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DATELINE: Metairie, LA/August 5th, 2010 (Payton should be a weatherman, avoids the rain again!!)

There are a few constants this time of year, kids are counting the days left in summer vacation, parents are counting the days till school starts and in most camps the defense is ahead of the offense. For a change that is true here at Camp Payton which is a far cry from what it was in his first three years in training camp. Oh we remember the days of Jason David and Fred Thomas who would get roasted in the Jackson sun where Drew Brees could do whatever he wanted. Well, these days no more David, no more Thomas. instead we have the likes of Jabari Greer and Jonathan VIlma who have changed the landscape and the mindset of Saints scrimmages.

Having that Gregg Williams guy doesn’t hurt either. The Saints Defensive dynamo is as competitive as Brees which has made these Saints practices much more intense the past two years. I asked Drew yesterday about the ultra competitive WIlliams where he appreciates his nature and seems to feed off of it. The feeling is mutual, ask any defense player if getting constant reps against the Number one offense in the NFL helps and they know it gives them a edge when the real games kick off. What you gotta love about Brees is his effort each 11 on 11 drill. Whether its running the two minute offense, goal line or just an ordinary rep, you see how frustrated he gets with every incomplete pass, batted ball or on those rare occasions an interception. That’s why he as good as he is, now that he’s getting tested each rep, he is getting even better, a scary notion for everybody else.

Today was the first time Payton attempted the two minute drills in camp and it made for some nice theater. The defense won round one as both Greer and Roman Harper came up with big pass breakups against the 1’s to keep them out of the endzone. Next up was back up Patrick Ramsey who had a similar fate. The only Saints QB to get the ball in the endzone against the Saints defense was third teamer Chase Daniel who threw a touchdown pass to rookie Jimmy Graham. So on this day, the defense rests, while the offense is left restless.

OK, I know its only two minute drills in training camp and I couldn’t agree more with the notion that in this football crazed setting, every little move is sometimes magnified more than it should be from a media standpoint. I get a kick when the media blows up a certain player at a certain practice early in training camp but this recent trend is a little more pertinent. For years the Saints offense dominated the defense in camp and that trend is changing. Last year, we saw immediately the difference but this year it seems to be even more so. This camp, the defense has challenged the offense more than ever and in the end, that’s good for both sides. Yes in this Saints vs Saints showdown, everybody wins!


“SHOCKING” DEVELOPMENT: After missing the past three days, Jeremy Shockey was back at it this morning looking like he hadn’t lost a beat. The Saints tight end had been out with soreness in his knees but caught several passes and showed no signs of the injury.

SECONDARY CONCERNS: Tracy Porter (back spasms) and  Patrick Robinson (hamstring) both were out this morning as well but got in plenty of time on the exercise bikes.

GREAT SCOTT: Linebacker Scott Shanlee missed his fifth straight practice with left knee strain.

RAISING THE DUN”BAR”—The biggest battle in camp remains strongside linebacker where Jo-Lonn Dunbar may have the early edge. He plans on getting more compeition when Clint Ingram comes off the PUP list though.

“HART”-BREAKER–Kicker Garrett Hartley is picking up where he left off. Today he drilled a 60 yard field goal that would have been good for maybe 65 or more. WIth the Saints offense, I don’t see a lot of 60 yarders in his future, but its good to know he can.

Mike Nabors