New Orleans Sports Scuttlebutt 5-11-09

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Two disappointing seasons from  the Hornets and the Saints have had New Orleans fans pining for the sweet release of the off season. Between the Saints farcically inept defense and the historical dismantling of the undermanned Hornets in the first round of the playoffs, its been a: remote throwing, hair pulling, head hanging, yell at the TV until the neighbors call the cops kind of year. Well New Orleans fans, you can rest easy. Mean old Chauncey Billups can't hurt you anymore, and neither can the Saints horrific defense.

One person who assuredly welcomed the off season was Hornets point guard Chris Paul . The Hornets' work horse came up lame in the post season-stung by the injury bug. When Paul wasn't winning gold medals in Bejing, he was grinding out an 82 game season that ended disastrously in a 63-121 point shellacking at the hands of the Denver Nuggets. For a season in which he averaged 22 points and lead the league in assists, with 11, and steals (2.8)  Paul was named to 1st Team All Defense.  The Hornets' early exit from this years' palyoffs prompted questions about head coach Btron Scott's ability to effectively lead his team. But the Hornets are stand standing by Scott who will return for his sixth season with the team.

The Saints have made it a priority to patch up a secondary that has been the joke of the NFL for years now and a short yardage running game that was instrumental in shortening their 08-09 campaign. The Saints got their first look at top draft pick Malcom Jenkins. The rookie saftey out of Ohio State stood out in his first minicamp practice and impressed the Saints coaching staff. Paired with recently acquired veterans Darren Sharper and Dan Morgan the Saints new look defense could do a complete 180.

Conversely, with the leagues top offense there wasn't much the Saints needed to tinker with offensively this offseason.  But with two under-sized running backs in Piere Thomas and Reggie Bush New Orleans was in dire need of a short yardage back. So in addition to revamping their "D" the Saints picked up two undrafted  rookie power backs with the hopes that they would compete to fill the void left by Deuce McAllister. Bruiser P.J. Hill is hoping to make big impact in Saints backfield along with fellow rookie Herb Donaldson. Hill, signed out of the University of Wisconsin, averaged over 1,000 yards in his three seasons in cheese country and Donaldson set a Missouri Valley Conference record with 23 100-yard rushing games.

Saints' first-round pick Jenkins participates in rookie minicamp

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