New Orleans Saints 2013 training camp primer

USA TODAY Sports

Sean Payton is back, but will the New Orleans Saints return to form or is a rebuild in order?

The New Orleans Saints were all over the place last season thanks to the suspensions handed down by the NFL in the bounty scandal. Head coach Sean Payton was suspended for the entirety of the season, but he's back on the sidelines now. With Drew Brees at the helm, the Saints are always dangerous.

But it does seem like their window is closing, and losing Payton for a season didn't help things one bit. Fortunately, they've been making changes and not just trying to win with what they've got. There's been some coaching switches, and the defense in particular has seen something of an overhaul.

Offseason changes

Rob Ryan takes over for Steve Spagnuolo as defensive coordinator. Ryan previously worked for the Dallas Cowboys and will bring his 3-4 defense with him. Ryan runs an aggressive defense that the Saints have been used to, but the team doesn't have many options along the defensive line, so that should be interesting.

Kenny Vaccaro was the team's first-round pick, and Ryan has to be very happy with that. He'll earn one of the starting safety jobs, and cornerback Keenan Lewis, a free-agent signing, should also find himself in a starting role. The biggest change outside of those additions is the loss of left tackle Jermon Bushrod, which leaves an opening for a position battle we'll talk about later.

Training camp location and schedule

The Saints will kick-off training camp on July 25, with the first practice being held on July 26. They'll wrap-up camp on Aug. 15. All but three practices will be open to the public. If you want to attend, get there early, because admission is given on a first-come, first-serve basis.

A full schedule can be found below, via the team's official website, here (all times Central).

Date Event Time Location Status For Fans
Thurs., July 25 Report Day Metairie Closed to Public
Fri., July 26 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Sat., July 27 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Sun., July 28 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Mon., July 29 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Tues., July 30 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Wed., July 31 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Thurs., Aug. 1 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Fri., Aug. 2 Practice Closed Metairie Closed to Public
Sat., Aug. 3 Scrimmage TBA Metairie Open to Public
Sun., Aug 4 Players
Day Off
Mon., Aug. 5 Practice Closed Metairie Closed to Public
Tues., Aug. 6 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Wed., Aug. 7 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Thurs., Aug. 8 Practice 4:30-6:30 p.m. Metairie Open to Public
Fri., Aug. 9 Saints
vs.
Chiefs
7:00 p.m. Mercedes-Benz
Superdome

Preseason

Game 1

Sat., Aug. 10 Players
Day Off
Sun., Aug. 11 Practice 4:30-6:30 p.m. Metairie Open to Public
Mon., Aug. 12 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Tues., Aug. 13 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Wed., Aug. 14 Practice 8:50-11:50 a.m. Metairie Open to Public
Thurs., Aug. 15 Practice 4:30-6:30 p.m. Metairie Open to Public


Position battles

Left tackle: The biggest spot open right now is the left tackle spot. Previously held by Jermon Bushrod, the Saints will hope that one of Charles Brown, Jason Smith or Terron Armstead can win the job. Smith struggled after being a first-round pick for the St. Louis Rams, but he might have the inside track for the starting job with this change of scenery. Brown will likely give him the most competition, but he hasn't lived up to expectations either. Armstead has some good upside, but is very raw at this point.

Safety: Between Malcolm Jenkins and Roman Harper, the team had a pair of starting safeties, but the Saints went ahead and drafted Kenny Vaccaro anyway. They didn't use a first-round pick on him to have him sit on the bench, so he'll take one of those jobs. Vaccaro might be a better free safety, though Jenkins is better than Harper at this point in their careers, so we might see Harper lose his starting job.

Defensive end: The Saints are shifting to a 3-4 defense, so it's hard to really pin down who are the defensive ends and who are the outside linebackers. That said, it looks like both starting-end spots will be up for grabs between some combination of Cameron Jordan, Kenyon Coleman, Akiem Hicks, Tom Johnson and Jay Richardson. It's likely that Jordan will earn one of the spots, with primarily Coleman and Hicks facing off for the other one.

More from SB Nation:

Whose stock is rising and falling after a weekend of camp?

The greatest backup of them all, NFC edition | AFC edition

GIF: Arthur Jones really wants his ice cream

Bears HC Marc Trestman keeps it weird

Complete NFL training camp coverage

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Join SBNation.com

You must be a member of SBNation.com to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at SBNation.com. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.