If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, Demario Davis should be flattered because Chase Hansen is doing his best to imitate his New Orleans Saints teammate.
Hansen, an undrafted rookie in 2019, missed his rookie season with a back injury. He made the roster coming out of training camp in '20, but was placed on injured reserve with an injury in October. After being activated in November, he was waived Nov. 24, re-signed to the practice squad, then elevated to the active roster for the regular-season finale and both playoff games.
Availability has been an issue; for a solution, Hansen has looked to his All-Pro teammate, Davis, among others.
"You watch a lot of guys in the NFL, guys like Demario, (San Francisco's) Fred Warner, (Seattle's) Bobby Wagner – they're great at getting off blocks with their hands," Hansen said Saturday, following the Saints' ninth training camp practice. "They're great at punching, sliding off and sometimes they're just, they're slippery.
"They get around blocks and it's kind of a new style of play, where I feel like it used to be just all downhill. And that's kind of been my game. I shoot (gaps) a lot and sometimes it's just too much banging (laughing). I think having the ability to do what Demario does, which is get off blocks easily and make plays on the ball, is something I've tried to put in my game. Using my hands more, that type of thing."
He gets ample practice against his teammates, left tackle Terron Armstead and right tackle Ryan Ramczyk.
"I'm not going to go through those guys very often," Hansen said. "So I think it's just about understanding how to work through blocks and around blocks with different techniques, really. And that's something I've tried to put in my game."
BRING THE THUNDER: Running back Stevie Scott III might have wished Hansen had been more willing to use his hands during a red zone drill. Hansen plowed through Scott on a rush where Hansen initially thought Scott was a ball carrier, but made the most of the rush when he knocked his teammate over.
"My thing is, I thought it was a run, that's why I came up so hot and he just ended up not having the ball," Hansen said. "Sometimes it works out like that."
Even in full pads, the Saints aren't going full contact. Hansen, though, didn't "thud" with Scott. Asked if he'd apologized, Hansen smiled and said, "Not yet."
BACK TO SQUARE ONE: Tight end Nick Vannett returned to practice after missing a couple of days with the flu. Which means that Vannett will have to rebuild the stamina that he'd established.
"I was in Denver in the summer, so I was training there and I think it definitely helps to a certain degree," he said. "But humidity is a different animal. You come down here and it's just heavy air. It probably took me a few days to get acclimated to it but once I did, I felt like my lungs were good, I felt like my energy was good. I felt like I kind of built that up and then I got sick, now I've got to go through that again, build that back up again."
PETERSON COMES, GLASGOW GOES: The Saints added tight end Josh Pederson to the roster, and he participated in his first practice Saturday. The Saints had been thin at tight end, with only Adam Trautman, Juwan Johnson and Garrett Griffin available for practice a couple of days.
Pederson, son of former Philadelphia Eagles Coach Doug Pederson, has the roster spot that had belonged to defensive tackle Ryan Glasgow, who retired.
"He'd been thinking about it," Coach Sean Payton said of Glasgow. "It happens from time to time. He's going to go back to school and get his master's (degree)."
RINSE, REPEAT: Saturday's practice featured red-zone installation, and that will continue Monday. The Saints are off Sunday.
"You're fighting through the installation," Payton said. "You've got to be able to quickly pick up what we're doing and then on Monday, we'll use the same area of emphasis relative to the red zone, tight red zone."
The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 9 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.