Anything different about this camp? Looking back on this last day of Training Camp, I don’t know about different, but you can see the competitive drive this team has. The competition offensively and defensively from this team is something you can see, it’s readily apparent. It’s healthy for this team. When they’ve had success is when they’ve had these really competitive camps. And with Coach Payton been back, that’s the earmark of one of his teams; Nothing is guaranteed for anyone, and they’ve all got to go out and fight for his job (with the exception of Drew Brees, of course.)
Impact of injuries: Taking a look at the injuries this team has sustained over Training Camp, with WR Joe Morgan lost for the year, and Kenyon Coleman, we’ve talked about that ad nauseam …but also today, Coach Payton confirmed ILB Jon Vilma was out getting his knee scoped, and he’s going to be out for a few weeks. It gives the opportunity for a guy like David Hawthorne. They’re paying him starter money, about $3 million a year…he was banged up quite a bit last year, and now he has an opportunity to come in and earn that spot in the middle next to Curtis Lofton in the 3-4 defense. The amount of money they’re paying him, they want him to work out. That’s an awful lot of money to pay a special teams player who gets on the field occasionally when he’s making that kind of jack.
Also, Coach Payton said today that WR Marques Colston and LB Junior Gallettee will not play against the Raiders. No new news on Courtney Roby, who left practice earlier this week with a toe injury.
Saints vs. Raiders, what to watch: I want to see if the special teams have made the improvements, have they increased their passion, their energy, and their efforts following the first outing against KC. I also want to see how well Seneca Wallace moves this offense. And, thirdly, I want to see if the defense can force turnovers. Last week against KC, we saw them get after the quarterback pretty well…but now, how long can they stay in there and force some turnovers. Also, can they get take care of the alignment errors, that you heard them talk so much about this week…The alignment and assignment errors last week against KC is something they have got to get corrected.