 65 degrees, warming up to a breezy 72 degrees. Simply put, it felt great. The Saints donned full gear for the first time this camp with an over two hour practice.

Hokie's Call

Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan takes notes at each practice, and today ole #46 gave the nod to the Saints defense overall on day one of full padded practice.

"I think the defense had the edge today. I don't think that any of the Saints QB's looked real crisp today. And I'd have to give some of the credit to that of the Saints defense."

Hokie said that he liked what he saw when it came to the Saints run stopping.
"It was encouraging to see the run defense stuff the runs more times than not."
Hokie also focused on Saints OL rookie Andrus Peat.

"Peat is getting adjusted. He's kind of feeling out what he has to and needs to do on the pro level," said Gajan.
Hokie always uses caution when it comes to not getting too concerned about anything at this point, and on the flip side also not to get too excited about anything to this point.

"Hey it's the first day of pads. So things are just getting into the next phase of practice. In about a week we will be able to get a better grasp on how things are progressing."

Bobby's Take

The Cajun Cannon and I sat in the stands as Hebert is constantly working that pen of his, intensely taking notes.
"I think today was the least accurate the QB's have seen in camp. You can give some of the credit for that to the defense."

Bobby also pointed out that he saw several dropped balls today.
"It was the most dropped balls I've seen at practice up to this point. Brandin Cooks and Ben Watson dropped passes, and they don't usually drop balls," Hebert said.

Bobby continues to be pleased with the camp that DL Akiem Hicks is having thus far. Hicks picked up OG Jahri Evans and thumped him in one on one drills, and Hicks picked up another QB Sack.

Bobby said WR Brandon Coleman leads the way being the most active WR with anywhere between 15-20 receptions at camp so far.

Top Plays

#53 Linebacker Ramon Humber had a QB Sack in the team portion of practice, CB Brandon Browner was active yet again hounding around the football more times than not, with the veteran CB breaking up a pass in team drills.

WR Joe Morgan made the play of the day hauling in a nice pass from QB Drew Brees. Morgan extended his body in full motion to snag a ball out of the air behind the coverage of veteran CB Brandon Browner.

Who Dat is?

WR #13 Joe Morgan. Morgan did a nice job of using his speed to get behind CB Brandon Browner this morning. Then Morgan extended his body through his stretched hands to haul in about a 20 yard grab.

Up next

The Saints will have an hour walk-through this evening from 4:30-5:30pm. The Black and Gold return to the field Sunday Morning for their second full pad practice kicking off at 8:50 local time.

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