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Saints Wrap Up Friday Workout

    <span style="">The New Orleans Saints went through their last full practice of the week late this morning at their Metairie practice facility in preparation for the opening regular season game of the 2009 season against the Detroit Lions at the Superdome on Sunday at noon.  

Saints Head Coach Sean Payton said following the practice that he has been pleased with the work the team has put in this week, including the extra work the squad was also to garner with the extra Monday practice that the team was afforded due to the early final preseason game last Thursday.

"It was a good week of practice, I feel," Payton said this afternoon. "I'm pleased."

The Saints are seeking to extend their home opening-winning streak to two games, something the team started last season by virtue of their thrilling come-from-behind 24-20 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at the Superdome. Under Payton's guidance the Saints own a 2-1 opening day mark on opening days and a fast start to the season is something that all of the Saints are working hard to make come to fruition.

"We're all excited," said QB Drew Brees. "It's been a good and tough camp, very competitive, but that's what you pay the price for to have the chance to go out there on Sundays during the regular season and play for keeps and play when it counts. This is what we're waiting for."

Brees went on to say that his hopes for the season are buoyed by the fact that he likes the composition of the 2009 Saints' roster and the positive feeling the team is taking into the season. "Sure I absolutely feel better about the whole team," Brees stated. "I think it's the best team we've had since I've been here."

The Saints are hopeful that they can avoid the injury pitfalls that struck the team early and often last season and cost the team valuable players and tested the depth of the team early throughout the first half of the season, and seemed to be a constant affliction throughout the season. One player, in particular, that Brees is most pleased to have found an enhanced chemistry with is TE Jeremy Shockey, who was slowed early in the season last year with a sports hernia and a few other nagging injuries that severely limited his practice time.

"It's big," Brees said of the work he and the dynamic 6-5 tight end have been able to put together thus far this season. "With Jeremy, in particular, we've had a lot of time to spend together. Now we're trying to get (recently traded for veteran TE) Dave Thomas up to speed. It was kind of a similar situation to what Shockey was in a year ago, throwing a bunch at him and seeing what kind of role he can play on offense. Obviously with (WR) Lance (Moore) being healthy and around, that's great to see. I'm expecting big things from him, as well as really all the guys. I think everybody's kind of slid into a role that they're all comfortable in, utilizing everybody's strengths. It allows us to do a lot offensively."

Brees also stated that he is not concerned in the slightest with the limited work that RB Reggie Bush saw in the preseason and that the fourth-year running back/punt returner out of USC is ready to roll this weekend. "I feel like I know what I'm getting, but then again, it is a new year and he's one year more experienced and all those things," Brees said. "I expect him, like any young player, to get a little bit better every year. I think without putting too much pressure on him or anything else, I'm never going to do that to a guy. I know where his mindset has been at this offseason in regards to his preparation and everything else. I think he'll improve one game to the next and one season to the next."

Defensively the Saints are also eager to unveil some new looks and wrinkles that have been under wraps throughout the preseason and could offer multiple and varied looks to the Lions, although the talk from the defenders this week has been in general terms, so as not to reveal insights into their game plan. Payton did say that the perception of playing against a rookie quarterback, such as the Lions' Matthew Stafford, is to just throw caution to the wind and unleash blitz after blitz is a recipe for disaster.

"The myth is that you just pressure the rookie quarterback," Payton said. "Well, when you do that, you've got to be mindful of where (WR) Calvin Johnson is and there are these other guys who can hurt you. So we'll have a good plan in place, both in the base (defense) and in the nickel and these other areas of the game to keep mixing things up and give them different looks."

The team will hold a traditional day before the game walk-though on Saturday morning following morning meetings and will then adjourn at the team's downtown hotel on Saturday evening.


New Orleans Saints: The following players did not practice and have been listed as Out: RB Pierre Thomas (knee), TE Darnell Dinkins (foot), T Jammal Brown (hernia).
TE Jeremy Shockey (ankle) did not practice and is listed as "probable."
S Usama Young (shoulder) fully participated and is listed as "probable."

Detroit Lions: Not yet submitted.

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