Don’t read too much into the first week of New Orleans Saints training camp


It’s now a full week and a half into the New Orleans Saints training camp process and I officially have one piece of advice for Saints fans: Woosah! Trust me guys, I get it. After everything the team went through last year from the expectations to the epic failure that was the 2014 New Orleans Saints, I get it. But the freaking out about every little thing that’s reported on twitter needs to stop. Not for me, I don’t mind, do it for yourselves. I would imagine that some of you have raised your blood pressure over the last week while you hang on to every report out of camp (exactly the same way I do while I check my phone behind my bosses back). Allow me to (hopefully) give you a little piece of mind and help you take a deep breath and relax.

Here’s what we know so far:

Bobby Richardson has surprised (almost) everyone by becoming one of the more productive and versatile players at camp so far.

– Akiem Hicks is slimmed down by a whopping 20 pounds and according to reports has been a total beast to this point. He also sat out the scrimmage (more on that in a minute).

– Max Unger has been dominant.

Brandon Coleman has turned the proverbial lights on and is beasting. He also missed the scrimmage.

– Brandin Cooks looks even better than he did last year. Missed the scrimmage.

– Kenny Vaccaro is a beast again.

– Delvin Breaux is ‘Canadian Deion’.

– Stephone Anthony is going to be a pro-bowler year 1….that one might actually be true.

– Garrett Grayson isn’t as good as the Saints’ hall of fame QB in his first few weeks (duh?).

– Andrus Peat is fat, out of shape, and getting beat constantly (this is a twitter take, not real).

– Kasim Edebali has looked like Junior Galette without the beard and Jerry Springer aspirations.

– Willie Snead and R.J. Harris are both looking like practice squad stash players at worst.

– Terron Armstead has been pretty much untouchable. Missed the Scrimmage.

-Everyone not named Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Mark Ingram, or Ben Watson was awful in the scrimmage (another intentional exaggeration).

This is a very brief synopsis of the first week and half of New Orleans Saints training camp plus the “Black and Gold” scrimmage, and I am both oversimplifying it and exaggerating things on purpose. First off, I am NOT mocking anyone for any overreactions; I would be doing it as much, or probably more than, anyone if I wasn’t at work. All I ask from everyone for the sake of their own sanity is to take everything you see, hear, and read in training camp with a grain of salt.

With the exception of a major injury like what happened to poor Jack Tabb, it’s in all of our interest to reserve judgment until the games start. That includes the fact that Jairus Byrd and Dannell Ellerbe have yet to join in on a practice outside of mild conditioning drills. Is that a cause for concern to me? Not yet.

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Part of why I haven’t gotten into freak out mode over the injuries (mostly ‘nicks’) or gotten googley-eyed over some of the good things I have heard is because I don’t trust it till I see it on film. I remember hearing how amazing the team was last year in training camp and we all remember how that turned out. I think the lesson to be learned there is to take that deep breath, and wait. Which for a fan (short for fanatic for a reason) might just be the hardest thing in the world to do.

What I am attempting to do is try to look at things the way a coach would. Holding players like Terron Armstead, C.J. Spiller, Akiem Hicks, Tim Lelito, Brandin Cooks, and Brandon Coleman out of the scrimmage could have something to do with injuries, but in my opinion it’s far more preventative than anything else. The coaches are perfectly willing to sit these guys at this point in camp for a day or two in order to get them, and keep them, as close to 100% as is possible. The biggest reason for that is after week 1 there will never be a point during the season where guys are truly at 100% again. Everyone plays through stuff every year.

That’s why I’m not bothered by having guys in and out right now because it keeps them healthy (especially the vets), and also gives more reps to the young guys who need them more right now. What time will I start to worry/begin drawing conclusions about the team then? Week 2 of preseason.

After the second preseason game we will have a MUCH better idea of how this team is going to shape out and what we really have in some of our younger players. The third game is called the ‘dress rehearsal’ for the regular season and we should have a pretty good idea of who we will all want to keep our eyes on during that game by the end of the second game. I trust game film about a million times more than practice for a lot of reasons, and the way I see it, it’s going to be how the players perform in real game situations that will determine my level of optimism (or pessimism) going into the regular season.

Up until that point, I personally refuse to draw any conclusions about anything regarding the New Orleans Saints until I have a better idea of what exactly I’m looking at. I’m honestly not doing it because I think I’m really smart or anything…it’s because if I let myself be swayed by all of this I’m going to end up with about 3 patches of hair left on my head within a week. I’m as crazy of a fan as anyone and it’s as hard for me as anyone to try to keep a level head when all I really want is to get to see our beloved team come out and be great again.

We just have to trust the process, and as aggravating as it may be, temper our reactions until we have something concrete to go on. So join me; woosah, take a deep breath, and wait until after the second preseason game. After that we can all collectively freak out, over analyze, or exult in our collective adulation as our favorite players ball out.

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