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Marshon Lattimore, Alvin Kamara show up as expected for New Orleans Saints veteran minicamp

'I thought it was good and we are excited about having them here'

New Orleans Saints players participate in Day 1 of 2024 Minicamp at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.
New Orleans Saints players participate in Day 1 of 2024 Minicamp at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Tuesday, June 11, 2024.

Cornerback Marshon Lattimore and running back Alvin Kamara didn't at all anticipate missing this year's mandatory veteran minicamp with the New Orleans Saints, so each was present and accounted for Tuesday at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

The defensive (Lattimore) and offensive (Kamara) rookies of the year in 2017 didn't attend OTAs this year – which generally has been customary – but each had a twinge of intrigue around him this offseason.

For Lattimore, it was rumors of a possible trade after having his second consecutive season disrupted by injury, an ankle that shelved him for the final seven games of 2023 and kidney and rib injuries that took him out for 10 games in '22.

For Kamara, it was missing out on the in-person installation of the Saints' new offense under offensive coordinator Klint Kubiak.

Lattimore said he's exactly where he wants to be, and reaffirmed Coach Dennis Allen's opinion that they'd had positive, productive talks this offseason.

"I really don't care (about trade rumors), to be honest, because it is what it is," Lattimore said. "If it's going to happen, it's going to happen. If not, I'm here. I really don't get into it; I really don't feed into it to be honest. I talked to D.A. already, and we're good. Everything else is just talk to me.

"We had a personal situation that we worked through, but it wasn't like I wanted to leave or he wanted me to leave or nothing like that. I don't know how y'all looked at it, but it was just a situation happened personally. It was nothing like I wanted to leave."

Kamara, the franchise all-time leader with 78 touchdowns, got his first hands-on feel of Kubiak's offense.

"I've been in contact with Klint, I've been in contact with guys," Kamara said. "I have a playbook, I've got an iPad. It's different when you go do it, right? Looking on paper, I've never been really a paper guy. But nothing's changed from what I've been doing the last couple of years.

"I think (the scheme) is very intentional. Run looks, pass looks – everything is intentional about this offense. You know what you're doing, why you're doing it and when you're doing it.

"There's a lot going on. There's a lot of movement. There's a lot of opportunity for you to make a play when your number is called. Even when you know there's a play for another guy, I think there's a lot of room in this offense to still be open and available to get a ball or to make an impact on a play."

Kamara said the history of the offense suggests it has been good for running backs. Allen said it simply was good to see two of the best players in franchise history back on the field.

"Lattimore has never missed a mandatory event, so I kind of expected that he would be here," Allen said. "I think I'll reserve judgement (on Tuesday's practice) until I get a chance to really watch the tape. I wouldn't say that anything necessarily stood out to me one way or the other. I know he made a nice play over there on the boundary. But to have both him and Alvin here, I thought was good and we are excited about having them here."

Allen said that Kamara looked "explosive."

"You have to be in fairly decent physical condition to get through these elements out here today. I mean, it was hot out here today," Allen said. "There were a couple of really good runs that I was impressed with. Both those guys being out here was a positive, and we're looking forward to continuing to work with them."

Kamara, though, is playing a bit of catch-up with the offense. Lattimore has been in this defensive system since he was drafted.

"I didn't get a sense that he was behind today, in terms of being able to get lined up, being able to execute his job," Allen said of Kamara. "I think there might have been one protection that he might have been off on – I'd have to go in and look at it. But I thought for the most part he was on point with his assignments and what he needed to be doing.

"The biggest thing that we have to be able to do, I'm not worried about Alvin really knowing what to do. He's really smart and he's professional, he works hard at it. It's really more about getting the rhythm and the timing – not just in the passing game, but also in the run game and making sure that you get a feel for the tracks and how these particular plays need to be run, and what that feels like. That's probably where we're going to have to play a little catch-up and make sure we're on the same page there."

Lattimore said he's eager to get back on the page that had him listed as one of the top cornerbacks in the league.

"It's all business at the end of the day," Lattimore said. "I can't have a personal problem because they want to trade me or something. It is what it is. Everybody knows when they come here what can happen.

"I've been hurt for two years, so I understand. People probably don't think I'm the same type of player or whatever the case may be, but all I've got to do is prove to people that I am. So it really falls on me, to be honest."

RAM OUT: Right tackle Ryan Ramczyk continues to rehabilitate his surgically repaired knee. He was an excused absence Tuesday, and Allen said Ramczyk's status remains the same as a few months ago, when Allen said at the owners' meetings that progress hadn't been as positive as everyone had hoped.

"I would say it's not trending in either direction right now in terms of the progress," Allen said. "So I wouldn't say there's been much change since the last time we discussed it."

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