Football, real football is on its way back. It'll be here before we know it for New Orleans. Unlike last year and assuming nothing changes, Saints training camp should look a bit more traditional. Fans are able to attend up to seven open practices, with the first coming on Friday.
Of course, as exciting as camp sessions are, there's certain things we should keep in mind that may temper expectations.
Be Cautious Reading Into One Day
Practice is practice, and you're going to see a lot of highlights. You'll see Taysom Hill or Jameis Winston connect on a bomb to Tre'Quan Smith or another Saints receiver, and then you'll see the defense win some hard-fought battles. While it's fun and exciting, be careful drawing concrete conclusions off of a single session of practice.
You'll also see different rotations in who gets starting reps, and while those are important, you shouldn't read into them as much as many do. One good day out of a player, particularly in this quarterback battle, doesn't mean he has the starting job or is necessarily the favorite. Also remember that some players don't do well in practice, but can shine in preseason and vice versa.
There's tons of great beat writers who cover the Saints, and it's good to check everyone's reporting out. We all see a lot, and each person can have varying recaps and opinions each day. There's a lot going on, and one person can't see it all. Here's some great follows for camp on Twitter, and this just scratches the surface.
- Nick Underhill, NewOrleans.Football
- Mike Triplett, ESPN
- Amie Just, NOLA.com
- Luke Johnson, NOLA.com
- Jeff Duncan, NOLA.com
- Rod Walker, NOLA.com
- Katherine Terrell, The Athletic
- Larry Holder, The Athletic
- John DeShazier, New Orleans Saints
- Sean Fazende, WVUE FOX 8
- Fletcher Mackel, WDSU
- Sharief Ishaq, WDSU
- Jeff Nowak, WWL Radio
Naturally, you can also follow me on Twitter and Kyle T. Mosley for camp happenings. You might also want to create a group on there and turn on some notifications, or just check out Saints Report for their great work on daily camp threads.
Expect Tryouts and Player Movement
You're bound to see a bunch of new players pop up during practices, and some of those tryouts do lead to them signing to the active roster. Injuries are an unfortunate part of the game as well, which creates plenty of roster turnover. Also, remember some key dates on the NFL calendar.
- August 17: NFL clubs are required to cut down to 85 players by 3 p.m.
- August 24: NFL clubs are required to cut down to 80 players by 3 p.m.
- August 31: NFL clubs are required to cut down to 53 players by 3 p.m.
16-man practice squads are still a thing going into this season, which can consist of up to six veterans. There's obviously some risk exposure during final cuts for a player that's on the bubble. For each team, there could be some strategic emphasis on how this takes shape, as teams will undoubtedly do their scouting homework and potentially snipe a player who did well in camp and the preseason.
We've also seen that making the final roster doesn't assure you being on the team in Week 1.
Beware the Camp Champ
Shining in training camp assures nothing. Darius Victor, Corey Fuller, Devine Ozigbo, Emmanuel Butler, and Adrian Arrington are some of the best examples of players who did extremely well in training camp, but it didn't really go anywhere. It's only a matter of time before the next one emerges.
Conversely, you have to remember that being the veteran also doesn't mean much. Remember when Rishard Matthews just up and left the Saints in 2019? New Orleans has brought players in during the process like Hakeem Nicks, Steve Breaston, and Patrick Crayton, while they've learned lessons with free agents like Champ Bailey.
Needless to say, there's always that player or two that gets cut to the surprise of many. In a year where the future seems very cloudy, the Saints really need to find the best players at each position to compete
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