The team capped its three-month program, which began with strength and conditioning work in mid-March, with 14 on-field coaching sessions. The final two workouts replaced the traditional second minicamp.
"I think we've progressed a long way on both sides of the ball and special teams," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "There are still some things to improve on. Team chemistry is one, but it just takes time."
A recent workout in the Superdome was open to suite- and season-ticket holders only. A crowd of about 3,000 turned out for the session, which saw quarterback Aaron Brooks make some big strides as he continues to come back from shoulder surgery on Jan. 17.
Brooks, who was held out of passing drills during the Saints' three-day minicamp in early May, threw the ball with confidence and some zip and generally looked sharp in the final workout. He's regained about 90 percent of the strength in his right shoulder, which was surgically repaired to re-attach a torn tendon in his rotator cuff.
"I've got some little kinks to work out, but I'm throwing the ball a lot harder," Brooks said. "It's not affecting me at all in my throwing motion. I'm not worried about it at all."
Brooks, who was booed the last time he was in the Superdome, drew cheers from the crowd Wednesday (June 18) when he dropped back and fired a 20-yard scoring pass into the hands of wide receiver Joe Horn.
Despite playing with the injured shoulder, Brooks was the target of boo-birds last fall when the Saints lost their final three games. With a playoff berth on the line in the season finale, the Saints dropped a 10-6 decision to the Carolina Panthers -- and Brooks was vilified before and during the game.
But he's bounced back from the disappointment of the 9-7 finish and the surgery and for the third straight year has been one of the top participants in the team's off-season work, offensive coordinator Mike McCarthy said.
"Aaron has done everything we've asked of him," McCarthy said. "He's always trying to improve, always trying to get better. I believe in Aaron Brooks, both personally and professionally. I think he's ready to have a breakout year."
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