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Saints Camp: Day 15 Practice Notes and Observations

Takeaways, notes, and observations from Tuesday's Saints training camp practice session.

The Saints had a walkthrough practice on Sunday, and after a day off they returned to their normal flow on Tuesday. The indoor session brought us some good moments, as we see the team gear up for a prime time Monday Night meeting with the Jaguars. Friday and Saturday will be the last opportunity for fans to see the team in a practice setting.

Here's our takeaways, observations, and notes from practice No. 15.

Training Camp Recaps: Day 13 | Day 12 | Day 11 | Day 10 | Day 9 | Day 8 | Day 7 | Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1

Attendance and Transactions

The Saints were missing 11 players from Tuesday's training camp session. Among those absent were: Wil Lutz, Tommylee Lewis, Pete Werner, Dwayne Washington, KeiVarae Russell, Alex Armah, Adonis Alexander, Mike Brown, Ryan Ramczyk, Ethan Greenidge, Payton Turner. 

In some good news, the team got back Tre'Quan Smith, P.J. Williams, and Marcus Williams as full participants of practice. We later found out during Sean Payton's presser that KeiVarae Russell tested positive for COVID, and has reverted to the Reserve/COVID-19 list.

The Saints also announced official transactions of terminating the contracts of Noah Spence and Prince Amukamara, waived/injured Brett Maher, waived Stevie Scott III, and placed Kyle Murphy on injured reserve. 

Quarterback Teaser

Taysom Hill had a pretty strong day of practice, and he definitely looked to have the better day of the two quarterbacks. Although his work in the 2-minute drill didn't look as sharp, it was a good sign for Hill. On the other hand, Jameis Winston struggled a bit filling in as the starter today. His shining moment of practice came when he finished the 2-minute drive with no time left getting the Saints offense into the end zone.

For charting's sake, Winston finished 11-of-21 on the day in 11-on-11, while Hill went 11-of-18.

Starting Rotation and Notes

For the offense, New Orleans getting Tre'Quan Smith back was a great sign. However, the rotation went in favor of Harris and Callaway with the formation they were operating out of. 

  • QB: Jameis Winston
  • RB: Alvin Kamara
  • FB: Sutton Smith
  • WR: Deonte Harris, Marquez Callaway
  • TE: Adam Trautman
  • OL: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, James Hurst

Sub Notes: Ty Montgomery, Kawaan Baker, Latavius Murray, Nick Vannett, and Juwan Johnson were some of the main players rotating in with the first team.  

The Saints had a few different defensive looks on the day, but started in base 4-3 defense. This was the first day we got a look at dime coverage too.

  • DE: Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport
  • DT: Jalen Dalton, Malcolm Roach
  • LB: Kwon Alexander, Demario Davis, Kaden Elliss
  • CB: Ken Crawley (left), Marshon Lattimore (right)
  • S: Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams

Sub Notes: For the interior linemen, Christian Ringo and Albert Huggins rotated inside, while Tanoh Kpassagnon and Carl Granderson worked off the edge. New Orleans quickly moved into nickel formation, which put Zack Baun pairing alongside Demario Davis and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the slot. P.J. Williams also rotated in at safety.

In dime packages, the three-man rush shifted to Cam Jordan, Jalen Dalton, and Marcus Davenport. P.J. Williams was the extra defensive back on the field along with the usual suspects. 

1-on-1 Charting

Jameis Winston got the majority of the work here, but all quarterbacks got a turn. Here's how the matchups looked with each respective thrower, as well as the result and route.

Jameis Winston (6/11)

  • Chris Hogan vs. Marshon Lattimore, complete - Comeback route right sideline
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Ken Crawley, incomplete - Mid right, a bit handsy that could have been called for a hold
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Paulson Adebo, complete - Backshoulder mid right
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Lawrence Woods, complete - Inside slant
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Marshon Lattimore, complete - Deep in route, good recovery by Humphrey after stumbling out of the route
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Paulson Adebo, complete - Comeback route left
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Brian Poole, incomplete - End zone deep left fade, drop
  • Deonte Harris vs. Paulson Adebo, incomplete - End zone deep left fade, hit Harris in his hands, credit Adebo for PBU
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Marshon Lattimore, complete - Comeback route middle left
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, incomplete - Out of bounds deep left, Gardner-Johnson did a good job forcing him out
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Ken Crawley, incomplete - Deep side left, off one hand 

Taysom Hill (5/6)

  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Brian Poole, complete - Inside middle
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Grant Haley, incomplete - Deep right end zone, PBU. Montgomery originally beat Haley on a double move, but he recovered.
  • Kawaan Baker vs. Paulson Adebo, complete - Comeback sideline right
  • Deonte Harris vs. Brian Poole, complete - Comeback sideline right
  • Chris Hogan vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, complete - End zone fade left, touchdown
  • Kawaan Baker vs. Grant Haley, complete - End zone fade left, touchdown

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Rhythm, Flow, and Observations

Nothing out of the ordinary regarding the flow of practice. The offense was in white jerseys, while the defense was in their black jerseys. The Saints opened with positional drills, with the running backs on the gauntlet and later moving to low leverage and contact with the one-man sled. The receivers and quarterbacks worked together, and then all the specialists got together with them to run some basic formations and routes.

Meanwhile, the offensive line worked on 1-on-1 work against each other, and later moved to simulating rushes from a defender to emphasize handle placement. The defensive backs worked on open field tackling, the linebackers worked on twisting during rushes with the opposite player holding pads, and the defensive line worked on 2-on-1 rushes.

The Saints got some 1-on-1 work in, then moving to a small 11-on-11 session. There we some special teams work with punt simulations, followed up by another period of 11-on-11, goal line walkthroughs involving the play clock, and then special teams kick return work with the returner and up-men on one side and then 1-on-1 work in second line on the opposite side. Practice concluded with a 2-minute end of game simulation involving 11-on-11.

11-on-11 Notes: In the first session, Jameis Winston went 1-of-3, while Taysom Hill was 3-of-3. Ian Book finished 2-of-2, and Trevor Siemian completed his lone attempt. For Winston's series, he missed the first screen pass to Alvin Kamara, and threw it away on the third play following a run. His lone completion was to Latavius Murray on the short side right with Christian Ringo pressuring him.

For Hill, he hit two mid throws to Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway, while sprinkling in a short throw in the flats to Devonta Freeman. Freeman also had two runs on the drive. On Book, his passes were both short in the flats, and Siemian's pass was a short completion to Ethan Wolf after a boot left.

For the second set of drills, Winston finished much better at 3-of-4. However, it came with three really tough reps. After hooking up with Marquez Callaway on a mid route on the sideline for 25 yards, his next pass went incomplete to Chris Hogan on the sideline. The next three plays saw Cam Jordan get back-to-back sacks, and then Malcolm Roach got one.

Hill also went 3-of-4 in his reps, and something to point out in practice is that we've seen him operate more out of shotgun formation as opposed to Winston taking snaps under center. The lone incompletion of his series was not on him, as he did an excellent job evading pressure and moving around the pocket to make a great throw to a wide open Ethan Wolf. Unfortunately, he dropped it. 

The second series didn't go particularly well for Book and Siemian, who didn't complete a pass. Book had two attempts, while Siemian had one that was broken up by Lawrence Woods defending Ty Montgomery.

For the final frame, it was simulating the end of a game where the defense was up by 3 points and there was 1:48 left on the clock with one timeout. Winston's first outing resulted in going 3-of-8. He hit his first pass to Callaway for an 8-yard gain, but couldn't connect a deep ball to Humphrey on 2nd Down and then Kwon Alexander broke up the pass intended to Latavius Murray on 3rd Down. 

Winston converted the 4th Down attempt to Lil'Jordan Humphrey, but had taken a sack to Marcus Davenport on the next play. On 3rd Down, P.J. Williams had a nice pass breakup on a short crossing route intended for Marquez Callaway. On the final play, it was Marcus Davenport who got a piece of the pass that went incomplete to Deonte Harris.

The second series for Winston had better results, which actually put just 48 seconds on the clock to operate. He went 4-of-6, connecting with Devonta Freeman and Juwan Johnson for solid gains. He took a sack on the play after and then threw his next pass into the ground, but was able to pick up a huge 25-yard gain on the ground to put the offense in a position to score. The final play of the drill was with 3 seconds left, and Winston did a great job moving around the pocket and extending the play to find Marquez Callaway for a touchdown in the corner. 

For Hill, he got two cracks at it, but couldn't finish his second drive due to the timing of the drill. However, his first series saw him go 5-of-9, while he went 1-of-3 on the second one. On the first series, Hill had two short throws left for Tony Jones Jr., one that connected and another that went off his hands. The next two plays were positive, finding Ty Montgomery on a slant and then a designed run that got a good gain. 

Hill had to throw the ball away on the next play because of pressure from Kaden Elliss, and then an inside screen attempt to Jones Jr. got absolutely obliterated by David Onyemata. Grant Haley made a nice pass breakup on an intermediate route over the middle intended for Kawaan Baker, but Hill went back to him on 4th Down to extend the drive with Haley in coverage. He tried Baker one more time deep right with Haley in coverage, but it fell incomplete. That could have warranted a flag.

The second series was a bit perplexing for Hill. He had a great practice day overall, but the operation in that final frame with 48 seconds left was just off. The first two plays he attempted to find Lil'Jordan Humphrey, but both passes were deep and overthrown out of bounds where he didn't even have a chance to get it. On the 3rd and 10 play, for whatever reason Hill kept it and tried to run up the middle and got stuffed. 

For the final play with 31 seconds left, he did an excellent job moving around the pocket and stepped up to connect with Nick Vannett deep down the sideline for a huge gain. However, it was deemed a sack and the play was blown dead.

Gunner and Jammer Pairings: Again, these things we don't put a ton of emphasis on, but it's important. Ty Montgomery, Juwan Johnson, Kawaan Baker, Paulson Adebo, and Jake Lampman all worked as the primary gunners. Baker, Grant Haley, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and P.J. Williams worked as jammers.

This could be nothing, but we did see Derrick Kelly being used at right tackle most all practice. He's traditionally more of an inside guy, but got some looks with the second team. He did a pretty good job holding his own against players like Tanoh Kpassagnon and Cam Jordan.

Kwon Alexander is participating in contact drills, which is an incredible sign given his injury. This is an area to keep an eye on, but it's super encouraging seeing him in action.

Perhaps it's premature, but it feels like some other guys may have passed Shy Tuttle on the team's depth chart. We've seen a lot of Jalen Dalton, Malcolm Roach, Christian Ringo, and Albert Huggins. Tuttle didn't have the best outing on Saturday against the Ravens. 

Speaking of Huggins, he was also getting some work as an edge rusher too, similar to what the Saints have been doing with David Onyemata.

Although he was back, Tre'Quan Smith did not participate in contact drills.

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