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Deke Bellavia

Join Deke and the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert for live, local talk about the Saints, LSU, Pelicans and much more on "Sports Talk!" 

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Twitter: @dekebigchief
Email: bigchief@wwl.com

Deke talks Saints Camp Day 1 with Bobby Hebert and Hokie Gajan

bigchief@wwl.com - Our Resident Pros' Point of View!

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase.  They say in life it ain’t braggin’, if you got it.  Well, WWL radio, the flagship station of your New Orleans Saints, has something others just don’t have—a staff of former professional football players to break down the Saints performance all season long.  Our resident pros--Bobby Hebert, Hokie Gajan and Steve Korte have a perspective others, who analyze this team, just don’t have.  They’ve been there…done that…not only as NFL pros, but Saints players for a total of 27 years!  Bobby led the Saints to their first playoff.  Hokie Gajan was a beloved Saints fullback and scout.  Steve Korte was a powerful Saints offensive lineman.  So, they KNOW what they KNOW about NFL football, and they’ve walked a mile in the “cleats” of players like Drew Brees, Pierre Thomas and Zach Strief.   They’re perspective is a truly all pro look at the Saints.  And, I’ll throw in my take on the Black & Gold too.

Training Camp Day 1—Deke’s one-on-one with Bobby Hebert:

Bobby Hebert on practice:  “The defense easily won the day.  I thought the offense was sloppy.”
Why was the offense sloppy?  “There was poor execution at times.  QB Drew Brees and RB Mark Ingram mishandled an exchange on a handoff, and DE Cam Jordan scooped it up.  Drew had a couple of interceptions today and he was high on some of his throws.  You could see Drew was frustrated.  Drew Brees was not as accurate as he normally is.”

How did the Saints defense easily win the day?  “On the very first play of team drills, QB Drew Brees did an outstanding job making the defense jump off sides.   But, Drew threw a deep pass for WR Joe Morgan only to see CB #28 Keenan Lewis pick off the pass.”   

Note:  Brees was later picked off by CB Jabari Greer.  Greer made a diving interception as he was covering TE Michael Higgins.  #20 CB A.J. Davis also came up with an interception, picking off back-up QB Luke McCown.  
Hebert, “I believe the coaches really like A.J. Davis.  He was in camp last year and he makes plays when he’s given an opportunity.”

The Cajun Cannon praises the Saints D:  “Overall, the Saints Secondary had good coverage throughout practice, especially on deep balls.”

Note:   LB #55 Eric Martin, who is a rookie out of Nebraska had a sack on QB Seneca Wallace on a bootleg play.  
Hebert:  “Martin got back there fast.  He was up on Wallace before he could get his head around.”
What disappointed the Cajun Cannon:  “When you have a chance to make a pick, you have to catch the football.  If the ball hits your hands you have to make the play.”  Hebert was referring to Saints DB Malcolm Jenkins who dropped a ball this morning.”  

Note:  In special teams work, Punter Thomas Morstead got off some real nice punts.  The Cannon was impressed, “His punts were so high it caused WR Lance Moore trouble fielding the football.”  Moore misjudged three of Morstead’s punts dropping one in special teams work.
What impressed Hebert:  “WR’s #88 Nick Toon, #17 Chris Givens and #14 Andy Tanner did a very good job catching the football.  It seems like you can talk about how good Andy Tanner catches the football every day.”  
The Cajun Cannon praised the play of DB A.J. Davis and was pleased overall with the play of the defense on the first day of camp.  

Bobby Hebert’s question to Coach Sean Payton:  “Coach would you elaborate on the flexibility of players at the OLB position.  Is LB David Hawthorne a guy who can play inside and outside?”

Coach Payton:  “We’re going to start with him (David Hawthorne) on the inside, Bobby.  But we will be smart to look at it closely to see who’s getting the snaps at the outside position and if we are a little deep inside, we may ask a player such as Hawthorne to take some reps out the outside position.  But, I think to begin with him (Hawthorne) coming back off an injury…and now he’s healthy…I’m anxious to see him inside and sink his teeth into this defense a little bit.”

Training Camp Day 1—Deke’s one-on-one with Hokie Gajan:

Hokie’s Call on practice: “That first team session was a mistake filled session.  There was a lot of sloppy play.  It did not look like the Saints offense out there.  The mistakes made by the offense really jumped out at me.”  
Note:  Hokie was surprised to see the Black & Gold offense make unforced errors…“I give the defense credit on the interceptions.  But the mishandled snaps and the fumble on the handoff from Brees to Thomas are things that we are not used to seeing the Saints offense do.”

Bring on the pads:  If you listen to the former Saints FB, who to his credit has 31 years tied to the Saints in some capacity, you know Hokie’s all business.  Hokie says the first couple of practices are important, when the Saints get into full gear Sunday, the real action begins.

Gajan: “You hope getting the pads on will get the guys geared up.  I would really gauge the opening of training camp when they (Saints) get into full gear.  Coaches want players to put in good work all the time.  But, when you’re not in pads, it has a different feeling to players in my opinion.”

Hokie was impressed by the consistent play of WR Andy Tanner too.  #14 might not be the biggest or even considered one of the best, but over the course of the last few training camps Tanner has earned a lot of respect from people who’ve seen him play.  “I can’t remember Tanner dropping the football,” said Hokie.  He’s a guy, who just works hard and when his number is called he makes the play.”  Andy Tanner made two nice catches for the Saints offense during team drills.

“The Big Chief” Deke Bellavia’s POV:  

Well, Who Dat Nation, the first day was kind of typical.  Fans settled back in to check out their Black & Gold for the first time…and it was a hot, hot, hot July morning.  Bobby and I bumped into a fan, who made a long trip to see the Saints practice.  As we finished shooting our post practice video for wwl.com, a gentleman approached Bobby and asked for an autograph.  The guy said, “Man, I’m a Who Dat from Michigan.”  He drove 14 hours overnight to see the Sains practice.  Now that is a dedicated fan!

I spoke with RB Mark Ingram and I just get the feeling this guy will make a good bit of improvement.  This is what he told me after practice, “I’m healthy and I’ve worked as hard as I can possibly work this off season.”

You know, in this game you either got it or you don’t.  I think Ingram has always had it.  Coaches say they usually don’t get a full indication about how a player will transition into the NFL, until he’s played three years.  I thought Mark Ingram was a special player, when he was at Alabama…and now is his time in the NFL.  I’ve been wrong before and will admit if I’m wrong again.  But, I believe Ingram will do well.  He’s healthy, in great shape and Sean Payton has a lot of confidence in #22.  That leads me to believe Ingram will do better.  Perhaps much better!  
Until next time – Who Dat!  

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Topics : Sports
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Locations : AlabamaMichiganNebraska
People : A.J. DavisAndy TannerBobby HebertCam JordanChris GivensDat NationDavid HawthorneDrew BreesEric MartinHokie GajanJabari GreerJoe MorganLance MooreLuke McCownMalcolm JenkinsMark IngramMichael HigginsNick ToonPierre ThomasSean PaytonSteve KorteThomas MorsteadZach Strief

07/26/2013 4:05PM
Deke talks Saints Camp Day 1 with Bobby Hebert and Hokie Gajan
Please Enter Your Comments Below
07/26/2013 7:02PM
Bobby & Hokie are the best!
Deke, Bobby & Hokie are the best! They bring insights I don't hear about the Saints and NFL...even when I listen to other teams' analysts. WWL really has the pro perspective. I learn something every time I listen.
07/27/2013 3:14PM
Mark Ingram
Ingram has me worried. I thought when he was at Alabama he was elusive and had break-away speed, I also thought that he was very good at breaking tackles. These attributes seem to be lacking now that he is with the Saints. These aren't the type of things that you can teach, they should be instinctive. Take Pierre Thomas for example, sometimes it seems like he can feel the defensive player getting ready to tackle him and jukes him out or just gives him a shifty move.I was all for the Saints jumping back into the 1st round to get Ingram. Usually a player shows up in his 1st season, let's hope that the 3rd season is the charm for Mark.........
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