July 29, 2003

Wilkerson: Camp Update

Training camp 2003 has had it's share of ups and downs over the past few days. Kick return specialist Michael Lewis had a scary moment as Mel Mitchell collided with him in warm ups. Lewis had to be carted off and taken to the hospital after he complained that his hands and feet were tingling. After being examined it was determined that he had suffered no broken bones just a slight sprain in his neck and he should be able to return to practice after a few days of rest.

Running back Tavian Banks pulled a hamstring that will now hurt his chances of making this team. Not because he is a bad player, in fact he was having a good camp but he needs to be on the field if he wants to stick around and hamstrings can sometimes linger for a long time.

Jerry Fontenot suffered a stinger and is limited at the moment. Of course Fontenot will make this team but any time missed by a starter hurts the team.

Now for the good.

Derrick Rodgers and Sedrick Hodge continue to shine. Rodgers especially is having a great camp and is a lock to start. You can't say enough about Tebucky Jones. He has been a great addition and his size and speed are overwelming. Grady Jackson and Henry Ford look like they are ready to both push for starting jobs and Kenny Smith along with Jonathan Sullivan will have a hard time winning those jobs. Sullivan is not helping his cause at all as he remains a holdout.

On the offensive side of the ball Jim Haslett says that Aaron Brooks is the hottest player in camp and as each day goes by Brooks looks better and better. The receiving trio of Joe Horn, Donte Stallworth and Jerome Pathon will be fun to watch this year. All three are having excellent camps and Brooks knows he can go to any one of them anytime. Brooks also has a real tight end for the first time. Ernie Conwell is another solid addition to this years team. Conwell is nothing but the real deal and brings a heck of a swagger to this team. He not only has a Super Bowl ring but he also is not afraid to speak up to his teammates. Not in a bad way but in a leadership role that this team needs as much as anything. Yes Joe Horn is the unquestioned leader and Aaron Brooks has the respect of his teammates but Conwell brings a sense of confidence that everyone needs to see.

We are now getting close to the scrimmage and aslo some pre season games that will give an indication of where this team is but don't be surprised to see the Saints start feeling really good about themselves real soon. Many within the organization feel that this is the best team so far under Haslett and IF they stay healthy could go far.

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