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Three Most Impactful Offensive Players in Nola Not Named Drew Brees: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

September 8th, 2015

Preseason exhibition games didn’t turn out so well for the Saints, who finished 0-4. However that is the same pre-season record New Orleans sported before winning their first Super Bowl, so the Crescent City is brimming with optimism heading into Sunday’s season opener with the Arizona Cardinals.

It may not have produced an abundance of confidence, but the exhibition contests, along with training camp, did reveal some crucial new impact players for the Saints.

 

Center Max Unger:

The 29-year-old Super Bowl champion arrived in New Orleans via a controversial trade with the Seahawks for All Star tight end Jimmy Graham, but Unger certainly proved his worth in the trenches to teammates and front office personnel during the team’s time at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia. There is clearly a reason why Jon Schneider’s regime decided to make Unger one of the three players retained in Seattle after the changing of the guard in 2010.

Now veteran signal caller Drew Brees and New Orleans’ interior will benefit from Unger’s diverse talent set, tough passion and six years of experience.

“My mind frame along this whole trade path is just to continue to do the things that I’ve done to get me to where I am in my career,” Unger said. “They brought me here because I’ve demonstrated in the past that I have a good game plan when I get on the field. They just want me to keep doing the things I’ve been doing.”

Unger will keep doing those things alongside the seasoned talents of tackle Zach Strief and guard Jahri Evans, who were both part of the Saints Super Bowl run. Tim Lelito and Terron Armstead round out the starting five.

“He’s a stud,” Strief said of 305-pound Unger. “Seeing a guy that can move like him in the zone game, a guy that can legitimately reach twos, which is not easy to do. He can also stop a bull rush in a pass-rush drill, and that’s pretty unusual. There’s not a lot of those type of players.”

The two-time Pro Bowler should also help boost the Saints bigger commitment to the run this season. Unger was no doubt part of the equation for success that produced Marshawn Lynch’s eye popping numbers for Seattle. Now, Unger will be providing that same type of protection and opportunity for Mark Ingram and CJ Spiller.

Certainly that group works in concert together,” head coach Sean Payton said. “When you have someone like Max, who is real smart and has been in a real good system offensively, it’s a plus for the line in general.”

 

Left Tackle Terron Armstead

Another plus for the line is the skyrocketing play of the athletic Terron Armstead, which should also bolster New Orleans’ pass protection. The 24-year-old out of Arkansas Pine Bluff seems to finally be coming into his own in his third year as a pro. Armstead ran the fastest 40-yard time (4.71) in the history of the NFL Combine for an offensive lineman, and now he’s learned how to pair that blazing speed with the intricacies of covering Drew Brees’ blind side.

 

“Terron was always an elite athlete, always a good run blocker,” analyst Mike Detillier said. “Where you see the marked improvement is as a pass protector. He is using his unique skillset of power and speed to the fullest. He ‘stones’ some defensive ends at the point of attack. He can also adjust his body so well to steer those “rush” ends to the outer edge of the pocket.”

Good news for a 36-year-old franchise quarterback who is looking for more time in the pocket, as well as the team paying that quarterback top dollar for his services.

“Terron is close to an elite left tackle,” Detillier said. “He is the next Powerball money winner for the Saints. Terron reminds me a lot of Tyron Smith (Dallas Cowboys), and I think Smith is the best left tackle in pro football today.”

 

Wide Receiver Brandin Cooks

The second year pro invested his time into practicing with Drew Brees this offseason as soon as #9 would allow, and the strategy looks to pay large dividends this season. Cooks’ fantasy football stock is exploding, and he’s personally looking to take a big step forward this season on the actual field of competition.

“I’m more than ready to go,” Cooks said. “This has been a long offseason, and we’re just ready to get back out there and get this thing on fire.”

Last season, Cooks hauled in 53 passes, three touchdowns and 550 yards in ten games before a broken thumb sidelined him. This season, with no Jimmy Graham or Kenny Stills in front of him, Cooks is locked in on stepping up.

“Going into my second year, I’m confident,” Cooks said. “But we all know every day you can get better at something: whether it’s press cover, blocking, running more precise routes. I still have room to be better.”

Although his improvement is far from over, Cooks is undoubtedly a breakout player when the Patriots Bill Belichick makes a point to say he’s happy Cooks isn’t playing for an opponent in New England’s division. Meanwhile, Cooks’ head coach in New Orleans has high praise for the 2013 Biletnikoff winner.

“He is very quick in and out of cuts and very explosive,” Payton said. “He is a tireless worker and his attention to detail is one of the things that is unique and pretty special.”

 

 


Former LSU Star has 2nd Chance with the Saints: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

September 3rd, 2015

The Saints secondary took another hit this week in the form of cornerback Keenan Lewis and his hip surgery – which will sideline the New Orleans native 4-6 weeks.

Lewis’ injury further complicates the difficult situation already plaguing New Orleans’ defense: cornerback Jairus Byrd, the team’s marquee addition in the 2014 offseason, missed the last 12 games of last season with a knee injury and has yet to play this preseason. Meanwhile, the Black and Gold’s new addition – Brandon Browner – injured his leg in the team’s exhibition opener in Baltimore versus the Ravens.

“Some of that you can’t control, and it’s not just unique to our team,” head coach Sean Payton said. “It’s pretty common in the league. You’d like to have your starting units intact, and yet that’s not always the case.”

It doesn’t seem to be at all the case in the Crescent City, except for 24-year-old Kenny Vaccaro. However that means the door is wide open for a former LSU Tiger who has seen more than his fair share of adversity.

New Orleans product Delvin Breaux, who prepped at McDonogh 35 on Kerlerec, is ready to make up for lost time after breaking his neck in high school.

In October of 2006 while suiting up for McDonogh 35, Breaux fractured his C4, C5 and C6 vertebrae on a kickoff return. LSU honored the scholarship it had previously offered to Breaux, and in 2008, the 6’1”cornerback became a player-coach for the Tigers.

Although Breaux never suited up for the Purple and Gold in Baton Rouge, he never gave up on his dream of playing football. He overcame his neck injury and played for the Louisiana Bayou Vipers in the Gridiron Developmental League in 2012, the New Orleans VooDoo in 2013, then the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, earning Canadian Football League All-Star honors in 2014.

Breaux then got a chance to start making his NFL dreams a reality in January of 2015 when he signed with the New Orleans Saints. Now, with the Lewis’ injury adding to the hurdles facing the Saints’ secondary, Breaux seems to be prepared to seize a golden opportunity.

“I’m so glad for him, I can’t tell you,” LSU head coach Les Miles said. “I just want him to be everything he wants to be. He’s a quality person.”

Miles regrets he never got to see Breaux in action for the Tigers, but is excited to see what his former player-coach can down the road while dressed in Black and Gold.

“We were so disappointed we didn’t have him the years he couldn’t play for us,” Miles said. “He was going to school on our campus. He couldn’t play. He went by way of the Canadian League and back. I’m so glad he’s strong and healthy and capable.”

Nine years after a nearly devastating neck injury, Breaux may be poised to reclaim the promise that he once was poised to capitalize on. He’s been filling in for Browner since the veteran went down in Baltimore, and with Lewis’ injury, it seems Breaux will likely see regular season action inside the Superdome, not just pre-season snaps.

“My dream actually came true when I was walking out of the tunnel and hearing the guy on the PA system call my name,” Breaux said after his exhibition Superdome debut. “It was one of the best feelings I’ve ever felt.”

The Saints, along with all other teams, must whittle their roster down to 53 by Saturday, September 5. So look for Breaux to try to deliver one last statement performance Thursday at Lambeau Field versus the Green Bay Packers.

 

 

 


Opportunity Looms for UFAs After Saints Waive WR Nick Toon: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

September 2nd, 2015

When the Saints pruned their roster back to 75, several recent draft picks were among the casualties including wide receiver Nick Toon, safety Vinny Sunseri and linebacker Ronald Powell. Sunseri and Powell were both 5th round picks in 2014; Toon was a 4th round selection in 2012.

Technically, all three players have been waived/injured, which means any of them could end up on the Saints injured reserve list, if no other team claims them.

“The player that is waived/injured, more than likely, reverts back to injured reserve,” head coach Sean Payton said. “There are two elements to it. The club has flexibility. In some player cases, there might be an injury settlement and the player can come back to the roster this year. A player that is placed on injured reserve cannot come back to the roster. If a player was waived/injured and the club was able to injury settle the player, he could end up back in the fray here this year, as opposed to an injured reserve player.”

Trainers carted Sunseri off the field in Sunday’s exhibition game against the Texans after the backup safety was injured on punt coverage. Competition in New Orleans’ secondary is stiff, especially given that Kenny Vaccaro, Jairus Byrd and Rafael Bush presumably have their spots locked up. Sunseri saw action as a rookie last season on special teams before a broken arm sidelined him.

The decision to potentially part ways with Toon was also likely driven by the depth of competition amongst potential targets for quarterback Drew Brees.

“Nick has been great in regards to the competition,” Payton said. “Certainly, he has had real good weeks that he’s put together in practice, and yet, there are some other players that have really done a good job.  We’ll see what happens with him and his transaction specifically, but it is hard for a young player that hasn’t received a lot of snaps because of an injury to make the 53.”

Toon’s departure means the window of opportunity opens even wider for undrafted free agents Brandon Coleman (Rutgers) and Willie Snead (Ball State) in the Saints final exhibition game in Green Bay versus the Packers.

Although it’s doubtful Brees will play Thursday, the veteran signal caller says he has a great comfort level with both hopefuls.

“Brandon has had a phenomenal offseason and preseason,” Brees said. “Just like any young player, it is that transition from the plays that you make in practice to the game and that will only come with more opportunities, but I am excited for him.  I love his approach.  I love his focus and his maturation process from last year to this year.  He deserves a lot of credit.  He has worked extremely hard to get to this point.”

Meanwhile, Snead played so well in the Saints contest with the Houston Texans – 4 catches for 56 yards – that coaches rested him for part of the game.

“I am really happy for Willie,” Brees said. “Again, a guy who’s traveled the hard road, comes in on the practice squad kind of mid-season last season.  I am sure he was not on anyone’s thought process as the early predictions were being made for who were going to be the top guys to make this team, but certainly he has made a ton of plays this offseason and preseason.  A lot of people know who he is now.  Every time you throw him the ball something good happens.  Man, he has soaked it all up, every coaching point from his position coach and from the quarterbacks, the extra work after practice and all the little things that you want to see out of player who wants to be great.”

Even after making the decision to part ways with three draft picks this pre-season, the decisions aren’t likely to get any easier for the Saints’ front office.


Saints Pay Tribute to Nola on Katrina’s Anniversary: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

August 29th, 2015

August 29, 2015 dawns as a bright, sunny day outwardly in New Orleans, but for most residents, the ten-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina evokes a torrent of dark, nightmarish emotions internally.

Many are trying to focus on the positives: all that the city and region have accomplished in the past decade and hope for an even better future. The New Orleans Saints are in the number.

The team posted this video on its Facebook page to pay tribute to the city and its fans, narrated by players, coaches and executives who were in New Orleans in the devastation’s wake.

http://on.fb.me/1PEMr0Q

“Thank you New Orleans for giving us the greatest home field advantage in the NFL and giving us something greater to play for than ourselves,” tackle Zach Strief says in the video, which quickly gained hundreds of thousands of likes.

“Thank you for reminding the world why New Orleans will always matter,” said Drew Brees. “We know there is nothing we can’t accomplish together.”

Certainly many sports teams and their hometowns enjoy a deep affection, but no team and no city have endured and crafted the storyline of New Orleans and the Saints.

At a time when some still argued that the Crescent City wasn’t worth rebuilding, the Saints returned to the Super Dome – the shelter of last resort in the aftermath of the storm – and beat the Atlanta Falcons. That victory was the morale booster the city so desperately needed and a sign to the rest of the world that New Orleans was on her way back.

“I can’t believe it has been 10 years. I can’t believe it has been 10 years since we went to our first NFC Championship,” assistant head coach Joe Vitt said earlier this week. “The bond between the city and that team in that year was incredible.  I took the job on February 27th and I came to this town and never saw such devastation. I was thinking about the Superdome and the roof being off. I was more nervous for that than the Super Bowl. We just didn’t want to let these fans down. When you look at how far the city has come and with people coming back to this city, it really is unbelievable.”

This season, the Saints are trying to recapture the spirit and urgency of both the 2006 season following Katrina and the Super Bowl campaign.

Sunday, the Saints will play the Houston Texans in a nationally televised NFL on Fox game. Kickoff is at 3 pm CST.

 

 


Saints Benjamin Watson Set to Release Book About Race this November: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

August 24th, 2015

New Orleans Saints tight end Benjamin Watson is certainly making a strong case for himself on the field, as he looks to replicate part of the production his predecessor Jimmy Graham generated in New Orleans. However, the 34-year-old, 1st round pick in the 2004 Draft is staying plenty busy off the field as well.

Watson, who scored a 48 on his Wonderlic Test (tied for 3rd highest score in NFL history), is also tackling the challenge of race in a new book set to be released in November.

“It’s been an exciting project,” Watson said. “The main script is pretty much done. It’s called ‘Under Our Skin’ and it’s an expansion on my Facebook post I wrote last year on Ferguson, talking about race, talking about how we view each other and our biases that sometimes we don’t even know we have.”

Watson made the national media rounds after posting a poignant commentary on Facebook after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri on August 9, 2014. Watson’s words and understanding seemed to resonate largely with people on both sides of the issue, especially his phrase: “It’s not a skin problem, it’s a sin problem.”

 

“The book is mainly directed toward the large, middle part of America that grew up thinking they weren’t racist, but maybe had some things underlying that they didn’t know were there,” Watson said. “The thing that happened in Ferguson touched many of us in a specific way. Since November until now, I’ve written different things about various social issues and gotten some great responses, both for and against. I think that’s wonderful- that people are talking about these issues.”

Watson’s ability to understand both sides of complicated issues such as race, same sex marriage, abortion and Planned Parenthood seems to be a welcome voice of reason to many.

“All of these issues that are going on – it’s important for us as a country to have open and honest dialogue,” Watson said. “Sometimes, we feel like we don’t want to offend people, but there are times that we need to express ourselves without fear that somebody is going to shut us down, simply because we have differing opinions. That’s how we grow.”

Watson and his wife Kristen welcomed their fifth child this summer – a daughter. Watson’s role as a Christian father has certainly helped inspire him to ponder the issue of race and how adults are teaching the next generation to respond to the issue.

“The hope with the book is to open dialogue and get under our skin, to talk about things that are true but maybe uncomfortable,” Watson said. “The goal is to get people out of their comfort zone. Really it’s going to talk a lot about my life and some of my experiences.”

Watson will also theorize about the root of the problem and potential solutions. The most important answer, according to him, is a change of heart.

“We can create laws, we can have equal legislation, we can go to school together and integrate,” Watson said. “But we really need a change of heart deep down and be honest with ourselves that all of us have a propensity to have these sorts of attitudes.”

 

 

 


Can the Saints Brandin Cooks “Shock the World?” Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

August 24th, 2015

The Saints are now back home, wrapping up the last week of training camp in New Orleans, enduring the heat by downing salt tablets and hydration drinks.

While players are happy to be back in their own beds, this next week will be hardly a vacation. There is still much work to be done, and many decisions to be made, before roster cuts and the regular season. A lot of question marks still haunt this squad, on both sides of the ball.

“It was a lighter practice because of the game yesterday, but I thought that they handled it alright,” head coach Sean Payton said. “We got a pretty good lift in, then film study this morning. We worked on a few situations that we wanted to after the game.”

The Black and Gold certainly improved from last week’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. At the beginning of the game in his preseason debut, Drew Brees looked like his usual crisp self, going 8-of-10 for 159 yards and 2 touchdowns.

“It was time to kick it up a notch,” Brees said. “I would expect next week to be even better.”

Second-year pro Brandin Cooks, proves a reliable target, pulling down 4 catches for 117 yards, including a touchdown. The 5’10” University of Oregon product was certainly promising last season as a rookie, but now with some finesse and awareness accompanying his speed and athleticism, Cooks is developing into a daunting threat.

“I’m glad we don’t have to play him twice a year, and that he’s not in our division,” Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said postgame. “He’s a really good player.”

Cooks has always played with determination, but now he’s also playing to make up for lost time after last season was cut short with a broken thumb.

“That injury has made me tougher,” Cooks said. “It was definitely a hard offseason. I worked my tail off to come back. I want to shock the world. That’s definitely the plan.”

Cooks is backing up his words with actions. He’s been the bright spot in both New Orleans’ two pre season losses, due in part to an off season spent in California, dedicated to working out with Brees.

“There’s not many guys that work as hard as him,” Brees said. “He’s so focused and has been since Day 1 of the offseason when he was calling me, saying ‘Let’s get back at it.’”

The Saints get Monday off, then return to public practices at the team facilities in Metairie Tuesday-Friday, before taking on the Houston Texans in a nationally televised game Sunday on Fox.

Veteran tackle Zach Strief is especially encouraged by the sense of urgency he saw skyrocket in pre-season game #2 vs game #1.

“There were a lot more positives, specifically in the first group,” Strief said. “When we get into a pace like that, we can be pretty good. It improved from Game 1 to Game 2 and that’s what we want.”

 

 

 


Three Questions Heading into the Saints Saturday Showdown with the Patriots: Sponsored by Thibodaux Regional Medical Center

August 22nd, 2015

 

  • Will Drew Brees make his preseason debut, or will the Saints coaching staff continue to evaluate the backup candidates?
  • #9 was a healthy scratch during the Black and Gold’s preseason opener in Baltimore against the Ravens. Instead, Luke McCown, Ryan Griffith and third round draft pick Garrett Grayson (the highest quarterback drafted by Payton in New Orleans) divided the action. Brees has looked crisp at training camp practices, and no doubt the home crowd would love to see him at work. “For me personally, I come out with the same mentality,” Brees said. “I want to be very sharp, and I want to make sure that I’m doing my job, getting the guys lined up and getting the tempo going.”

 

The real battle Saturday is between Griffith and McCown to determine who is still wearing black and gold when the regular season debuts. It will also be interesting to watch the Patriots second year, back up signal caller Jimmy Garoppolo. Given Tom Brady’s looming Deflate-Gate suspension, New England needs to have Garoppolo as prepared as possible.

“He was drafted high.  He had a fantastic (college) career, “Coach Sean Payton said, who is a product of Eastern Illinois’ football program, along with Garoppolo. “His story might have been a little bit different, obviously, than Tony’s (Romo) where he was an undrafted free agent although they both were guys that were at the (NFL Scouting) Combine and both were guys that were scouted.  Clearly, as an alum, every once and a while, you pay attention to how the school’s doing.  I had a chance to meet his dad briefly when we were in Chicago playing the Bears, I think he worked at the hotel our team was staying at.  I’m excited, obviously, to see a good player come out of that school.  It has had a pretty good football tradition and it will be good to see him out here throwing the ball around and hopefully doing well.”

 

  • Can the Saints defense improve after a lackluster performance in Baltimore?

 

Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan’s unit failed to record a single sack against the Ravens, as this defense struggles to find an answer for the absence of Junior Galette. As players like Cam Jordan look to emerge as leaders, this group as a whole is searching for identity and cohesiveness.

“It’s about improving,” 31-year-old Parys Haralson said. “You must get better every day. You can’t stay the same.” Haralson is likely talking about both himself and the defense as a whole. Haralson spent the last 2 seasons as a linebacker for the Black and Gold, but this training camp, he’s worked at defensive end.

“Defensive end, outside linebacker: one stands up, one puts their hand down. It’s the same thing,” Haralson said.

 

  • Who steps up and takes over Jimmy Graham’s receiving role?   True, the Saints have veteran threat Marques Colston and new young gun Brandin Cooks, but Graham’s 85-catch, 1000-yard production mark may likely become a group project to replicate. New Orleans’ offensive system would certainly benefit from a few more targets. Tight end Benjamin Watson, a 12-year NFL veteran, has been making a strong case for himself during the Saints training camp at the Greenbrier. The Saints new starting “Y” is 6’3”, 255-pounds and seems to have the right balance of humility and confidence.“I’ve got a lot of trust and confidence in Ben,” Brees said. “He’s a true professional. He can do everything, and we’re lucky to have him.”

    Meanwhile, there are a number of promising young receivers who want a shot at making a name for themselves.

    “I think what I love about this offense and what I think a lot of receivers love about this offense – is the nuances and the ability that we give them to get open and work,” Brees said. “I think even in just a short amount of time we build a rapport and level of confidence with guys.  We have a couple of guys that are going into their second year in the system and it is like night and day in regards to their comfort level and confidence.  Take a guy like Josh Morgan, who’s been around the game for a while and played at a high level at other places.  Now he comes here and kind of has an opportunity to get a position.  He brings a lot to the table.  He is extremely intelligent, (and) very sure handed.  He’s a great blocker.  He can play all the receiver positions.  I don’t know how it is all going to shake out in the end, but I like the guys we have.”

     

     

 

 

 


Anthony Davis Will Return to the University of Kentucky

August 19th, 2015

Most of the New Orleans Pelicans squad is in LA right now, participating in voluntary workouts, preparing for a highly anticipated season under new coach Alvin Gentry.

The public will get their first peek at New Orleans’ revamped, high pace offense in the preseason, which features 4 contests versus admirable opponents.

The Pelicans will begin their preseason journey on the road versus the Indiana Pacers at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Saturday, October 3. The team’s road trip continues to two neutral sites later in the month. New Orleans will take on the Atlanta Hawks in Jacksonville on Friday, October 9 and then the Sacramento Kings in Kentucky at Rupp Arena on Saturday, October 17. New Orleans wraps up its preseason at home in the Smoothie King Center against the Miami Heat on Friday, October 23.

The Pelicans will prepare for the preseason by taking training camp on the road. They’re borrowing a page from the New Orleans Saints in that regard. The Pelicans will hold training camp at the Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia from September 29-October 2.

The move is of little surprise to insiders. The owner of the Greenbrier, Jim Justice, is a bigger basketball fan than football fan. Despite his many business interests, Justice still makes time to coach local basketball teams in the White Sulphur Springs area.

 


The Manning Passing Academy Celebrates 20 Years: Sponsored by Thibodeaux Regional Medical Center

July 11th, 2015

The Manning family football dynasty is all once again assembled in Thibodaux, Louisiana this weekend, standing at the helm of the largest football camp in the country, as it celebrates its 20th anniversary.

The Manning Passing Academy started in New Orleans at Tulane University with 185 participants, moved to Southeastern Louisiana University and then eventually settled in Thibodaux at Nicholls State University a decade ago.

Since then, the Academy estimates half of all starting NFL quarterbacks have passed through its doors as either campers or counselors, even though professional success is not the intended goal.

“We have accomplished our mission, which was to enhance the high school experience for young quarterbacks and wide receivers,” former NFL quarterback Archie Manning said. “This camp is not an all-star camp, it’s not to make them into college players and certainly not pro players, but it is to help them with their skills, their leadership qualities, character, their knowledge of nutrition and hydration, character, work habits and the cerebral part of the game. The kids who come to our camp want to play high school football, and we want their experience to be a good one.”

The Manning Passing Academy experience certainly seems to be worthwhile, considering campers come from all 50 states, Canada and Guam to participate in 4-days of instruction, headlined by Archie Manning and his sons: Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning and Cooper Manning. This year, 1,167 young athletes are attending the Academy.

The camp is the brainchild of Peyton Manning, who pitched it to his dad after observing the Bowden family camp at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I had no idea when I first spoke to my dad about it that we would have some impact on the prep game,” Peyton Manning said. “It’s what I wanted to bring to the high school game. While the running game down South is always something you will see, the development of young quarterbacks is also important. Just roughly looking at the numbers, we have had more than 20,000 kids attend these camps. I’m overwhelmed by how this has been received. We aren’t a 7-on-7 camp, but with my dad, Eli, Cooper and the counselors we want to give these guys some technical and also some focus ideas to take back to them when they head back to high school. I think we have done a pretty good job. ”

Part of the draw of the Manning Academy is that top college quarterbacks come from all over the country to serve as counselors.

This year’s top players/college athletes are: Christian Hackenberg- Penn State Jared Goff- California Cody Kessler- USC Trevor Knight- Oklahoma Dak Prescott- Mississippi State Brandon Doughty- Western Kentucky Trevone Boykin- TCU
The roster of former camp counselors includes: Andrew Luck-Stanford Ryan Tannehill- Texas A&M Jameis Winston- Florida State Marcus Mariota- Oregon Sam Bradford- Oklahoma Colt McCoy- Texas Nick Foles- Arizona Russell Wilson- Wisconsin Tim Tebow- Florida Zach Mettenberger-LSU Matt Stafford- Georgia Kirk Cousins- Michigan State Colin Kaepernick- Nevada Christian Ponder- Florida State Andy Dalton- TCU A.J. McCarron- Alabama One never knows who they’ll find at the Academy. This year, Saints head coach Sean Payton and Packers head coach Mike McCarthy are both in attendance, as their sons are both campers.


Andrus Peat Finally Able to Join Teammates

June 10th, 2015

 

The Saints’ first-round draft pick, 21-year-old offensive tackle Andrus Peat is now back in New Orleans fulltime, finally getting the chance to practice with the Black and Gold’s veterans during Wednesday’s OTA.

The #13 overall pick in this year’s Draft was required to finish up the academic quarter at Stanford University, where he’s majoring in psychology, before he could join his teammates in the Crescent City.

“He’s a pretty sharp guy,” Coach Sean Payton said when asked about how much catch up Peat must now play going into next week’s mini camp.

The Stanford Cardinals do run a pro style offense, which should help ease Peat’s NFL learning curve somewhat. He was also able to participate in the Saints’ rookie mini camp, so the 6’7”, 313 pounder does have some familiarity with both the coaching staff and playbook.

During rookie mini camp, Peat took snaps at both right and left tackle. It remains to be seen if the Outland Trophy semi-finalist can give either Zach Strief or Terron Armstead competition for a starting spot.

New Orleans’ coaches love Peat’s smarts, as well as his length and athleticism. Peat was a 2-sport athlete and credits his basketball background with helping him develop agility. It also doesn’t hurt that his father Todd played tackle in the NFL during the late 80’s and early 90’s.