1. Welcome back Mike!!
When New Orleans Saints General Manager Mickey Loomis and Coach Dennis Allen addressed the media Tuesday afternoon, they both hinted that wide receiver Michael Thomas probably wouldn't be on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list for very long. Little did we know, not even 24 hours later, Thomas would be on the practice field on the Bermuda grass at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. After passing a conditioning test Wednesday morning, Thomas was cleared to go, and even though he did not participate in EVERY drill, what we did see of him was extremely encouraging. Showing no limp at all on that surgically repaired left ankle, he ran precise routes at full speed, cutting hard and finishing up with his signature hand catches. The training and coaching staff will continue to monitor his reps and participation on a daily basis, but after not seeing No. 13 on the field for two years, Wednesday was a very good day for the organization.
2. Participation, Part 2:
Since Day 1 of Training Camp presented by Rouses was a bit abbreviated than a usual camp practice, as Allen mentioned, "to get their feet wet," I thought I'd mention who was and who wasn't there other than getting into the actual practice notes which we will get into as Observations continue throughout camp. The two noticeable absences were defensive end Marcus Davenport ,which was completely expected after being put on the aforementioned PUP list last week, but when we walked out to the practice field at 9 a.m., we saw second year linebacker Pete Werner working off to the side doing conditioning drills without a helmet before heading back into the locker room. Allen mentioned post practice it was injury related and he didn't expect it to be serious. Three names who WERE there after missing OTA time with injury were safety Marcus Maye (Achilles tear), tight end Taysom Hill (plantar fasciitis), and defensive end Payton Turner (shoulder), all participated fully.
The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Wednesday, July 27.
3. Extra helmet protection:
A NOTICEABLE observation on Day 1 was the extra "padding" on top of the helmets of certain players, basically looking like inflated old school leather helmets on top of the regular helmets. Turns out, as Allen mentioned after practice, these are NFL mandated to try and prevent concussions during practice. The position groups where it is mandatory for them to wear the extra padding are offensive and defensive lines, tight ends, linebackers and fullbacks. Cam Jordan, entering his 12th season as a defensive end, joked after practice that he felt like he would act "like a big old bobblehead" and that wearing the extra helmet was "just annoying, not limiting." Will be interesting to hear what other players have to say about the padding.