1. Davenport returns:
The term "ramp up" has probably been the most used during this New Orleans Saints training camp by Coach Dennis Allen when he addresses the media when it comes to players coming back from injury. Well, that term was used again Tuesday when defensive end Marcus Davenport was spotted on the practice field indoors at the Oschner Sports Performance Center. It was the first time in the first 12 practices that Davenport was not working on the side for conditioning purposes. Davenport was wearing the helmet and shells and participated in walk-through, stretch and individual drills. Allen mentioned post practice that this process will continue as with the other players who have "ramped up" the last two weeks to get back to the practice field and participate in more drills. On the other side, quarterback Jameis Winston was not at practice Tuesday after sustaining a sprained right foot, Allen said. Winston left practice early Monday during 7-on-7 drills after rolling out to attempt a pass. The good news is the injury doesn't appear very serious (listed day to day), but Winston will not practice the rest of the week or appear in the preseason game on Saturday in Houston against the Texans.
2. Reps and more reps:
With the absence of Winston on Tuesday, that opened the door for quarterbacks Andy Dalton and Ian Book. Both basically doubled the reps they would normally get with Winston out there. Now Dalton is a 12-year veteran who has been a longtime starter in this league, with 152 career regular season starts. The opportunity will be invaluable for Book, however, who will likely get more reps in the preseason game Saturday than he did all preseason last year (of course one game cancelled due to Hurricane Ida). Book basically said as much to the media on Tuesday. Both were sharp during 7-on-7 drills going a combined 10 of 12, each going 5 of 6. The only incompletion for Dalton was a pass breakup by cornerback Paulson Adebo against receiver Tre'Quan Smith on a quick route to the right. Book's only incompletion came on a deep left sideline route to receiver Kawaan Baker that was just a bit overthrown over the outstretched fingers of Baker. Other than those two, however, the ball did not hit the ground as both quarterbacks put the ball where it needed to be.
3. Play(s) of the Day:
Got a few to choose from Tuesday, so let's get them in on Observations. During 1-on-1 receiver vs defensive back drills, Book at quarterback, and the ball placed at the opponent 35-yard line, Book found receiver Easop Winston Jr. twice for TDs. The first coming on the fourth rep down the right sideline, and Winston making a spectacular one handed catch around the goal line to beat rookie defensive back Vincent Gray on the coverage. The second coming at the end of the period, this time down the left sideline, as Winston just ran past defensive back Jordan Brown and Book hit him in stride at around the 5 for the easy TD. Andy Dalton got into the act as well with a couple of solid throws. During 7-on-7, he completed a long crossing route throwing to his left from the right hash, finding receiver Tre' Quan Smith tiptoeing the sideline for an over the shoulder 15-yard reception. Might not seem as much, but one of the toughest throws in football and Dalton put it on the money. The other coming in the final period of team two-minute drill. On first down and 35 seconds remaining at the 45-yard line, Dalton rifled one (pun intended) down the middle of the field where TE Adam Trautman would haul it in just in front of S Marcus Maye who was bearing down hard on him. Trautman would spin away from Maye and race into the endzone for an apparent touchdown while the offense voiced their approval. However, the officials would call the play dead at the 25 yard line due to the no tackling policy during camp. There was some debate as to whether it would have been a TD or not if it was a regular play with tackling, but it was a very solid throw and even a tougher catch with tight coverage.