Ask Mike - June 22, 2007 (1 Viewer)

Dan in Lafayette

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Ask Mike – June 22, 2007

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Name: Russell Korn

Handle: Russ

From: Chicago, IL

Comments:


Mike, love what you do.

I am a long time Saints fan here in Chicago (Yes, I make it to many home and away games!). I enjoy listening to you on the different XM radio channels that I hear you on and have enjoyed reading your columns for years.

Mike, we know what our offense can do and how that it is set to be, if I say this, even better this year. But my question is the defense and what you see for the big change this year. Our defense did well last year with late position additions and a real group effort.

With the additions this year I am still worried about defensive tackle. Should I not be as worried with our secondary and middle linebacker upgrading. Also I think the emphasis will be on turnovers this year. Do you see the gang tacking / stripping the ball like the Bears defense plays instead of old Saints watching one guy make the tackle.

Thanks, Mike!

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Russ, thanks for the nice comments.

Turnovers are always a key, but to me this team needs to strengthen and improve their ability to stop the run on a more consistent basis. Giving up 4.9 yards per carry is a huge number they must get down.

Coaching and teaching techniques to strip the football and more ball reaction skills drills are important, but to be honest the Saints have figured out that the problem with turnovers deals more with personnel. Just look at the moves they made in the off-season on defense.

Adding MLB Brian Simmons, cornerback Jason David, safety Kevin Kaesvihorn via free agency and selecting a couple of young corners in the draft, Usama Young and David Jones, tells you the whole story.

I certainly believe that if S Roman Harper can stay healthy he will add that element of a ballhawk that was missing last season in the deep secondary, especially in the middle to latter part of the season.

Turnovers are a mixture of pressure on the QB, putting teams in obvious passing situations, having people who can find the ball quickly in flight and a little defensive luck. Aggressive play is not something you can teach, either you have it or you don’t as a player.

Last season there were opportunities that players missed out on to make big plays on defense and I feel as though Sean Payton wanted change in that category and he has made moves to give his defense a better chance to get on the plus side of the giveaway/takeaway ratio.

I learned long ago players make plays and instincts to make big plays are something you either have or you don’t. Coaching can help perfect some skills, but the ability to come up with game-changing plays are something you can’t teach, so you go out and get players that can make big plays on either offense or defense.

Good question.

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Name: Boone

Handle: TRL-23

From: Trenton, NJ

Comments:


Hey Mike, it’s Boone. Thanks for everything you do for this site and what you did for me when I was down in the South doing talk-show radio. I am very proud to tell people I know you because you are a genuine guy, a super-sharp cat and you have really stepped up in this sports world today.

1. I was down in New Orleans visiting family members and I heard the conversation you had with Deke and Bobby about Rutgers cornerback Joe Porter and I couldn’t agree with you more. Joe never ran back punts and kicks at Rutgers and to be honest his play really fell off as a junior and senior. I watched the kid for the last three years and while he played very well as a sophomore I have not seen that guy again. I can’t believe that so many are conned by people or someone posting on the site that this guy is an NFL cornerback right now. It’s amazing.

2. I heard you on ESPN Radio a few days back and you said you thought that the battle for the other WR spot would be between Terrance Copper and Devery Henderson. After watching workouts do you still feel this way?

I agree with you that Patten is a spot player in the NFL right now.

3. Also is Troy Evans going to make this team at linebacker?

4. And, what is the key for this defense, other than create more turnovers?

Thanks, Mike. Give me a ring when you get back in this area of the country. Tell Linda and the kids hello also.

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Hey Boone, thanks for the nice comments. You are now a big-time newsman, so you have stepped up in this world also. Always enjoyed your company. I will give you a call in a week or so, because I will be back in your neck of the woods.

1, Boone, I think Deke got a little confused with Porter and Willie Foster, who was an excellent return man for Rutgers. Someone either told him something incorrect or sometimes, you know it as well as I do, that your mind plays some tricks on you that Porter was the return man at Rutgers, and that was not the case.

Joe never returned punts and kicks at Rutgers, but the Saints will give him a shot there. He was a WR in high school and he even played a little running back, but Willie Foster was the return game at Rutgers the past three years.

Porter has good size and as you well know great foot speed, but the big question is how well he will fare when he is locked up on a consistent basis with receivers downfield. He was very inconsistent as a junior and senior and he had trouble finding the ball in flight. He does have tremendous make-up speed, but he is still a work in progress as a cover guy. His best chance to make this team is on special teams, in coverage units and we shall find out just how good a returner he is.

For anyone to say right now he is a good return man is what you would say is amazing because he didn’t do it in college and who would know and what you are basing it on?

I will give Joe Porter this point, he played very well as a sophomore and now that he is concentrating on football and not track, he does have a shot, but there is a lot of unanswered questions to his game and we have only seen him in shorts and in practice.

Training camp and pre-season games are key for players like Joe Porter.

2. Yes, I feel the same way that the battle for the starting spot opposite Marques Colston will come down to Devery Henderson and Terrance Copper.

I know there is great hubba-hubba right now about David Patten and he is a good “fit” player for this team, but he will be 33 years old when the season starts and he has missed a huge chunk of three out of the last four years in this league due to injuries. Two Hall of Fame coaches, Joe Gibbs and Bill Belichick (he will be in the Hall when he leaves the game), let him leave either thru a release or via free agency.

One member of the Washington Redskins organization told me that they loved Patten as a person and that he always looked great in practice, he was a savvy route, very professional and he showed some spark at times, but he just couldn’t stay healthy, had trouble looking strong late in the year-when he was healthy and he questioned if David could be anything more than a back-up end.

Where I think David Patten would be a great fit for this team is as the slot receiver. Just like what Brandon Stokley brought to the table in Indy, before the injuries, David could do that in New Orleans. If he stays healthy Patten looks like the perfect slot receiver and he can get some very favorable match-ups in one-on-one situations when lined up against another teams’ #3 cornerback. He is a very good route runner, sneaky quick and he knows how to set-up defenders, but the big question mark is if he can stay healthy and still keep up his talent level real high for 16 games. No one knows that right now, no one.

He does look good and he still has some spark in those legs, but this league is all about match-ups and his fit is right now, in 2007, is as at a slot or #3 receiver.

So Yes, I think the battle for the starting spot opposite Colston will be between Devery and Terrance Copper. Let’s judge Robert Meachem once he gets healthy and let’s see how fast he can overcome the NFL learning curve.

3. I would be shocked if Troy Evans doesn’t make this team. He is not a starting type player at linebacker, but he is a solid back up and a tremendous special teams performer. This guy is the real McCoy as a special teams player.

4. Yes, Turnovers are a huge key in any defensive set-up and you want to be on the plus side of that issue, but another key stat is average per rush and average rushing yards per game. Just look at what happened with the Indy Colts last season. During the regular season the Colts defense gave up a league-worst 173 rushing yards per game, teams averaged a league high 5.3 yards per rush against their defense and 22.5 points per game scored. In the post-season, when their offense was not hitting on high cylinders, the defense stepped up their play and held opponents to 82.8 yards per game rushing and only allowed 16.3 points per game scored. That is a huge difference in defensive play.

Last season the Saints gave up an average of 4.9 yards per rush. That is tied in the NFC for worst with the St. Louis Rams, who also gave up 4.9 yards per rush. The Saints defense also gave up an average of 128.9 yards rushing per game. Only the Washington Redskins, St. Louis Rams and Philadelphia Eagles gave up more in 2006 in the NFC.

I am a firm believer that teams that can stop the run consistently are the winners, if it is in high school, college or pro football and I am sure that the stat you will hear more and more about from Saints coaches and people who cover the team is the fact that they gave up 4.9 yards per rush and the defense of 2007 must cut down on that number. That to me is just as important as the turnover ratio in 2007.

Take care, buddy.

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Name: JHJ

Handle: Dome Patrol JHJ

From: New Orleans East

Comments:


Big ups Mike, you're a class act.

With Charles Grant locked up could you see him not having a problem lining up at DT in certain situations if the coaching staff asks him to? Especially to get extra pressure on the quarterback in long down and distance spots…

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JHJ, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be lined up inside, very similar to what the Saints did in years past when they had Darren Howard. In certain obvious pass rush situations you could put him inside and Rob Ninkovich at DE. We will get a better indication JHJ if this is going to happen and how much during practice sessions, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see some of this during the season at times, especially in third down and long situations and you want the best pass rushers on the field.

It’s a good question and in today’s game you see so much movement with linemen in trying to create lineup mismatches. New England does a lot of this with DL Richard Seymour and he is lined up all over the board up front.

Take care and thanks for the kind words.

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Name: Conrad Jackson

From: Kennesaw, GA

Comments:


Mike,

Objectively, I know that Reggie Bush had a very good rookie season. But frankly I had expected even more -- more long runs, a much better average per carry/catch. Now that you have seen a year of Reggie versus NFL competition, what do you expect of him in the 2007 season?

Thanks for your insights.

Conrad Jackson

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Conrad the expectations were so high on Reggie that everyone expected more from him as a rookie and early on he was not the huge impact player we had seen in college as a runner, but late in the year he was on fire.

Reggie really played well down the stretch as both a runner and receiver. There is a certain learning curve every player goes through in the NFL and it took Reggie a little while to understand that he would not make huge plays every time he touches the ball. He also learned that he needs to take that short run and run stronger inside the tackles. He was really trying to run more east-west than north-south and he found out that defenses in this league have great speed also. He learned that at times he needs to just lower his head and shoulders and get what he can.

Despite not putting up huge numbers early on it was the fact that he was on the field and the teams the Saints played had to account for him that made him a bigger factor than you might have thought, and it opened things up for others to make big plays. He was tremendous all season as a receiver, so I don’t expect that to change.

To be honest I think that Bush will have more of an impact this season than last season due to his experience in the league, his understanding of NFL defenses is better and his comfort factor in the league.

I have talked to numerous coaches, scouts and front office execs and almost to a man every one of them agrees that the Bush/McAllister duo is the best halfback combo in the league and the toughest to defense. I expect a huge season from Reggie and for him to again be a major “pain” for opponents due to his running skills, his tremendous receiving skills and his ability to hit big plays as a punt returner.

Take care.

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Name: Joseph Capuano

Handle: jay1

From: Illinois

Comments:


Hi Mike, first I want to thank you for the great draft guide. It was invaluable.

Would you consider putting out a preseason preview? I have never seen
one from a scouts perspective.

It looks like the Saints will be considered the favorite in the NFC but I believe the Seattle Seahawks will be the top challenger. Easy to forget how good this team is when their big guns are healthy. Please handicap the conferences for us going into training camp.

Thank you for all you do!

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Thanks Jay1, I appreciate the remarks and I am glad you enjoyed the draft magazine.

Listen, I had a long talk with my printer and a distributor just a day ago about that thought on a pre-season magazine and I am seriously considering this for 2008. It’s a good idea, and I just need to free up enough time to do it.

I know many people believe you are the champs until you are knocked out and the Chicago Bears are a good football team, but I totally agree with you on the Seattle Seahawks.

Totally agree that when they are healthy they are a snoot full to handle with Hasselbeck, Shaun Alexander, Deion Branch, Hackett, Burleson and a good offensive line. Defensively they aren’t a great team, but they will play hard and salty for Jim Mora. I think the world of their LB corps of Julian Peterson, Leroy Hill and Lofa Tatupu. That is strong.

The division will be harder to win this season due to the upgrades made by the St. Louis Rams, the 49ers and even Arizona, but I totally agree with you that, if healthy, they are the team to really challenge the Saints for the NFC title. And we all know no team from the east or the Midwest likes to travel to Seattle.

In the East, I like the Dallas Cowboys over the Philadelphia Eagles for the division title.

In the North, the Bears are going to be tough again, but they gave up a very good football player in Thomas Jones and Cedric Benson needs to prove he can carry the rushing load for them and there is still a huge question mark on just how well QB Rex Grossman can carry this team, if the defense doesn’t play up to their high standards and Devin Hester isn’t running back a punt or kickoff for a score.

The Bears special teams unit is still very special and the defense is again going to be tough. They will win the division, but it will be a tougher ride this season and Green Bay will be a better overall team.

I like the Saints in the South and I believe strongly that the Panthers will finish second and make the playoffs.

Take care.

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Name: Kenny Hymel III

Handle: Vacherie18

From: Vacherie, Louisiana

Comments:


Could the Saints switch to a 3-4 defense this upcoming season to compensate for the lack of depth at DT?

Would such a move work or even make sense in today's NFL?

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Kenny, I believe in this theory that you play to the strength of your team personnel wise and this team is built to play the 4-3 alignment due to the talents of Charles Grant and Will Smith at defensive end. They don’t have great talent at DT, but they have pretty good depth with Thomas, Young, Kendrick Clancy, Lake and Leisle. Like most teams the Saints would love to have a star young player inside at DT, but the draft just didn’t have one there when they made the picks this year. Those guys come off the board quickly.

In today’s game you see so much of a variety of sets that at times teams that play a 4-3 give you a 3-4 look and teams that run a 3-4 alignment give you a 4 man front look.

The Saints will not switch to a 3-4 defense in 2007, but you could see some alignments that give you that 3-4 look at times due to circumstances. The first indication a team is switching to a 3-4 defense as a base defense is that they normally spend a lot of free agent money or a 1st round pick on a pass rush specialist at outside linebacker.

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Name: The Old-Old Ball Coach

Handle: Old Coach

From: Destrehan, LA.

Comments:


Mike… I always enjoy your insights and while I don’t always agree with everything you say, I will say you make some strong arguments for your case, you are right in many, many cases and you have good evaluation skills. I admire what you do for this site.

I e-mailed you earlier to just give some insights on pro football to the fans from an old football coach and you gave me this format, which I appreciate. I have been retired for the past year and five months from the game, but I spent 42 years coaching at the high school, college and pro level. I love every minute of coaching football and now I enjoy every minute of retirement, but I have to address an issue that bothers me on the SaintsReport.

I was never a computer guy before I retired, but since I have become very informed about things in this world and this site is tremendous. I have never lived in Louisiana before now and I certainly enjoy the people, the climate is great, the food is even better and there has never been a place that loves football like they do here.

I really enjoy this site and to be honest I enjoy this site a lot more than I do most sports talk radio shows or pre-season TV shows about the team, but the over-analysis of mini-camps, OTA’s and workouts disturb me. I have read people who have sat in the stands give pages of things they saw in one practice and reporters who give detailed opinions on units and players that they can’t possibly know just by watching practices from the sidelines. And they do it within an hour or so of the sessions and that is even more unbelievable.

Guys, I can tell you from experience that while I could see and tell if a player from my unit made a good play or not, I could never give a solid opinion on a player or a unit without watching the practices on film and talking to the other coaches on the team. And that is just a one-day evaluation.

I spent 42 years in this business and this is what eats away at a coach’s time, film study and breaking down tendencies of your players and your opponents. The past six years of my coaching career was in the NFL and to be honest I never talked in detail to any reporter and Mike you know this for a fact, I would never tell any reporter the whole truth on matters regarding my team because at times, I didn’t know everything that was going on, even on my own team. I have been involved with some excellent coaches and overnight they changed their minds on personnel issues or game plans.

How can anyone outside of the football office know this? They can’t guys, but I read some of this stuff and it is presented as gospel.

I hear opinions from people who say they have inside info and talk to people in the front office or coaching staff about the smallest of details, have neighbors involved with the team and I know this cannot be correct about practices and personnel evaluations. I am aware that some issues are not kept close to the vest by the team, but some this stuff I am reading is just pure and simple B.S. and more B.S.

I was always nice to reporters and fans, but like most coaches, I gave them just name, rank and serial number on important issues because the head coach or GM would sniff out who told the reporter something and we would get reamed out. Just like in the college ranks a lot of this so-called insider stuff comes from trainers, medical staff people, administrative personnel or the usual office-gossip. Fellows, some of that stuff is correct, but I have learned that plenty of that is just what it is called, gossip.

I would give opinions on other players to reporters, off the record, but I wasn’t saying anything about my guys and I can say the same can be said for most other coaches.

I didn’t and I can say most of the other coaches I know were not calling up media people in their section of pro football to alert them on personnel matters.

There was no way I was going to tell people in my area what I really thought about my players because I had to deal and motivate these guys every day. Some of these reporters and TV guys are the biggest ego-maniacs and jerks in the world and if I told them something negative about my guy I know they wouldn’t hesitate a second to tell them this. Now I said some reporters and media guys.

I trusted just a few people in this business, but even with those few I did I always watched my tongue.

Evaluations on players and units come in training camp and how players respond to one another in pre-season games.

What you get from these mini-camps and OTA’s are a good evaluation of a player’s conditioning habits, his attitude to improve his overall game physically and mentally, the ability to pick up new techniques and coaching methods, and plenty of mental work on what to do in certain down and distance situations.

I have seen veteran players that look great in mini-camp and fade in the hot summer months and young rookies that looked lost in camp and then all of a sudden began to play like seasoned vets. You cannot tell this by a player in shorts.

This is a tremendous site for information, articles, even strong opinions about changes that should be made and things can be debated and talked to death, but guys I just wanted to get this out to you that don’t take a lot of this players in shorts stuff too seriously. As someone who knows the inside workings of the NFL this leads to nitpicking about comments that people make and people giving out their opinions and disguising them as ones from the team. The only opinion that counts are the ones the head coach or general manager makes.

Fellow SaintsReport members, enjoy the site and debate issues all you want, but be very careful of all this mini-camp evaluation stuff. Guys, I hope to pop in from time to time to talk football with all of you and give you some comments from a stubborn old retired coach.

Thanks guys and Mike thanks for the format to address this issue. Also tell my old coaching buddy, Joe Clark, I said hello and for him to contact me. I hope to meet up with you, Joe and Bobby Hebert in Jackson in July.

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Name: Mark Castillon

Handle: CAVALIER

From: New Orleans

Comments:


Mike, if we were to say the Saints would let us down in 2007 the way they did in 2001. What will have to happen?

Do you think Roger Goodell will attack the retiree health issue the same way he has player behavior? And what does this all say about Tagliabue?


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Cavalier, the only way this team is not a strong contender in the NFC is if something happens to Drew Brees, injury wise. If he goes down for a long length of time then who really knows what would happen, but there is no doubt that Drew Brees is the straw that stirs the drink for his football team and he is a special player. There is a Mount Everest drop from him to Jamie Martin and it doesn’t matter what happens in practice… Drew Brees makes it happen at a high rate in games where it counts.

Defensively expect teams to really go after the Saints, running the ball on them, so the Saints will have to set the pace early and jump on teams and get them from pounding away at them. When you give up 4.9 yards per rush and teams rush for an average of 128.9 yards per game, the second highest in the NFC, expect teams to go after this area again. This is why the health of Drew Brees is critical.

Right now it is like saying what would happen to the Colts if they lost Peyton Manning for a huge stretch or if the Patriots lost Tom Brady for 5 to 6 games. This is a QB driven league to a great extent. I know the Bears did it last year with a great defense and special teams, but very few teams have that sort of set-up.

On the health issues the money is there, but I have talked to a host of older players that tell me that the paper work and the details to get assistance is so difficult that many are totally frustrated with the system at hand. Goodell and the NFLPA have to come up with a simpler way for older players to get assistance medically and that to me is the key to this problem.

It is a money issue, like it is in most cases, but many of the current problems stem from the complicated system of getting assistance and all parties have to work in a much better and more simplified manner to address the issues of many players from past years that really need the help. Part of the problems lie with the fact that the current players vote on who runs the NFLPA and the older players have no say and they feel as though their needs are not “front-burner” issues. Some older players, who have had concerns, say that they do not get their phone calls and e-mails answered by the big wheels in the NFLPA. If that is accurate then that is a real crime to players that helped build this sport to what it is today.

Paul Tagliabue’s legacy will go down as one with labor peace and the ability to sell this sport, even better than Pete Rozelle did to network television and cable TV. I give him great credit for setting up a system and putting in certain limitations to what you can spend in the free agency age and made it a more level playing field for all 32 teams. When you see just how MLB baseball is set up and how the top teams basically control the free agency market, you have a much stronger feel for what Tagliabue has done to make the league more competitive for every team.

He also helped save this team for New Orleans in a time when there was a lot of uncertainty and uneasiness by the owner, in an unprecedented time for the league and our area.

Like the next President of the United States is being given the difficult task of health care concerns and massive Social Security problems, (which has been a huge problem for years), Goodell is being given the “chalk” to find suitable solutions involving the health care problems of older players and with a bigger league than ever before. That also means taking care of more players.

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Name: Eric

Handle: Vega$$ainT

From: Las Vegas, NV

Comments:


Hey Mike, any chance the Saints take a look at Corey Simon? It looks like the Colts are not bringing him back seeing that they didn't let him join in on the ring ceremony according to NFL Network.

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Eric, I doubt it seriously. Simon has had a host of weight, conditioning and injury concerns in Indy. It is a real shame because Corey would be a perfect fit for this defense due to his powerful base play and his ability to use his unique quickness to slant and shoot gaps, but he just has not pushed himself very hard to be the very best he can be and he seemingly has not been in good physical shape in years. Good question Eric, but I would be surprised to see them pickup Simon with his conditioning issues.

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Name: Mike Basche

Handle: saintmike

From: Bella Vista, AR


Comments:


Mike, I always love listening to your comments and also thought you did a great job covering the draft.

Looking at the current roster, if you were to finalize the 53 making The team, how would it look?

My thoughts are that they will keep 2 QB's, 3 TE's, 5 RB's, 6 WR's, 9 OL's, 10 DB's, 6 LB's, 8 DL's, the two kickers, and the deep snapper. That's 52 (the last spot might be another LB or OL). I see key battles at the 6th WR, 5th RB, 10th DB, and 8th DL spots.

Please give me your mock roster and an evaluation of the rookies or free agents who have the best chance of being on the final 53.

Thanks.

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Ok, Mike, I will give it a shot based on who is on the roster today, but I do expect this team will not shy away from bringing in “component” players that the coach wants and needs on his team. Despite what many are saying there are always 3 to 5 players on each roster that kind of float around due to needs and injuries around the final 53-man cut time.

QB: D. Brees, J. Martin

RB: D. McAllister, R. Bush, A. Pittman, J. Branch (I have a feeling they will try and trade off Aaron Stecker to a team that has halfback and special teams issues, but that is just my opinion on Stecker.)

FB: M. Karney

WR: M. Colston, D. Henderson, T. Copper, D. Patten, R. Meachem, L. Moore

TE: E. Johnson, M. Campbell, B. Miller

OC: J. Faine, J. Goodwin

OG: J. Evans, J. Nesbit, A. Alleman

OT: J. Brown, J. Stinchcomb, Z. Strief, J. Bushrod

DE: W. Smith, C. Grant, R Ninkovich, J. Cooper

DT: H. Thomas, B. Young, A. Lake, K. Clancy, R. Leisle

MLB: B. Simmons, M. Simoneau. M. Mitchell

OLB: S. Fujita, S. Shanle, T. Evans, T. Faulk

CB: M. McKenzie, J. David, F. Thomas, U. Young, D. Jones

S: R. Harper, K Kaesviharn, J. Bullocks, J. Bellamy

K: O Mare

DS: Kevin Houser

P: Steve Weatherford. This is the hardest pick for me because I can see a huge battle looming for the punter spot between Steve and Chris Hanson, but after watching some of the OTA’s Weatherford out-punted him. Let’s see what happens in camp and during the pre-season.

Thanks for the nice comment and take care.

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Name: Dan Indest

Handle: Dan in Lafayette

From: Lafayette, LA

Comments:


Hey Mike.

1. What's the latest on Georgia cornerback Paul Oliver who will be available in this summer's supplemental draft? Rumors have him going anywhere from the first to the third round. There's also some speculation that Dallas with two firsts next year has a strong interest. What are you hearing?

2. You said a while back that you thought the Saints would pick up a veteran defensive tackle before training camp. What can you tell us about DT Kendrick Clancy whom we picked up after the Cards cut him? Will he be a good fit?

Thanks again for what you do for the site.

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Dan, good to hear from you.

1. I rated Paul Oliver as the best senior cornerback for the 2008 draft in the spring, but normally you get downgraded a bit, unless you are an elite player in the supplemental phase.

For him to be a 1st round pick he needed a great individual workout and that did not happen. I know it doesn’t mean anything as for as how good of a player he is, but he didn’t show great foot speed, running in the mid 4.5’s, and many teams really put a lot of stock in this due to recovery ability speed. He was very smooth in his turn and run skills, he is quick in the hips, he finds the ball quickly in flight and he has good reaction skills, but he didn’t have the type workout that would catapult him into the top round or even early in Round 2.

I could see a team selecting him late in Round 2, but his individual workout was not an eye-catcher and he would rate for most teams as a 3rd round selection. Again, talent is in the eye of the beholder and Oliver is a good match-up cornerback, but I would project him as a late second or early 3rd round pick.

I can’t see any team right now after his workout projecting him as a 1st round pick in the supplemental phase.

2. Dan, that wasn’t a tough call when you saw that they didn’t pick a DT in the draft. I believe most everyone locally or nationally thought they would pick up a veteran either via a trade or free agent signee.

Kendrick is a different player than the one I scouted with Ole Miss. He was a 275-pounder back then and he won battles with his quickness and his penetration skills. He is now a 300 pound-plus type player, who is now noted for his ability to tie up blockers, filling gaps and giving LB’s the ability to flow to the ball. He is not going to be a great pass rusher and he will probably be replaced in obvious pass rush situations, but he is a solid “role” player and be part of the circulation at nose tackle.

I spoke to two coaches that coached on teams with him and a personnel man who was on a team that Clancy was on and all three believe he will be a good fit for this team as a nose tackle. He has some consistency problems and I have said this before this happens quite a bit with “big men” in this league. He also needs a little “tough love” coaching to get the best out of him and the three all believe that Payton is the right guy to push his buttons. He must also watch his weight and get in a little better condition.

On a side note Dan, I always believe that a player that has bounced around a bit comes back home, (to an area of the country that he grew up in and has family) gives his best out on the field. He does not want to hear about why he is not playing well or not playing at all from his family, friends and people he was associated with earlier in his life.

Time after time you get the very best out of that guy. Also Clancy comes into a winning environment in New Orleans and I believe that a good environment makes everyone play harder. There is no way that Sean Payton would have brought in someone that would have negatively affected the team chemistry he has worked so hard to build

If Clancy gets in top shape, he should be a solid two-down run defender.

Thanks for everything you do for the site, and me also.

<hr color="#a29b4f"

If you have a question for Mike, just go to the top of this page and hit the "Ask Mike" button and fill out the form.
 

LSSpam

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Great stuff, especially on Clancy and David Patten. Mike D is still tops in my book

5 star
 

Mamba

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I know we kept 5 CBs last year, but Bryan Scott was also able to line up at CB, so technically that was 6 CBs.
 

rstrauss33

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As always a great read. Thanks for posting this Dan.

I think one of the biggest things everyone is looking forward to this season is how Reggie will play. I think we all had huge (unreasonable?) expectations for him which he didn't really meet until later in the season. Although as Mike said, clearly he was opening things up for other players like Colston all season. I'm very anxious to see if he's really going to build on his performance late in the season.
 

mike dizzle

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Interesting that he believes Jason Craft won't make the team......he's comparable to Thomas but only costs half as much.
 

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I know we kept 5 CBs last year, but Bryan Scott was also able to line up at CB, so technically that was 6 CBs.
Kaesviharn is pretty much the same type of player. I think he's obviously better than Scott, but he Kaes could very well be our nickle back aside from starting at S. On 3rd down we could move Kaes over to the nickle and bring Bullocks in. I guess that could free us up to keep only 5 corners. Then at Safety you have Bullocks, Harper, Kaes, and Bellamy. I think we could keep Gleason around or maybe Reis ends up making it, but I could see us with 9 DBs. Although Gleason may make the team and be listed at S as usual but he will be our special teams "starter".
 

Shawn

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That was a great read.

You can tell how excited MikeD is about this team than he ever was under Haslett, because he seems to be answering more questions, and doing it more frequently than ever--even when there's probably less to write about.

I also enjoy knowing that MikeD seemingly has no problem with being wrong about things.

Pretty cool all the way around.
 

cruize

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Shares my opinion on Patten. Basically the opposite of others here.
 

mvtrucking

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Another outstanding "Ask Mike" .Thanks for posting Dan.
 

RJ in Lafayette

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A great list of questions and answers. And everybody needs to read for a second time the long e-mail from Old Coach because it makes so much sense.

Look, I am as greedy as anybody else for tidbits about who is looking good and bad in the mini-camps. But it is foolishness for us to place too much weight on the observations of media persons or the best SR members about mini-camp performance. It's early, and the guys are running around in shorts. When it's mid-August, we can start talking about camp performance. When it's mid-June, it makes no sense to do so.

And I hope all took note of Mike's comments about David Patten. They make some sense, don't they?
 

SoggyBottomBoy

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A great list of questions and answers. And everybody needs to read for a second time the long e-mail from Old Coach because it makes so much sense.

Look, I am as greedy as anybody else for tidbits about who is looking good and bad in the mini-camps. But it is foolishness for us to place too much weight on the observations of media persons or the best SR members about mini-camp performance. It's early, and the guys are running around in shorts. When it's mid-August, we can start talking about camp performance. When it's mid-June, it makes no sense to do so.

And I hope all took note of Mike's comments about David Patten. They make some sense, don't they?
I was thinking that his post deserves a thread of its own.
 

Mr. Blue Sky

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Who is the Old Ball Coach? Who did he coach for in the NFL?

- I don't think he wishes to be identified, and I can understand why he wants to remain anonymous... But one clue is that he coached for six years in the NFL and never lived in La. before he retired. :ezbill: ... "Irregardless", I'd like to echo SoggyBottomBoy's sentiment that the post in Mike's column by The Old-Old Ball Coach be given a thread and eventual sticky of its own- after all, you have to respect the opinion of someone who's actually been inside the belly of the beast, been to the puppet show and seen the strings of the NFL like him... Thanks for taking the time to read and post on SR.com, OOBC......
 

Domeination

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I couldn't agree more with El Lay. The Old Old Ball Coach knows what he's talking about, and every poster on this site ought to read what he said. Thanks for posting, Dan.
 

lvsaintsfan

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MLB: B. Simmons, M. Simoneau. M. Mitchell

OLB: S. Fujita, S. Shanle, T. Evans, T. Faulk


From what Mike D. says, Fincher is gonna be gone.... Man, I'm still optimistic about that guy. Hope he steps his game up in training camp.
 

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