The New Orleans Saints took the field for workouts during 2023 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Friday, August 11.
1. Home In The Dome: As is the custom prior to the New Orleans Saints first preseason game, the team practiced for the first time all training camp in their home, the Caesars Superdome. It's always great to walk in the Dome for the first time before the season begins, and it was no exception Friday. The Saints do this for many reasons. Familiarity with the locker rooms, the lighting inside the stadium, and specifically, to get a feel of and to break in the new field turf which is installed before every football season. Also in attendance at Friday's practice was former Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who is in town for a pickle ball match against tennis legend John McEnroe. Brees showed up for the second half of practice and was seen on the sideline talking with a number of people, including Saints President Dennis Lauscha and General Manager Mickey Loomis. Brees also had extended conversations with former teammate Cam Jordan and present quarterback Derek Carr, who told the media post practice that he was mentioning to Brees if every training camp the defense had its cheat sheets and made things extremely difficult for the offense during these early practices. All in all it was a good day to be in the Dome, though, unfortunately, it was marred a bit by the injury to offensive lineman Landon Young on the final rep of practice.
2. First Dust Up: Well it took 14 practices, but we finally had our first training camp skirmish, making it official, it's time to start hitting other people on other teams. On Friday, on the fourth rep of 11-on-11 drills at midfield, Carr audibled to a running play. He handed off to running back Alvin Kamara who hit the hole hard, and zig-zagged for about six or seven yards. Seemed innocent enough, until it wasn't. A huge pileup ensued with four linemen being the principles. Center Erik McCoy got his helmet knocked off and squared off with defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd. Then left tackle Trevor Penning and defensive end Carl Granderson were seen in a bit of a tussle. After it was broken up, the period continued (more on that in a bit). Following Wil Lutz's extra point, Coach Dennis Allen called the entire team to the middle of the field and addressed the situation for a full 90 seconds. Allen mentioned to the media post practice he told the team that if they wanted to act like boxers we'll start training like boxers and go on the side and run. Needless to say the message was received and the rest of the practice continued without incident. Bring on the Chiefs!
3. Play(s) of the Day: It's becoming a bit of a broken record but wide receiver Chris Olave makes the cut yet again. Four plays after the skirmish, the offense had the ball at the plus 44-yard line. Carr threw a ball deep down the right sideline where, once again, Olave and defensive back Alontae Taylor were locked in a step-for-step duel. Three yards deep in the Dave Dixon Drive end zone, both went up, but only one man came down with the ball for the touchdown. You guessed it, Olave. It has to be frustrating for Taylor on a daily basis, because it's not like he's not in position to make plays on the ball. His coverage has been excellent. That's how good Olave has performed during this camp, and he did it again Friday. The other play took place during two wide receivers vs two defensive backs inside the 10-yard line drill. Quarterback Jameis Winston tossed a ball toward the back right pylon of the Poydras Street end zone where wide receiver Keith Kirkwood and defensive back Paulson Adebo were matched up. Kirkwood, a fourth-year vet from Temple, jumped and came down with an unbelievable one-handed catch and held on for the touchdown inbounds. The catch set for a very loud reaction from everyone who was in that end zone, including the media who were fortunate enough to have a great view of it. We'll see you Sunday in the Dome FINALLY for some Saints football!