NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - It's football in June. If what we saw on the field during this month was a predictor of NFL success, then Nick Toon would be a perennial Pro-Bowler right now. Thus, it's wise to always temper what you see. Some things hold up; others fade.
But as an observant of the Saints locker room, I picked up on something that I think will carry over.
As a whole, this is a genuinely likable group.
Make sure you read that last sentence again. I didn't say they were nice, I said they were likable. Call an NFL player a 'nice guy' nowadays and immediately some will mistakenly think 'soft.'
While exiting the locker room Wednesday, I turned to my co-worker Chris Hagan and said there is a whole different feel between us and the players this year. It's less hostile. There's less animosity. The players seemed to really get along.
He agreed. That shift began last year and has really taken shape this off-season.
Talk to Delvin Breaux for two seconds and you'll immediately feel the appreciation he has for where he is. Roman Harper has a magnetic personality. The first time we spoke with James Laurinaitis we all walked away with the feeling of how much this guy 'gets it.'
It's impossible to predict what these personalities will do on game day. But at the very least, likable personalities can lead to quicker camaraderie. Quicker camaraderie can lead to quicker chemistry. Quicker chemistry certainly can't hurt when the games start counting.
I sensed head coach Sean Payton has picked up on the same thing.
"From a locker room standpoint, it's been really good. These guys have all been really tuned in to what we're doing. I think our attendance this off-season was 100 percent. I don't know that we even had a miss," Payton said at the conclusion on minicamp.
It's a welcomed change from guys like Brandon Browner and Junior Galette.
Make no mistake, being likable guarantees this team nothing. Plus, the really tough questions haven't begun yet. Should they finish 7-9 again, the narrative will undoubtedly shift to how this team needs more jerks.
But if the foundation of success is having a locker room full of character guys, then I think the Saints have accomplished that goal.