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Key observations from New Orleans Saints Training Camp: Day 17

Saints, Chargers and NFL keeping their eyes on hurricane


1. Hurricane Watch: In the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up Department" the preseason game between the New Orleans Saints and the Los Angeles Chargers is in wait-and-see mode due to, yes, a hurricane moving up the west coast of Mexico and due to make landfall in Southern California sometime late in the weekend. The game is scheduled for 6 p.m. central and as Saints Coach Dennis Allen told the media post practice, a call with the NFL will be made later Friday afternoon as to the status of the game, whether the start time will change or if it will be canceled. It was another beautiful day in Orange County for Friday's joint practice, as the early morning marine layer burned off early in the practice leading to another sunny, pleasant mid-70 degree day. A tropical storm hasn't hit this are since 1939, so it will be interesting to see how the NFL handles the situation. We, of course, are well-versed in hurricane preparedness in South Louisiana, and it's all about safety for the residents of the area. Of course, this will be an event nobody in this region has ever experienced, so how it is handled by the NFL was the real storyline of the day.

2. Defense Standouts: As I mentioned on Thursday's Key Observations, I was able to watch the Saints offense vs the Chargers defense closely. On Friday, I focused on the Saints defense against the Chargers offense, led by their outstanding 5fifh-year quarterback, Justin Herbert. In my opinion, the Saints defense had another very solid day. The Chargers offense has a bit of a college feel to it, with Herbert rarely under center, taking most all snaps in the shotgun, so it is a bit unconventional to try and defend. In my opinion, the Saints did a solid job during all periods, including 7-on-7 and 11-on-11. On the very first rep of 7-on-7, Herbert sat in the pocket for at least 7-8 seconds (there is no pass rush in 7-on-7), meaning there was outstanding coverage down the field. Ultimately Herbert uncorked a deep ball down the right sideline intended for Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams. Saints corner Paulson Adebo would have none of it and knocked the ball away. Saints safety Ugo Amadi intercepted second team quarterback Easton Stick during 7-on-7 on a diving catch on a pass over the middle intended for Derius Days. Amadi would get to his feet and take it to the house for a pick six. In 11-on-11, two-minute red zone drills, the Saints were able to keep Los Angeles out of the end zone with both the first and second units. During Herbert's drive, safety Marcus Maye should've intercepted Herbert on the second play, knocking the ball away instead. The next play cornerback Bradley Roby had another PBU on a pass intended for star receiver Keenan Allen. Ultimately the Saints held on a desperation throw into the end zone that was intercepted by Maye. Cornerback Alontae Taylor had multiple pass breakups throughout the sessions. The most impressive thing to me Friday was that Herbert and Stick weren't able to throw the ball really more than 15 yards down the field and the majority of their plays were checkdowns to running backs because of the tight coverage of the secondary. If they did throw the ball down the field, none were completed, from overthrown balls due to the pass rush, or pass breakups. In these two days against the Chargers, this Saints defense showed it continues to improve every day as we get closer to the regular season.

3. Play of the Day: Again, I was not able to see this one live, but this play was the talk of the media after practice had ended. In 11-on-11 red zone drills, Saints quarterback Derek Carr dropped back and saw that running back Alvin Kamara was being covered by outside linebacker Joey Bosa. Immediately recognizing the mismatch, Kamara leaked out to the right sideline, and flew past Bosa, as Carr hit Kamara in stride on the wheel route for an easy touchdown. After the play, Bosa exclaimed to no one and everyone in particular, that "what in the ----- am I supposed to do?" Kamara has been brilliant in this camp, maybe his best as a Saint, but it's always fun to see him in action against other teams flashing the burst and the balance we have grown to know and love the last seven years. Friday's play was no exception to that.