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Saints linebackers bring solid mix of talent, versatility, experience

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By Rene Nadeau | Crescent City Sports

The New Orleans Saints at one time featured some of the better linebackers in the NFL over the history of the franchise.

Of course, the famed Dome Patrol from the late 1980s and early 1990s consisting of Canton inductee Rickey Jackson, Sam Mills, Vaughn Johnson and Pat Swilling have been proclaimed by many as the best group at their position in league history.

This year’s Saints linebacking corps is not quite to that level (who is?) but they are a solid bunch.

The position is currently manned by a mix of experiences and physically gifted players. Three of the top four tacklers in the group were brought in through free agency while one was a third-round draft pick by the team. They all seem to mesh as a cohesive group.

“We’ve got some experience at the position,” explained Saints linebackers coach Mike Nolan, who enters his 32nd campaign coaching in the NFL. “This is my third year here. We’ve added experience to the group.”

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Some but not much has changed for the Saints as training camp ends

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By Les East | Crescent City Sports

METAIRIE – The New Orleans Saints officially concluded training camp Thursday morning.

After 19 practices and two preseason games, they move into a new phase of preseason preparation for the final 18 days before they begin the season against the Houston Texas in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on Monday Night Football.

There’s still much to be done – play the final two preseason games (at the New York Jets on Saturday night and at home against the Miami Dolphins five days later) and reduce the number of players on the roster from the preseason maximum of 90 to the regular-season maximum of 53.

The cutdown deadline is 3 p.m. CDT on Aug. 31, which is also the deadline for deciding whether to carry defensive tackle Sheldon Rankins on the active roster as he works his way back from January Achilles surgery.

We don’t know any more about a timetable for Rankins’ return than we knew when training camp began.

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Michael Thomas, Alvin Kamara give New Orleans Saints offense a formidable duo

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John DeShazier | Senior Writer -

The two-man media briefing may not be back as a staple for the New Orleans Saints. On Thursday, for the final day of training camp, it was as much about expedience as buddy-ism.

“We’re just trying to get out of here,” receiver Michael Thomas said, with running back Alvin Kamara erupting in laughter before the smiling Thomas could finish the sentence.

It made sense, after a practice in which the sun and humidity combined to flop a blanket over the Ochsner Sports Performance Center, for the players to bee-line for the comfort of air conditioning.

But it also makes sense that, if two players are going to assume the mantle of duet-interviewees after Kamara and running back Mark Ingram made it a thing during Kamara’s first two seasons, it would be the Saints’ two young, record-breaking offensive stars.

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Saints training camp comes to a close, but it's still business as usual

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By Herbie Teope | The Advocate / Picayune

Thursday officially closed the books on Saints training camp, which began July 26.

Throughout the past month, the Saints coaching staff got a good look at players as part of the evaluation process.

But while training camp is over, it remains business as usual for the Saints.

“Right now, we’re still in it,” linebacker Demario Davis said after Thursday’s practice. “That’s all I know. Camp is a grind and it’s supposed to be a grind.

“It’s kind of like the ankle weights theory — you want the camp to be hard so the season is easy. It does feel better when you take the ankle weights off, but right now we’re still kind of in the grind until (we’re) turned loose.”

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Sean Payton not naming Saints starting center yet, but Erik McCoy leads way

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By Amie Just | The Advocate / Picayune

Saints training camp opened this year with a three-way battle for the starting center position between rookie Erik McCoy, third-year pro Cameron Tom and fifth-year vet Nick Easton.

Camp ended with McCoy taking snaps with the ones for 15 consecutive practices dating back to July 30.

But coach Sean Payton isn't officially naming him the team's replacement for retired center Max Unger just yet.

“Yeah, we’re not announcing the starting lineups right yet. Erik has been doing well," Payton said Thursday. "He’s taking a lot of reps with the ones, we’re pleased with how he’s progressing. And we’ll continue to look at not only him, but the other guys working there.”

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Saints training camp observations (Aug. 22): defense shines on final day of camp, center update, and more

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By Herbie Teope | The Advocate / Picayune

The Saints wrapped up 2019 training camp Thursday with a return to full pads and a focus on situational work split between indoors and outdoors.

While indoors, the Saints conducted numerous one-on-one drills featuring receivers against defensive backs, running backs and tight ends against linebackers and safeties, and the offensive line against the defensive line.

Once the team moved outdoors for the remaining hour, the Saints went to special team drills and full team drills.

Saints coach Sean Payton pointed out Thursday’s situation-based practice offered “realistic repetitions” and the team will continue to have competitive practices in the weeks leading to the start of the regular season.

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Walker: Who stood out at Saints training camp? My picks for MVP, most improved, best rookie, more

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By Rod Walker | The Advocate / Picayune

Marshon Lattimore had a simple, one-word response when asked about training camp wrapping up Thursday.

"Relief," the cornerback said.

Fans got their final glimpse of the Saints before the team heads off to play Saturday's preseason game on the road against the New York Jets and then next Thursday's preseason finale at home against the Miami Dolphins. Sean Payton and his staff will then have to trim the roster down to 53 after that.

Now that training camp has come to an end, lets hand out some awards based on what these eyes have seen.

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Drew Brees recalls great story about 'old salty dog' Doug Flutie

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By John Sigler | Saints Wire

Drew Brees has had a long and storied career going back even before he joined the New Orleans Saints, having entered the NFL as a second-round draft pick by the then-San Diego Chargers (who now play in Los Angeles). With Philip Rivers, a rookie at the time, next to him and a 41-year old Doug Flutie on top of the depth chart, it was a quarterbacks room that could maybe go against any other in league history.

That kind of locker room chemistry is something else; Fluties, the accomplished NFL veteran and one of the league’s oldest players, surrounded by fresh-faced college prospects in Brees and Rivers. Brees shared a story on The Rich Eisen Show about how he and Rivers used to get the better of Flutie whenever the ‘old salty dog’ would grouse and groan about new drills in practice.

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Saints OL Will Clapp faced former Brother Martin teammates in back-to-back weeks

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Clapp focused on doing little things right this preseason

By Amos Morale III | WWL Radio

It’s not uncommon for Will Clapp to see a former teammate on any given gameday.

As a former LSU standout, the New Orleans Saints second-year offensive lineman sees former Tigers weekly.

But Clapp has faced a couple of players this preseason that he goes back a little further with than his days in Baton Rouge.

In consecutive weeks, he’s played against fellow former Brother Martin standouts Irv Smith Jr. and Roderic Teamer.

“It’s always nice to see familiar faces,” he said. “Most of the time, it’s college faces. But you see some guys from high school and it kind of brightens you’re day up. Back then the NFL wasn’t even really in the sights yet and now its here and it’s great to see those guys.”

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Drew Brees offers up endorsement for third-year WR Austin Carr

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By John Sigler | Saints Wire

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees made a strong vote of confidence for third-year wide receiver Austin Carr after practice on Wednesday. When asked what he’s seen of Carr in his third year in the NFL and second with the Saints (he initially played for the New England Patriots as a rookie, joining the Saints after roster cuts), Brees spoke highly of his 6-foot-1, 195-pound slot specialist.

“I think Austin’s had a great camp. he continues to get better each day. I’m really developing a lot of confidence in him,” Brees said. “There are a lot of little subtle things he does well. At the end of day for a receiver, there is a timing and then there is a feel to everything.”

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Behind the Black and Gold for Thursday, Aug. 22

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The New Orleans Saints will take the practice field at Ochsner Sports Performance Center for the final workout of Training Camp Presented by Verizon. The practice begins in the indoor facility and then the team will transition outdoors for the team portions at approximately 10:15 for the portion open to the public. There will be an autograph session following practice.

NEWEST SAINTS: On Wednesday, the Saints signed tackle Olufisayo Owolaja and veteran linebacker Will Compton and placed tackle Chris Clark on Injured Reserve and waived long snapper Nick Moore. Owalaja will wear 79 at practice and Compton 40.

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Should there be concerns as Saints approach regular season opener?

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Some potential issues could be mounting as New Orleans sits just weeks away from opening week.

By Bob Rose | Canal Street Chronicles

Preseason is past the halfway point, and the New Orleans Saints are just a handful of days away from breaking their 2019 training camp. The Saints came into training camp with the belief that they had one of the NFL's deepest rosters. After two preseason games, little has happened to dispel that notion. Despite being one of the top Super Bowl favorites entering the season though, New Orleans has shown a few disturbing signs thus far this preseason. Granted, it is after just two games that don't count, but it is vital that the Saints avoid a slow start to the year in a deep and competitive NFC. New Orleans takes the field again this Saturday against the New York Jets, in what will really be the first opportunity to see the full first units of both teams on each side of the ball. A good test in particular, for a couple of position groups that continue to have questions this preseason.

Saints training camp observations (Aug. 21): Hendrickson shines again, PBU time, and more

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By Herbie Teope | The Advocate / Picayune

The Saints held a relatively light day of work Wednesday, which marked the 18th day of training camp practice.

For a second straight day of work, the players were in shells and not full pads a day before the final day of training camp, which is Thursday.

The Saints spent almost a full hour indoors, where they conducted stretching and conditioning, individual position drills and some team-related drills before moving outdoors.

Once outside, the Saints spent time on 7-on-7 drills, special teams and focused on two-minute drills before ending the day’s on-field work shortly after 11 a.m.

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Sean Payton on Drew Brees this week vs. Jets: 'We'll plan on playing him'

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By Luke Johnson - USA Today | The Advertiser

NEW ORLEANS — New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is expected to make his 2019 debut this Saturday against the New York Jets after sitting out the Saints’ first two preseason contests.

“In a game like this we’ll plan on playing him,” said Saints coach Sean Payton. “How much, we’ll see. But I think it’s important for everyone around him, too.”

Brees’ preseason workload has evolved over the course of his Saints career, but this is following the same course Payton has taken with his quarterback recently. Brees only appeared in one preseason game in both 2017 and 2018, and it was the third preseason game on the Saints schedule that year.

In the last two seasons, Brees has played a combined total of 44 preseason snaps — 17 plays in three offensive series in 2018, 27 plays in five series the year before. When asked if the ideal situation would be to get nine or 10 plays, score a touchdown and get off the field, Brees responded with “Ideally I’d like more than that.”

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New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees ready for his preseason debut

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John DeShazier | Senior Writer -

Drew Brees understands the why, and he’s fine with it.

His snaps in preseason games have diminished over the years, and the reasoning behind the dip is logical for Brees and the New Orleans Saints. So, with Saturday’s third preseason game, against the Jets at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., possibly being the only appearance he will make this preseason, the 19-year veteran just wants to make sure that the showing is an effective, efficient one.

“I like reps,” Brees said. “I like reps during practice. I like reps in games, especially. I also understand the balance of, ‘What are you trying to accomplish?’ At the end of the day, the most important thing is being as healthy and prepared as you can be for Week 1 of the regular season, when games begin to count.

“I also understand the desire and need to develop young players, to give guys reps at all different positions. The last couple of years, I’ve just gotten really one game, maybe two, in the preseason. I’m fine with that. But I want it to be quality, I want us to be sharp.”


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