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Saints Camp: Day 16 Practice Notes and Observations

Day 16 of Saints training camp saw the defense have the better day, while the quarterbacks each had their fair share of struggles.

The Saints had a second straight indoor practice on Wednesday, as they are just a little bit closer to their Monday Night meeting with the Jaguars in preseason game No. 2. After Thursday's practice, we have two open sessions to fans for Friday and Saturday. Today saw the defense have the better day, with both quarterbacks struggling a bit. Here's our notes and observations from Day 16 of practice.

Training Camp Recaps: Day 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 and Transactions

A lot of roster movement here for the Saints today. Among those missing included: Wil Lutz, Tommylee Lewis, Jake Lampman, Alex Armah, Alvin Kamara, Will Clapp, Mike Brown, Ryan Ramczyk, Pete Werner, KeiVarae Russell (COVID-19 List), Lawrence Woods, Adonis Alexander, Marcus Davenport, and Payton Turner.

This is the second straight practice we haven't seen Ramczyk and Armah. Hopefully, it's nothing. However, we'll continue to monitor. 

Sean Payton announced after practice that Jake Lampman and Lawrence Woods were waived, while Adonis Alexander and Mike Brown were waived/injured. New Orleans also brought in Natrell Jamerson, Jordan Mills, and Caleb Benenoch in addition to Kevin White and Bryan Mills. After all the moves, they are at the right roster limit.

Jersey Numbers: For those keeping track at home, Kevin White is No. 17, Natrell Jamerson is No. 21, Bryan Mills is No. 39, Caleb Benenoch is No. 65, and Jordan Mills is No. 66.

Quarterback Teaser

Both Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill had their fair share of struggles on the day, and it was Winston who looked a little better in the early stages of practice, but the overall edge likely went to Hill. Hill was your starter today. For charting's sake, in the 7-on-7 period, Hill went 3-of-7 and Winston went 5-of-8. For 11-on-11 drills, Hill finished 5-of-8 and Winston went 6-of-11. Both quarterbacks threw picks, with Hill's coming in a end-of-game situation and Winston's in the red zone.

Starting Rotation and Notes

With Kamara and Ramczyk being the most notable players being out on the day, this is what the offense rolled with.

  • QB: Taysom Hill
  • RB: Latavius Murray
  • FB: Sutton Smith
  • WR: Marquez Callaway, Kawaan Baker
  • TE: Adam Trautman
  • OL: Terron Armstead, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, James Hurst

Sub Notes: The Saints rotated in a ton of familiar faces in for the offense, which was mainly Juwan Johnson, Nick Vannett, Deonte Harris, Lil'Jordan Humphrey, Easop Winston Jr., Tre'Quan Smith, Devonta Freeman, and Chris Hogan. Smith was participating in contact drills today, which was a great sign.

For the defense, we got a base 4-3 look for today, but the team also ran a good bit of nickel when it came to 11-on-11 drills.

  • DE: Cam Jordan, Carl Granderson
  • 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: Tons of player rotations in at defense, which included C.J. Gardner-Johnson, P.J. Williams, Zack Baun, Andrew Dowell, Christian Ringo, and Albert Huggins.

1-on-1 Charting

Jameis Winston and Ian Book handled all 1-on-1 throws today for the receivers and cornerbacks. Here's how the matchups looked with each respective passer, as well as the result and route.

Jameis Winston (11/14)

  • Marquez Callaway vs. Ken Crawley, complete - Comeback route, was a low throw and Callaway was held, but did a great job adjusting
  • Chris Hogan vs. Brian Poole, complete - Slant in
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Grant Haley, complete - Touchdown deep right sideline
  • Deonte Harris vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, complete - Touchdown deep right, Gardner-Johnson slipped at the beginning
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Paulson Adebo, incomplete - Inside short, drop
  • Kevin White vs. Bryan Mills, complete - Touchdown deep right sideline
  • Kawaan Baker vs. Natrell Jamerson, complete - Inside short, good job by Baker to shrug off the tight coverage
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Brian Poole, incomplete - Corner deep right, Humphrey tried to make a one-handed grab, but couldn't get it
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Natrell Jamerson, complete - Inside route mid
  • Deonte Harris vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, complete - Touchdown deep left, Gardner-Johnson went for the bump but Harris juked him and left him in the dust
  • Kevin White vs. Brian Poole, complete - Deep middle route
  • Lil'Jordan Humphrey vs. Paulson Adebo, incomplete - Deep left sideline, good adjustment made by Adebo
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Natrell Jamerson, complete - Sideline left comeback route
  • Chris Hogan vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, complete - Deep sideline left, great throw by Winston and a stutter step move by Hogan helped him out. He juggled the catch, but secured it and made it.

Ian Book (1/4)

  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Grant Haley, complete - Slant in, Haley was holding
  • Chris Hogan vs. C.J. Gardner-Johnson, no play - No throw was made, Hogan was being held big time, and things got a little interesting after the play
  • Ty Montgomery vs. Ken Crawley, incomplete - PBU deep left sideline
  • Kawaan Baker vs. Paulson Adebo, incomplete - Baker slipped and dropped a short middle pass
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Grant Haley, incomplete - Deep sideline left, overthrow

Rhythm, Flow, and Observations

As we mentioned before, the Saints were practicing indoors again. The offense was in their white jerseys again, and the flow was relatively familiar, but the drills were different. The receivers and quarterbacks were working together on route concepts, which focused a lot on making cuts inside. The tight ends were working with blocking pads, focusing on getting off the block and then turning around for a quick throw.

The offensive line continued doing mainly 1-on-1 work, while the running backs were working on blitz pickups. The defensive backs got some work with motion and rub routes, while the linebackers were working on motion with lane assignments. The defensive ends were working with Brian Young mainly, while the defensive tackles worked on leverage in 2-on-1 drills with Ryan Nielsen.

We had a period of 1-on-1 work followed by some basic 11-on-11 reps with all quarterbacks. The focus then shifted to some simulated punt return work, in which the team put emphasis on each phase and side. What I mean by that is that you had the right side of gunner vs. jammers followed by focus on the inside rush and protection and then moving out to the left side of gunner vs. jammers.

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Afterwards, there was some 7-on-7 work, which at times included an extra defender in the mix who simulated rushing the quarterback. We then saw another period of 11-on-11 drills, followed by more punt return simulation and then moved to red zone 11-on-11 work. After a small rotation of tackle dummy, low pad tip work, and 1-on-1 wrap-ups between the linebackers, defensive backs, and wide receivers and tight ends, practice concluded with an end-of-game simulation with both quarterbacks getting an opportunity with 33 seconds left and no timeouts.

7-on-7 Notes: Taysom Hill went 2-of-4 and 1-of-3 in his respective two series, while Jameis Winston went 2-of-4 and 3-of-4 in his series.

Ken Crawley broke up a shallow crosser intended for Marquez Callaway on the first play, but connected his next two to Tre'Quan Smith on an inside route and Tony Jones Jr. on a wheel route. The last pass went out of bounds and was overthrown intended for Chris Hogan.

Hill's second series saw him work inside the 25-yard-line. New Orleans moved the ball up in several yard increments as each play was ran. He hit on his first pass to Humphrey for a short gain over the middle, but wasn't able to get any of the next three. The first incompletion was a wheel route for Dwayne Washington in the end zone, while the next was a short throw intended for Juwan Johnson in the end zone. The final throw went out of the end zone that was intended for Deonte Harris.

Winston's first series had him find Ty Montgomery and Josh Pederson. The second pass was an incompletion to Humphrey (a drop), while the final pass was a curl route intended for Kawaan Baker that was dropped. Chase Hansen did a good job making contact to ensure it didn't get where it needed to go.

His second series is where he shined and put some distance between him and Hill. Winston missed his first throw to Baker in the middle of the end zone, as it was overthrown. However, he came back to hit a small inside curl to Easop Winston Jr., and then hit two touchdowns in a row, one to Josh Pederson in the corner and Adam Trautman in the middle.

11-on-11 Notes: The first series for Hill saw the Saints offense run six plays, and he went 3-of-3 on it. He did a nice job booting right to hit Marquez Callaway on an intermediate crossing route, while his second pass was actually tipped by Tanoh Kpassagnon at the line of scrimmage and caught by Trautman for a loss on a playaction boot. His third pass connected to Ethan Wolf on an intermediate sideline grab. The three running plays (1st, 3rd, 6th plays) saw Cam Jordan stuff the first one, Devonta Freeman get to the second level off the right side, and Latavius Murray getting stopped by Chase Hansen.

Jameis Winston went 2-of-3 on his first series, and his lone incompletion actually hit Easop Winston Jr. in the helmet on a slant route. It was as if he wasn't ready, expecting it, or paying attention. Winston's first pass connected with Lil'Jordan Humphrey on a rollout to the right, and his second pass was a nice intermediate throw to Kawaan Baker. The two runs went for minimal gains (2nd and 3rd play).

In red zone work, Hill and Winston both went 2-of-4. Hill's series saw him unable to connect with Tony Jones Jr. on a wheel route in the end zone for his first attempt, while Murray was plugged up for a small gain on 2nd Down by Malcolm Roach and Andrew Dowell. 

On 3rd Down, Hill found Chris Hogan on an intermediate hookup inside. He found him again on an inside curl to the 5-yard-line. However, Hill couldn't get them into the end zone. He had a Dwayne Washington drop on the right side, and then was sacked by Kaden Elliss on playaction. No one was open.

Winston's series saw him get picked off by Brian Poole near the goal line on his first pass attempt, while he hit his next two on a short route to the flats and intermediate one to Dwayne Washington that got them to the 5-yard-line. Winston's last pass saw him try for Marquez Callaway in the middle of the end zone, and he was popped by Grant Haley and P.J. Williams.

For the final drill, Hill got two plays with 33 seconds on the clock. His first one saw him scramble for a nice gain. On the play, Cam Jordan was pressuring, and Cesar Ruiz did an excellent job getting out in front of Hill as the lead blocker. However, the drive ended with Hill throwing a deep ball intended for Callaway and Marcus Williams read perfectly to pick off.

Winston's opportunity saw him hit a deep touch pass to Lil'Jordan Humphrey on the first attempt, but he'd be miss the next three throws. The first incomplete was off the hands of Humphrey in the end zone. Had it been a yard less, it would have connected. The next attempt saw Winston try Montgomery on a post route in the end zone, but it was good coverage from Grant Haley and J.T. Gray. The final throw was incomplete and thrown out of bounds, as it looked like two receivers ran the wrong route in double corners. Ty Montgomery was the closest target.

Gunner and Jammer Update: Some pairings to offer up from Wednesday.

  • Gunner: Kawaan Baker | Jammers: Paulson Adebo and J.T. Gray
  • Gunner: Bryce Thompson | Jammers: Grant Haley and Deuce Wallace
  • Gunner: Juwan Johnson | Jammers: Eric Burrell and Brian Poole
  • Gunner: Kevin White | Jammers: Natrell Jamerson and Bryan Mills

Thompson and Johnson both had really good reps on their respective punts.

Cause for Concern: So, it's no longer a small thing, it appears that Shy Tuttle has toppled down the depth chart. Perhaps it's because the guys in front of him are playing better, but it seems like he's one who is on the roster bubble right now. 

Tough Decisions Loom: Andrew Dowell continues to stand out in practice, and he had some good reps in special teams as well as being paired alongside Demario Davis in 7-on-7 work and red zone. He might be one of the toughest roster cuts to make.

Pass Rushing Specialist: David Onyemata was with the defensive ends today for all of practice, and that's where he's been getting some extensive work. Perhaps the versatility is the emphasis, but he looks good off the edge. When he gets done with his suspension, it'll be interesting to see how the Saints use him.

White's Good Debut: Kevin White made a great first impression with his day. The familiarity with Curtis Johnson could help him out. Of course, there's no telling how long he will stick around with the Saints likely to have some of their answers at receiver. However, he's an intriguing presence.

Scuffle Notes: Cesar Ruiz and Jalen Dalton had a little skirmish at the end of practice. These two have been battling all training camp.

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