METAIRIE, La. – No scandals. No holdouts. No suspensions.
With the Saints only days from starting their last vacation until training camp opens in late July, they're relishing the sense of normalcy that has defined this offseason in New Orleans.
They talk of spirited and productive workouts in the weight room and on the field. They highlight the strong leadership provided by reinstated coach Sean Payton. And they express confidence that they have a real chance to quickly regain the status of contenders they held from 2009 through 2011 — before the NFL unleashed the findings of its bounty investigation and subsequent sanctions in 2012.
Payton acknowledges the club has had a good offseason, led by veterans determined to improve on last season's 7-9 mark. But the coach warns that much work remains.