The New Orleans Saints wrapped the offseason program with a final minicamp practice Thursday. The session was ended early by Coach Sean Payton. Here are a few observations:
Tight end Josh Hill finished a strong week with a red zone TD catch. Hill has been making plenty of plays this week. He's just reminding us how important he'll figure in this team's plan on special teams, and on the offense.
There's no way to tell at this time if the Saints defense is better. There are signs, though, that lead me to believe that we will see a much improved unit in 2016. Health is the obvious start. There's also the simple but important lack of coach's telling the defense to get lined up. There's less confusion in moving personnel on and off the field. The linebackers are impressive, and the defensive backfield seems deeper. Will there be enough pressure on opposing QBs? Stay tuned.
We may see a faster tempo and a more physically challenging training camp later this summer. When thinking about the tempo in the minicamp and the age of this roster, don't be surprised if Sean Payton cranks it up a few notches when the team gets rolling again in late July. Whether it's to build character and toughness, or raise the intensity of the roster spot battles I believe this team is more ready for the challenge than the last two editions. The players are very aware that no one outside of Saints Nation gives them a chance. I think they want to prove some folks wrong. I can't wait.