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Mini Camp Observations

    <span>Under high skies and soaring temperatures the New Orleans Saints hit the field this morning for the first of a mandatory three-day mini-camp.   

Of note was the attendance of DE Will Smith, who has elected to skip the team's voluntary OTA's and strength-and-conditioning program. Several players did not fully participate including S Josh Bullocks (knee), CB Mike McKenzie (knee), TE Eric Johnson (ankle), FB Olaniyi Sobomehin (school) and DT DeMario Pressley (foot). RB Deuce McAllister (knee) was limited as he continues rehabilitation on his knee.

Head Coach Payton said following practice that he was pleased with the tempo and execution of the practice and the way the rookies and new players have been integrated into the roster and raised the overall level of competition.

Observations: Following positional drills and crisp work in individual drills several big plays were turned in by players on both sides of the football:

*CB Jason Craft started the proceedings by not falling for a full-speed deke by WR David Patten and blanketed the receiver down the sideline and preventing the receiver from catching a deep pass.

*MLB Mark Simoneau met RB Pierre Thomas in a hole at the line of scrimmage.

*WR/KR Skyler Green, a former LSU standout, showed strength and speed by getting away from CB Anwar Phillips in a drill and coming up with a reception.

*Reggie Bush displayed that he has returned to form after battling a troublesome knee late in the 2007 season and displayed quickness, speed and power during numerous situations. Bush took a hand-off and bolted between a hole opened by Jahri Evans and Jammal Brown and was on the third level of defense in a split second and off to the races.

*Jus a few plays later, Bush swept to the right, picking up a block from tight end Mark Campbell and jetted down the sideline for a long gainer.

*RB Aaron Stecker, in 9-on-7 drills, read the blocking and the flow of the linebackers and cut behind the left side of the line with a powerful run, finding the open field.

*Rookie WR Adrian Arrington made a nifty sideline reception on a pass from Drew Brees.

*Bush took a pitch and instead of sweeping right, bolted through a hole in the middle of the line and raced into the secondary, showing a few high-speed moves along the way.

*CB Usama Young, wearing a new number (#28), leaped high into the air and knocked a pass away from rookie WR Carlos Robinson.

*WR Marques Colston displayed his patented over-the-middle of the field prowess by snaring a pass in tight coverage.

*Rookie DE Jeremy Geathers, who Head Coach Sean Payton has described as having good speed off of the corner, pounced on a Lynell Hamilton fumble.

*Bush got to the edge on a quick pass out of the backfield and outraced pursuing defenders down the sideline, picking up several key blocks from Billy Miller and Marques Colston along the way.

*WR Terrance Cooper making a sideline reception after finding a hole in the zone coverage as two defenders nearly made the play.

*A few plays later, Moore hauled in a long bomb from Brees after the Saints dialed up a trick play that fooled rookie CB Tracy Porter. After the play, new Saints secondary coach Dennis Allen, a no-nonsense customer, pulled Porter aside to instruct the rookie what to look for so that the lapse wouldn't occur in the future.

*Patten made a great grab in traffic on a comeback route.

*CB Randall Gay knocked down a pass intended for Colston.

*QB Mark Brunell hooked up with WR Lance Moore for a sensational play. Moore made a leaping catch at full speed down the middle of the field with two defenders in the vicinity to haul in a laser-beamed dart from Brunell that picked up 35 yards.

*LB Jonathan Vilma appeared in his first team drills, and snared Bush across the middle on a crossing route. Vilma said afterward that he is pleased with the progress from his knee surgery and is thrilled to be back in the team drills.

*To begin the afternoon session, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal addressed the team and offered them works of encouragement for the upcoming season.


    <span style="">*The Saints will conduct a free, open to the public mini-camp practice on Saturday, May 31 at 10:15 a.m. The mini-camp practice, featuring the 2008 Saints roster, is the public's first opportunity to get a look at the team as they prepare for the upcoming season.  

The mini-camp practice will be held at the Saints' training facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie and the gates will open at 9:00 a.m. Parking and viewing space is limited and will be on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Fans are asked to bring a non-perishable food item for Second Harvest of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana. Through its network of faith-based and nonprofit member agencies, Second Harvest Food Bank of Greater New Orleans and Acadiana provides food for an estimated 63,000 people each day. To learn more, please visit

Fans may park in the New Orleans VooDoo practice facility, also located at 5800 Airline Drive, with overflow parking in some of the area parking lots along Airline Drive.

**In the event of inclement weather, the team may move practice indoors with little or no advance warning. Please be advised that fans attending practice on Saturday morning will not be allowed inside the Indoor Facility. We apologize in advance for this inconvenience.

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