August 2, 2008

Cautious Saints Scrimmage In Jackson

WR Skyler Green's kickoff return TD is highlight of the night

The Saints scrimmaged on Saturday night in Jackson, MS and the defensive line looked great. Whether it was stuffing Reggie Bush at the line or sacking the quarterback, rookie DT Sedrick Ellis led the defensive line in "winning" the scrimmage.

The Saints were thin during the scrimmage, with head coach Sean Payton lamenting depth at wide receiver, linebacker and defensive tackle due to injury. In the next breath, Payton insisted that the is being "smart as we transition these guys back off of their injuries."

Sitting precautionally for the scrimmage: WR Marques Colston (knee), WR Devery Henderson (hamstring), RB Deuce McAllister (knee), CB Mike McKenzie (knee), CB Tracy Porter (hamstring), TE Jeremy Shockey (tibia), MLB Jonathan Vilma (knee), DT Brian Young (knee). DT Hollis Thomas also sat out because of a Baker's cyst, which is a pocket of pressurized fluid in the knee. It just means pain for Thomas.

Payton trimmed his script for the scrimmage by 11 plays because of the lack of depth.

MLB Mark Simoneau continues to start while Jonathan Vilma continues to sit. Its hard to imagine that Simoneau will hold off yet another suitor at the position. Last year Simoneau held veteran Brian Simmons at bay the entire season. But Vilma's absence from the starting lineup is due to his careful recovery from a knee injury, and once healthy he will likely start.

The highlight of the scrimmage was WR Skyler Green's kickoff return touchdown. The former LSU star also had a great catch on a long pass against defensive back Greg Fassitt. The throw came from third stringer Tyler Palko, indicating where Green really sits right now. He faces an uphill battle, mostly against Lance Moore, for the team's kick returner and spread-formation receiver. Moore, for his part, caught a touchdown from starter Drew Brees.

Rookie K Taylor Melhaff showed off his leg with distance kicks, and on Green's touchdown was told to sky kick it. Green caught the ball inside the five, made a cut and was gone.

Bush slashed into the end zone from seven yards out for a touchdown, and was the focus of the starting offense. He was sent up the middle, outside and was at times quieted by the defensive line.

Off the field, Bush's lawsuit was denied arbitration, meaning that the ugly mess involving a marketing agent will go to court.

CB Randall Gay had an up and down night, forcing a fumble by Pierre Thomas but also receiving a knocking hit from TE Buck Ortega.

The Saints have been given Sunday off. The coaching staff will be spending time watching film.

Saint Great Stan Brock is undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, diagnosed last month. Brock, 50, is coaching at Army and had surgery last week, resulting in a positive prognosis. NOPF extends its thoughts to Brock and his family.

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