The New Orleans Saints finished their sixth practice today and interim head coach Joe Vitt said the team worked on run packages, run defenses, protections and some of the defensive blitzes.
The Saints injury update: Jermon Bushrod (shoulder) and Jahri Evans started to practice this week. Vitt said they have been integrated into the offense and they both look good. Jonathan Casillas is still nursing an injury to his back although he is trying to work through it. Vitt said Chris Ivory tweaked his hamstring and could've practiced today, but coaches decided to hold him out as a precaution.
With the addition of three linebackers this year, Vitt was asked about Scott Shanle. He said, "Scott Shanle has had an outstanding camp. Scott has started at the Sam position for us this spring. I think Scott is one of those guys, one of those rare breeds. I've been with him since '06, and you have not seen any diminishing skill level. He still has the footwork and the fluid hips. One of his real high qualities that he has is his man coverage skills. He's come into camp in great shape, so he has done a great job. "
Vitt had praise for one of the Saints biggest offseason free agent signings. Asked how Curtis Lofton had surprised the coach, "Number one, he's lost some weight and body fat. His ability to change direction in space, his ability to drop his weight and burst on the ball, and then his angles to the ball and his closing speed have been shocking to me. They've been shocking to his teammates too. We know what we've got; we've got a thumper. We've got a guy who loves the contact, he's a downhill linebacker. To watch his athleticism in space, his ability to flip his hips and burst, has really been a nice addition."
With the signing of Drew Brees still on the minds of all Saints fans, Joe Vitt remains hopeful a contract will be worked out and is confident that Brees will be in training camp. The coach said, "What else is he going to do? He can't sing or dance. Listen, again. I don't think that anyone thought this was going to be easy. We talked about the lockout last year; well they're going to come back here. They are going to come back there."
"No, I think that everyone knew that it was going to go until the 23rd hour and that everything was going to be settled. Again, there are a lot of pieces here that Mickey's (Loomis) got to get fit in, with the cap and getting people signed and so on and so forth and it's all going to fit into the future and this is going to get done. It's going to get done when Drew and Mickey know what is best for our football team and we can move forward."
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