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New Orleans Saints receiver Chris Olave ready to attack second season after offseason improvements

'Just knowing everything inside and out with the offense, I feel like the game is coming easier to me'

Chris Olave appears ready to make the jump.

He's bigger (after adding seven pounds), stronger and playing faster than last year when he was a rookie, the first of two first-round picks by the New Orleans Saints. And his rookie season wasn't subpar by any stretch of the imagination.

He caught 72 passes for 1,042 yards and four touchdowns in his debut year, but a significant growth spurt for NFL players often occurs between years one and two. And Olave is preparing for Year 2.

"Just picking up on the lingo here, especially not having to learn the playbook and get out there and run routes," he said Thursday, following the Saints' second training camp practice. "Just knowing everything inside and out with the offense, I feel like the game is coming easier to me.

"Just not having to second guess myself, just knowing where everybody is going to be and knowing what kind of space I've got on the field and where I've got to be."

If the possibilities align, the space could be plentiful.

The New Orleans Saints took the field for workouts during 2023 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Thursday, July 27.

New Orleans is counting on Alvin Kamara, who's tied for the franchise all-time lead with 72 touchdowns, at running back; Jamaal Williams, who led the NFL with 17 rushing touchdowns last season, at running back; Rashid Shaheed, who displayed game-changing speed last year as a rookie, at receiver; Michael Thomas, who has missed almost all of the last three seasons with injuries but was the NFL's Offensive Player of the Year in 2019, at receiver; Taysom Hill, Juwan Johnson, Foster Moreau and Jimmy Graham, who each adds a different element to the game, at tight end; and Derek Carr, one of the league's most productive players since being drafted in 2014, at quarterback.

The team would field one of its most formidable lineups if each is available on gameday.

"We've got so many weapons, we're so explosive on offense and we've got a great defense," Olave said. "We had a great defense last year, but with the weapons we added on offense and having a year under the belt playing with the guys last year, I feel like it just allowed us to build chemistry, going into this year ready to explode.

"We've got so many guys that can do so many things, nobody is really labeled to one spot. I feel like everybody can do a little bit of everything. So you can't just tap in to one or two guys, you've got to tap in to the whole offense. I feel like that's what makes it scary for the offense."

Add an improved, bigger Olave to the equation. He said after last season that he wanted to improve his strength and his ability to make contested catches and so far, it appears that each box was checked.

"I feel like I got a lot better at that, I got a lot stronger this offseason," he said. "I'm playing at a heavier weight and I feel a lot bigger on the field. I'm definitely ready for the season.

"That was big for me, just trying to stay fast, which is a big part of my game, and stay quick. I feel like gaining that weight, not getting too big, but trying to get to a better size to play in this league."

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