The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Friday, July 29.
1. Championship reunion:
One could argue the 2006 draft class was the most important in franchise history, especially when you consider multiple players in that draft made significant contributions that ultimately led to a Super Bowl title in the 2009 season. Three of those draftees were on the Saints practice field today at the Oschner Sports Performance Center. Saints Hall of Fame wide receiver Marques Colston, Saints Hall of Fame giard Jahri Evans, and right tackle Zach Strief were members of that draft class and reunited on the field Friday. Colston is in town because he will be inducted into the Greater New Orleans Sports Hall of Fame on Saturday, six-time Pro Bowler Evans is now serving as a coaching intern with the Saints during camp, and Strief now is in his second season as assistant offensive line coach. Throw in former linebacker (and also 2009 World Champion) Scott Shanle and the photo ops were a plenty. Coach Dennis Allen mentioned post practice one of the great things about the Saints organization is these former players often returning to the facility and the relationships they have formed over the years truly personifies the Saints culture we have seen in this city since 2006.
2. Running game:
The defense, as we usually witness early in training camp, for the most part has the advantage over the offense. For a brief period Friday the offense, specifically the running game, punched back. Led by tremendous blocking by the offensive line, tight ends and fullbacks, and with the soundtrack of offensive line coach Doug Marrone's booming voice in between plays in the background, the running game had its time to shine. Running primarily from the I formation (which occasional shifts) long runs by several running backs were observed. On the second play of the drill, running back Alvin Kamara went off right tackle and with a seal block from tight end Nick Vannett saw nothing but open spaces and at least a 30-yard gain (also remember there is no tackling during these drills). Rookie running back Abram Smith had two runs over 15 yards right up the middle. Mark Ingram, Divine Ozigbo, and Dwayne Washington all had huge chunk plays as well. We'll get a much better feel of how the offensive line is blocking when the pads go on for practice Monday, but as far as Friday, consider it a win for the o-line and running backs, drawing some praise from Allen, who acknowledged he wanted to watch the tape but from his vantage point (behind the play) there were some nice runs
3. Adebo and more Adebo:
Allen mentioned after practice Friday how nice it was to have the depth in the defensive secondary that the Saints have right now. With cornerback Marshon Lattimore locking down one side, the question is who will start opposite Lattimore. Two of the three days of camp, it has been second year cornerback and third round draft pick in 2021 Paulson Adebo. Now Adebo has lots of experience having started all 17 games last season with eight passes defensed and three interceptions, including one of Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the Saints' 38-3 win over the Packers on Opening Day a year ago. Well, Paulson was everywhere on the field in Day 3 of Training Camp presented by Rouses. On the first play of 7-on-7 drills, quarterback Jameis Winston tried to hit wide receivers Marquez Callaway on a 15-yard comeback route. Adebo was all over it, knocking it away for a PBU (pass break up). Later during team period as practice was wrapping up, two more PBUs against Callaway and Kevin White in three plays. After observing cornerback Bradley Roby work with the ones at left cornerback in Day 2 of camp on Thursday, Adebo made a definite statement Friday at practice that he will not lose his starting spot without a battle. Allen mentioned that Adebo will have a better understanding of what they are doing defensively with a year under his belt, and his maturity will also be a factor in what Saints fans hope will even be a better year for Adebo in Year 2 of his career.