The NFL billed Saturday's fan-attended training camp practices "Back Together."
Except, the New Orleans Saints and their fans never really part. And when they jammed into the stands at the team's practice facility for New Orleans' fourth camp practice, the in-person juice that was supplied simply matched the support that has been offered in every other forum and form imaginable this offseason.
"It was good," receiver Jarvis Landry said. "The energy was there, even from driving up. You had the welcoming party out there going on, and you could feel the energy, you could feel the excitement around this team and we fed off that a little bit."
The atmosphere helped lay the foundation for a strong practice, Coach Dennis Allen said, after a lackluster one on Friday.
"I felt much better about today's practice," Allen said. "Our guys competed and battled, there was a little bit of back and forth. I think both sides of the ball had some good plays and both sides of the ball had some things that we've got to improve on. But I thought this was a good, spirited practice. It usually is when you get the first day with the fans out there. So I thought that was a good thing to have those guys out there.
"I thought it was a good day. Our guys are pushing through. I'm proud of them for the way they're out there competing every single day. We've still got a lot of things that we've got to get better at, but those guys are doing a nice job of competing out there."
Allen reiterated that the Saints and their fans have a special relationship.
"I think it's really about just the bond between this team and this city," he said. "I think our fans understand how much they mean to us, and we certainly understand how much our fans mean to us and hopefully, we mean the same to them."
CRISP CHRIS: Rookie receiver Chris Olave was on the receiving end of a 60-yard touchdown pass from Jameis Winston on Saturday, and to say that Olave was wide open would be an understatement to open spaces.
"Yes, it was (a busted coverage)," Allen, smiling. "(But) No. 2 is, when the defense makes a mistake we have to be able to capitalize on it and take advantage of it. That's this game that we play. Really on Sundays, if you want to know the truth, it's a game of mistakes and the team that makes the fewest of them and the team that can capitalize the most on them, is the team that generally wins the game."
Olave, Allen said, provided one of his best camp showings.
"He did show up for me today. I thought that was good to see, ran some really good routes, caught the ball, did some things with the ball once he had it in his hands. Obviously, good to see. But, again, the thing is do we keep putting those things back to back. And that's what all of these young guys have to understand how to do, and I think he's mature enough to handle that."
VET DAY: Saturday was a veteran maintenance day for a couple of notable players, defensive end Cameron Jordan and receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas participated in the first three practices before getting his off day. "Planned day off. Good to go, should be ready to go on Monday," Allen said.
CONCERNED MOM: Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson has developed somewhat of a reputation around the NFL among offensive players, and let's just say it hasn't been a flattering portrait. Some NFL moms, apparently, have taken note, though at least one son likely has changed his mothers' view of Ceedy Deuce.
"He was one of the players, before I got here, my mom was like, 'Watch out for 22,' " Landry said, smiling. "But being here and being around Chauncey and seeing the passion that he has for the game and how much he loves life and the way that he plays the game, he's one of the most competitive people that I've been around. And that's something that's contagious."
New Orleans Saints fans take in the first open practice of the year at 2022 Saints Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Saturday, July 30 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.