Jun 11, 2014; New Orleans, LA, USA; New Orleans Saints quarterback Ryan Griffin (4) and quarterback Luke McCown (7) and quarterback Drew Brees (9) and quarterback Logan Kilgore (5) during minicamp at the New Orleans Saints Training Facility. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports
Here we are at the end of another week of New Orleans Saints football. On Sunday, we’ll be eleven weeks away from getting our Sundays back to ‘football mode’. There’s a lot of news articles to get through today, so let’s just hop into it!
David Grunfield | The Times-Picayune| Sean Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation Donates 16,000 Meals to Second Harvest Food Bank
"Sean Payton’s Play It Forward Foundation Donates 16,000 Meals to Second Harvest Food Bank near the Saints training facility on Airline Drive in Metairie Thursday, June 19, 2014. The foundation donated two truckloads of food that will benefit 800 families in both Washington and Iberia parishes in separate distributions later this month."
I’m sure Sean Payton needed another reason to win the hearts of Who Dat Nation. This is truly inspiring, and I can’t tell you how much I love it when football players/coaches give back their time and money to those in need and less fortunate. This is what it’s all about. Take a lesson, football world.
Katherine Terrell | The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Saints go their separate ways following conclusion of OTAs
"“They will be on break until we start training camp right at the 23rd or 24th of July with the players coming back,” said Saints coach Sean Payton. “Most of them will come back and we will actually have a charter plane leave here on Wednesday and Thursday is when the conditioning tests and our reporting day officially is.”"
Think of the offseason as phases. Phase one is the offseason, phase two is OTAs and minicamp, phase three is training camp, and phase four is preseason. However you wish to interpret it, we’re even closer to Week One. I know the biggest question on everyone’s mind will be whether the Jimmy Graham fiasco is solved by then, and I say yes – it will be a long-term deal.
Mike Triplett | ESPN | Lorig adds more versatility to offense
"“We really didn’t know much about him. We did our offseason homework like we would in free agency, and then you start going back and seeing that he was (a defensive end) converted to fullback. He’s a little bigger in stature, so when you watch him play he’s very physical. I don’t want to say there was a wish list, but it was (a thought that), ‘Let’s pay attention and let’s see if we can get him on a visit.’"
Lorig isn’t exactly the type of offseason move that is going to dominate the offseason headlines. However, just like every other player on the 53-man roster, his role is vital to the team’s success. The offense will lean upon Lorig a great deal to bring success to the run game and pass blocking. His versatility is an added bonus, and is another one of those puzzle pieces teams will have to silently worry about when they game plan. I believe we will see Lorig have more touches than Jed Collins had during his run with the team.
Gary Estwick | The Advocate | Curtis Lofton sees plenty potential in Saints
"“There really hasn’t been any drop-off from the first team to the second team, to the third team,” said Lofton, whose 125 tackles in 2013 led the Saints. “The young guys push the older guys to be better and by doing that, they make themselves better.”"
It’s scary to think that mentally the defense has the mindset and attitude of putting together an even better season than 2013. Curtis Lofton has been an absolute asset to the team since entering the picture in 2012. I have previously said that Lofton’s leadership will be key with the departures of the host of veterans from the team this offseason. I only expect great things from the Saints defense, as they set the bar very high in 2013.
Mike Triplett | ESPN | Keenan Lewis driven to keep improving
"Lewis said he started focusing on improving his leg strength and his burst from the day after New Orleans’ season-ending playoff loss at Seattle last year.“It’s just something I think I lacked last year, especially when you’re going against the guys I’ll be facing this year, the Megatrons (Calvin Johnson), A.J. Green, Anquan [Boldin] again, Dez [Bryant] again, those bigger guys,” Lewis said. “You’re gonna need that power and that leg drive. That’s something I’ve been working on a lot."
Keenan Lewis was easily the best addition of the Saints offseason in 2013. He shut down a host of wide receiver talent last year, and will definitely have his hands full again this year. If that success is replicated again this season, then Lewis would have to be in the Pro Bowl. Opposing quarterbacks will have their hands full trying to figure out where there’s a weakness when throwing against the Saints secondary.
Andrew Lopez | The Times-Picayune | New Orleans Saints cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste eager to show off skills at training camp
"“I think everybody is getting a little closer and everybody is getting comfortable with each other,” he said. “Communication isn’t a problem at all. The veterans help the young guys. I can’t tell you how much they help us. I know they’re going to be a big part of it.”"
Jean-Baptiste is ‘taking it all in’. He is showing some real smarts on the field, especially with ball awareness. Should he continue this type of play, then Jean-Baptiste could very well become the Saints third or fourth option at cornerback.
All Things Brandin Cooks:
- Saints first-round pick Brandin Cooks catches on quickly
- Saints WR Robert Meachem says Brandin Cooks can be a Darren Sproles, Percy Harvin type of player | Video
- New Orleans Saints rookie Brandin Cooks still playing student in his first week with the team
Cooks impressed everyone with his drills, and perhaps my favorite thing I heard about him all day was from Curtis Lofton: “Everytime he runs a route, it looks like he’s been shot out of a rocket.” That alone makes me ecstatic to see what Cooks will do on the field. It’s rare, but not uncommon for a rookie to make a giant impact in their first year. However, Cooks is looking more and more like he’ll be out to blow everyone away.
Other articles to check out:
- Players supporting Jimmy Graham, but focused on their jobs
- Transition to center a snap so far for New Orleans Saints’ Tim Lelito
- New Orleans Saints linebacker Ronald Powell doing ‘extra’ to catch up to veterans