It appears that Mr. Benson wants an outside source to investigate and provide clarity on his team. After the accusations and scandal that have rocked the Saints this offseason, that’s somewhat understandable. Mike Florio has the story here.
Team spokesman Greg Bensel acknowledged and explained Freeh’s involvement.
“Serious allegations have been made about our organization this off-season; we take these allegations very seriously,” Bensel said via email. “As a result, we have hired the Freeh Group, founded by former director of the FBI and former federal judge Louis Freeh. Mr. Benson moved quickly to hire them and has spared no expense to get to the bottom of these allegations. We have given the Freeh Group complete access to our team and all of the individuals who have been associated with this news story.”
The Freeh Group will be doing their own independent investigation of both the “bounty” scandal and the more recent wiretapping allegations. What does this mean for Mickey Loomis? Does Mr. Benson not trust him anymore or is this just Benson being as cautious as possible after the way his team has been portrayed over the past four months?
A CSC shout-out goes to Bishiop Black for first providing a link to this report.
The good people of Samsung have challenged me to pinpoint Who Dat Nation’s favorite Saints highlight of all-time. But instead of simply having me choose, I am going to make this a democratic process and leave it all up to you.
Unfortunately, it would be impossible to have you pick from any and all of the great moments in the Saints 45 year history as a franchise, so I’ve selected just a handful of the ones I think are truly worthy of the distinction. The rest will be up to you folks.
Granted, I’m a relatively new fan in relation to the entire lifespan of the Saints so this list might be slightly skewed toward the more recent moments. But, then again, the first twenty years were pretty miserable so perhaps that’s not really a surprise.
Your options can be found below after the jump, along with a video of said moment to refresh your memory. Enjoy reliving these memorable moments, talking about them in the comment section and voting for your favorite.
The Saints have added depth to the team today by signing QB Luke McCown and RB Joe Banyard, two free agent tryout players who performed well at positions of need in the just-completed minicamp.
N_O_1saintfan’s Fanshot initially alerted me to this story, and then I jumped to this piece by Kevin Spain on the nola.com for more details.
You can find more details after the jump.
Here’s the bio Spain offered about McCown (click here for full career stats):
McCown, a 6-4, 217-pound quarterback entering his ninth NFL season, is a former fourth-round selection of the Cleveland Browns. A native of Jacksonville, Texas who went on to star at Louisiana Tech, McCown has played in 20 career games with nine starts in stints with Cleveland (2004), the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2005-08) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (2009-11). He has completed 184-of-316 career pass attempts for 2,035 yards with nine touchdowns and 14 interceptions for a passer rating of 68.5.
And here’s the story on Banyard (click here for his draft profile)…
Banyard (5-11, 213) spent his final two years of college eligibility at Texas-El Paso where he rushed for 1,490 yards with 14 touchdowns. As a senior in 2011, he rushed for 867 yards with six touchdowns on 127 carries to go with 12 receptions for 67 yards. The Sweetwater, Texas native played two seasons at UTEP after transferring from Texas Christian. He was originally signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars following the 2012 NFL Draft.
According to Spain, McCown was signed to a one-year contract, while Banyard received a three-year deal.
* * *
I know this isn’t the QB signing we were hoping would happen today, but now we’ve got another camp arm to take reps so Daniel and Canfield don’t go all rubber-armed making all those throws until Brees gets back with the team, and we’ll just have to wait and see what Banyard brings to the table – maybe he’s looking at a possible special teams spot.
It’s business as usual for Saints – NFC South Blog – ESPN METAIRIE, La. — I’ve walked out to the practice field twice a day each of the past two days, looking for any signs that suggest the New Orleans Saints are a different team than they’ve been the last few years. Other than a message for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell that can’t be printed here, I saw no signs.
The Brees deal guessing game begins | ProFootballTalk Whenever an presumably inevitable transaction begins to move closer to its inevitability, members of the media who possibly are trying to enhance their stature inevitably begin reporting that the transaction is “very close.
Players will get evidence three days before bounty hearing | ProFootballTalk Given that the league plans to conduct all four appeal hearings on the same day, it’s unlikely that the NFL will use a lengthy, complex presentation of evidence. Few if any trials can be completed in one day; the idea that four hearings involving hotly disputed allegations can be conducted on June 18 suggests that the procedures are more perfunctory than meaningful.
New Orleans Saints Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers joe Vitt Media Availability Thursday, June 7, 2012
“In an overview of this week at practice, I thought we got a lot done. Again (today), it was a review of first and second down. We then went into the red zone today and had extensive work. We had our nickel work yesterday. We’ll continue when we come back again on Monday to build our package. The guys are moving great, they’re moving quick. They’re intense but outstanding. I think that everyone understands here with the CBA, some of the things that we do are slower now. I think that we need to understand the rules. We couldn’t be more happy with where we are right now.”
“He came in last year with a tremendous amount of athleticism and want to and sometimes you can get a little bit of a sophomore jinx. He hasn’t shown any of that. He’s wide-eyed, this is a new system for him so he has to pay attention. I think the new system fits him perfectly. I think we’ll see a little more of his pass rush skills this year. We’ve been happy with him, really happy.”
Is it harder with the new contact-related rules this year to evaluate where you are based on years past?
“I think it is harder like I’ve said earlier with the offensive and defensive linemen. Everyone in the league is going through that right now. I like where we are right now. We like where we are right now and we’re just going to have to wait and see.”
Does this give a younger player less of an opportunity?
“I don’t think so because we are still going to judge them right now on what they can do. And that would be athleticism, footwork, balance, knee bend, that’s what they are being evaluated on.”
Could you pick out three guys that you are excited to see put pads on?
“I think Akiem Hicks is one of them. He is a big. We can all see his athleticism, change of direction and movement skills. I think that Corey White has been great. Again, he’s got balance, twitch, fluid hips and second gear but for a corner he’s got power too. I think what we all know what we have in Nick Toon, but this kid, Chris Givens, makes plays in the red zone everyday. Those guys I’m excited to see put the pads on.
Everyone knows that giveaway and takeaway ratio are the number one statistics in football, how much stress in the offseason have you put into those?
“Not anymore pressure or stress than we have before. It’s the number one stat that we show our football team every single week. I’ll give you a stat, did you know that we’re undefeated if we don’t turn the ball over, since we’ve been together in 2006. If we forced at least one turnover on defense, I think we are 60 and 27 or something like that. We stress it but as we are stressing it we still have to play the game quick and confident and if something bad happens you have to go on to the next play. I think that we are only one of two teams in 2006 that went to the NFC Championship, that were in the minus that year. But when we won a World Championship we were plus. It is very important to us. We talk about it all the time.”
Do you plan on bringing Luke McCown to training camp?
“I think so. Number one, I think that he is a heck of an athlete. He’s got a live arm. I thought he really did a good job getting the offense in and out of the huddle. The ball was on the ground one time in the three days he’s been here. I think he is someone that we need to take a look at. He’s done a good job here.”
Have you guys put anymore thought into bringing training camp on the road?
“Yes, we have. I think that we will be ready to announce that sometime next week.”
Was shifting Brian Young to assist you with the linebackers to help you out with your wider responsibilities?
“That transition took place before any of this stuff happened. Brian is a defensive lineman, played in the league nine years and was working with the defensive line when we lost Blake Williams. Brian wanted to come to linebacker to learn more back coverage and he’s done a fantastic job. He’s a smart guy. He is learning the back coverage (concepts) right now but he understands run fits and the alignment of linebackers based on backfield sets.”
How close were you in your communication with David Thomas when we was dealing with his concussions last season? Can you comment on his experience?
“I don’t think that anybody can comment on something that anybody else went through. I was there with him when he went through it last year and it very concerning. You are talking about life after football. He’s got a wife and two boys. He loves the game, but he loves his family more. He went and received all of the proper medical opinions that he had to receive, they wrote off on it and we feel good about it right now. It is something that we are conscious of and it’s something that he is conscious of. It’s serious.
The team values his presence because he is a versatile player?
“Probably the most versatile offensive player that we have. He can play three positions, the wide, the F and the H. He understands pass protections. When Heath Evans went down in the Super Bowl year. He came right in to handle all of the protections. I’m not so sure that he is on the verge of brilliant when it comes to being a football player. He loves the game. It was a huge setback for us as a team last year when down but I will say that his health comes first. Right now everything is going great. He is making plays, running around, he feels great, he’s got no headaches and he’s not dizzy. Everything is going great right now.”
Do the young kids pay attention to him?
“We’ll if they’re not then they are stupid. They shouldn’t be here. He is the epitome of a professional.”
If Drew Brees is signed before training camp, does Luke McCown still have a chance going to training camp.?
“Once nine comes in here, we evaluate our roster and see where we are numberswise. We are always going to bring the best players to camp.”
There has been reports that he is close to signing a long term deal, can you share anything?
“I haven’t read that either, but I’ve said all along that he’s going to be here so I’m not surprised.”
Let’s face it – Drew Brees isn’t signing today, tomorrow, or Monday. Speculation from WWL and others that a signing was imminent are most likely premature. Chris Mortenson is reporting that a hearing with arbitrator Stephen Burbank to determine the designation of Brees’ franchise tag won’t happen until later this month. I don’t see Brees, Condon, and Loomis agreeing to a long term contract before that hearing takes place.
So, let’s roll our focus over to the 2nd most exciting players of any football team – the kickers. (Wah Wah)
“As far as the competition goes, all I can control is what I do,” Hartley said. “Everything else is out of my jurisdiction.”
“We’re going to put both of those guys out there and let them compete in practice and certainly in the preseason games and we’ll come to a consensus,” said special teams coordinator Greg McMahon. “We really believe this is a really good problem to have because you’ve got two quality kickers. … Both would be a good pick.”
The most interesting part was that Hartley has reportedly changed his kicking technique.
Hartley was cleared in January, and he said his leg is feeling strong and that he welcomes the competition. He’s made some adjustments in preparation for the battle, changing his technique to a two-step kicking approach.
Will this result in more accuracy and range or does it have the potential to throw everything off when he’s in a pressure situation?
John Kasay, despite his 42 years of age, isn’t showing much signs of drop-off and seems intent on making Hartley earn his old job back. Who do you think will be the Saints starting kicker once the season begins?
Does this help get your mind off of the Drew Brees contract situation? No? Oh well. I gave it a shot.
“You need to read them then,” said Vitt, his voice rising again. “If you’re going to report on our business, you need to know the rules. I’m not here to teach them to you. I’m here to teach football, not teach you the rules.”
I know everyone is dying to read another story involving the bounty system or Brees’ contract negotiations or Pamphilon’s downward spiral into the media abyss, but I don’t feel like writing one of those. So instead I’ve decided to write a little something about football.
Several stories about the Saints OTAs have mentioned some significant changes in the defensive scheme for our beloved Saints. The one change that gets me really excited involves Martez Wilson. Wilson was the team’s third round draft pick in 2011, picking him up as a linebacker but not getting a whole lot of playing time his first year. Of course with all the linebackers the Saints have on the roster now, even with Vilma being suspended for the whole year, Wilson may not be looking at a whole lot of playing time this year either. I guess you could say Martez is at the end of the line in more ways than one.
Rumor has it that Wilson has been moved to the end of the defensive line into the DE position. Because of this move, I personally believe this will be Wilson’s breakout year. For the last few years and maybe even a few years before that, I have screamed through my television at the Saints’ coaching staff to put some speed rushers on the line. Unfortunately, my desperate pleas have fallen upon deaf ears. I knew I should have invested in the smart TV when I had the money. On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong and they could hear me. I know my neighbors have thanks to the multiple visits from local law enforcement officers! Did you know they work on Sundays?
Anyway, here’s why I think what I’m thinking. First of all, Wilson is fast, like 4.42 second 40-yard dash fast. I remember the few times I saw Wilson on the field last year I thought to myself, “Damn, that guy is so fast he makes fast people look slow!” Just for comparison purposes, Robert Griffin III, the fastest quarterback in this year’s NFL Combine ran his 40 yard dash in 4.41 seconds. Coincidentally, the Saints and Redskins will be facing each other in the season opener which should be fun to watch with that much speed on the field.
Now I know speed isn’t the only deciding factor in getting to the quarterback, but Wilson’s overall skill set is going to set him apart. As a matter of fact, he was one of the top rated DEs coming out of high school. He was moved to ILB at Illinois probably because of his size. Even though Wilson is small in comparison to the average NFL DE, he is strong. He pumped out 23 reps of 225 lbs which isn’t a record but it’s respectable enough. Thanks to his combination of speed, agility, and athleticism he’s going to blow by offensive linemen.
With Spags’ new defense, Wilson is going to also have an opportunity to showcase his abilities in zone coverage. This is good news because he’s not known for being able to shutdown receivers in man-to-man, and working in zone coverage means you should have some help if you lose a step.
I predict he’s going to be the element the Saints have been missing on defense for several years. He can disrupt the backfield against the run or pass, and he’s fast enough to serve a purpose in coverage. He’ll register in the double digits in sacks this year, bat a few passes away and maybe even snag an interception by season’s end. Whatever he does, this new role means that his beast mode has a chance to be displayed!