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Isaiah Foskey ready to 'play free' heading into his second year with New Orleans Saints

Second-round draft pick looks to earn bigger role on defense after a 'hesitant' rookie season

New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons - Week 18
New Orleans Saints vs Atlanta Falcons - Week 18

Defensive end Isaiah Foskey is ready to "play free" as the former second-round pick enters his second season looking to earn a more significant role on the defensive line for the New Orleans Saints.

"I feel like playing free is just playing with confidence, playing with that little swagger," Foskey said Wednesday. "I feel like that's what I finally got back throughout this OTAs."

Saints Coach Dennis Allen said he wants Foskey to "cut it loose" after the first open practice of OTAs. Foskey said it was a mental block for him and that was part of what he worked on during the offseason.

Foskey played a limited role his rookie season, seeing the field for 83 defensive snaps and 145 special teams snaps, tallying nine tackles and one pass defense. Foskey said he felt he didn't get a good grasp going into his rookie season and that impacted his performance.

"I definitely was a little hesitant going, like looking back from last year," Foskey said. "I feel like that was just like, me just trying not to make a mistake, but now I'm just pretty much going full speed."

Allen said with second-year players that "the hope is always that they're going to make the biggest jump from year one to year two."

"I don't get into, what's the jump going to be in year two," Allen said. "I get into, you know, how's this guy going to get better today? And if you do that, then the end results got to be closer to what you're looking for."

To that end, Foskey said he has been working with defensive line coach Todd Grantham throughout the offseason on things like getting up the field in his first few steps and his technique striking blockers.

"I just need to trust that I can do what I can do," Foskey said. "It's just not really get outside of what I can do. Just trusting what I can do, passers move, I know I am strong enough, I know I am fast enough, I know I'm quick enough and just trust it."

Notes from OTAs Day 9:

Wide receiver Chris Olave was in a red jersey during practice. Olave still went through the full practice including coming up with a couple of deep receptions during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.

"He kind of tweaked his shoulder in the weight room a couple of weeks ago and so we're just making sure that, you know, he didn't get bumped in any form or fashion," Allen said

Kicker Charlie Smyth and punter Lou Hedley handled kicking duties for the day. Hedley's performance has stood out through the OTAs. Allen said Hedley's kicking helped limit return opportunities last season.

"I think probably the biggest difference in the thing that we looked at that man we've got to try to when we really need to flip the field alright, we need to be able to flip the field," Allen said. "And so, I think that was a point of emphasis for Lou during the offseason. And I think we're seeing some of the fruits of that labor out here throughout these OTAs."

The Saints spent time drilling kickoffs as they prepare to adapt to the new rules. Wide receiver/return specialist Rashid Shaheed and quarterback Taysom Hill took the first reps as the two deep-men fielding kicks. Also taking reps fielding the kicks were the pairings of cornerback Alontae Taylor and wide receiver Jermaine Jackson, running backs Jamaal Williams and Kendre Miller, and wide receiver Mason Tipton and running back James Robinson.

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