Found July 16, 2013 on Fox Sports Southwest:
With the torture of Bounty-gate firmly behind them and Sean Payton back at the helm, the New Orleans Saints are ready for a fresh start, beginning when training camp opens in Metairie, LA August 25. Camp promises to be a busy time for The Black and Gold: players and coaches will be installing the team's third defensive system in three years and re-adjusting to Payton's presence, which includes his newfound love for the benefits of CrossFit. Payton personally does CrossFit several times a week at a gym in the Warehouse District not far from his home, and several players say they've been warned CrossFit exercises will be a part of the Saints conditioning test when players return next week. Offensively, one of the priorities for the Saints will be addressing the ball security issues that uncharacteristically haunted Drew Brees at times last season. No. 9 refused to make excuses and never specifically addressed whether he was having to carry too much weight. It's a question Payton is quick to answer. "When you're struggling like we were defensively and struggling to run the football - those are signs to point to more difficulty for the quarterback. So, hopefully we've got that added dimension in the running game and a more balanced attack. Hopefully we're playing better defense. If you look back at '06, '09, '10 and '11 - we were opportunistic on defense and we had some balance to what we did. I think that's been a good formula for us. When those get out of whack, there's more pressure on the quarterback, and you're asking him to do more than you want," Payton says. The Saints new 3-4 Defense will play a major role in determining whether the Black and Gold can make another championship run. New Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan has a depth chart built, tentatively showing who plays where and when in his system. Some players' roles are solidified. Expect to see Martez Wilson, Will Smith and Junior Galette at outside linebacker. Other players will train at two positions and slide between roles. "Akheim Hicks for example is a guy we think could play nose, but could also play an end position," Payton explains. The nose tackle will be a critical puzzle piece in this new defense, but Payton believes the Saints third-round pick from last year is up to the challenge: "He looks to have the size certainly to play it - he's going into his second year. He's worked extremely hard and there are a lot of people who think he's coming into his own." The loss of Victor Butler during OTA's is a big blow to the Saints new defensive scheme. Butler's torn ACL likely means he won't see any action this upcoming season. The outside linebacker was another player Payton was eyeing to fill two roles. Now the Saints will be looking to see who else within the outside linebacker corps can succeed as a dual position player. "We play so many snaps where we're seeing 3 and 4 receiver sets. It gets you out of your base defense and into your sub-packages, so a lot of these outside linebackers become defensive ends in nickel situations," Payton says. The Saints sported the worst defense in league history last season in terms of yards allowed. A crucial reason why: a pathetic pass rush. This season, it's a priority Payton believes can be accomplished one of two ways. "The one -on-one battles - whether its Junior Galette or Will Smith. It can also come from pressure packages and sending more than 4 people," he explains. Payton was relegated to watching most of last season on television, but Cam Jordan left a big impression. Payton now projects the first-round pick from 2011 will help the Saints use both schemes to step up pressure on opposing quarterbacks. "Cam Jordan had a great year last year and rushed the passer as good as anyone did for us, so I'd like to think both things will happen for us. I think there are some young players who are developing into potentially good pass rushers and in this scheme, we're going to have opportunities to put these guys in different positions than they were a year ago," Payton says.

New Orleans Saints: Who is Ryan Griffin?

The New Orleans Saints are one of four lucky franchises to have a future Hall of Fame lock at quarterback; the others being the New England Patriots with Tom Brady, Green Bay Packers with Aaron Rodgers, and Denver Broncos with Peyton Manning. The Saints have also been lucky in the sense that Brees is the only one to not miss a game due to injury (Rodgers has been durable as well...

Marques Colston Does it Again

Marques Colston has long been adored for Saints fans. He’s one of the team’s top wide receivers. He’s the author of his own children’s book. And he looks like this in a bathtub. Yet even with all that, Colston has found a way to out-marvelous himself. Today he’s hand-delivering a check for $103,000 to Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. The money will be put toward...

New Orleans Saints 2013 Fantasy Football Projections

QB Drew Brees (New Orleans) There was concern about how Brees would do without Sean Payton last season, but he did fine, completing 63.0% of his passes for an average of 7.7 YPA, 43 touchdowns, and 19 interceptions, while leading the NFL’s #3 ranked scoring offense. He’s now thrown for 5000 yards in 3 of the last 5 seasons, including the past 2, the first quarterback in NFL history...

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Tackles

Tackle is a very interesting position for the Saints this year with Jermon Bushrod gone, as there's tons of depth but not a lot of proven talent. There are a number of players on the roster with intriguing potential so you have to  feel pretty good on one or two panning out, especially given the track record of success this regime has had with offensive linemen. That said, Aaron...

Sean Payton on the evolution of NFL quarterbacks

The Saints head into training camp next week bolstered by a strong session of OTA's earlier this summer, when every single player showed up. It was the first time in Sean Payton's NFL career that he saw 100 participation for optional training. As helpful as that period was, Payton is ready to see his players in padded action, especially the Black and Gold's new defense...

The Saints’ Jabari Greer: A DB and a DJ

New Orleans Saints defensive back Jabari Greer has already won a Super Bowl ring. Now, he’s about to fulfill one of his other lifelong dreams. Greer will co-host a radio show called ““Jazz from the French Market,” to be broadcast on New Orleans’ nonprofit, community supported radio station WWOZ. He says he grew up listening to the likes of Miles Davis and Donald Byrd...

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Fullbacks

This will be a short post because the Saints currently only have two fullbacks on their roster. They are incumbent starter Jed Collins, and one year vet Austin Johnson. The fullback position is used by the Saints infrequently, but still carries some value. Jed Collins has been an underrated part of the offense, providing great lead blocking and 14 receptions (2 touchdowns) as a safety...

New Orleans Saints 2013 NFL Season Preview

Introduction How valuable is Head Coach Sean Payton? Well, if you look just at records, you could say he’s worth 6 wins. Last season, the New Orleans Saints went 7-9 and missed the playoffs, a year after a 13-3 regular season. A lot of people blamed this on Sean Payton’s absence with a yearlong suspension, but Payton comes from an offensive background and the offense was not...

Gary Pinkel now has a website, and its first offering is a doozy

Gary Pinkel, the head coach at Missouri, is launching his own website. This is largely a “keep up with the Joneses” move that mirrors other sites of high profile coaches, and an attempt to grow the brand of Missouri football. The current video on the site, however, is something to behold. Let’s start with the boilerplate. Via, we get the standard announcement...

Pierre Thomas As a Kid

I rocked this Cosby sweater Juan… Pierre Thomas and His Friends Are a Comedy Troupe Pierre Thomas Gets In Some Crossfit  

Saints Nation: Training Camp Position Battle Preview - Guards

The guard position is probably one of the most secure on the Saints' team, but also one of the most important. The Saints have spent much more money on this position than the tackle position, which suggests they value it much higher with Drew Brees at quarterback. Interesting, because traditionally tackle has always been more important to other NFL teams. Brees has great footwork...
Saints News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.