Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Writer
METAIRIE, La. ― We’re seven practices into the 2011 preseason and we’ve yet to see a fight break out. My money is on the next seven practices.
It’s either going to be defensive tackle Shaun Rogers starting one – linemen always get into it because they’re the ones with the most contact during practices – or rookie running back Mark Ingram, who has been getting rocked day in, day out by veterans
Friday, the head-turning hit came during special teams practice. Ingram was returning a kick and next thing I know, he’s getting slobber-knocked by a player in a black jersey (it appeared to be special teams ace Ramon Humber, but I didn’t get a perfect look). Earlier, in inside run drills, Malcolm Jenkins knocked Ingram hard out of bounds.
I’m not actually serious about Ingram getting into a fight. It’s just interesting to see him take punishment. Time and again, he’s getting off the turf and going back to the huddle. He’ll take another rep and deliver a hit himself.
Yeah, I think he’s going to be a star.
The Saints, in attempt to beef up their offensive line and to add experience at center after losing Jonathan Goodwin to free agency, signed center Olin Kreutz. He’s a 13-year veteran, playing every year with Bears where he earned six Pro Bowl berths and two All Pro honors.
“He looked at this as an opportunity and he left a couple of other options on the table that paid a lot more money,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “His main interest is finding the right fit and the right team. He felt pretty good about what he saw.”
To make room for Kreutz, New Orleans waived receiver Michael Galatas, a Mandeville native who played at Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss.
A man goes to Philadelphia…
Tell me if you’ve heard this one before. A Saints player goes to Philadelphia. He has sports hernia surgery.
That’s it. But I’m sure you’re thinking the same thing – the Saints must lead the league in groin injuries.
This time it’s running back Chris Ivory, who already was sidelined as he continues his recovery from a January Lisfranc injury to his left foot.
Payton said the surgery shouldn’t prohibit him from rehabilitating his foot injury and the timetable remains three weeks, or two days before the final week of preseason practice.
Former Saints tight end Jeremy Shockey, former Saints left tackle Jammal Brown, current right tackle Jon Stinchcomb, receiver Devery Henderson and linebacker Jonathan Vilma are among those who have had the surgery the past three seasons.
Offensive tackle Charles Brown (hamstring), running back Chris Ivory (left foot), cornerback Tracy Porter (left knee) and defensive end Greg Romeus (right knee) all sat out as they remain on the failed physical list.
Linebacker Ezra Butler (left hamstring) and receiver Jarred Fayson (left ankle) were Friday’s non-participants with camp injuries.
Don’t think Payton and his crew were serious this offseason in fixing what ailed the special teams?
The moves should be enough to tell you. In the Reggie Bush trade with Miami, they picked up one of the Dolphins’ better special teams players. Their first free agent signing was Korey Hall, a special teams ace for the Packers this past season.
Darren Sproles certainly gives them something on offense, but he also gives the Saints a return game for once.
But the biggest reason you should believe they’ve decided to get real about special teams is watching nearly all the starters take part in specialty period.
Almost everyone is taking part in tackling drills. Almost everyone is taking part in kickoff coverage. Almost everyone is taking part in punt drills.
Linebacker Scott Shanle likely hasn’t taken part in special teams practice in years. He has been a part of special teams in his first two days of practice.
Malcolm Jenkins volunteered even to run kickoff coverage drills.
I expect them to be much better this season in the return game.
This and that
*Defensive rode rookie linebacker Martez Wilson hard Friday, at one point yelling at him, “Martez! It’s time for you to dominate somebody!” It didn’t look like he dominated anybody afterward, though.
*The Saints appear to be rotating guys at strongside linebacker first-team right now. Both Will Herring and Danny Clark are getting time there, with both also working with the second-team. Clint Ingram also was at the strongside with the backups.
*Patrick Robinson has been working with the first-team defense at right cornerback, but Friday, in the third team period of the day, he left with an undisclosed injury. Rookie Johnny Patrick took over for him.
*For now, your second-team safeties appear to be Paul Oliver at free and Jonathon Amaya at strong.
*Kicker Garrett Hartley went 8-for-8 Friday. He’s 14 of 16 the past two days.
*Kreutz took all the snaps with the first-team offense Friday, leaving Tennant to grab all the second-team snaps.
* Mark Ingram showed vision and speed during inside drill, running right through defensive tackle Tom Johnson on one play. Meanwhile, Sproles showed tremendous sight and swiftness, cutting back against the grain and darting through the backside for a nice gain.
*Fullback Kolby Hurt made a nice impression during second-team team. He caught a pass from quarterback Chase Daniel and ran over cornerback Fabian Washington, eliciting ooh’s and ahhh’s from players.
*We haven’t said much about Daniel in camp because he has no battle for the No. 2 spot. But he looks a lot more precise this year and a lot more comfortable with the system.
1st and 10: QB Drew Brees to TE Jimmy Graham out left, incomplete; LB Will Herring good coverage
1st and 10: RB Mark Ingram hit in backfield by gaggle of defenders
1st and 10: Brees incomplete when ball bounces through Graham’s hands
1st and 10: Brees quick slant left to WR Devery Henderson for 5-7 yards
1st and 10: Brees sacked
1st and 10: Brees’ pass broken up by cornerback Jabari Greer
1st and 10: Brees to WR Robert Meachem for 5-plus yards
1st and 10: Brees to Henderson for 12-plus yards
1st and 10: Brees to Graham, incomplete; underthrown, but FS Malcolm Jenkins had good coverage
1st and 10: Brees to WR Lance Moore quick left. Moore shakes CB Patrick Robinson and gains more yards
1st and 10: Brees high to TE David Thomas over Greer, incomplete
1st and 10: Brees can’t elude rush, throws ball away; Robinson leaves field injured
1st and 10: Brees incomplete
1st and 10: Brees to Henderson for 3-plus yards
1st and 10: Brees play-action to Graham for 7-9 yards
1st and 10: Brees to Moore for 12-plus yards.
The Saints will practice again Saturday afternoon from 4-6:45 p.m. It’s outdoors and open to the public, weather permitting. Friday, the weather wasn’t permitting.