Saints Camp: Day 17 Practice Notes and Observations

With another practice down, we're that much closer to Saints football. Here's a look at what went down on Day 17 of training camp.
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The Saints held practice indoors on Thursday for Day 17 of training camp, and it brought us some interesting moments and observations. We only have two more practices left until the big Monday night matchup against the Jaguars inside the Superdome. Here's a look at what we saw on the day.

Training Camp Recaps: Day 16Day 15 | 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

Ryan Ramczyk and Marcus Davenport returned to practice on Thursday, while the Saints were missing nine total players on the day. Those included Wil Lutz, Tre'Quan Smith, Tommylee Lewis, Alex Armah, Will Clapp, Pete Werner, Malcolm Jenkins, Malcolm Roach, and Payton Turner.

Smith was at practice on Wednesday, while Armah has been missing for the week. Lewis, Werner, and Turner have been the longest absences of camp.

Quarterback Teaser

It was a mixed day for both quarterbacks overall, which has been a bit of the norm at practice. From a charting perspective on 11-on-11, I had Jameis Winston finishing 7-of-12 on the day and Taysom Hill at 11-of-14. However, this doesn't tell the whole story (more on that below). 

Both quarterbacks threw a pick-six during practice, although Winston's did not count due to a flag for illegal contact. The inside session saw Winston wearing a glove on his non-throwing hand, and Hill didn't wear any gloves today. It's not always the norm, but just how it played out today.

Starting Rotation and Notes

The Saints offense had Jameis Winston starting today, as the familiar rotation continues each day. The Saints opened with a three tight end set with their first look. James Hurst played in place of Terron Armstead.

  • QB: Jameis Winston
  • RB: Tony Jones Jr.
  • WR: Lil'Jordan Humphrey
  • TE: Adam Trautman, Nick Vannett, Juwan Johnson
  • OL: James Hurst, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, Ryan Ramczyk

Sub Notes: The specialists that rotated in with the first team included Marquez Callaway, Ty Montgomery, Deonte Harris, Chris Hogan, and Sutton Smith. 

The defense once again opened in a base 4-3 look, keeping this most all practice. Marshon Lattimore was present, but did not participate in drills. This could have been a rest day for him, so no cause for concern. However, with him out, Ken Crawley moved to the right side opposite of Paulson Adebo.

  • DE: Tanoh Kpassagnon, Marcus Davenport
  • DT: Jalen Dalton, Shy Tuttle
  • LB: Kwon Alexander, Demario Davis, Kaden Elliss
  • CB: Paulson Adebo (left), Ken Crawley (right)
  • S: P.J. Williams, Marcus Williams

Sub Notes: The defensive line is what got the most substitutions in during the first portion, which included David Onyemata and Carl Granderson off the edge and Christian Ringo and Albert Huggins on the interior.

Rhythm, Flow, and Observations

The Saints had officials out for practice again for today's indoor session. The offense was in white jerseys, while the defense was in the dark ones. 

The quarterbacks and running backs paired up in the first session working inside the offense's own 5-yard-line on wheel routes, handoffs, and other concepts from shotgun formation. The tight ends and offensive line were working on blocking drills, with the linemen focusing on 2-on-1 shifts with pads.

The defensive line and linebackers were working on some formation work, while the defensive backs were practicing motion and in routes. The receivers and quarterbacks got together to work on route concepts with the two-quarterback pairing. 

The running backs were working on shifts and getting under hurdles while doing so, while the tight ends moved to working on getting off of press coverage and contact to anticipate a reception. Meanwhile, the linebackers and defensive backs then had some work at the goal line and red zone. The specialists all joined quarterbacks.

We got an initial period of 11-on-11 drills followed by kick return simulation. The quarterback group was working on their net targets. There was a period of 7-on-7 work that went to 11-on-11, kickoff coverage, and concluded with two more 11-on-11 sessions.

7-on-7 Notes: Winston finished 4-of-5 here, while Hill went 3-of-5. Ian Book and Trevor Siemian were both perfect, as Book finished 3-of-3 and Siemian went 2-of-2. The Winston pick-six by Ken Crawley happened on the second throw, but as we alluded to earlier, it was wiped out due to a flag. The highlight from Winston's series was when he hit Juwan Johnson on a seam route for an intermediate gain.

Hill's second pass was incomplete to Kevin White, as they tried a comeback route left. However, due to the time in the pocket, it would have likely led to a sack. Hill also tried Easop Winston Jr. on a deep right end zone hookup, but it was overthrown. When assessing plays like that, the biggest thing I asked was if someone like Deonte Harris would catch that.

Andrew Dowell nearly picked off Siemian on his first pass. It ended up being a good gain for Dwayne Washington, as it was one of those gambles that didn't pay off.

11-on-11 Notes: The first period saw each quarterback complete their lone pass. Winston's went into the flats to Sutton Smith, while Hill hit a slant route to Chris Hogan. The big emphasis during this portion of practice was focused on the run. Carl Granderson, Albert Huggins, Kaden Elliss, Andrew Dowell, and Wynton McManis all made some nice plays with run stuffs and stops.

The second series for Winston and Hill saw them both go 4-of-4 on their drives. Winston hit two short passes to Deonte Harris and Marquez Callaway to start. The play to Callaway actually drew a flag from Ken Crawley for illegal contact. On the next play, Winston was sacked by a combined effort from Jalen Dalton and Marcus Davenport. He'd hit Harris on a comeback route for an intermediate gain, and then finish things off with a short curl to Nick Vannett. One thing I couldn't help but notice on that last play was that Kevin White had a great route and just toasted Crawley.

For hill, his first pass was a good throw to Ethan Wolf for an intermediate gain over the middle. The second play was a flea flicker that failed, as it should have been caught by Lil'Jordan Humphrey. However, the play was wiped out due to a defensive hold. Hill hit Kawaan Baker, Ty Montgomery, and Devonta Freeman. The play to Freeman was blown up by Andrew Dowell.

On the next series, Winston went 2-of-2, but also had an odd second play that looked like Christian Ringo forcing a strip/sack. It was either that or Winston just dropped the ball when trying to throw. Either way, it was a tough look. Winston hit two intermediate passes to Hogan and Humphrey.

Hill had two playaction passes during his drills, finishing 2-of-3. He hit a swing pass to Latavius Murray on the first play that resulted in negative yardage, while his other was a short one to the right side to Murray. The last pass was intended for Adam Trautman, but it was overthrown and nearly picked off by Bryce Thompson.

In the final frame, Winston didn't hit any of his four attempts. It was a pretty tough series overall. The first play saw Kwon Alexander stuff Tony Jones Jr. on a run to the right, while his first pass was dropped by Deonte Harris. He was then sacked by Marcus Davenport on the following play, and the next throw was low to Humphrey. Winston tried to hit Harris in the end zone with Paulson Adebo in coverage, but it had no chance of being completed. The final pass was a seam route to Adam Trautman that went over his head.

For Hill, he finished 4-of-6. He hit a swing pass to Devonta Freeman on the first attempt, and then threw it away with Christian Ringo pressuring him. The next throw was actually broken up by Brian Poole, but Kawaan Baker did a good job securing the ball for a catch after not being the original receiver. We saw the flea flicker come out again, but Hill just kept it and ran with no one open. He'd then find Chris Hogan for a intermediate gain over the middle, and then the play after saw Hill with the pick-six from Andrew Dowell. He closed things out by finding Baker on the sideline for an intermediate gain.

Kick Return Teams: From right to left, the kickoff team was Dwayne Washington, Chase Hansen, J.T. Gray, Brian Poole, Andrew Dowell, Juwan Johnson, Kaden Elliss, Zack Baun, Lil'Jordan Humphrey, and Tony Jones Jr. The returners were Deonte Harris, Ty Montgomery, C.J. Gardner-Johnson, and Tony Jones Jr.

For the kickoff team, the look was Paulson Adebo, Sutton Smith, Nick Vannett, Garrett Griffin, Josh Pederson, Nolan Cooney, Eric Burrell, Wynton McManis, Natrell Jamerson, Grant Haley, and Deuce Wallace.

Trickery: We saw several instances of Taysom Hill working on flea flickers. It was at least three times during the course of practice. I'm curious to see if this happens during the game on Monday night.

Don't Forget About Him: Andrew Dowell made several good plays on the day and flashed a good bit, and his pick-six was arguably the highlight of the day.


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