Kiko Alonso retires after first practice at Saints training camp

Kiko Alonso retires after first practice at Saints training camp

When you know, you know. Kiko Alonso hung up his cleats after his first practice at muggy, humid New Orleans Saints training camp on Friday, having returned to football after a three-year journey in recovering from a torn ACL. WWL TV’s Brooke Kirchhofer first reported that Alonso informed the team of his retirement, which was confirmed by NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill on Saturday. It’s not too surprising given Alonso’s age (he’ll turn 32 on Aug. 14) and injury history. He knew it was his time.

So where do the Saints go from here? Dennis Allen recently spoke about the opportunity they gave Alonso, and the depth chart could still use another boost. They may need to sign another linebacker with rookie draft pick D’Marco Jackson on the mend with an undisclosed injury. Several other free agents tried out alongside Alonso this week, including Anthony Hitchens and Jon Bostic, sand it would make sense for one of them to end up signing with New Orleans. Stay tuned.

[lawrence-newsletter]

Tyrann Mathieu returns to Saints training camp for Day 7

Tyrann Mathieu returns and Michael Thomas advances to 7-on-7s. Key observations from Saints camp Day 7, via @RossJacksonNOLA:

Day 7 of New Orleans Saints training camp was a day of big development for star players. As the team returned to shorts and shells, the participation of safety Tyrann Mathieu and wide receiver Michael Thomas were the highlights. But there were moments that would be considered lowlights as well as a scuffle leads to two players being removed from practice. Here are our key observations Wednesday’s Saints camp.

Tyrann Mathieu excused from the start of Saints training camp

Tyrann Mathieu was excused from the start of New Orleans Saints training camp while he attends to a personal matter:

Tyrann Mathieu won’t be participating in the start of New Orleans Saints training camp, the team announced Tuesday, having excused him while he attends to a personal family matter. The New Orleans native should return to work soon once this is handled, whatever it is — we aren’t going to speculate.

Mathieu’s absence isn’t that big of a deal. He was full-go throughout the summer and immediately asserted himself as a team leader in the secondary. Sure, more time spent with his new coaches and teammates would be nice, but missing a few days of classroom work and conditioning drills isn’t the end of the world. He’s experienced plenty of that through his first nine years in the NFL.

So fans have nothing to worry with as long as Mathieu is back in the saddle once the team dials up the intensity later in training camp. Players often miss a day or two here and there to tend to their families, and we’ll be looking for Mathieu to return to the practice field soon enough. In the meantime, this is an opportunity for backups like Bryce Thompson, Justin Evans, and Smoke Monday to get more work in his place.

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[lawrence-newsletter]

Former Eagles RB Jordan Howard among latest Saints free agent tryouts

Former Eagles RB Jordan Howard, USFL Defensive Player of the Year Chris Odom among latest Saints free agent tryouts:

The start of New Orleans Saints training camp is here, so it makes sense for the team to fly in a handful of free agents for tryouts now that they’re getting a better grasp on their roster. Putting players through their paces in practice each day and checking in on various injury situations helps inform the Saints on where they still need help, and that’s reflected in their latest tryouts.

We know running back is a priority for them, so it’s good to see WWLTV’s Brooke Kirchhofer report that former Philadelphia Eagles backup Jordan Howard will be trying out soon. New Orleans could use an upgrade in the backfield behind Alvin Kamara regardless of his status, and Howard brings some value as a runner who has averaged 50-plus rushing yards per game in three of the last four seasons. He’ll be a good comparison for the Saints to work out alongside Darius Victor, the USFL’s Offensive Player of the Year who will be trying out soon.

Additionally, NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill reports that the Saints will work out defensive end Chris Odom — a playmaking pass rusher who just won recognition as USFL Defensive Player of the Year with the Houston Gamblers. Odom bagged 12.5 sacks (leading the spring league), 8 tackles for loss, and 6 forced fumbles while blocking 4 kicks. The Saints run deep at defensive end but it’s still worth giving him a look, especially with Marcus Davenport starting camp on the PUP list. You can never have enough pass rushers.

It’s likely that the Saints are hosting other free agents, too, but we won’t know for sure until it’s reported or declared by the team to the NFL daily transactions wire. We’ll be keeping an eye out to see if any of this activity results in a contract or two.

[lawrence-newsletter]

New Orleans Saints Alternate Helmets, where to buy, get your collectible Saints helmets now

Get your own piece of history with the New Orleans Saints alternate helmet as well as Training Camp gear available now.

The New Orleans Saints have released their alternate helmets that they will wear this season. Saints fans can now own a piece of history for themselves with these Riddell On-Field Alternate Speed Authentic Helmets in two sizes, which include the mini version as well.

Click on any of the photos or links below to check out the styles and collectibles including all of the New Orleans Saints Training Camp Collection.

New Orleans Saints Riddell Alternate Speed Flex Authentic Helmet

New Orleans Saints Riddell Alternate Speed Mini Helmet

 

New Orleans Saints Riddell Alternate Speed Authentic Helmet

 

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It’s early, but Jarvis Landry looks like exactly what Saints missed at wide receiver

It’s early, but Jarvis Landry looks like exactly what the Saints have been missing at wide receiver: a consistent playmaker with real NFL experience

The Jarvis Landry signing was met with a lot of fanfare, but it’s important to set the homer goggles aside and appreciate the proud LSU Tigers alum for what he is: a reliable veteran with five Pro Bowl nods behind him. And while it’s too early to say anything too bold and outrageous, he’s looking like exactly what the New Orleans Saints were missing with Michael Thomas out of commission last year. Which makes the idea of them teaming up together even more appealing.

Landry has been a popular target for the Saints quarterbacks in minicamp practices, doing as much damage underneath coverage as further downfield. Sure-handed and physical at the catch point, he’s been a tough assignment for anyone to defend. Things will change once players put on their pads and start hitting in live contact, but this early success is encouraging to see. What’s also gratifying to see is Landry offering pointers to younger teammates like Deonte Harty. That’s something he’s done for years — NewOrleans.Football’s Nick Underhill noted that Landry shared feedback with Thomas when the latter was a fiery high school recruit.

This is what he Saints have been missing while Thomas was on the mend: an experienced playmaker who can take charge of the receiving corps. Last year’s receiving leaders (Marquez Callaway, Harty, and Tre’Quan Smith) didn’t have the benefit of extensive starting reps, and the older players in the unit (Ty Montgomery, Kenny Stills, Chris Hogan, and Kevin White) didn’t do much to consistently threaten opposing defenses. Landry brings both traits as a leader and a trustworthy weapon to the table.

And it’s in his interest to make the most of this opportunity. Having signed a one-year deal with the Saints paying out just $3 million, Landry can double his money through incentives written into his contract. Catching 55 passes earns a $250,000 bonus, which can be outdone through a $500,000 incentive for 65 receptions, but a full $1 million gets uncorked should he total 75 catches. Another $500,000 can be earned with 5 touchdown receptions, as well as by playing 48.5% or more of the team’s snaps on offense.

Additionally, Landry can win $500,000 more should he snag 60 receptions (or more) while the Saints secure a playoff berth. A trip to the postseason while he reaches 607 receiving yards brings in $500,000 more. If Landry can meet all of those incentives, he’ll double his money and total $3 million through incentives.

In summary: to max out his incentives Landry would need to log 75 or more receptions for 607 or more receiving yards, scoring 5 or more touchdown catches, while playing 48.5% of snaps, should New Orleans get back into the postseason. That would make everyone happy, Landry especially given he’s playing on a one-year deal with greener pastures ahead in 2023 free agency.

Not to pour cold water over everything, but it’s going to take a lot more than some acrobatic — and unguarded — catches in June for Landry to go the distance. He’ll need to continue to develop chemistry with his teammates and find his niche in the passing game next to Thomas and first-round rookie Chris Olave. But it’s tough to not feel encouraged by how well things have started off. Let’s be mindful of how early it is, but so far Landry’s NFL homecoming has been as-advertised. A lot is riding on whether his next act can keep up the pace.

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Mickey Loomis goes on the record and admits that yes, he does hate the Falcons

Mickey Loomis went on the record and admitted that yes, he does hate the Falcons, during a podcast with ex-Atlanta GM Thomas Dimitroff:

This is interesting: New Orleans Saints Saints general manager Mickey Loomis made a rare media appearance on the GM Journey podcast, hosted by longtime Atlanta Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff. Dimitroff worked against Loomis and the Saints during his 13-year run with Atlanta, and cultivated a unique relationship with Loomis as one of his peers and rivals. Loomis shared his perspective on the Saints-Falcons strife to lead off the conversation.

“First of all, I do hate the Falcons, I just don’t hate the people that work for the Atlanta Falcons,” Loomis clarified. “I have a lot of respect for the coaches that you have there, the owner, all the people involved in the building. I can separate the people from the rivalry.”

It’s a really fascinating discussion. Loomis spoke about the complexities involved with the job, especially when paired for so long with a head coach like Sean Payton: how often egos had to be checked at the door, all of the different personalities to manage on staff and in the locker room, and the challenges that arise when different priorities run against each other.

He’s seen a lot since being named Saints general manager in 2002; when Kevin Colbert steps down from the Pittsburgh Steelers after the 2022 NFL draft, Loomis will become the longest-tenured general manager around the league (not counting hands-on owners Jerry Jones and Mike Brown, or New England Patriots shot-calling head coach Bill Belichick). And Loomis credited 15 years of his success to the Hall of Fame-worthy run that Drew Brees accomplished. Now it’s up to him to find the next face of the franchise for New Orleans.

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Saints re-sign backup offensive lineman Forrest Lamp

New Orleans Saints re-sign backup offensive lineman Forrest Lamp, via @DillySanders:

As first reported by NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the New Orleans Saints are re-signing backup offensive lineman Forrest Lamp. Lamp played for the Los Angeles Chargers from 2017 to 2020 before he signed with the Saints practice squad. Lamp played one snap on offense and five snaps on special teams in New Orleans during his one season on the team.

His heaviest workload in the NFL came in 2020, where he played 100% of the Chargers’ snaps on offense. During that season, when Lamp lined up exclusively at left guard, Pro Football Focus gave him a 60.7 pass blocking rating and a 42.8 run blocking rating.

Lamp is a serviceable backup in the NFL, but re-signing him shouldn’t move the needle for New Orleans and it should not take offensive line off the table for the Saints during the 2020 NFL draft. Lamp is a fairly athletic offensive lineman, which could give an outline for the team’s draft needs.

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2-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins announces his retirement from the NFL

2-time Super Bowl champion Malcolm Jenkins announces his retirement from the NFL

Wow: New Orleans Saints safety Malcolm Jenkins announced Wednesday that he is retiring from pro football on his own terms, sharing the news on the Pivot podcast with. Jenkins, 34, won Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints and earned another championship in Super Bowl LII with the Philadelphia Eagles before returning to where his career started.

It makes sense for him. Jenkins is stepping away from football in great health and with a wide variety of other business interests to pursue as an investor and entrepreneur. Not many guys get to choose their opportunity like this.

But for the Saints, this opens a tremendous vacancy in their secondary — Jenkins led the team in defense snaps played last season. His teammate, Marcus Williams, ranked third. The team explicitly hired Dennis Allen to maintain defensive continuity. That’s going to be tough with two of his three top players leaving the building.

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Matt Ryan traded to Colts, won’t get sacked by Cameron Jordan again until 2023

Matt Ryan’s escape is only temporary. After being traded to the Colts, he won’t get sacked by Cameron Jordan again until 2023:

The NFL’s quarterbacks carousel kept on spinning on Monday, with the Indianapolis Colts trading for longtime Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan in the latest big move. Ryan, of course, has been a career nemesis for New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan — whose immediate reaction to the trade was to ask when he’d get play Ryan again.

Ryan will be missed; he and Jordan have teamed up to create one of the greatest records in NFL history together, with Jordan sacking Ryan more often than any other defender has ever sacked an opposing quarterback (23 times in 22 games). At least that record will stand for quite some time.

But Jordan will have to wait to bring Ryan down again. The Saints aren’t scheduled to play the Colts in 2022, and it feels like a long shot to suggest the two teams will meet in this year’s Super Bowl. That means Jordan will have to wait until 2023, when the Saints are scheduled to visit Indianapolis for a road game.

If the Saints and Colts finish the 2024 season with the same standing in their respective divisions, New Orleans will visit Indianapolis again in 2025. The Colts won’t play the Saints in New Orleans again until 2027, when Ryan will be 42. Jordan will be 38. So there’s a good chance that 2024 matchup could be the last time these two rivals line up against each other. We’ll have to wait and see.

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