The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Wednesday, Aug. 24 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
Since Wednesday was the final practice that the media can gain access to practice until next week, this will be the final Observations (other than the final preseason game Friday) of what has been nearly a month of training camp practices, joint practices and games. As we wrap up another training camp, as has been the custom, I'd like to submit my offensive, defensive, and special teams MVPs as I have seen every practice rep going back to July 27.
This was a little difficult at first (receiver Chris Olave gets an honorable mention) , but after some self-deliberation, the choice became abundantly clear…Running back Alvin Kamara. I know he hasn't (and won't) play it the preseason, but it doesn't matter. Kamara is ready to go for Sept. 11 in Atlanta. Coach Dennis Allen has mentioned that Kamara has had his best camp in his six-year career. He's never looked faster, he's never looked quicker, and even better, he has RARELY missed a day of work, other than the vet days, and there really haven't been many of those. He has broken several long runs in practice on this stout defense and, of course, he's always a threat out of the backfield as a receiver. All the while he has gone about his business quietly and under the radar of the camp storylines. The Kamara we have watched during this training camp will be a force in the regular season.
Again, not much of a debate here for me, it is cornerback Paulson Adebo. Thrust into the starting role by necessity last year on opening day against the Packers as a rookie, and impressed so much that he started all 17 games last season opposite Marshon Lattimore. This camp, Adebo has been a legitimate shutdown corner throughout, and with such an abundance of pass break ups from the beginning of camp (and remember, he played against the Texans and Packers) that I gave him the nickname "PBU" just a week into practices. As with Kamara on the offensive side, Adebo has been available each and every practice, gaining more and more experience and confidence with every rep. I think if he was going to critique himself, he would figure that he should've had more interceptions, but those will come as long as he is around the ball, and trust me, he's been around it for a month now. When the regular season starts in a little over two weeks, the Saints cornerback tandem of Lattimore and Adebo will instantly be one of the most talented and dangerous duos in all the NFL.
3. Special teams:
Broken record, it ain't even a debate. Kicker Wil Lutz. What an absolute relief it must be for Allen to have this guy back to 100 percent again and place himself amongst the elite in kickers in the NFL. After the revolving door of kickers that passed through here a year ago after Lutz's core injury cost him the entire 2021 season, this camp has been completely the opposite. Lutz has participated throughout, and has been RIDICULOUSLY successful, by my unofficial count, going 49 of 51 on all his practice and preseason game attempts. In case you're wondering, the only misses were early in camp on a 57-yarder (which he then immediately made an unofficial rep after) and a 41-yarder in the Caesars Superdome during the open practice last Sunday. He wrapped up his camp portion fittingly Wednesday by connecting from 51 yards and 38 yards to end the two-minute portions of practice to end the day. Lutz mentioned after practice Wednesday that he couldn't wait to get back in the Dome and kick in front of the fans when it counts the most, and judging by the results of this camp, the feeling will be mutual.