NFL

Saints begin mini-camp

Staff Writer
Plaquemine Post South
New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is presented the game ball from Devery Henderson after breaking the record for most consecutive touchdown passes against the San Diego Chargers last season. 
POST SOUTH PHOTO/Peter Silas Pasqua

METAIRIE - The 2013 New Orleans Saints Minicamp presented by Verizon will run through Thursday, June 6 at the team's facility at 5800 Airline Drive in Metairie. Morning practices will be open to the public.

"Overall today (practice) went really well," Saints coach Sean Payton said after the first day of mini-camp Tuesday. "We installed red zone for the first time today and we got to third down as well."

Gates will open to the public at 9:30 am and practice will run from 10:15 am - 12:45 pm each day. Fans will enter the practice fields at the gate located on the corner of Elise Drive and Airline Highway.

There is no charge to view practice and free parking for fans is available in the Zephyr Field parking lot courtesy of the New Orleans Zephyrs.

In the event of inclement weather, the team may move practice indoors with little or no advance warning. Please be advised that fans attending any open practice will not be allowed inside the indoor facility, due to space limitations.

On Thursday, the first 500 fans will get a free Saints Fan Banner courtesy of Verizon.

The Saints are moving to a new alignment defensively this season under coach Rob Ryan, who was fired by the Dallas Cowboys.

"I think we have good competition, especially in the periods when we are in the red area and tight red zone and we finished practice with third down so, there was an even flow back and forth, but I thought overall I was pleased with the tempo and the competitive nature of the periods," Payton said.

Payton returns after serving a one-year suspension for his role in a bounty scandal that forced Joe Vitt to lead the Saints last year.

"He has coached a lot of time, he has coached and seen a lot of football," Payton said of Vitt. "He is invaluable to what we are doing. There are so many different ways to skin the cat if you will or call defenses or offenses. Often times there are things that carry over, but his experience is important with what we do, certainly his leadership."

Returning at quarterback is Drew Brees, who set the record for most consecutive games with a touchdown pass last season. The streak has since been stopped.

"Minicamp is as close to training camp as you get just as far as the schedule of getting here early with the meeting time, getting on the field and putting together a little longer of a practice," Brees said. "It was just kind of a full day of football. We're just kind of making our way through our installation both offensively and defensively. The defense is throwing a lot at us and offensively we're trying to fine-tune some things. It's competitive and fun watching these young guys develop as well."