Deke: Bobby Hebert & Hokie Gajan size up Saints Camp Day 2
by Deke Bellavia,posted Jul 27 2013 4:54PM
email@example.com - Okay, the first two days of just shorts and helmets are over for the New Orleans Saints. Tomorrow the Black & Gold don full gear. But, before we get to full contact, let’s see what progress our WWL resident pros saw from Day 1 to Day 2 of camp.
Bobby Hebert’s P.O.V.
Hebert - what looked good: The Cajun Cannon thought the Saints offense bounced back nicely, after not looking so good the first day of camp. “I thought it was a productive day overall with the offense looking much better,” said Hebert. “I thought QB Luke McCown had his best day. He threw a number of balls that were on the money and he completed a nice long pass for about 50 yards to Lance Moore. Luke had a good day.”
Hebert - Which Saints players stood out: “Will Smith would have had a sack in the first team period and Martez Wilson had a sack in the last team portion of practice.” Bobby was also impressed by the play of wide receiver Saalim Hakim. Hakim hauled in a pass on a slant route and then outran the Saints secondary. “I thought linebacker Jonathan Vilma did an outstanding job in coverage. Jonathan was in the right position and he made a nice play. LB Roman Humber had another solid day. Humber caused a fumble and he did a good job in pass coverage.”
Hebert – What needs work? “I really think overall it was a good practice. It was not sloppy like yesterday. I think the offensive coaches as well as the defensive coaches have to be pleased with the production obtained on day two of training camp.”
Hebert’s BIG Saints question of the day: In his unique way, the Cajun Cannon asked Saints LB Curtis Lofton about his role as a leader on the Saints defense…and which player is responsible for calling the defensive plays in the huddle. Curtis said, “I think the situation with the defense is that you have two great guys capable of leading this defense. JV (Vilma) is going to take the helmet communicator. He (Vilma) will handle the secondary and I’ll handle the front. He doesn’t have an ego and I don’t have an ego. Our main focus and goal is to put this team in the best situation to win. And it’s been great working with him (Vilma).”
Hebert - Bring on the pads! Bobby says some things are hard to judge when players are not in full gear. Assessments will get clearer tomorrow. “When you don’t have on pads, it’s hard to tell how the linemen do against each other. And, it’s hard to see who gets to the quarterback fastest. When the team puts on pads tomorrow…the one-on-one drills among the linemen will be one of the things that I’m looking forward to seeing.”
Hokie Gajan’s P.O.V.
Hokie’s take on STC Day 2: “I saw a much better practice this morning,” said Gajan. “Things were crisp and a lot of the sloppy things that took place yesterday did not happen again today. “ The Saints Radio color analyst was happy to see a Saints offense with far fewer turnovers.
Hokie - Hard to evaluate: A former Saints player and scout for many years, Hokie prefers to see the team in full gear versus watching them in shorts and helmets. “I think it makes things more legitimate when they are in pads. It’s hard to tell if a player is making a sack or if he really got back in the offensive backfield that fast. When they have pads on it’s easier to evaluate.”
Hokie’s next looksee: One on one drills between offensive and defensive linemen is something Gajan is looking forward to along with the contact drills. “When the team works off rush offense against rush defense, the contact in those drills will give a much better indication of who’s getting the best of who.”
“The Big Chief” Deke Bellavia’s final analysis
Today I sat down with Saints LB David Hawthorne. Hawthorne came to the Saints last season, after three straight seasons with the Seattle Seahawks in which he recorded 100 or more tackles.
“I’m healthy and I feel like I’m in great shape. I just want to do what is asked of me and help our defense improve,” Hawthorne told me. David Hawthorne is a humble player that I hope works out here in New Orleans.
David was an undrafted rookie out of TCU, who became arguably the Seahawks’ best linebacker once he landed a starting role midway through the 2009 season. When I asked David how much better the Saints defense can be this season he smiled and said, “I think the sky is the limit for us.”
Hawthorne went on to explain why he thinks the Saints defense will be much improved, “We are all buying in. and Coach Rob Ryan has the players in the right place.” David also expressed how humble and grateful he is to be wearing jersey #57, which was worn by former Saints great and hall of famer Rickey Jackson.