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Saints Camp: Day 11 Practice Notes and Observations

Day 11 of Saints training camp brought us some very spirited moments, as the team continues to prepare for their preseason debut against the Ravens.

Tuesday's indoor practice was certainly a good one. It didn't lack any energy, and gave us some really good stuff from what Sean Payton's team was working on. Here's a look at all of our notes and observations from Day 11 of Saints training camp.

Previous Practice Recaps: Day 10 | Day 9 | Day 8 | Day 7 | Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1

Attendance and Transactions

Naturally, we weren't expecting Wil Lutz on the day, but he was absent along with Tre'Quan Smith, Pete Werner, P.J. Williams, KeiVarae Russell, Adonis Alexander, Quinten Poling, Demario Davis, Terron Armstead, and Ethan Wolf.

It appeared to have been a veteran rest day for Davis and Armstead, while Smith and Williams have been missing from practice. Adonis Alexander left practice early on Monday, so it wasn't surprising to see him out. On Werner, I've heard that it's nothing serious. 

We found out during practice that Patrick Robinson decided to retire, and Prince Amukamara had already swapped to No. 21 to confuse us all at first. Brett Maher was signed to the roster to replace Wil Lutz.

Both Payton Turner and Andrus Peat left practice early.

Quarterback Teaser

Taysom Hill took reps as the starter today, and it's been the norm for each quarterback to rotate. Overall, Jameis Winston had a pretty decent day. After 11 practices, we still don't have any quarterback that would be the definitive starter for the Saints. See how things looked in the 2-minute offense later.

Starting Rotation and Notes

As we mentioned previously, Terron Armstead was missing today. Ethan Greenidge took his spot, and the Saints rolled with three wide receivers in their opening formation in walkthroughs.

  • QB: Taysom Hill
  • RB: Alvin Kamara
  • WR: Marquez Callaway, Ty Montgomery (slot), Tommylee Lewis
  • TE: Adam Trautman
  • OL: Ethan Greenidge, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk

Sub Notes: Deonte Harris rolled in at receiver along with Chris Hogan, while Alex Armah came in for fullback support. Juwan Johnson and Lil'Jordan Humphrey also got some work with the first team in 7-on-7.

Base defense to start for the Saints, but that moved into some nickel looks later when the team was working in the 2-minute offense.

  • DE: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Marcus Davenport
  • DT: Jalen Dalton, Malcolm Roach
  • LB: Chase Hansen, Zack Baun, Kaden Elliss
  • CB: Ken Crawley (left), Marshon Lattimore (right)
  • S: Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins

Sub Notes: J.T. Gray got some work with the safety group in place of Williams, while Payton Turner and Carl Granderson rotated in at edge. Christian Ringo and David Onyemata were subs on the interior. In 7-on-7 drills, it was Elliss and Andrew Dowell who were the primary linebackers to start. 

Rhythm, Flow, and Observations

This might have been the most spirited practice we've witnessed. There were some real battles going on in the trenches, and it boiled over after the play a couple of times. The Saints offense was in their dark jerseys again.

Practice was familiar with all of the position groups working on drills respectively. The quarterbacks joined the specialists, while the defensive backs and linebackers worked together. The defensive line was working on some low leverage drills against the machine.

The tight ends and running backs got together to work on some blocking and blitzing from the linebackers and safeties, while the wide receivers and cornerbacks were working on route breaks in 1-on-1 battles. Marshon Lattimore was one of the standouts in that department, and so was C.J. Gardner-Johnson.

The quarterbacks were working on their net drills, while the defensive line did some 2-on-1 situations. The offensive line focused on some 1-on-1 technique work. Later on, the quarterbacks were actually practicing throwing to the corner of the end zone to try and place the ball inside a trash can. Ian Book stood out more than anyone with the precision and accuracy, but Trevor Siemian was probably right behind him.

It's worth pointing out that Kwon Alexander participated in some drills, but he's not doing any type of contact right now.

New Orleans worked a decent bit in 11-on-11 drills with a period of 7-on-7, but the real work of the day came in the 2-minute offense. New Orleans also got some punting work in on the day. There was one point where the defensive backs, linebackers and defensive linemen, and wide receiver/tight end/running back group all rotated on working on 1-on-1 wrap ups, tackling pads, and from what it appeared, shoestring tackles or swiping the ball out of bounds. 

Kickoff Team: These things tend to matter when you start evaluating the final spots of the roster, but here's what the lineup looked like on kick return.

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  • Juwan Johnson, Chase Hansen, J.T. Gray, Brian Poole, Kaden Elliss, Lil'Jordan Humphrey
  • Carl Granderson, Zack Baun
  • Dwayne Washington, Alex Armah
  • Deonte Harris

Conversely, here's the kickoff team look that was provided: Sutton Smith, Stevie Scott III, Tony Jones Jr., Shaq Smith, Andrew Dowell, Bryce Thompson, Deuce Wallace, Easop Winston Jr., and Tanoh Kpassagnon.

7-on-7 Notes: Both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston went 3-of-4 in their respective series. Both Siemian and Book went 2-of-2. Hill's first pass was a pass breakup by Kaden Elliss intended for Juwan Johnson. It hit the back of his helmet from an underthrown ball. However, Hill hit his next three passes, included an intermediate throw to Nick Vannett.

For Winston, he found a wide open Garrett Griffin on his first pass. It was one that Griffin made the adjustment, as the ball was a bit behind him. He was wide open. Winston hit a crossing route to Humphrey, and his third throw was nearly picked off after it went up into the air from Kawaan Baker not being able to secure it. It went right through his hands.

The next series for Hill was mostly running, and he was stuffed on his first try by Jalen Dalton and Kaden Elliss. He then went into shotgun formation, where the the team had two more runs. Christian Ringo was there on the third play to stuff Tony Jones Jr. Hill's lone pass was to Marquez Callaway, who was open, but Hill missed him.

Winston's ensuing series saw another fumbled exchange between him and Clapp, and his lone throw was intercepted by Paulson Adebo after Marcus Davenport tipped it at the line of scrimmage with his hand. The fourth play is when bedlam ensued, and that's where things boiled over some. We won't say who or what, but it definitely reached the breaking point.

Siemian hit both of his passes, a deep crosser to Jake Lampman followed by a Montgomery reception in the flats. Dwayne Washington had a good run to start Book's next series, and completed his lone pass.

11-on-11 Notes: Hill's first rep of the day was a combined sack from Tanoh Kpassagnon and Jalen Dalton, while the other two plays were runs. You can see some real growth on blocking from Lil'Jordan Humphrey, as he had a good rep against Marshon Lattimore. 

Jameis Winston's first play saw Tony Jones Jr. get blown up be a trio of Saints, primarily led by Christian Ringo and Andrew Dowell. One of the plays we mentioned earlier that got spirited was a rep between David Onyemata and Calvin Throckmorton. 

Winston's lone pass of the drill was intended for Ty Montgomery, but was dropped. Montgomery rebounded with Ian Book in his lone two plays during that session after he got a deep left pass with Eric Burrell in coverage.

Andrew Dowell showed really good pursuit on a run play to the left on Devonta Freeman, something that he and Amukamara were able to force a small gain on. The snap problems started here, as Will Clapp and Winston had several exchange issues on the day.

The Saints worked the rest of the practice focusing on the 2-minute offense. The simulation at first was operating before halftime with 1:48 on the clock and some timeouts available. Each quarterback got a turn here, and the next series for them was focused on the end of the game with 1:55 on the clock.

Taysom Hill's first drive ended after several plays. There were some short routes and a nice screen stop by C.J. Gardner-Johnson on Alvin Kamara. The drive ended after Marquez Callaway could not get a pass to extend the drive. It was over the middle and resulted in a drop, but it was a fastball too.

Jameis Winston fared a bit better, going 11 plays to at least get a field goal. This is where we saw another low snap. Noah Spence repeatedly showed some great pass-rushing moves. He was getting after Winston often. One hookup to Chris Hogan saw Winston doing a nice job of evading Spence with a spin move. Winston finished 6-of-9 here, as he threw his final pass out of the end zone with just two seconds left.

Hill's second outing resulted in money, as he went 6-of-9 and capped it off by finding Juwan Johnson in the end zone with just 17 seconds to play. It would go down as the play of the day for me. On the drive, he hit Marquez Callaway with a nicely executed backshoulder throw against Lattimore. 

Malcolm Roach had two big back-to-back plays on the drive after sniffing out a Latavius Murray screen for a loss, and then having a big sack by blowing up J.R. Sweezy. On a 4th-and-10 play, Hill extended the drive by finding Deonte Harris near the sideline. 

Winston's final turn saw them go only four plays, as the 4th-and-1 play was another low snap that saw him have to rush a pass to Kawaan Baker that was broken up by Shaq Smith. 

Stock Up: Bryce Thompson flashed a few times, including a two-play sequence where he almost picked off Trevor Siemian and then followed it up by stopping Jake Lampman short on a play. 

Low Snaps: In addition to the three low snaps and bad exchanges between Winston and Clapp, I had another one that Erik McCoy made to Hill. Perhaps it's just a one-off thing, but something to keep an eye out on during the preseason. 

The Saints should be outside for the next two days of practice, assuming the weather holds up. Before we know it, the first preseason game will be here for New Orleans. Friday is the travel day for the team.

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