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Quarterback Derek Carr feels at home in first snaps inside Caesars Superdome

'It's fun to throw in there, the ball spins off pretty nice'


It wasn't a regular-season game or even a preseason game, but Friday's practice inside the Caesars Superdome officially was the first time Derek Carr took snaps as the New Orleans Saints' starting quarterback inside the home facility.

"When that ball snapped, it felt like I was in the Dome playing a game," Carr said. "It was a lot of fun. We did I think really one team, just move-the-ball period. And that was cool to just get in and out of the huddle, call plays and it felt game-like, through the headset and all that kind of stuff. It's fun to throw in there, the ball spins off pretty nice."

The simulation will jump several notches Sunday, when the Saints play Kansas City in the Caesars Superdome in the preseason opener at noon. Coach Dennis Allen already has said that the Saints' starters will play, and that obviously includes Carr.

"I think you get into the game, you watch how the game is going and then we'll make a decision, when I've seen enough, then we'll make a switch (at quarterback)," Allen said.

"As much as D.A wants me to play," Carr said. "I was thinking about this the other day, because someone was asking me a question about playing in the preseason. I was like, 'When you've been cut and released, any time that you get to put a uniform on in an NFL game, take full advantage.'

"If they want me to play the whole game, I'll play the whole game gladly, because I'm not going to take any of this for granted. So, whatever they ask of us – it's usually not as much as you ever want it to be, because you're starting to feel good – but whatever they ask, I'll do it.

"I need all the work I can get."

Carr, who spent his first nine seasons with the Raiders, couldn't remember the last time he'd played in a preseason game.

"Y'all might know better than me," he said. "I don't know. I know I have, but I don't know. It's been awhile, but it's OK. This is new. In this circumstance I'd be asking for it for sure.

"I feel like any reps I get, even if it's go out there and hand the ball off, just to get out there and get the rhythm of this is what we do, this is how we come off to the sideline and talk about things. As little as, where do I sit? I haven't been in the locker room yet, I don't know where to park. All of those things that are new, to have a test run or two of that, to be able to see that to where Week 1 comes and I'm just back playing football. Get all those little things knocked out and know what to expect on gameday."

SOUR NOTE: Friday's practice ended on a downer, with offensive lineman Landon Young suffering an injury at the end. Allen said it appears that Young sprained his MCL. "We'll have to go through some evaluations to see the significance of that," Allen said.

VET DAYS: Tight end Jimmy Graham, right tackle Ryan Ramczyk and receiver Michael Thomas all enjoyed veteran rest days Friday. But that doesn't rule them out of Sunday's preseason opener. "Anybody that's healthy enough to play is going to play," Allen said.

ROSTER MOVE: New Orleans signed linebacker Jaylon Smith, a 2019 Pro Bowler with the Cowboys, and released receiver Keke Coutee on Friday. Smith has 69 starts in his 87 regular-season games, and totaled 88 tackles, a sack and a fumble recovery in 13 games last season for the Giants, with 11 starts.

"I thought he came in with the right mind-set in terms of working out, he worked out pretty good for us, moved around really well," Allen said of Smith. "He's been a productive player in our league at an off-the-ball position, so we felt like he was somebody we'd like to bring into the mix, have him come in and compete and see where we're at.

"I wouldn't expect for him to play (Sunday). We'll have him ready in an emergency situation if we need him."

The New Orleans Saints took the field for workouts during 2023 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Friday, August 11.

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