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Saints Camp: Day 9 Practice Notes and Observations

Nine training camp practices are in the books for the Saints. Here's a look at some of our notes and observations from Saturday's session.

It's hard to believe it, but Saturday marked the ninth session of Saints training camp. New Orleans has the day off tomorrow, and it gives everyone a chance to reset after a six-day week of practice. In just a week, we'll get our first preseason game against the Ravens. Here's a look at what Day No. 9 looked like for the Saints with our notes and observations.

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

Attendance and Transactions

Tre'Quan Smith, Patrick Robinson, P.J. Williams, Chris Hogan, Ethan Wolf, and Ryan Glasgow were not spotted at practice. Smith and Wolf have been out of practice due to injury, and Smith should be back soon. The other absences could be due to veteran rest days.

Sean Payton revealed after practice that Glasgow went on the reserve/retired list. He is going back to school to pursue his Master's degree. The signing of tight end Josh Pederson went official, as he was at practice wearing No. 85.

Nick Vannett returned to practice, and Grant Haley was around in walkthroughs, but then reverted back to doing individual work off to the side. Kwon Alexander was present, but not in pads. We shouldn't expect to see him for a while.

Quarterback Teaser

Both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston struggled today in red zone work, but had some moments that stood out. Hill got the starting reps, as the team has been on a back and forth rotation after turning to Hill the first two days and then Winston the next two.

We're nine days into camp, and we have yet to see a clear frontrunner in the quarterback competition. There's flashes and glimmers from both at times, but major inconsistencies in each daily. It looks like there's still adjustment, and I believe both can be better. However, it's hard not to look at some of these reps and not ask, 'What would Drew Brees have done here?'

Some of the struggles could also be attributed to how good the Saints defense is looking.

Starting Rotation and Notes

It's almost an identical lineup that we've seen, but just changing out the quarterback.

  • QB: Taysom Hill
  • RB: Alvin Kamara
  • WR: Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris
  • TE: Adam Trautman, Nick Vanett
  • OL: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk

Sub Notes: Subs included Alex Armah, Latavius Murray, Devonta Freeman, and James Hurst. Juwan Johnson and Ty Montgomery also rotated in at wide receiver.

New Orleans stuck with a lot of nickel today, but did rotate in their base defense at times. Kaden Elliss was their starting SAM linebacker.

  • DE: Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport
  • DT: Shy Tuttle, David Onyemata
  • LB: Pete Werner, Demario Davis
  • CB: Ken Crawley (left), Marshon Lattimore (right)
  • Slot: C.J. Gardner-Johnson
  • S: Marcus Williams, Malcolm Jenkins

Sub Notes: Lot of looks to pair alongside the first team. Christian Ringo, Jalen Dalton, and Malcolm Roach all rotated on the interior, while Kwon Alexander also rotated in at linebacker. Tanoh Kpassagon and Carl Granderson were the primary defensive end subs.

1-on-1 Charting

Only Jameis Winston and Trevor Siemian took part in the receiver-cornerback drill. Here's how the charting went, and Ken Crawley lost his undefeated streak after today. To his defense, it was comeback routes and a slant.

Jameis Winston (11/16)

  • Marquez Callaway vs. Marshon Lattimore, complete short left
  • Deonte Harris vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, complete deep right touchdown - Harris had an excellent route and looks really comfortable in a receiving role
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Ken Crawley, complete comeback route
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Brian Poole, complete sideline deep - One-handed grab by Humphrey, arguably play of the day
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Paulson Adebo, complete inside slant - Adebo was playing off the ball about 5-7 yards
  • Tommylee Lewis vs. KeiVarae Russell, incomplete deep end zone
  • Kawaan Baker vs. Adonis Alexander, complete inside slant
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Marshon Lattimore, complete inside slant
  • Deonte Harris vs. Ken Crawley, complete comeback
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. KeiVarae Russell, complete over the middle - Another one-handed grab by Humphrey
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Paulson Adebo, incomplete right sideline - PBU
  • Tommylee Lewis vs. Brian Poole, incomplete deep right
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Adonis Alexander, complete deep right touchdown - This was one of the plays that got the 'ooh' and 'ahh' from the crowd, as Winston Jr. essentially broke the ankles of Alexander twice on his route. It was a thing of beauty and would get my runner-up for play of the day.
  • Jalen McCleskey vs. Prince Amukamara, incomplete - PBU
  • Kawaan Baker vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, incomplete - Drop over the middle
  • Marquez Callaway vs. KeiVarae Russell, complete comeback route left

Trevor Siemian (5/6)

  • Jalen McCleskey vs. Prince Amukamara, complete slant
  • Jake Lampman vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, incomplete deep right - Out of bounds
  • Jake Lampman vs. KeiVarae Russell, complete deep left touchdown - Great over the shoulder grab by Lampman
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Ken Crawley, complete slant
  • Tommylee Lewis vs. Prince Amukamara, complete post deep - Great juke by Lewis in the middle of the field
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Paulson Adebo, complete comeback right

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Rhythm, Flow, and Observations

It might have been the hottest day of training camp outside, for starters. The Saints offense had dark jerseys on for the third straight day.

New Orleans had a familiar flow to the practice, as it started out with position specific drills. The running backs and tights ends worked on the gauntlet, and no Jameis Winston did not partake. The receivers were working on some route concepts, with a main emphasis on outs.

Meanwhile, the offensive line did basic 1-on-1 work with the defensive backs, linebackers, and defensive line doing their own drills. During the next session, the running backs were going through some high knee drills and then running under a hurdle where Joel Thomas was waiting with a pad to simulate a defender.

The quarterbacks and the skill positions got together for some end zone and red zone work, as we shifted focus to some 1-on-1 reps between receivers and cornerbacks. Most of the 11-on-11 work focused on goal-to-go situations and red zone work today. There were more running scenarios than passes.

The Saints got some special teams work in as well, focusing on blocking field goals with a rusher jumping over pads and trying to deflect a volleyball. The quarterbacks were working on throwing to their net targets. The team also had some red zone walkthroughs before going into goal-to-go work on the left side of the field.

Afterwards, the Saints worked on punting drills before ending with another red zone 11-on-11 work. Overall, the defense won the day with their stellar play.

He Isn't a Machine: Blake Gillkin showed he wasn't all perfect on Saturday, as he had two bad reps in a row. On one, botched the snap, while the other wasn't an ideal punt we've been accustomed to seeing. He should still be the favorite to win the battle, however.

Special Teams: We don't put too much emphasis on it, but Ty Montgomery and J.T. Gray were the primary gunners today. Juwan Johnson and Jake Lampman were second, with returns being Jalen McCleskey, Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris, Tommylee Lewis, and Alvin Kamara.

11-on-11 Notes: The Saints run defense did extremely well today. Malcolm Roach was a particular standout with several run stuffs and tackles for loss. David Onyemeta and Payton Turner also shined in run defense. Christian Ringo, as we pointed out earlier, is getting more work with the first team defensive line. He had a moment in walkthroughs where he got an interception and the crowd had a great reaction.

The second team run defense did not have as much luck, as Tony Jones Jr. and Dwayne Washington rattled off back-to-back long runs with Winston in. The Jones Jr. carry looked to be a touchdown.

Some of the red zone drills operated from shotgun formation. Taysom Hill's first official pass ended up being tipped at the line of scrimmage by Jalen Dalton, and he was able to connect on his second pass, but finished 1-of-4 in the session. He was also sacked by David Onyemata.

As for Winston, his first play resulted in a sack by Tanoh Kpassagnon. He connected on his two pass attempts, but one resulted in Stevie Scott III being stripped by Kaden Elliss. Carl Granderson ended up getting a sack on Winston, but the end result of the throw was a touchdown to Kawaan Baker. Those are always hard to chalk up, but it was good to see Baker get there.

Siemian had a great touchdown hookup to Easop Winston Jr, who was a standout in practice. It was a seam route. One play later, Carl Granderson got another sack. Book got sacked by a combined rush of Josiah Bronson and Shy Tuttle, and was under duress in his only other look.

Operating from their own 42-yard-line, Hill and Winston had another crack at things in 11-on-11. However, this was more of a focus on running the ball from the gun. Again, Payton Turner flashed in first team reps. One cool moment came from Dwayne Washington, who took a nice run right for a good gain that involved a stiff arm on Adonis Alexander.

To close out practice, the final 11-on-11 looks focused on red zone work. The Saints defense did not give up much on Taysom Hill, with Christian Ringo getting a good run stop on Kamara. Hill did get Kamara to the 5-yard-line on a short route with Werner in coverage. 

Hill ended up keeping the ball himself to eventually get into the end zone on a play. He followed that up by finding Marquez Callaway in the end zone with Ken Crawley in coverage. It was a great route, and one of those throws that put the ball in the best spot for the receiver to get it.

For Winston, his first rep was a swing pass to Devonta Freeman that resulted in a touchdown. It appeared that the coverage was blown. However, the very next play for Winston saw him get picked off by Adonis Alexander on a throw intended for Lil'Jordan Humphrey. It hung up there and was underthrown.

Winston's next attempt was too high for Jalen McCleskey, with Payton Turner supplying the pressure. He was able to rebound by finding Deonte Harris working against Paulson Adebo for the score. Chase Hansen got a sack on the next play, and his final throw was too high for Tommylee Lewis.

Trevor Siemian's first shot resulted in an interception by C.J. Gardner-Johnson near the end zone. They'd run the ball three straight times before going to Ian Book. His lone rep saw was a QB keeper for a score.

Practice will be back for Monday, and fans won't be able to attend a session again until Aug. 20.

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