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John DeShazier: Saints turn in 'crisper' effort Friday vs. Chargers

Posted Aug 18, 2017

Payton: 'I thought overall it was a little bit crisper today than yesterday'

Costa Mesa, Calif. – The Thursday-night cleanup resulted in the expected Friday-morning snapback for the New Orleans Saints at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex.

The Saints were a more polished edition of themselves in the second of their three joint practices with the Los Angeles Chargers. The teams will have a walkthrough practice Saturday, before Sunday’s preseason game at StubHub Center.

“We got some two-minute work with the younger guys,” Coach Sean Payton said. “I thought overall it was a little bit crisper today than yesterday.

“I just thought from an assignment standpoint, we had a few too many (Thursday) on tape, watching the team periods where we dropped a protection or a coverage. Without looking at the film, I thought it was crisper today.”

Defensive end Cam Jordan said the Saints got out of the two workouts – Thursday in full pads, Friday in shells and helmets – what they needed.

“It’s always good getting out here and practicing with another team, trying to hit somebody new,” Jordan said. “You get to put hands on a tight end (the Chargers’ Antonio Gates) who clearly has made himself a long career out here. Honestly, to be able to be in pads (Thursday) was great, but it’s all about us, it’s all about what we have to do to improve ourselves.”

That process is ongoing, and Payton said he hopes to see more of it applied going from the first preseason game to Sunday.

“You want to see improvement,” he said. “You want to see players in similar situations maybe, with the corrections made from the week prior. You also want to see some energy.

“Our job between now and getting ready to play that game (Sunday), we’ll have more of a walk-through tempo out there (Saturday). It’s all part of the evaluation process. It’s a preseason game but it’s the most important game that we’re playing at that time. It’s important for a lot of guys.”

UNGER UPDATE: Sunday’s preseason game likely won’t be an important one for center Max Unger. Unger, who had offseason foot surgery, isn’t expected to play but he has passed his physical and can be been removed from the Physically Unable to Perform list.

“I don’t know about ‘ahead of schedule,’ ” Unger said. “We came up with a calendar, just a plan for return and I think so far we’re on it. I haven’t had too many setbacks. That feels good.”

The calendar for Unger was to play in the third or fourth preseason game, and he appears to be on schedule. He has worn pads in the two joint practices with the Chargers and while he didn’t participate in any of the team drills, he did execute snaps to quarterbacks and continued his rehabilitation process on a side field.

“(Playing in preseason) is something we’d like to do,” he said. “It looks at this point, we’re on schedule to get some reps in the preseason and I think that’s important before playing the regular season.”

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