It took until the opening of training camp – not rookie minicamp, OTAs or minicamp – for the New Orleans Saints to get rookie running back Kendre Miller into uniform and on the field for practice with his teammates.
There hasn't been time for any easing into a rhythm. Too much time already had passed.
"Coming, just throwing me into the fire, coming straight into training camp was definitely difficult," Miller said. "First of all getting used to the heat and the workload conditions, because I've been out for a minute. But coming every day with a positive attitude, and learning from the vets – (running backs Alvin Kamara) A.K. and Jamaal (Williams) – has kind of been the biggest thing. But every day is just stacking days for me."
While Miller stacks, he displays the receiving skills that he believes were a bit underutilized in college at TCU. Miller caught 29 passes in three seasons with the Horned Frogs, while stacking up 361 rushing attempts.
"TCU, they didn't really use me in the passing game that much," he said. "But here I'm kind of excited, because we get the ball a whole lot more in the passing game. In the NFL, you've got to always beat your man and you've got to be able to read the coverages, and that's kind of exciting for me to show my ability to catch the ball. It's just something to keep stacking and working on, but it's getting better."
Miller said his route-running skills also were underplayed.
"It's something I've kind of had, but in college I couldn't show it a whole lot," he said. "But in the offseason, when I got cleared I was working on a lot of that stuff. Just watching it in OTAs and different things, different routes that they ran, I got a little head start on it and started working on it."
With the Saints, he has had a chance to learn from the best. Kamara, a two-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, caught 81, 81, 81 and 83 passes in his first four seasons.
Kamara willingly has shared tricks of the trade with his new teammate.
"Really, it's a lot on the routes part of it, because Alvin's routes are phenomenal to watch," Miller said. "After a route, I'll go up to him and I'll ask him, or he'll come to me and he'll be like, 'On this route just do this, just watch this.' Every day just learning from him, he's to me the best running back route runner in the league. So just to have him as my link, my connection, is a big thing to me."
ROSTER MOVE: Coach Dennis Allen announced after Wednesday's practice that the Saints had waived/injured offensive lineman Scott Lashley, and signed offensive lineman Tommy Kraemer. Kraemer, listed as an offensive guard, played collegiately at Notre Dame from 2016-20.
He was undrafted but from 2021-22 he played in nine games, with three starts, for the Lions.
NO KAMARA: Kamara was absent from practice Wednesday. The running back was in New York meeting with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to discuss his resolved legal situation. Kamara pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge and settled a civil case against him regarding a fight in Las Vegas in 2022. The Saints are off Thursday, and Kamara is expected to be back in time for Friday's practice.
PRACTICE NICKS: Three players didn't finish Wednesday's practice; offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton left with an elbow injury, linebacker Andrew Dowell left with a knee injury and cornerback Alontae Taylor exited because of hamstring tightness. "I don't expect any of those to be major issues, but we'll evaluate them and see where we're at," Allen said.
The New Orleans Saints took the field for workouts during 2023 Training Camp presented by Rouses Markets on Wednesday, August 2.