Every team is a Super Bowl contender during training camp, at least that's what the local media in each NFL town seems to think. Puff pieces about teams/players/coaches often read something like, "[Player X] is poised to have a career year because he's getting over [ailment/personal tragedy/weight issues/immaturity]. He will have a key role in [Team Y] making [playoffs/Super Bowl] after last season's [surprise/disappointment]."
To celebrate the brimming positivity being felt by each of the NFL's 32 fanbases, this month Shutdown Corner will take a team-by-team look at the flowery and buoyant prose being written by local columnists and writers, and the hopeful quotes of players and coaches in our daily feature, Camp Sunshine. Today, the defending Super Bowl champs.
Oh, he's arrived, mostly due to the hunger/humility:
"I can't say I've arrived just because I had 10 tackles in a preseason game, " [linebacker Jon] Casillas said. "That doesn't really mean anything. I've still got a long ways to go."
But make no mistake, Casillas is on his way. He handled the promotion exactly the way his coaches would want him to, with a perfect blend of hunger and humility. He deflected the attention and refused to acknowledge his newfound status. He deferred to [Jonathan] Vilma and [Scott] Shanle and repeatedly tried to downplay his spot in the starting trio.
They must have drank a lot of water before putting last season to bed:
When you're coming off a Super Bowl championship and your team loses, even in the preseason -- like the Saints did 27-24 to the New England Patriots on Thursday -- you're going to hear about how you're living in the past.
Too much celebrating. Too much basking in the glory of winning it all.
Porter says, you might hear it, but don't listen.
"We've pretty much put the Super Bowl behind us at this point," he said. "Despite what people may say about a Super Bowl hangover, or whatever, we've put that behind us and moved on to the next season."
Watch the New England Patriots and New Orleans Saints practice, and one understands why the teams have combined to win four of the past nine Super Bowls.
-- Jeff Duncan, The Times-Picayune (an early front-runner for favorite Camp Sunshine! sentence of the year)
Except, you know, when I repeated in 1997 and 1998. Because I played with John Elway. Have I ever mentioned that? We were mentally tough, but especially me. Because I'm Mark Schlereth.
"As far as repeating, it's human nature," says ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth, a three-time Super Bowl champion guard with the Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins. "Adversity is easy to deal with. Success is much harder to deal with.
"The Saints have to be really cognizant not of what they did, but what's ahead. Everybody knows the Super Bowl champions are coming to town each week. You're going to have to be exceptionally tough mentally to overcome those repeat issues."