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5 Good Questions: New Orleans Saints

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I recently had the chance to exchange some questions with Saintsational of Canal Street Chronicles, SBN's Saints blog.  Below are his responses to my 5 questions.  You can head over to his site (tomorrow I believe) to see my responses to his Dolphin questions.

Matty IJeremy Shockey didn't play at all last week, meaning he will make his awaited debut against the Dolphins on Thursday.  I know he has experience with Sean Payton, which will help his transition to this new offense.  How do you expect Shockey to be used in this offensive system?

Saintsational:  Oh, the Shockey question. Still haven't seen him yet and thats okay. I'd rather take this one nice and slow, especially given Shockey's penchant for injury. I expect him to be used a fair amount in our offense. I don't think Payton would have been so aggressive in acquiring him if he intended to have him just run around on the field not doing anything. Having a tight end of Shockey's caliber is very important in a West Coast system like the one the Saints run and with a great QB like Brees. He's especially vital in the redzone where I think he will make a big difference. On top of that, he's a great blocker and that could certainly help guys like Deuce and particularly Reggie in their run game. I will be at the game, so I will be very excited to see him for the first time with my own eyes along with everyone else. I can't wait to hear how loud they get for him!

Matty I:  Talk about the running back situation in New Orleans.  How is Deuce McAllister coming along in his recovery?  And what can we expect from Reggie Bush this year?  And speaking of Bush, how would you categorize his NFL career thus far?

Saint:  This is a hot topic at CSC right now because of the depth we have at the position. Deuce appears to be doing pretty well. Though he hasn't busted any big runs yet this pre-season, he seems to be moving well and making the necessary cuts. Only a little more time will tell exactly what we can expect from his this season. As far as Reggie is concerned, I think this is the year. I know I may regret saying that, but I like what I have seen from him. He definitely seems more focused, stronger and ready to play. I haven't seen much of that dancing and hesitation that he was known for.Did you see him make that hurdling touchdown against Houston? I would like for the Saints to use him in a non-traditional manner, meaning the opposite of Deuce or a back of that nature. Pitches, quick outs, screens, that sort of stuff. He is best when he is in open space and those types of plays allow him that chance. If I had to categorize his NFL career, I would have to say mediocre. I'm sure you were expecting me to say disappointing, and in a way I suppose it has been, but it's not like he has put up just awful numbers. If he continues to to play at a mediocre level this season, then I would say I might be more inclined to use the word dissapointing, but I certainly don't think you could call it a bust.

Matty I:  How is your #1 pick, Sedrick Ellis, progressing?  And how is he likely be used during his rookie season?

Saint:  He's looking pretty good. He came to camp late, so he had a lot of ground to make up. From what we have seen in the pre-season games though, it looks like he's getting some good pressure and he will be a nice addition to this line. I expect him to be starting on week one. Part of that is due to some unfortunate injuries we have suffered at the DT spot but the rest is because of his talent. The Saints also will have a formation where they shift Charles Grant to the inside with Sedrick Ellis and have Will Smith and Bobby McCray on the ends. That will be scary!! Not to switch the topic, but Bobby McCray is the guy I really like!

Matty I:  Dolphin fans are very familiar with Jonathan Vilma.  And I was one of those who really liked this acquisition by the Saints - as long as Vilma is healthy.  Is Vilma healthy?  And how is he doing picking up New Orleans' defensive scheme?

Saint:  Yeah, I know Vilma is a big guy there in Miami. Vilma is healthy. I think we can say that for sure. He has said he is 100%. He's been out there for the pre-season games and looks healthy. I think he might be a little rusty after being off the field for so long and I also think he is getting adjusted to the new helmet microphone, but he has been impressive. Many of the things he does are not things that the average football fan will see while watching the game, but I have been re-watching the games and analyzing and seen some great things from Jonathan while doing that. He is very athletic and he covers a lot of the field. He also seems to have great instincts and be in the right place at the right time. I really think his presence will help us in our run defense. I'm a fan!

Matty I:  Is there still any interesting positional battles to watch for as we approach the final preseason game?  If so, what might they be?

Saint:  Oh yeah, we've got a lot of action going on. Probably the most notable battle is the cornerback position. I think after the last two games, this team has realized that Jason David is out. McKenzie appears to be a go so now its all about who will start next to him. It will/should be either Randall Gay or Tracy Porter. The wide receiver spot is up in the air as well. Colston, Patten and Meachem are all givens. The final two spots are between Devery Henderson, Lance Moore, Terrance Copper and Adrian Arrington. Finally, I would say the kicking battle is still raging. It's between Gramatic and Mehlhaff and, honestly, I have no idea who will win that one or whether they will actually keep both.

A big thanks goes out to Saintsational for taking the time to do this.  And remember to head over to Canal Street Chronicles tomorrow to see how I responded to his questions.