Metairie, La. -- Wednesday was reporting day for Saints players, who had meetings and conditioning tests ahead of Thursday's first practice of training camp. Over the next few weeks, the players will be fighting to make the 53-man roster. The competition for spots is expected to be as tough as ever.
"There will be a number of guys competing for jobs and also competing for playing time," said Saints Head Coach Sean Payton. "All of that begins to take place here and there is that sense of urgency because you know you're getting ready to move into the padded practices and very soon, preseason games."
With training camp back in Metairie for the second-straight season, the team is taking necessary precautions to make sure the players are safe in the heat.
"I think probably one of the things that first comes to my mind is we just take more and more breaks to keep the body temperature from getting past a safe spot," Payton said. "We do have a cool zone-- a tent area-- and there will be times when we go inside because of the heat."
There's an eagerness to see how the new players perform and excitement to get the season going, but there's also a void felt, with the absence of the Saints late owner, Tom Benson.
"We already miss him," Payton said. "By now we probably would have had a few different sit-downs and just chatted so we'll miss him daily. And yet, Miss Gayle and the leadership in our building have done a really great job of carrying the torch in a fashion that they know he would be proud of."
"It'll be different for me because I'd spend a lot of time during training camp-- probably more time during training camp with Mr. B then any other time," said Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis. "He loved training camp and loved being around the team and loved seeing the progress and talking about it."