(Sports Network) -
REPORT DATE: July 24th
SITE: Saints Training Facility, Metairie, LA
CAMP OBJECTIVES: The Saints will likely be eager to hit the practice fields
once again after experiencing one of the most tumultuous offseasons any
professional franchise has ever endured. And although Super Bowl-winning head
coach Sean Payton and middle linebacker Jonathan Vilma won't be present at
Metairie after being hit with season-long suspensions for their roles in the
Bountygate scandal, the recent signing of Drew Brees to a new five-year
contract that ensures the star quarterback won't miss any camp time was a
positive step for a team ready to turn the page on the past few months. With
nearly every key member of New Orleans' record-setting offense also returning,
interim head coach Joe Vitt shouldn't have too many worries on that side, but
a defense that'll be breaking in two new starting linebackers in free-agent
additions Curtis Lofton and David Hawthorne and is now being run by ex-Rams
sideline boss Steve Spagnuolo may need a bit of an adjustment period. Finding
consistent pass rushers and a dependable nickel back from a group headed by
2011 third-rounder Johnny Patrick and newcomer Elbert Mack (Tampa Bay) will
also be on Spagnuolo's agenda, while the kicking competition between the
strong-legged Garrett Hartley and 42-year-old John Kasay should be one of the
more interesting battles of camp.
PRESEASON SCHEDULE (All Times Eastern):
Aug. 5 - vs. Arizona (at Canton, OH), 8 p.m.
Aug. 9 - at New England, 7:30 p.m.
Aug. 17 - vs. Jacksonville, 8 p.m.
Aug. 25 - vs. Houston, 8 p.m.
Aug. 30 - at Tennessee, 7 p.m.
The Sports Network