The Saints have a day off from practice on Sunday, which gives everyone a chance to rest and recuperate as we go into another week of action starting Monday. The big difference is we'll have a preseason game to look forward to next Saturday when the Saints travel to take on the Ravens.
We learned a lot after the first few days of training camp, and we're back with some more things we've taken away from the past week.
No Clear Quarterback Frontrunner
Both Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston have had some strong moments in practice, but we don't have anyone who has distanced themselves as someone you'd call the starter. Winston had two noticeable days he stood out in practice more than Hill, but overall the two have been inconsistent. For instance, on Saturday, Winston had a great red zone moment where he hit Devonta Freeman on a swing pass that went for a touchdown, but the very next pass resulted in a pick on a really bad throw.
For Hill, there was a strong finish yesterday in red zone drills, but struggled in drills before that. Overall, both have had some issues finding receivers with overthrows and misfires. Maybe we'll see one of these quarterbacks better distinguish themselves in preseason, but at this point, it's a tough call.
Cesar Ruiz, Marquez Callaway, and Zack Baun are some of the many players who have shown some growth in camp. They're not the only ones, but Ruiz is probably the most noticeable one of the bunch. He said that he lost 15 pounds this offseason and replaced that with muscle, and his comfort level is at an all-time high right now. This is going to be huge for the Saints offensive line if it keeps going.
Callaway is more in the spotlight with Tre'Quan Smith sidelined with an undisclosed injury. Smith should be back soon, but Callaway has been able to work against Marshon Lattimore, which is always good to make improvements to your game. He's made some good catches in camp, and hopefully the preseason will help everyone see how well he's developing.
As for Baun, he looks like a completely different player. He's made picks, run stuffs, and is doing well in coverage looks. He probably won't have as much of a role on defense this year because of the other players ahead of him, but could definitely see more on special teams.
Premium Pass Rush
If there's one area on the roster that you can feel really good about, it's the pass rush. The Saints have a strong group of defensive ends, and it's been noticeable throughout camp. Marcus Davenport had a day where he finished with four sacks, while Carl Granderson flashes constantly. Payton Turner and Tanoh Kpassagnon have also had their turn getting after the quarterback.
We can't forget about Cam Jordan either, who has also had some good moments working against Ryan Ramczyk. The encouraging thing is that most all of these players have worked against the first team at some point. You may dismiss some of what this looks like when it's James Hurst or Ethan Greenidge, but it's been a good sign to see the pressure and moves they are brining to the table.
You also can't forget about Noah Spence, as he's someone that's been flashing each practice. He could have a role on this team, but it's going to depend on whether or not the Saints will keep six guys at defensive end and perhaps other areas they could use him.
While it's still early, the Saints draft class has displayed an ability to pick things up pretty quickly. Payton Turner became a different player when the pads came on, and he's make quick adjustments in run support, an area that Sean Payton said he needed to grow in.
Pete Werner looks strong in his early days at weakside linebacker. He's shown the instincts are there to go along with good coverage. He's been able to put himself in the best positioning to make plays, even if it has been a completion. The buzz is certainly there with New Orleans adding Kwon Alexander, but Werner is going to be important to what the team does in the long run.
Paulson Adebo has done some quick growing up and getting some looks with the first team. The No. 2 cornerback spot is up for grabs, and Adebo is coming along with some good reps in 1-on-1 and 11-on-11 drills while also making his mark on special teams. There's obviously a lot of football left, but you can see traits of what the Saints saw in a guy that hasn't played in a long time.
Ian Book has had some good moments passing, but he's also made plenty of rookie mistakes with picks and decisions. From a comparison standpoint, he looks way better than Garrett Grayson ever looked. He's comfortable and learning, and someone we can't wait to see more from in preseason.
Landon Young has had a couple of moments on the offensive line, and is really soaking things up. However, more input is needed there as we tend to focus more on the opposite side of the ball.
Kawaan Baker has some more room to grow, but has picked up the offense and is coming along. Baker has also worked on special teams in gunner situations, and that could be his best way onto the roster right now. With uncertainty at wide receiver, it'll be a great opportunity for him, but others are shining more than him.
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