The Saints received a warm welcome home today as fans watched the team in action for the first time since their Super Bowl triumph.
As the players trotted onto the field to start practice, the fans showed their affection with loud applause and cheers. Super Bowl heroes Drew Brees and Tracy Porter were two of the many who received standing ovations as they approached the turf. As the team started stretching, defensive linemen Will Smith and Anthony Hargrove yelled "Who Dat!" to the delighted fans.
During the position drills, the defensive line practiced their technique by maneuvering around orange traffic barrels in place of offensive linemen.
The highly touted receiving corps was tested in 1-on-1 drills against the talented saints' cornerbacks. Marques Colston beat Jabari Greer twice, using his bigger size as an advantage. Colston followed that up with a shoestring catch that he made effortlessly. Lance Moore and Tracy Porter also battled during this drill, with Moore getting the better of Porter.
Rod Harper wowed fans on an overthrown pass that he dove for and caught, drawing praise from the crowd. Courtney Roby dropped a very catchable pass from Drew Brees, but he redeemed himself on the next play with a great acrobatic reception. PJ Hill got a great amount of carries, making nice runs on numerous occasions. The linebacker corps is displaying an attacking mentality with special teams captain Troy Evans getting reps with the first unit.
Chase Daniel had a great day of practice, showing a dangerous combination of throwing strength and accuracy. In the team drill, the offense got the better of the defense, emphasizing the passing game. Jonathan Goodwin, Jahri Evans, and Carl Nicks paved the running lanes for the tailbacks. Tackles Jermon Bushrod and Zach Strief kept the defensive pressure away from Brees throughout the practice, although since the players were not in pads and contact kept to a minimum it is difficult to tell exactly how many yards could be gained in th running game. Reggie Bush ran right and was immediately stopped by Anthony Hargrove with only Hargrove's hand. Bush was nearly was the receipient of a big hit from S Usama Young later in practice, inciting groans from the fans until he jumped to his feet and ran back to the huddle. But contact was mimimal and neither side was worse for wear.
Fans cheered wildly when Brees found Jeremy Shockey across the middle for a 20-yard gain. On the next play, Brees connected with rookie tight end Jimmy Graham who went 40 yards, untouched, into the end zone.
All units played with great intensity and focus in their second day of practice, ready to defend their title. FS Darren Sharper, CB Glenn Sharpe, WR Robert Meachem, FS Malcolm Jenkins, and LB Clint Ingram did not practice. The Saints hold their final mini-camp practice Sunday at 10:15, which will be open to the public.