Deke: What to watch at Saints "Black & Gold Scrimmage"
by Deke Bellavia,posted Aug 1 2014 1:40PM
Our resident pros and I have come up with some things to keep an eye on in the Saints annual "Black and Gold Scrimmage." Since I'm doing all the typing, I'll shoot my list of things to ya first.
Can WR Nick Toon keep it up? Nick Toon has had as good of a camp (and off season) as any player on the Saints team. Toon makes plays every day at practice, but can he up the ante in the closest game-like situation the Saints will have prior to their first preseason game?
Would the real P-Rob please stand up! After being drafted by the Saints in 2009, former first rounder Patrick Robinson is looking more and more like the first round pick he once was instead of the inconsistent player he has been. P-Rob has had more plays on the football than any other DB, and if he continues at this rate, he will make it hard on Rob Ryan to not make him a starting CB. So if this is the real P-Rob, welcome. If not, then the Saints make look elsewhere and save two million by not keeping him.
Run for it, stop in the name of the run! The Saints run game has looked good more times than not at training camp. The run defense has looked, well, not so good. I do think the Saints are going to be one of the better rushing teams in the league this season, but how much better will the run defense be? The rush defense improved from 32 to 19 from 2012 to 2013. Now can another step be taken in the right direction Perhaps it’s a little premature to judge the run defense at this point. After all big John Jenkins has not seen the field yet. And in my opinion, he makes a difference!
Back that QB up! Is there a real battle going on to see who will back up #9? Coach Payton says so. Luke McCown and Ryan Griffin are in the mix. Right now I think McCown has had the better camp of the two, but the Saints have shown commitment to Griffin, and they must like some of the things he brings to the table.
Stuck in the middle! Tim Lelito and veteran Jonathan “Goody” Goodwin are fighting to see who will be the Saints staring center this season. Both will be on the team, and we know that Goody is all good and Lelito looks to be the future. But that does not mean Sean Payton is just going to turn things over to him. After all, those are some precious hands underneath those fellows!
What will the Cajun Cannon be watching?
Bobby Hebert says that the "Black and Gold Scrimmage" will present the players with game-like situations. "The competition gets more heated when there is a scrimmage. Players get a little more intense because scrimmages are meant to simulate a real game."
Bobby wants to see how wide receiver Brandin Cooks does Saturday. "He's been putting on a clinic out there each day at practice. If he does what he's been doing, the fans will be very pleased with what they see in Brandin Cooks."
Bobby also is looking forward to seeing if WR Nick Toon can keep up his impressive play, and if any of the younger Saints WR's can separate themselves from the rest of the pack by standing out in the scrimmage.
"I want to see if the defense can stop the run two days in a row. Yesterday the Saints defense looked the best they have against the run. Now I want to see if they can do it again."
Hokie's take is the most important in my very own opinion. Hokie's been a player, a scout and now a color analyst. He has broken down more film, seen more players and watched more workouts of players than anyone else out here.
"I always look for what the players do with the refs calling the game. Adding the officials to the scrimmage makes things more real. How clean, crisp and disciplined players look will be more important with the refs calling the game."
Hokie said he's keeping an eye on the running back position during the scrimmage. "Khiry Robinson, Travaris Cadet, Mark Ingram and Pierre Thomas have all looked good. I want to see how Cadet and Robinson do."
Hokie thinks that Cadet and Robinson are solid runners. But can they each be complete RB's like Pierre Thomas? Hokie will also be looking to see if either center Tim Lelito or Jonathan Goodwin can get ahead of one another.