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Saints Training Camp: Notes and Observations from Day 7

Tempers flared and boiled over at Day 7 of Saints training camp, but that wasn't the main takeaway from Wednesday's practice.

The Saints were back at it on Wednesday, as the media got an exclusive look at things for Day 7 of training camp. Despite being in just helmets and shells, the inside session had some really spirited moments to it, with things boiling over later in practice. Here's all of our notes and observations.

CAMP RECAPS: Day 6 | Day 5 | Day 4 | Day 3 | Day 2 | Day 1

Notes and Observations

ATTENDANCE: Tyrann Mathieu returned to practice today, which is the main takeaway here. He had been out of training camp since the start handling a family issue. Everything I heard on this was that he just needed time, so it's a great sign to have him back out there. He'll have a ramp up period, according to Dennis Allen. He participated in individual drills, position specific drills, and walkthroughs.

Among those not spotted at Wednesday's practice included Taysom Hill, Dylan Mabin, Smoke Monday, Lucas Krull, Brandon Dillon, Rashid Shaheed, and Payton Turner. Marcus Davenport was spotted doing some rehab work in the indoor facility. Dillon's No. 86 was being worn by the recently acquired Chris Herndon

Allen had no updates on Smoke Monday, who was believed to have suffered a significant knee injury on Tuesday.

It appeared that Jarvis Landry had a rest day. One thing that NewOrleans.Football's Nick Underhill pointed out on C.J. Gardner-Johnson was that he's limiting himself in practices, seeking a new contract.

WALKTHROUGH OFFENSE: This has been the norm seeing a line of James Hurst, Andrus Peat, Erik McCoy, Cesar Ruiz, and Landon Young. When asked after practice, Allen said the reason we're seeing Young more here is because of a maintenance plan.

"We've got a few of those guys that we've got a little bit of a plan with that we're trying to limit some of the snaps that they're getting," Allen said.

Among the others we saw with the first team included Nick Vannett, Marquez Callaway, Alvin Kamara, Mark Ingram, Tre'Quan Smith, Jarvis Landry, Chris Olave, Deonte Harty, Kevin White, Adam Trautman, Dwayne Washington, Ryan Ramczyk, Juwan Johnson, and Adam Prentice.

Second-team offensive line had Trevor Penning, Ethan Greenidge, Nick Martin, Calvin Throckmorton, and Lewis Kidd.

WALKTHROUGH DEFENSE: The Saints rolled out a nickel look today, with Cam Jordan, David Onyemata, Shy Tuttle, and Carl Granderson on the line, Pete Werner and Demario Davis at linebacker, and C.J. Gardner-Johnson in the slot. Paulson Adebo and Marshon Lattimore were at corner, with Marcus Maye and Tyrann Mathieu at safety. Aside Granderson, this is probably the starting defense. When Davenport returns, he'll likely be that guy opposite of Jordan.

Subs included Kaden Elliss, Eric Wilson, P.J. Williams, Taco Charlton, Malcolm Roach, and Kentavius Street.

JAMEIS WINSTON: It's worth pointing out how well Winston is moving around. There was a quarterback drill where Ronald Curry had four cones spaced out in a direct line, and each thrower was facing and going the opposite direction from the net target weaving in and out around these to then turn around to be greeted by a large yoga ball. They had to evade the yoga ball and make the throw into one of the three targets. Winston hit his first one after looking great in the rep.

1-ON-1 WORK: Jameis Winston handled all passes thrown in this session, and here's several of the reps that stood out.

  • Chris Olave vs. Alontae Taylor - Alontae won this one after doing some things that helped pull Olave to the ground. This could have been flagged, but these Saints corners have been extremely physical all camp.
  • Marquez Callaway vs. Bradley Roby - Credit Roby for a pass breakup here. Callaway initially won the route, but Roby did a great job recovering to break this one up deep down the right sideline.
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Bryce Thompson - Thompson won the rep off the line by pushing Winston Jr. to the ground.
  • Chris Olave vs. Paulson Adebo - Another day and it's another pass breakup for Adebo near the right sideline. He had two in drills.
  • Tre'Quan Smith vs. Alontae Taylor - Smith bested Taylor here by getting a score on a middle fade route. 
  • Easop Winston Jr. vs. Bryce Thompson - Winston Jr. got revenge here from earlier after scoring from a deep pass down the left sideline. It was a great route and throw.
  • Tre'Quan Smith vs. Alontae Taylor - Revenge from earlier for Taylor after providing excellent coverage on a deep left sideline shot.

7-ON-7: The biggest takeaway here is that Michael Thomas participated in this drill. He hadn't since the start of training camp. He did not disappoint either, hauling all three of his targets, including the first two plays from Jameis Winston. We touched on him yesterday, but Thomas is looking outstanding.

Jameis Winston went 3-of-4, Andy Dalton went 4-of-4, and Ian Book went 3-of-4. Winston's lone incompletion was due to a Bradley Roby pass breakup on an inside route. Roby had a good jump on the ball and nearly picked it off. 

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Andy Dalton also hit Thomas to begin his series, and then threaded a real needle to Juwan Johnson over the middle with Alontae Taylor and Eric Wilson in coverage. He then found Chris Olave for a nice intermediate gain near the left sideline.

Ian Book's first pass was broken up by Bradley Roby, which was an inside slant route to Chris Olave. He came back to hit Dai'Jean Dixon underneath, Chris Herndon on an out route, and Kawaan Baker down the sideline for an intermediate gain.

11-ON-11: The first portion had another familiar feel to it being that it focused on running plays. Bradley Roby and Paulson Adebo ended up starting at corner, with P.J. Williams in for Tyrann Mathieu. Landon Young was at right tackle.

Pete Werner and Carl Granderson combined for a good run stop on Tony Jones Jr. on the second rep with Winston under center, and Alvin Kamara then rattled off a big run in the middle. The following play saw Taco Charlton best Trevor Penning, pushing him to the ground during the rep. Penning got thrown to the ground again on the second run play with Dalton at quarterback. Isaiah Pryor had a nice tackle for loss on Devine Ozigbo to close the run portion team drills out.

The second time we saw 11-on-11 had Jameis Winston got 2-of-2, Andy Dalton finish 2-of-2, and Ian Book got 1-of-1. Winston was sacked on the second play by Carl Granderson after rolling out left. Taco Charlton jumped early on the final rep, which gave Winston a free play to connect on a deep fade route to Kirk Merritt.

Abram Smith had a nice run to get Dalton's series going. Dalton's first pass was a little high for Deonte Harty, but he did make a good attempt going up to get it. Unfortunately, the ball hit the ground. The second attempt was an overthrow to Marquez Callaway over the middle.

The final team drills to help close out Wednesday saw each quarterback get five reps. Jameis Winston finished 3-of-4. James Hurst had a false start to begin the drill. Winston hit Deonte Harty on a deep out near the right sideline on his second pass attempt. He would have been sacked by Carl Granderson on the ensuing play, which ended up being an overthrow intended for Chris Olave. The next play led to a fight (more on that later), but Winston still found Tre'Quan Smith.

Andy Dalton went 2-of-4 after the first play was an inside zone to Abram Smith that got stopped for a minimal gain. Marquez Callaway had a heck of a catch on Dalton's first pass here, displaying his ups to get it over the middle working against Bryce Thompson. His next pass was spot on for a deep sideline hookup to Olave, but he couldn't find it. He tried deep again on the next play to Kawaan Baker, but it was overthrown.

Ian Book finished 0-of-2, and ended up scrambling out of the pocket twice. Both would have went for large gains. Jordan Jackson had a nice run stop on Devine Ozigbo to start the series, and the first pass Book threw likely would have went down as a sack instead of the incomplete deep attempt to Chris Olave. Shy Tuttle had a pass breakup on the fourth play with Taco Charlton pressuring.

TIMING/CHEMISTRY WORK: In between team drills, Jameis Winston had one particular session where he was working with just Michael Thomas, Chris Olave, and Easop Winston Jr. Timing and chemistry seemed to be the theme here. Winston threw two backshoulder passes to Thomas in the end zone. Just something to note.

TEMPERS BOIL OVER: Trevor Penning and Malcolm Roach got thrown out of practice after a fight ensued in the final portion of team drills. Penning won the rep against Roach and had him on the ground, but it appeared that Roach took exception. The two got into it, and then the rest of the team came together afterwards to help break things up, which led to more pushing and shoving.

"Yeah, we don't have time for that," Dennis Allen said after practice.

"I sent two guys in today, and we got to get our work done. We got to learn as a team how to compete and how to play and how to practice and push ourselves to the limit but yet not take it over the edge."

Look, it's easy to point the blame on Penning, but I can't help but feel like they're goading him into it. You do have to control yourself, no matter what.

BACKUP CENTER: We probably haven't touched on this lately, but Nick Martin has been the second guy snapping. At one point, we saw Forrest Lamp and Josh Andrews doing this. Andrews had a high one and low snap today, which is never a good sign when you have competition.

KEEP AN EYE ON: Not having Payton Turner and Marcus Davenport out there has put more of a focus on Scott Patchan on the edge. There's some Mitchell Loewen vibes here, for those who remember, and the reps between him and Trevor Penning have been some of the best in camp. He's made some nice run stops, tackles for loss, had some sacks, and is maximizing his snaps.

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