The Countdown (3 Viewers)

Saint Tex

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Hey, hey, hey, it’s that time, Saints fans. What guido calls the 4th (or possibly) 5th most wonderful time of the year. We just dropped from triple to double digits in the number of days before the season starts, and that means….wait for it….

THE COUNTDOWN!!!!

Here we go on our annual romp through the roster, counting down by jersey number the days until the first game of the Saints season. (Yes, I know the official season starts before the Saints first game this year. Friends of the Countdown can join this chorus: "We Don’t Care." First day of the season to us is Saints first game. Period. This is Countdown policy. Sticklers for technicalities, go be a lawyer.)

The last couple of years I’ve been on the road more and try to stay off strange WiFi. Which means I use my phone as a hotspot for my tablet. Not always the most reliable internet, even in big cities. So others on the board pitched in. Inside job was the first. Last year I threw doing the pics to the board. That led to the biggest improvement the Countdown has seen when SaintLuke took over the task. He’s got some real skills, and Luke has graciously agreed to be my partner again this year. I am so glad to have him. So a big thanks to Luke, who you will come to appreciate if you haven’t already.

We’ve got some really intriguing additions to this roster, and we are going to cover them one at a time. Before you know it (somewhere in the 50’s or 40’s) it’ll be training camp.

We have a rule here on the Countdown, and it’s one that I intend to enforce. We do not call players camp bodies. These are talented, trained athletes who are working hard and performing at a level that most of us can only ever dream about. And the fact that the Saints think they might play a role on the roster, that makes them our guys. And the ones who are not roster shoe-ins are pursuing a life long dream. We want them to succeed. Like remember a guy named Pierre Thomas? UDFA who beat out a fourth round RB for a roster spot, and proved forever that Sean Payton runs a meritocracy. Plus, the term is dismissive and therefore rude. We are not rude on saintsreport. Andrus set up a family atmosphere where we can disagree but do it in a respectful way. So you are not just free, but welcome to post your legitimate doubts or questions about any player. Just don’t call him a camp body. If you do, you will be asked point blank why you think so. And you will be shunned. You won’t feel it because it’s the internet, but you will still be shunned, and somehow you will not like it. I don’t know how that works. But it does. So play nice.

Now let’s start where we always do, with the big numbers and the big guys.

99 Geneo Grissom 6’ 4” 265 DE Oklahoma

We signed Grissom in the middle of May. He is reported to play all over the line. Our line, especially at DE is set, so it looks like Grissom will be using his versatility (which Payton loves) to make it onto the roster as rotational player on the line. Welcome to New Orleans, Geneo. Can’t wait for you to show us what you can do.
 
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Saint Tex

Saint Tex

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35 Marcus Sherels 5’ 10” 175 CB/RS Minnesota

This is a guy I want to watch in preseason. Mike Detillier had a great article on the Saints’ desire to improve the punt return game. We averaged 7 1/2 yards per return last year. We want to up that, and signing Sherels is part of that plan. He has been successful in the league as a return specialist, and you rarely see your return guy actually designated that way on the roster chart, but that is the case with Sherels. We are looking at other potential return stars, but looks like Sherels was signed with this spot in mind. On a team that loves versatility, that’s got to mean that they think he can help us. Can’t wait to see.
 
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Saint Tex

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34 Justin Hardee 6’ 1” 200 DB Illinois

Hardee endeared himself to Saints fans his rookie year in 2017 with a scoop and score on a punt against Atlanta. He’s a special teams guy, but when he’s gotten on the field as a cornerback, he has turned in some solid play. He was a restricted free agent this year, and we signed him to a one year deal. Look to Justin to keep making his way on special teams and keep showing up on D. Blue collar work ethic kind of guy—reliable and eager to pitch in however he can help. Lunch bucket Justin. Glad he’s here.
 
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Saint Tex

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33 Saquan Hampton 6’ 1” 206 S Rutgers

Our 6th Round pick was a standout at Rutgers and is getting some ink at training camp. Saquan was another one who was hampered by injuries during his college career, but he will have his chance in the Saints meritocracy, and he is reported to be soaking up all he can from secondary coach Aaron Glenn. I love the ones who are taking their physical talents to the field, but who are also calling on all of their good qualities that are intangible, but just as important to success. That’s mental dedication, and Saquan is showing it since he arrived. We’ve got a terrific secondary. Saquan wants to be part of it. It’ll be fun to see what he’s got to show us.
 
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Saint Tex

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32 Devine Ozigbo 6’ 225 RB Nebraska

This is the one I want to see, and I am not alone. A lot of folks think Ozigbo will be the one to fill that third back position behind Kamara and Murray. Many were surprised that he was not drafted; he had a great senior season. The word you see most of all with Ozigbo is explosive. He’s good at finding the hole and hitting it. But he’s not a one trick pony. He’s got a balanced skill set with size and speed along with his quickness and vision. And people who have watched him say he never gives up on a play. Sound like the guy who, when you need two yards, will go get you three. And maybe won’t stop there. We get to see him on the field on Friday.

Oh boy. This is going to be fun.
 
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Saint Tex

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31 Chris Banjo 5’ 10” 207 S SMU

Banjo has been another special teams standout, and we extended his contract this offseason with a three year, 9 million dollar payday. That shows his value to this team. He has also gotten on the field as a backup safety, but that contract was for his special teams play. He’s aggressive on the field, and he’s been steady and reliable, appearing in all 16 games last season. Now he is mentoring the younger players. Just the kind of thing you like to see.
 
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Saint Tex

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AND it’s our first preseason game. We get to see some of these new names for the first time. We are solidly into the hot and seemingly endless dog days, but seeing the team on the field really helps fend off the doldrums and gives us some spirit, huh? Glad to be sharing it with The Who Dats.
 
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Saint Tex

Saint Tex

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Ah, tinman. Never limit banjos to bluegrass. New Orleans jazz bands.

Funny, I was going to mention this. The banjo has a history with Congo Square, which is one of the reasons it became known as a jazz instrument.
 
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