For the New Orleans Saints, players will report to training camp on Thursday July 25 and begin practicing on Friday, July 26. Fans are allowed to attend any of the free practices beginning on the 26th on a first-come, first-served basis.

They will be held at the team’s camp outside of New Orleans in Metairie.

The Saints will be reunited with their head coach Sean Payton. He was suspended by the NFL for the 2012 season after the infamous Bountygate that affected his team. Will it be business as usual for this team in 2013?

Training Camp Schedule

Fri. July 26-31:  8:50-11:50 am
Thurs. Aug. 1: 8:50-11:50 a.m.
Fri. Aug. 2: 4:00-6:50 p.m.
Sat. Aug. 3:  Scrimmage TBA
Mon. Aug. 5: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Tues. Aug. 6-7:  8:50-11:50 a.m.
Thur. Aug. 8: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Sun. Aug. 11: 4:30-6:30 p.m.
Mon. Aug. 12-14: 8:50-11:50 a.m.
Thurs. Aug. 15: 4:30-6:30 p.m.

Preseason Games

August 9 – Kansas City Chiefs 7 p.m. CDT
August 16 – Oakland Raiders 7 p.m. CDT
August 25 – At Houston Texans 3 p.m. CDT
August 29 – At Miami Dolphins 6:30 p.m. CDT

Training Camp Storylines

The team didn’t seem the same without Payton last season and now that he’s back one of the biggest question marks is whether the team will look like it did the last few years (sans 2012) and not the teams of 2007 and 2008 with 7-9 seasons.

Some have said Payton wants more swagger from his team in 2013 than pre-Bountygate but you can’t help but wonder if Big Brother will be watching this team closely.

Defense

Maybe the Saints new defensive coordinator, Rob Ryan, will be one way to add some swagger as his personality does precede him. How will this work out in the Big Easy?

But Ryan has to be better than the former coordinator, Steve Spagnuolo, who oversaw 2012’s defense that set a league record for the most yards allowed in a single season: 7,042 yards. This broke a 31-year-record set by Baltimore Colts with 6,793 yards.

So, things can only go up for this group.

Ryan has a new weapon that may have an immediate impact, former Pittsburgh Steelers cornerback Keenan Lewis, who signed a five-year, $25 million contract in the offseason.

Rookie safety Kenny Vacarro enters with expectations and the offseason addition of veteran defensive end Kenyon Coleman could also help this team.

Other than that, Ryan will inherit most of last year’s personnel. They’ll will be expected to hit the ground running with his new 3-4 scheme and one area that will hopefully improve is pass rushing.

Not helping matters will be the absence of outside linebacker Victor Butler who is out with a torn ACL. The team will now need to rely on Martez Wilson, Junior Galette and Will Smith to get it done.

Offense

Quarterback Drew Brees has lost wide receiver Devery Henderson and he now will need another weapon for the team’s third wide receiver spot behind Marques Colston and Lance Moore. One possible candidate is Joe Morgan, who can catch deep with 2012’s 10 receptions for 379 yards (37.9 yard average) and three touchdowns.

Brees will also have some young receivers ready for playing time including rookie Kenny Stills, sophomore Nick Toon and dark horse Andy Tanner.

On the offensive line, there will be a battle for left tackle as Jermon Bushrod has left town for the Chicago Bears. Look for a competition to fill this hole between Terron Armstead, Charles Brown and Jason Smith.

Brown is the veteran of the group, entering his fourth season but he gets hit by the injury bug a lot.

Smith has been in the league for a few years but battled concussion problems in his 2009 rookie season; he has appeared rejuvenated on the Saints after he was with the New York Jets in 2012.

And then we have the rookie, Armstead who is the longshot but stranger things have happened.