Thursday, 11 August 2011 11:15
Pre-Season Talk: New Orleans Saints Look Super Bowl Bound
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Mark IngramNFL Network reporter Albert Breer visited the New Orleans Saints training camp on Friday and  after intervidepthewing coach Sean Payton, came away believing the Saints have an advantage in returning to the Super Bowl. 

Payton told the writer he loved this roster, but they (players) still have a lot of work to do. "We've got a lot more  than we've had in years past," said the coach. "We're deeper in the defensive line, at linebacker, we've got a good young group at receiver." 

 Payton said he and his coaching staff often put up their roster and compare it to a season ago, two seasons go, then put it up to teams in the NFC South, and this gets "everyone" excited. 

The Saints dealt off Reggie Bush and replaced him with a reasonable facsimile in Darren Sproles and lost center Jonathan Goodwin to San Francisco, but replaced him with six-time Pro Bowler Olin Kruetz, who wasn't re-signed by the Bears. 

When defensive lineman Remi Avodele left for the Vikings, the Saints brought in Aunrayo Franklin from 49ers. They had already signed defensive tackle Shaun Rogers. 

And the Saints improved their defensive line and game by drafting Cameron Jordan and Mark Ingram in the first round. Based on training camp practices, Ingram looks like he can add a lot to the running game, which stumbled through injuries last season. 

During one practice last week, lightning started striking and Payton moved his team indoors. "What followed was the crispest and most fluid workout I've seen through the first nine days of training camp, staged by a team that looks big, fast and deep all over the field," writes  Breer. 

"That the Saints look good in August won't win them any championships, nor will a player-run program put on by a quarterback and linebacker in the spring. 

"But add those two things together and a coach speaking as confidently about his team as any in the league, and that club having championship credentials, it's enough to make you think like these guys do, that there could be some awfully big things ahead in New Orleans." 

SAINTS NOTEBOOK: Payton said Wednesday night his starters will play 15-20 snaps in the preseason opener against the 49ers. ..Wednesday's play of the day: Tight end Jimmy Graham's leaping catch over two defenders in the left corner of the end zone...Graham used his 6-foot-8 frame to go above the hands of cornerbacks Leigh Torrence and Patrick Robinson, who is in filling  in at Tracy Porters place in the starting lineup....Rookie Cameron Jordan beat new tackle Jordan Black in pass-rush drills and made a big stop in the backfield against Darren Sproles...Second-year fullback Jed Collins is having a strong camp...Receiver Adrian Arrington could have trouble making the final roster because of an ankle injury. He suffers too many injuries to be counted on for 16 games, and doesn't play special teams. There's an old NFL saying, "You can't make the club in a tub."... 

Patriots depth chart at runningback: 1 Ben-Jarvis Green (New Orleans) 2 Danny Woodhead  3 Shane Vereen 4 Stevan Ridley (ILSU)  5 Kevin Faulk (LSU)...Joe McKnight (John  Curtis) is listed as the Jets No. 3 RB on their depth chart. McKnight will be used on third downs and should get 73 offensive touches this season...Parting thought: "Find XI(based on some high school math that I haven't used since then, X=2.9.

MORNING LINE: Here the updated Las Vegas lines on early games -- Saints favored over 49ers by 3 with an over/under at 35.5...Oregon is a 1.5 favor over LSU wtih an over/under of 110.

The eligibility of LSU receiver Russell Shepard is still a question mark, Shepard has been practicing with the Tigers for their opening game against Oregon in the Cowboys Classic in Arlington, Tex. In a story from the Advocate, Shepard says he has already spoken to numerous individuals regarding the compliance issue and the situation as it now stands. "I had the LSU compliance office come to me, and they realized there was a problem," said Shepard. "It's just something that popped up out of nowhere and the next thing you know there's all this mayhem They talked to me and got all the information that they wanted out of me." Now Shepard just has to play the waiting game...  

Per BayouBengalInsider, LSU redshirt freshman  offensive tackle Cameron Fordham has decided to move on from the program to an unknown destination. He was a three-point  star athlete from Georgia who signed with the Tigers in 2010... 

by Ed Staton

(Visit Louisiana Sports t\ to order you Matt Ingram jerseys and LSU/Oregon game shirts).

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Ed Staton

Ed Staton is a former sports writer for the Times Picayune and New Orleans States Item.  He also served as the New Orleans Saints Information Director.  He has won 43 media awards in writing, design and photography.  


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