Kristian@wwl.com - The Saints reported to camp Thursday and went right to work, taking part in a conditioning test that some players said had some “Cross Fit elements to it.” Saints coach Sean Payton said the conditioning tests went well, and now the focus is on Friday’s 8:50 morning practice.
PUP list: Five Saints players will start training camp on the physically unable to perform list. Safety Roman Harper is recovering from a sports hernia surgery and will be limited for the start of camp. Wide Receiver Marques Colston (foot) will likely rest the first week of camp before seeing the field. Defensive back Patrick Robinson (knee) had a scope during the offseason, and Coach Sean Payton said, “We’ll monitor him week to week.” Rookie wide receiver Kenny Stills (wrist) shouldn’t be out long. “It’s nothing serious,” Payton explained.
High expectations for Ingram: Saints coach Sean Payton admitted this is an important camp for third year running back Mark Ingram. “He’s in great shape, it’s an important year for Ingram.” The Saints traded running back Chris Ivory in the offseason, and Igram figures to get a bulk of the carries in the Saints offense this season. Ingram has averaged 3.9 yards a carry in two seasons with New Orleans.
On a mission: Saints quarterback Drew Brees says it’s time to get down to business. “I walk into training camp and it’s all about football. There is nothing else that is swirling around, at least nothing else that we are going to allow to distract us.” When asked if at age 35 if he feels the clock is ticking on his career and another Super Bowl title Brees smiled and said, “I think 35 is the new 25, I’m at the stage of my career that I feel like I can play forever.” The Who Dat Nation would love that, but unfortunately that won’t happen. However, Brees still has plenty, plenty of gas left in the tank.
Watson healthy: Tight End Benjamin Watson was a solid pick up during free agency with the Saints this offseason, and coach Payton says, “He’s 100% healthy.” Watson had little or no participation in the offseason program and will likely ease his way into training camp. The veteran tight end figures to be another weapon to pair with Jimmy Graham in double tight end sets for the Saints this year.
My take: It’s abundantly clear that Payton is back at the helm here with the Saints. The start of this training camp is vastly different from a year ago for obvious reasons. Instead of answering bounty questions, the team was answering “normal” football questions. The focus is clear at the start of camp, and the Saints are relishing the “flying under the radar” aspect at the start of camp. Most experts around the league have jumped off the Saints bandwagon following a disappointing 7 and 9 season last year. That’s just fine with #9. “We’ll fly under the radar, until it’s time.” Brees said. “I’m on a mission.