Here's my five key takeaways from Saints mini-camp today.
World Cup: I’m on the record saying soccer is not my favorite sport in the world, but that’s all the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert could talk about today. Hebert asked Sean Payton about the cup and his policy on pre-game sex. Yeah, I can’t make this up. Listen to the audio!
Taste of training camp: The Saints got a good taste on what training camp would be like here in Metairie if it were held at Saints headquarters in July, as the team wrapped up mini-camp on the hottest day of the week. Saints coach Sean Payton was pretty pleased with the four practices this week: “I’m encouraged with how they’re practicing. One of the challenges without pads is having the right tempo and staying off the ground.”
Cooks on-line: Saints rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks is still in school because of Oregon State on the “quarters system,” and thus hasn’t been with the team during OTA’s and mini-camp. Payton explained how Cooks is staying up to speed learning the Saints offense. “We’ve got kind of an on-line time where we’ll go through practice tape and installation. He was here for the rookie camp, and then he’s able to take the book back with him. What we’ve done is set aside an hour, or an hour and half with him to go on-line and have him go through the tape with the coaching staff.” Cooks will join the Saints again on Monday for the final week of OTA’s. Payton also said Cooks is a quick learner: “I think so based on the time we had him on the rookie camp.”
Playmakers: The first play of team vs team started poorly for the Saints offense, when safety Kenny Vaccaro stepped in front of a Drew Brees pass for an interception. It’s difficult to draw conclusions in shorts and helmets, but I said it yesterday and will reiterate today that Drew Brees and Robert Meachem have hooked up on a number of passes during OTA’s and this week’s minicamp, and you can see the chemistry building between them.
Roll Wave: Tulane’s Derrick Strozier has raised eyebrows at times in practice this off-season. Strozier was the MVP as nickel defensive back this season with Tulane. With the Saints, he’s working at running back. Strozier worked out before the draft as a running back and it’s hard to notice that just last season he was playing on the opposite side of the ball. “He’s really, really sharp” Payton said of Strozier. “His work out here on the local day was fantastic. He’s sudden he has good hands. The transition with him has gone very quick. He’s one of those guys that has very good football instincts” Payton explained.