The Saints have had a good spring and coach Jim Haslett rewarded his team for it last week, cutting one workout off the 14 allowed coaching sessions he conducted over the last three weeks and downsizing their veteran minicamp from four practices to three.
Haslett put the Saints through two minicamp practices on Friday and one more on Saturday to bring the off-season program to an end. Some players will continue to work on their conditioning and lift weights until June 23, when they're turned loose until the start of training camp on July 29.
After eight weeks conditioning and weightlifting, the Saints were put through a three-week series of 13 coaching sessions. But Haslett termed the work a success when he ended the sessions a day earlier than expected.
"There's a lot you can learn in the off-season," he said. "I don't think you have to beat them up and I like our mental aspect more than anything, what we're doing out there. Guys are really hustling, there's not a lot of mental errors.
"The offensive coaches are doing a good job of simplifying some things and utilizing guys in different ways," he added. "All this stuff is to get us ready for training camp and get ready for the season, and I think it will pay off in the long run."
Unlike the coaching session practices, the minicamp practices finished with team drills and were conducted at the faster-paced in-season schedule.
"From our standpoint as coaches, these guys have really busted their tails," said first-year offensive coordinator Mike Sheppard. "It's been an unusual 13 days from their effort and focus. All of the things you hope your players would be, these guys have had a great 13 days.
"All of the learning we've done, we've had fewer mistakes," he added. "We still have some and we've tried to limit those, but everybody's into it."
Four players on the 91-man roster did not take part in the minicamp. Cornerback Fakhir Brown, who's been holding out while trying to get a new contract, and linebackers Derrick Rodgers (back) and Roger Knight (knee), who are rehabbing from off-season surgery, did not participate.
Also missing was wide receiver Chase Lyman, a fourth-round draft choice who underwent surgery after suffering a season-ending knee injury in rookie minicamp last month.
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