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There's no place like home for New Orleans Saints' Jarvis Landry, Tyrann Mathieu

'It's a little bit unique when you bring somebody back to their home state and their home territory'

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The newest Saints free-agent roster addition Jarvis Landry arrives in New Orleans to sign his contract at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on May 15, 2022.

The smiles were wide and frequent for Jarvis Landry and Tyrann Mathieu, in part because of the additional factor.

Yes, the unrestricted free agent receiver (Landry) and safety (Mathieu) was pleased by the opportunity to play for a New Orleans Saints franchise that, through word and action, continues to show that it intends to compete for playoff berths rather than step back and reset.

But, also, they had the chance to come home to do it.

Landry and Mathieu, who each starred at LSU during their time in Baton Rouge, are locals – Landry from about 45 minutes away in Lutcher, and Mathieu literally from the Saints' back yard in New Orleans – didn't bother trying to contain the excitement of playing for their hometown team after spending nine (Mathieu) and eight (Landry) NFL seasons playing for Arizona, Houston, Kansas City, Miami and Cleveland.

"Both of these guys, Tyrann and Jarvis, it's a little bit unique when you bring somebody back to their home state and their home territory," Saints Executive Vice President/General Manager Mickey Loomis said Monday, before playing in the Saints Hall of Fame golf tournament. "Just the excitement that those guys had.

"They're veteran players that have been around the league and been really accomplished for a number of years, and yet they're like kids when you see that excitement (of) coming back home and it just meant a lot to them. Just a different level of emotion than you normally get."

Loomis said he wasn't certain that the lure of playing in New Orleans will prove to be an advantage in games, but that the veteran standouts – Mathieu is a three-time All-Pro, Landry is a five-time Pro Bowler – can handle that element.

"I don't know if it's an advantage to them or not, that's kind of up to them," Loomis said. "Sometimes there's more pressure – you come home and you want to perform extra well in front of your family, your friends. You want the team that you grew up with, you want them to do well.

"So it's probably a little extra pressure, but these guys are veteran players that welcome that type of atmosphere and that type of pressure. So I don't have any concerns about it. I'm just excited for them, excited for us. We've got two good players and we would've wanted them even if they were from New Jersey or some other state. It's a bonus that they're coming home."

Head coach Dennis Allen and a host of Saints players took part in The Saints Hall of Fame's annual celebrity golf classic at Chateau Golf Country Club in Kenner on Monday, May 16.

STEPPING UP: Second-year linebacker Pete Werner isn't new to the starting lineup; he started eight of 15 games as a rookie last year, when he had 62 tackles, four tackles for loss and a quarterback hit. But as of now, with Kwon Alexander on the free agent market, he's a primary starter with Demario Davis at the position.

"I don't see it like that right now," Werner said Monday. "I just see an opportunity. You're given (only) so many opportunities in the game of football, and it's what you're going to make of it. I see this as kind of a time to grind. Going into this second year, you can appreciate knowing the defense a little bit more, so I see this opportunity as, I'm going to make an impact out of this and I'm going to put my head down and work."

Werner said after missing a few games last season, he's working on increasing his durability.

"Trying to strengthen some of those smaller muscles was a big focus this offseason," he said.

But also, he has been able to increase his playbook knowledge based off what he experienced last season.

"It's a lot easier," he said. "You're stressed, you've got so many different emotions going in your mind as a rookie, but knowing that you have the playbook in the back of your head, you've been through it for a year now, you can take that stress away and focus on the deep ins of the playbook.

"You can start diagnosing film a little bit better, not only understanding what your responsibility is from a playbook standpoint, but opening up your vision and seeing what the offense can do. Looking at those certain tendencies a little bit easier, understanding what's my responsibility here as far as what the playbook tells me to do."

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