May 29, 2014; Metairie, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan during offseason team activities at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Three days of Saints mini-camp started today, Who Dat Nation! Can you feel the wave of anticipation for the regular season yet? We’re less than thirteen weeks away from the start of the 2014 NFL season, and it couldn’t come any sooner for us. It’s like a return to normalcy.
At any rate, here’s some news stories to get you caught up on from this weekend and today.
Guerry Smith | The Advocate | Turnovers are the focus for the Saints defense this offseason
"“That was a glaring weakness last year on our defense,” Ryan said. “We did pretty decent as a unit, but we want to be great. And to be great, you have to take the ball away. We identified that. We presented it to our defense.”"
There’s no secret. A defense can win championships (see Seattle). If you recall the 2009 season (the Super Bowl year for those with temporary amnesia), the Saints didn’t have a great defense statistically. The team finished ranked 25th overall in yards, and 20th in points allowed. However, the Saints defense forced 39 total takeaways. The addition of Jairus Byrd and his ball hawking abilities alone should increase turnover production. I like a healthy and hungry Kenny Vaccaro returning to the lineup to also help with forcing turnovers.
Mike Triplett | ESPN | Raw or not, Jean-Baptiste flashes potential
"“Nah, it really don’t bug me at all. I’m still gonna go out there and play no matter if I’m raw or not. I think I can compete at any level, and just my time will come to showcase it,” said Jean-Baptiste, who began his college career as a receiver and bounced around to three places post-high school before ultimately becoming a standout cornerback at Nebraska."
The potential for any player is limitless, but what about seeing it this early? Jean-Baptiste has all of the key players around him to succeed: the veteran cornerback Champ Bailey, the smart mastermind coordinator Rob Ryan, and secondary coach Wesley McGriff. I’d find it hard to believe that with this powerful combination that a player could not flourish. We can only sit and hope that Jean-Baptiste can shock and awe us all in the early stages of his career, and become one of the best cornerbacks in Saints history.
Christopher Dabe | The Times-Picayune | Drew Brees plans to open several more Jimmy John’s sandwich shops in New Orleans region, magazine reports
"The New Orleans Saints quarterback currently has five Jimmy John’s shops in operation, including one near Tulane University because it is close enough to deliver to his home, the magazine reported.He decided after the opening of a third shop to commit to 20 more, which the magazine said will all be in the north shore and will raise the total of Brees-owned shops to 23. He recently opened a Jimmy John’s in Covington."
I’d be willing to bet that a new location would wind up in Slidell with the new construction off of the Fremaux exit. Drew Brees has planted his roots in New Orleans since 2006, and if you know anything about Drew, He loves this city. Brees is a smart business man, and hopefully you have had some Jimmy John’s. There’s a reason why his chain is growing.
Ramon Antonio Vargas | The Advocate | Second-year surge is goal of Saints’ John Jenkins and Glenn Foster
"“I want them to go back like they don’t know a thing and strip down their fundamentals,” Johnson said. “That’s what we’re doing — taking it like an old truck, stripping it down and building it back up to see if we can get back to a stronger, better bunch of guys.”"
John Jenkins & Glenn Foster are two names you will hear a lot more of this season. Jenkins was a key part of the Saints run defense in 2013, and one of the more underrated reasons why the defense went from last to fourth overall. Glenn Foster also entered the scene last season, and has made the most of being a player that went as an undrafted rookie free agent. These two should be interesting to watch grow over the next couple of seasons.
Other articles to check out:
- Video: Payton pleased to have Lorig on Saints
- Saints share some veteran wisdom with their rookie newcomers
- Saints’ DL Bunkley praised for taking pay cut in offseason
- New Orleans Saints Spotlight | Get to know running back Derrick Strozier
- New Orleans Saints Spotlight | Get to know wide receiver Nick Toon