1. Working in the rain:
Weather really hasn't been an issue at Saints training camp the last 10 days, other than moving one practice inside, it's been pretty tolerable, even by New Orleans standards in the month of August. On Friday, though, we got a little taste of South Louisiana in the summertime. After bright sunshine for the first hour of practice outside, around 10:30 a.m. the rain started to fall in a steady drizzle. Seizing the rare opportunity however to work in the elements, the Saints remained outside during team drills, mostly rushing attempts. After practice, both tight end Adam Trautman and running back Tony Jones Jr. mentioned to the media that it's important to get some work in the elements, because you never know when those situations might occur. Saints will be in Green Bay in preseason and in Weeks 3 and 4 during the regular season will be outside in Carolina and in London against the Minnesota Vikings. Even more impressive during the brief rain shower was kicker Wil Lutz, who made all three of his kicks with a wet ball. Kudos to long snapper Zach Wood and holder Blake Gillikin also for perfect operation. Lutz made an extra point, a 37-yarder and 41-yarder as the rain was coming down. Just as soon as it started, the rain stopped after five minutes and the rest of practice continued again in the bright sunshine.
The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Friday, August 5.
2. Red zone work:
For the first time in the now nine practices of Saints training camp, we saw red zone (inside the 20-yard line) work between offense and defense. One on ones, 7-on-7, and team drills all took place on Friday. Some highlights were the matchups in 7-on-7 between receiver Michael Thomas and cornerback Paulson Adebo. Thomas continues to get better each and every day as his workload increases, and on Friday snagged two 15-yard TD catches from Jameis Winston. On the first he was able to make a nice catch by the back right pylon despite tight coverage. The second play resulted from a nice move as he went right off the line of scrimmage, made a nice cut to the left and caught the touchdown in the middle of the field. A few minutes later as the ball was placed at the 5-yard line, quarterback Andy Dalton hit Thomas on one of his patented quick comeback catches across the goal line, then celebrated with an emphatic spike of the football. Coach Dennis Allen mentioned post practice that Thomas is getting close to participating fully in all padded team drills (still limited to 7-on-7) as his ramp up continues. Thomas continues to show no ill effects whatsoever from his ankle.
3. Play of the Day:
This took place during team drills near the end of practice. First-and-10, ball at the 30-yard line headed toward the east end zone. Dalton dropped back to pass and after getting solid protection saw second year running back Tony Jones Jr. running free down the right sideline. Dalton delivered the ball perfectly at about the 10-yard line and Jones did the rest taking it in for the touchdown. That's two straight solid days of practice for Jones, who spent the majority of last season, after a productive 2021 training camp, on the Injured Reserve list. Jones also mentioned post practice that he's always been a solid pass catcher going back to his college career at Notre Dame, and now he's going to get more opportunities to do just that as the coaches gain more confidence in him in that aspect of his game. He said right now it's all about staying healthy and moving on from one play to the next.