<span>A fresh start.
The 2008 New Orleans Saints took to the training camp fields this morning for their first practice of training camp.
Two of the team's promising young players took a few moments after the morning practice to update their progress on the NFL level.
Robert Meachem, former first round pick (27th overall) in the 2007 NFL draft from Tennessee, was in high spirits as he ran routes with the first and second offenses. Meachem, who averaged 17 yards per catch during his collegiate career, accumulated 125 catches for 2,140 yards while scoring 17 touchdowns. Despite the fact that he battled through a knee injury for much of his rookie season, Meachem worked extremely hard this offseason and is eager to take the next step, that of a key offensive weapon, this season.
Meachem explained that he good felt about the first practice and that he played by the encouraging words his family advised him with of taking one day at a time, and make everything count. He mentioned that a lot of his teammates have served as mentors for him as he progresses into his second year in the league, including veteran receiver David Patten. Meachem explained that Patten was a big brother figure to him, and Meachem has leaned on him and picked at his brain for his knowledge concerning matters both on and off the gridiron.
"He's like a bigger brother to me, a brother from a different mother," said Meachem. "He gets on me when he feels like I'm not doing my best, and he encourages me when I'm doing well. It works both ways, I give the same support to him."
Meachem concluded by saying that he's blessed to be healthy and ready to perform to the best of his abilities for the upcoming season.
When catching up with rookie DeMario Pressley, he explained his journey of becoming another great defensive lineman in the NFL.
DeMario Pressley, fifth round pick (144th overall) in the 2008 NFL draft from North Carolina State, recorded 145 total tackles in his collegic career.
Pressley began by stating that he felt good about the practice, and that he was gradually adjusting to the speed of the NFL. He said that many veterans have been helping along the way, including defensive linemen Antwan Lake and Brian Young. Pressley explained that it was a tremendous help that the three of them all use the three-technique.
He went on to say that it was crucial to sign with the team early, in order to show the organization that he had a lot of dedication and determination for making the roster. Early on in the full-team mini-camp in late May, Pressley suffered a foot injury and felt that the injury has slowed him down to the point to where he has to catch-up with the other rookies and younger players.
Pressley, sporting number 90, explained that when choosing his number, he decided to go with his high school number. At Dudley High School, in Greensboro, N.C., he wore number 90 all the way up to his senior year when he was asked to play both offense and defense, while wearing number 72.
Pressley is one of many top defensive linemen to come to the NFL within the past three years. When asked about living up to the standards of the other outstanding linemen from North Carolina State, such as Mario Williams (Houston Texans) and Manny Lawson (San Francisco 49ers), he explained how each of them have impacted his life:
"I try to take a little bit everyday from a lot of those players," Pressley stated. "John McCargo used to work with me on my pass rush moves, Tank Tyler taught me how to use power, Manny Lawson taught me speed rushing, and Mario Williams worked with me on my hands and technique."