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Observations from New Orleans Saints training camp | Wednesday, Aug. 23

Quarterback Jameis Winston participates in team drills again

1.       Final day in pads/cut down day: Yes, it's hard to believe, but the grind of New Orleans Saints Training Camp presented by Rouses is winding down to a close. Padded practices began on Aug.1, and including Tuesday, there have been 11 practices with the Saints in full pads. The final one took place Tuesday morning, intended to go outside after walk-through and stretch inside, but due to the inclement forecast in the New Orleans area the practice remained inside throughout at the Oschner Sports Performance Center. Coach Dennis Allen mentioned after that it was a good practice and very spirited, to some extent because it was held completely in the air condition. As of the writing of Tuesday's Observations, the Saints roster stands at 82. By 3 p.m. Tuesday, that number must be trimmed to 80, per NFL rules. So as always keep informed on the official Saints website and app what roster moves are made ahead of the deadline. 

2.       Mobile Jameis: For the second straight day, quarterback Jamies Winston participated in team drills, and on Tuesday competed through the entire practice, including two-minute drill. On Tuesday, however, we saw something we have not seen throughout training camp, and that's Winston as a runner. As team drills started after the mid-practice special teams sessions, each quarterback was given a possession to drive the offense to a touchdown. On the second rep of Winston's drive, he dropped back to pass, looked for a receiver, didn't find anyone open, and took off up the middle for a solid 10-yard gain before the whistle blew. Three plays later, Winston rolled out to the right (obviously NOT favoring his sprained foot) and took off AGAIN, this time for 15 more yards before ending his nice gain with a textbook slide. For good measure, in two-minute drill, he caught his own attempted pass after a batted ball and ran for a few yards. This might seem innocent to everyone in Saints land, but I thought it was pretty significant considering he had not done it before in camp, and that he felt good enough physically to do it in the first place. I asked Dennis Allen about this post practice and he told me that he was encouraged that Winston felt comfortable enough to run, as if you recall, the play he tore his ACL on was a run attempt in the Tampa game on Halloween 2021.

3.       Former Tigers make Plays of the Day: Going to have to split this one in two again, with each side of the ball getting a mention. On defense, going back to the aforementioned quarterback drive drill, after Winston had taken the team into the red zone, the offense played a fourth down at the 6-yard line. Winston (who had a very solid day throwing the football) looked for tight end Juwan Johnson in the back of the end zone and fired a fastball over the middle intended for No. 83. At that moment, safety Tyrann Mathieu played the ball perfectly and cut in front of Johnson and intercepted it, sealing the drive victory for the defense. It might have been the Badger's best day of camp, including a pass break up (PBU) against receiver Deonte Harty earlier in practice, as he continues to become more and more comfortable in the defensive system. Switching to the offense and final period of practice and two minute drill, 40 seconds on the clock. After a big Winston completion to receiver Chris Olave to put the offense in striking distance, there were 10 seconds on the clock and the line of scrimmage the 16-yard line. Winston again would sit back in the pocket, protected well, and again, fired another fastball, this time to the front left pylon. This time, receiver Jarvis Landry had gotten a step on safety Marcus Maye, and proceeded to make a one-handed (right hand) catch for the touchdown with two seconds left on the clock. After the catch Landry held the right hand up to the media watching practice in that very corner for about 10 seconds, indicating that, yes, the one-handed catch has been and definitely will remain in his repertoire. Fittingly, the horn then blew and practice was completed, a great way to end the day of work.

The New Orleans Saints took the field for practice during 2022 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Tuesday, Aug. 23 at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

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