Saints report to uncertain training camp

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The New Orleans Saints have won more regular season games than any other NFL team over the last three years combined.

But that doesn’t give them any kind of advantage going into this year’s training camp ahead of a 2020 season filled with more uncertainty than any season before it in league history.

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“All 32 teams are facing the same issues, and so I don’t think that in and of itself makes those expectations any different.”

Back to back to back NFC South Champions and yet the first nine questions of a 30 minute zoom interview with New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis all directly related to the impact of COVID-19 on the 2020 NFL season. “I’ve seen a number of times that GMs and coaches around the league have said – rightfully so – that listen, COVID-19 is our opponent right now and I agree with that so we have to find the best way we can to deal with COVID-19, and win this battle first.”

Hardly business as usual with players having to go through a five day pre-entry testing period, meaning for the veterans that reported on Tuesday the earliest they can receive a physical is August 1st. Then there’s the matter of players opting out altogether such as tight ends Cole Wick and Jason Vander Laan.

Plus an entire pre-season training period without any actual pre-season games on the schedule. “We’re clearly not going to get the looks that we normally get at new players into the league that get the opportunity to show what they can do during preseason games. We don’t have the ability to watch other teams’ practices and we’re not going to have scrimmages that are open to the public. So look, the answer is we’re going to have a lot less information this year.”

The name of the game is still football, but Loomis says the team hasn’t even scheduled its first practice of training camp yet, all of which will be closed to the public. Whether or not fans will be allowed at the Super Dome is another big question mark. “Boy, I don’t have an answer to that. I just don’t know. I don’t know how many fans we’ll be able to have, if any.”

Assuming the NFL plays out its regular season schedule as planned, the Saints are reloaded at just about every position. Finally a true number two receiver opposite Michael Thomas in the addition of Emmanuel Sanders and still the deepest quarterback room in the league thanks to the free agent signing of Jameis Winston, the resigning of Taysom Hill, and perhaps one last ride for future Hall of Famer Drew Brees alongside Head Coach Sean Payton. “I would say everyone in our building feels good about our team and yet we also understand the nature of brand new. Because we won some games last year, doesn’t mean we’re entitled to win them this year. But look, we feel really good about our roster, feel good about our leadership and it’s right there in front of us. So look, I would say our expectations and our goals are to be successful, to go farther than we did last year and farther than we did the year before.”

Loomis says no players tested positive on Monday, but the team hadn’t seen Tuesday’s results. He also says there aren’t any players currently holding out due to contract disputes.

The Saints finalized the signings of their 2020 draft class on Monday.

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A native of Pass Christian and a St. Stanislaus alum, Jeff Haeger comes to News 25 from right in our backyard. He most recently spent more than three years working as the sports reporter for WHLT-TV in Hattiesburg, where he provided extensive coverage of his alma mater, The University of Southern Mississippi. At Southern Miss, Jeff was a member of the Honors College and graduated with a B.A. degree in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Spanish. He also wrote for USM's award-winning school newspaper, The Student Printz, where he won first place for Best Sports Story in 2013. Jeff loves to travel, and is excited to get back on the water to reunite with his family. In his spare time you can find Jeff spending time with his friends, and maybe even winning a fantasy football league. For sports stories contact Jeff at jhaeger@wxxv25.com.

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