<span style="">We are going to be blogging live from Jackson Memorial Stadium where the Saints are practicing this evening.
*Word has just broken that the Saints and first round draft choice Sedrick Ellis, a defensive tackle from USC that the Saints drafted 7th overall in the 2008 draft, have agreed to terms on a five-year deal. Ellis is expected to report to training camp tomorrow to sign his contract.
*The team is stretching now after having gone through a 15-minute walk-through. The temperatures, which climbed in the 100's this afternoon, is much cooler this evening. The current temperature is 85 degrees with a heat index of 88 degrees. Downright frigid in these parts. Some members of the coaching staff are even wearing jackets.
Here is the news release on Ellis' agreement:
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS AGREE TO TERMS WITH FIRST-ROUND DRAFT PICK DT SEDRICK ELLIS ON A FIVE-YEAR CONTRACT
For Immediate Release: July 29, 2008
The New Orleans Saints have agreed to terms with DT Sedrick Ellis on a five-year contract, it was announced today by Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis. The defensive tackle, selected seventh overall in April's NFL Draft, was an All-American and the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior at USC.
In 48 career games, Ellis started 36 contests and posted career totals of 144 tackles (74 solo), 17.5 sacks, four fumble recoveries and a pair of forced fumbles. He also deflected 13 passes and blocked a kick. The Saints traded up from the 10th to the seventh overall selection with the New England Patriots to choose Ellis, considered one of the top defensive players available in the draft.
In 2007, Ellis opened all 13 games at nose guard for the Trojans and recorded a career-high 58 stops, 8.5 sacks and 12.5 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He also recovered two fumbles and knocked down seven passes.
Ellis (6-1, 307) was recruited to Southern California and coached as a freshman and sophomore by Ed Orgeron, now the Saints' defensive line coach.
Now to the action. The players are going through individual drills by position right now. I would estimate the crowd in attendance to be around 2,500 people.
*The players on the bikes and not going through drills are CB Tracy Porter and WR Devery Henderson (hamstrings), DE Bobby McCray (back spasms), DT Hollis Thomas (cyst on knee), while MLB Jonathan Vilma is being rested by Coach Sean Payton.
*A reminder to fans that the coaching staff has called off that tomorrow morning's practice and the team will resume practicing tomorrow afternoon at Millsaps with a 4:20-6:00 pm practice.
*The offense and defense are going to start working against each other in different groups right now. On one end of the field the receivers and defensive backs will get some work against each other, while the running backs and linebackers take on each other, while the one-on-ones between the o-line and d-line work in the corner of the field. Reggie Bush catches a pass in the flat and turns on up field for a long gain. Te Marvin Billy Miller makes a nifty catch along the far sideline.
*Aaron Stecker hauls in a pass in the flat on a dead run and gets to the corner, and then RB Pierre Thomas catches a quick in cut across the middle and shakes free from linebacker Marvin Mitchell.
*DT Antwan Lake stops rookie RB Lynell Hamilton for no gain in a short yardage set.
*S Kevin Kaesviharn has blanket coverage on Aaron Stecker coming out of the backfield, but the hard-charging Stecker makes a shoestring catch before being forced out of bounds.
*Mark Campbell makes a tough catch in traffic across the middle on a laser throw from Mark Brunell.
*Ronnie Ghent makes a leaping catch of a Tyler Palko pass in front of S Chris Reis, who was draped all over him.
*The team has now gone into 11-on-11 mode. On the first play, Drew Brees attempts to hook up with Terrance Cooper on a 50-yard pass, but CB Randall Gay knocks the ball away at the last second.
*RB Deuce McAllister bolts off the right side for a 10-yard gain. On the next play, Reggie Bush bulls his way up the middle for a five-yard gain.
*TE Billy Miller catches a six pass from Brees before LB Scott Shanle knocks him down.
*RB Reggie Bush once again flies through the middle and puts a spin move on a safety.
CB Usama Young meets Pierre Thomas at the line of scrimmage on sweep.
*WR Adrian Arrington makes a tough catch 20-yard down field in traffic and is tossed to the turf.
*DE Josh Savage stops RB Aaron Stecker on the edge after a short gain.
*MLB William Kershaw tackles RB Chris Barclay for no gain.
*CB Jason Craft stops Barclay at the lie of scrimmage on a stretch play. Barclay flew to the corner, but Craft was flying equally as fast.
*QB Tyler Palko scrambles out of the pocket and hits Lynell Hamilton for a 10-yard gain.
*The special teams dedicated portion of practice is extremely crisp. Three things stand out to me: K Taylor Mehlhaff hit a 46-yard field goal with what looked like a 3/4 punch shot that flew right down the middle of the uprights. Mehlhaff has a short, quick approach to the ball and it jumps off his foot. Secondly, the Saints return men in the punt game have all field punts very cleanly tonight. Not a bobble in sight. Thirdly, P Steve Weatherford hit a 55-yard punt that was flew out of bounds at the one-yard line in a perfect coffin corner punt. Special Teams Coordinator Greg McMahon will be pleased with this practice session, I am guessing.
*If you are wondering who is taking the reps as punt returner, the order appears to be Reggie Bush, Lance Moore and Skyler Green.
*Robert Meachem did a good job fighting double-team blocks on a punt coverage drill. He battled hard to maintain his lane integrity and showed good strength.
*Head Coach Sean Payton has called the team together and is emphasizing a point in a rather animated "discussion." He generally does this when he throws specific situations at the players with certain down, distances and times to see how the team reacts. This time it appears to be a situation where the team is out of time outs late in a game and needs a field goal. The offense works against "air," and following a completion the offensive line rushes to the line of scrimmage and stops the clock. The field goal team rushes onto the field and Martin Grammatica knocks home a 40-yard field goal.
*Back to 11-on-11. First offense vs. first defense. CB Mike McKenzie knocks away a Brees pass intended for Marques Colston.
*Brees connects with Mark Campbell for 10 yards.
*DE's Charles Grant and Will Smith converge on Brees for what would have been a sack. They both pull up before actually hitting him.
*Brees just misses on a long bomb to WR David Patten. Credit Jason David with tight coverage.
*The hit of training camp thus far has just been turned in at the expense of WR Lance Moore. Mark Brunell fired a pass down the middle of the field and CB Jason Craft and S Chris Reis send the receiver head over heels in a high-low hit. Everyone appears okay. Reis is the slowest to get up but returns for the next play.
*Arrington catches a short pass and beats a tackler for a 25-yard gain from Brunell.
*TE Mark Campbell makes another reception. Soup is turning in one heck of a practice.
*Palko scrambles out, buys time and connects with Skyler Green for a 30-yard completion in front of S Tuff Harris.
*RB Chris Barclay attempts to make a tough comeback reception along the sideline, but lands awkwardly as he reaches back for the ball and crumbles. He reaches for his left knee as the trainers race towards him. RB Reggie Bush and Deuce McAllister hustle over to him to lend support. Barclay is helped to the bench where head trainer Scottie Patton tends to him.
*TE Buck Ortega makes a nice reception down the far sideline on a pass from Palko.
*The first penalty of the night, at least obvious one, is turned on a false start. Payton is not pleased.
*Bush takes a pitch out and picks up 8 yards before being stopped by CB Aaron Glenn.
*Usama Young defends a Brees pass for Colston. Another day and another play for Young.
*DE Will Smith doesn't take the bait on a bootleg and tracks down Brees on a rollout.
*Lance Moore makes a nice reception across the middle from Brunell. Moore clearly isn't fazed the big hit a few moments ago. In fact, he comes right back and picks up another long gain from Brunell against the zone defense.
*Stecker bolts up the middle for 4 yards before being halted by LB Marvin Mitchell.
*Arrington almost makes a diving reception but Reis doesn't allow the pass to be completed. On the next play, Arrington gets loose down the middle in hauls in a 25-yard pass from Brunell.
*Out of what looks a like rugby scrum, RB Pierre Thomas emerges for a nice gain. Where have we seen that before?
*Palko and Skyler Green hook up for a 50-yard completion on a gorgeous play. CB Wally Dada was step for step with Green, but the former LSU star made an over-the-shoulder grab.
*Palko just completed another long bomb, this time to lanky receiver Todd Blythe from Iowa State for a touchdown on a 60-yard strike.
*DE Josh Savage tracks down RB Lynell Hamilton on a sweep. Savage came from the opposite DE end spot to collar the running back.
*Brees hits Colston for a nice completion down the sidelines.
*Brees and Terrance Cooper hook up for a 35-yard gain in two minute drill and on the next play the QB fires a perfect pass into the corner for David Patten, who hauls in the pass against the second string defense.
*Brunell attempts to connect with Meachem on a post route but Usama Young deftly defends the pass and causes and incompletion.
*Stecker picks up 8 yards on a completion for a first down.
*CB Jason Craft blankets Lance Moore and causes a pass to fall incomplete.
*Stecker takes a screen and picks up a big block from G Tim Duckworth for a 25-yard gain.
*Craft makes another stop on a short red-zone completion to Pierre Thomas.
*The horn is sounded and the practice has come to a completion. We hope you have enjoyed the play-by-play!
*Once again a reminder, the team will not practice tomorrow morning but will return to the fields in the afternoon at Millsaps at 4:20 pm.