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New Orleans Saints receiver Chris Olave pairing talk with the walk

'I feel like when it's competition, I'm always out front'

Day 16 of 2023 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Presented by Rouses at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California.
Day 16 of 2023 New Orleans Saints Training Camp Presented by Rouses at Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, California.

Costa Mesa, Calif. – When Chris Olave is in front of a microphone, he's somewhat soft-spoken, almost to the point of appearing to be shy.

Unless you're standing next to him, it's somewhat of a strain to hear what he's saying.

Opposing defensive backs don't have that problem. Because on the field, whatever it is that Olave is saying as he's cooking defensive backs, he's saying plenty of it and some of them chat back, though Olave has had much, much more to talk about during training camp this year.

As the New Orleans Saints and their second-year receiver prepared for Sunday's preseason game against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif., with joint practices against the Chargers on Thursday and Friday at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex in Costa Mesa, Olave loosed on Charger defensive backs his considerable skills and vocabulary.

Most of what was said cannot be written here.

That doesn't lessen the truthfulness of it; it only means that Olave, who caught 72 passes for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns as a rookie, can work nerves as well as routes, and is quite willing to deflate while his game inflates.

"It's just competitiveness," he said, smiling. "I feel like when it's competition, I'm always out front. I always want to play against the best, go against the best, especially out here when we're playing against other teams in practice. I feel like it makes me better, it makes them better. That's why I'm out front with the competitiveness.

"I enjoy it, just going against new guys. Having our best going against their best, I feel like that makes everybody better. Just getting out here in the good weather, back in California, I feel like it was a good time to compete."

Olave, who was born in San Ysidro, a district of San Diego, looked agreeable to the conditions on both days. The highlight was Thursday, with a couple of undressings for touchdowns in one-on-one. The scare came Friday when, on a deep pass from quarterback Derek Carr in an 11-on-11, Olave leapt in the air between two defenders and not only couldn't come down cleanly with the catch, but landed on his back. He sat out the next play before returning to the drill.

But, the throw highlighted the growing trust between Carr and Olave.

"It's just having a feel for the game," he said of the relationship. "Just having a feel for the game. It's routes on paper, but once you get on the field and see the coverages and everything, just try to find an open space and being there on your route. I feel like that's something I'm good at.

"I just really got a feel for the game, trying to be in the correct eyesight of the quarterback and be in the right space, wherever my route is."

And when he is, and the connection is good, he doesn't mind letting the opponent know about it.

Full coverage of the New Orleans Saints workouts during 2023 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Friday, August 18.

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