Deke Bellavia: Hebert & Gajan size up Saints camp Day 8
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 2 2013 1:22PM
Following today’s scorcher of a practice, I went one-on-one with our WWL resident pros Bobby Hebert & Hokie Gajan about STC Day 8:
The Cajun Cannon’s take - The first full week of camp is in the books, and the Saints will officially wrap up week one with their annual Black & Gold Scrimmage. So, what has the first QB who led the Saints to the playoffs seen in his former club?
“The team has been very active. The team is playing with a lot of energy and they should be,” observed Bobby Hebert. “There are no more two-a-day practices and players are fresher. Tomorrow is the closest thing to a game we will see during camp, before the preseason games begin.”
The Cajun Cannon said he’s looking forward to the team’s live goal line battle, which is long considered the most physical part of any training camp. “Linebacker Curtis Lofton told me he always looks forward to that (goal line) drill, because it’s man on man,” said Hebert. The goal line drill is a battle where the defense tries to keep the offense out of the end zone and the offense, of course, tries to score. The drill is about a 12-play drill run generally once during training camp.
“We’ve got the Black & Gold Scrimmage tomorrow, then the goal line drill next week…and before you know it, the Chief’s will be coming to town,” said an enthusiastic Bobby Hebert. The Cannon was impressed with today’s one-on-one drills. Linebacker Eric Martin put a beautiful swim move on Jason Smith and easily got past Smith to the quarterback. Also, defensive end Cam Jordan lifted offensive tackle Zach Strief off his feet during team drills.
You can catch the Cajun Cannon’s full breakdown of today’s practice on SportsTalk 4 to 8pm on SAINTSradio, WWL (870am, 105.3fm and WWL.com).
“Well it was a non-padded practice today with the emphasis being on third down and nickel,” observed Gajan. If today wasn’t the hottest day at camp it was sure close. Hokie’s looking forward to the Black & Gold Scrimmage, because although it’s like practice, it has a little more intensity.
Hokie on the Saints Defense: “The defense is bringing a lot of pressure right now,” said the former Saints running back and scout. “You can tell that Coach Ryan is finding different ways to bring pressure. Whether there is pressure from the outside or up the middle, they (defense) are bringing a lot of pressure. And to me that’s encouraging.”
What’s Hokie’s impression Coach Rob Ryan? Gajan says Ryan revved up the Saints defense; they’re far more aggressive…always in attack mode…and all of the Saints quarterbacks have to hurry to get rid of the ball. “They say you live by the blitz and die by the blitz. And there have been some blown assignments at times. But, right now, the defense has had the right blitz packaged call more times than not,” said Hokie. Gajan says seeing this much pressure this early in training camp is a little unusual.
Hokie on NFL officials: NFL officials are now at practice; they’ll be at camp through the weekend, and they’re attending Saints film sessions. “I think having the officials here is beneficial for the players and the coaches,” said the Saints color analyst. “You can see at times officials talking to players. And right now that’s all it is, is talk. When the season begins they will be throwing flags.” So in Hokie’s words,” better learn dem new rules now!”
Hokie on Black & Gold game day: Hokie has long considered the annual Black & Gold Scrimmage a glorified practice. But, what does the 32 year NFL veteran look for? “I’ll keep an eye on the individual position battles,” said Gajan. “Whenever you say the word scrimmage, it kind of lights a fire under players, and it will be a little more excitement and intensity out there tomorrow.”
The Big Chief’s observations
Bad, bad, bad! Yes, inebriation rearedits ugly head. Towards the latter part of today’s Saints practice, a fan, who seemingly had way too many, tried to run onto the field. Our roving reporter Jay Vise sauntered over to find out what the fan was trying to do.
Jay learned the fan was a little upset about the Saints 7-9 record, and he wanted to talk to Coach Payton about the disappointing season. I wonder if that guy knew Coach Payton didn’t coach a single one of the Saints 16 regular season games in 2012? Give it up and show some love to Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s department. They took down the clown without incident, and as Roscoe P. Coltrane would say, “JD cuffed’em and stuffed’em.” Who Dat?!? JP…Dats Who!
A good friend in Ben! Yes, folks…talking with tight end Ben Watson today, felt like talking to a friend. Watson is an intelligent, calm, humble man who has been in the NFL for 10 years. Watson sat down with Bobby Hebert and me to talk about his role with the Saints, and his life away from football as a great husband and father. And, we spoke to Ben about his college football days tpp. It’s easy to see the world is a much better place with people like Ben Watson! Listen to SportsTalk today between 4 and 8pm for the entire interview with Big Ben Watson! He and Jimmy Graham will be one powerful combination!