The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Saints Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Wednesday, August 17 against the Green Bay Packers at Ray Nitschke Field in Ashwaubenon, Wisconsin ahead of their game in week 2 of the 2022 NFL Preseason.
1. Line shuffle:
Well, after a relatively quiet Day 1 of joint practices between the New Orleans Saints and Packers in Green Bay on Tuesday, Wednesday got a little more dicey as far as the injury bug, specifically to the offensive line. First of all, guard Andrus Peat was not dressed out when we arrived at the practice facility at Clark Hines Field, along with right tackle Ryan Ramczyk (day off) and his backup Landon Young, who has gotten a lot of first team reps at right tackle this training camp. Young left practice a little early Tuesday, so the line was already a bit short-handed before practice had even started. Then it thinned out real fast. Early in team period with the Saints offense going against the Packers defense (my real focus Wednesday) right tackle Trevor Penning (playing in place of the aforementioned tackles) appeared to twist his lower right leg and hobbled into the indoor facility. Just a couple of plays later, left tackle James Hurst left the field with what he later described as a "foot" injury. That would move rookie Lewis Kidd to right tackle and rookie Sage Doxtater to left tackle. The problem was compounded further a few reps later when Doxtater left the field holding his left arm, and did not return. Thankfully, at the end of the period heading into special teams, Penning emerged from the indoor not wearing anything that would support something other than a mild twist, and he returned to practice and played the remainder of practice at left tackle. Depending on the status of Hurst and Young, expect to see a lot of reps for very young guys in the preseason game Friday vs Green Bay.
2. Warmer temperatures, hot tempers:
Wednesday in Green Bay was a little warmer than it was Tuesday, when temperatures reached the mid 70s. It got up to 81 in Green Bay on Wednesday, very comfortable by south Louisiana standards in August, but a tad warm up here in the north. Green Bay Coach Matt LaFleur mentioned pre-practice on Tuesday there would be no 1-on-1 work to try and reduce the risk of altercations as does tend to happen during joint practices in the NFL. Well, no less than three "skirmishes" broke out between the Saints and Packers on Wednesday as things got do be a little more intense on the second day. The one that got the most attention, though was during what seemed an innocent running play as the team portion of practice had just begun. Saints receiver Jarvis Landry had gotten out to block 10 yards downfield against Packers safety Shawn Davis. The two kept engaging their blocks after the play was whistled dead, then they both ended up locked up and hit the ground face down. Both were immediately surrounded by their teammates which resembled a massive dog pile in baseball. When order was finally restored, Landry was ejected from practice (as has been the custom from Coach Dennis Allen) and had the rest of the day off. Davis remained in practice and actually participated in the next rep.
With my apologies to Dean Martin, just couldn't help myself.. On what was a bit of a tough day for the Saints offense (mainly due to the lack of o-line depth) Saints rookie receiver Chris Olave had possibly his best day of training camp. On the third play during team reps (the play before the Landry/Davis scuffle) Saints quarterback Andy Dalton hit his rookie receiver on a deep crossing route from right to left for a 30-yard gain. A little later in practice on a fourth -and-10 at the Green Bay 41, Dalton threw deep down the left (far) sideline, and there was Olave again, making an over-the-shoulder catch in stride for 40 yards before being forced out of bounds, drawing ooohs and ahhhs from the partisan Packer fans, and cheers from his teammates on the near sideline, my personal vote for play of the day. Tight end Lucas Krull later had an honorable mention when he held on to a ball thrown by Ian Book for a first down and being whacked to the ground. During two-minute drill, Dalton found Olave on the left sideline, with the Ohio State product making a tip-toe catch for 15 yards and a first down. Three chunk plays, three first downs, and gaining the confidence of Dalton, it was a big day Olave.