Saturday was the final Saints training camp practice of the week, as they get the day off on Sunday ahead of their Monday night game against the Jaguars in the Superdome. Here's all of our notes and observations from Day 19 of practice.
Attendance and Transactions
Alex Armah returned to practice after missing several consecutive days. Among those missing in attendance included Wil Lutz, Tre'Quan Smith, Alvin Kamara, Chris Hogan, Malcolm Roach, and Payton Turner. What's most concerning regarding Smith is that he came back to practice and has missed the past three sessions. This will be something to pay attention to closely when the team plays on Monday night.
Both quarterbacks had a good showing on the day, as Jameis Winston posted 8-of-10 as the starter and Taysom Hill also finished 8-of-10. This was one of the better practices we've seen from both of them. They each made some sharp throws and good decisions on the day.
Starting Rotation and Notes
The Saints had a familiar setup going through walkthroughs, which started out with a two tight end set. There were plenty of subs with the first team, but this is what they opened with.
- QB: Jameis Winston
- RB: Latavius Murray
- WR: Marquez Callaway, Deonte Harris
- TE: Juwan Johnson, Adam Tratuman
- OL: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk
Sub Notes: Garrett Griffin, Kevin White, Kawaan Baker, Ty Montgomery, and Nick Vannett all got some work in with the first team during the sub period in walkthroughs.
Defensively, the Saints were in nickel formation. The team seems to be getting a pretty extended look this week with Adebo and Crawley as their starters at corner.
- DE: Cam Jordan, Marcus Davenport
- DT: Jalen Dalton, Shy Tuttle
- LB: Kwon Alexander, Demario Davis
- CB: Paulson Adebo (left), Ken Crawley (right)
- Slot: C.J. Gardner-Johnson
- S: Malcolm Jenkins, Marcus Williams
Sub Notes: New Orleans rotated in Zack Baun, Christian Ringo, Albert Huggins, Tanoh Kpassagnon, Carl Granderson, P.J. Williams, and Kaden Elliss with the first team.
Rhythm, Flow, and Observations
The Saints were indoors once again, but shifted back to their practice facility in Metairie. Officials were present for the session like they were on Friday night. The offense was in white, and the dress code was pads.
Practice opened with positional drills, with the quarterbacks and running backs working together, and then the wide receivers later came over. The backs did some work on the 1-man sled and used the yoga ball for some balance and reaction work. Meanwhile, the defensive backs were working on some tackling and catching, while the offensive line got some 2-on-2 work in.
The tight ends worked with each other with blocking pads, and then short in routes involving cones. The defensive line was together at first working against each other, and then split off with the ends and interior guys. Something we keep seeing is David Onyemata working with the edge group.
We had a small period of 11-on-11 work that focused on some playaction emphasis followed by a punt simulation drill. The next area focused on the end of the game with less than 30 seconds on the clock and no timeouts left needing a touchdown. Each quarterback got a turn during all the drills in 11-on-11.
The Saints then worked on a quick field goal drill, and then moved to kick return work, punting after a safety formation, and then some clock and situational drills. That was really the main area the team worked on, as Sean Payton said that they don't come up often, but wanted to ensure there was some attention given to it. We got another period of 11-on-11, and then closed out practice with another field goal session.
11-on-11 Notes: Winston's several series saw him go 2-of-2, 4-of-5, and 2-of-3. His first series saw him throw two passes, with the first being an excellent one-handed grab by Marquez Callaway on an intermediate gain near the sideline. His next pass came after two runs and a QB keeper that was stuffed by Kwon Alexander after the pocket collapsed and there was no where to go. It was for a short gain, as Winston found Devonta Freeman on a swing pass to the right.
On the next series, Winston hit his first four passes. The play of the day came on the third one, as he hit Deonte Harris on a deep crossing route for a 40-yard game. Somehow, Harris just lost the defender covering him, and Demario Davis and Marcus Williams were the closest ones to him. He then hit Adam Trautman on a short crossing route, and the lone incompletion was a drop over the middle intended for Kevin White. That play could have went to Marcus Davenport as a sack.
The final series started at the 15-yard-line for both quarterbacks, and the first play saw Winston hit Adam Trautman underneath over the middle to start. He missed the next pass two plays later, as it was a low throw to Deonte Harris on a short crossing route. He connected on 3rd Down with Marquez Callaway two plays later on a touchdown with Paulson Adebo in coverage.
Hill's series work went 2-of-3, 4-of-4, and then 2-of-3. His two incompletions were the result of a drop by Kawaan Baker over the middle and a throwaway due to pressure.
Hill's first series saw him connect with Tony Jones Jr. on the first play that Zack Baun was all over for a tackle for loss. The next throw went to Kawaan Baker on the short side of the right field. Baun was there again to make the stop, and David Onyemata looked to have a sack on the play. This is where the incompletion to Baker came as a result of a drop. Also worth noting, Devonta Freeman had a nice run on the series sprinkled in with the passes.
For his second series, Hill was a perfect 4-of-4. He hit Freeman short to start, and then connected with Baker on a slant route. He then found Marquez Callaway on a curl with Grant Haley defending, and then had his Garrett Griffin on the left sideline for a short gain. Griffin had to produce some ups to get the ball, and it was a good effort by the tight end. Hill had an incompletion on the deep sideline to Kevin White, but defensive pass interference was called on Natrell Jamerson.
On the final series, Hill had two touchdown passes in a row. The first play of that drive was a Latavius Murray run blown up by Zack Baun and C.J. Gardner-Johnson. Hill then hit Tony Jones Jr. near the 5-yard-line, and then he did the rest to get into the end zone. The next pass went to Nick Vannett on a backshoulder end zone connection for the score. Devonta Freeman got hit hard by P.J. Williams on the next play on a short running play, and then the final play saw Hill throw the ball away out of bounds with Christian Ringo pressuring him.
For the other quarterbacks, Trevor Siemian was third in the rotation. He went 1-of-2, 2-of-3, and 0-of-2. One of his passes in the second series was an overthrow to Adam Trautman running a seam route. His last attempt in the final series was tipped at the line by David Onyemata. For Ian Book, he went 1-of-1, 1-of-2, and 1-of-1. Book's last drive saw Tony Jones Jr. have a nice run into the end zone from 10 yards with Nick Vannett out in front.
Rosas' Kicking Day: New Saints kicker Aldrick Rosas finished 8-of-10 on the day in two separate sessions. He went 4-of-4 in the first one, while going 4-of-6 in the second frame. He missed a shorter try from 36 yards and then a longer try in the 50-yard range. Technically, the final kick didn't really count because there was a false start penalty on the kicking team.
Dowell Keeps Flashing: Andrew Dowell had some really standout moments in this practice. He made a big tackle for loss on a Devonta Freeman running play, and then he made a good stop in coverage on Dwayne Washington in space. He's making the type of plays that get the defense to really react.
LJH Responds: Lil'Jordan Humphrey had a better day of practice, and it was needed. This has not been a good week for him, as he has had a considerable amount of drops. He made the most of today with Chris Hogan being out. However, he's going to have to do a lot more if he wants to crack the final roster.
Receiver Depth: It's hard not to notice someone like Kevin White during practice. He certainly is giving his all during practice, running each route like it's his last. Is that going to be enough for him to make the final squad? I think a good showing in the preseason will go a long way, but perhaps he could be one of the vets that winds up on the practice squad at worst case.
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