<span style="">The New Orleans Saints hit the field this morning for their first practice during their three-day mini-camp at the team's practice facility in Metairie. Under partly cloudy skies and gusting winds, 66 players donned Saints jerseys for the majority of the players' first taste of NFL football.
Headlined by the team's four draft picks, CB Malcolm Jenkins (Ohio State), S Malcolm Jenkins/Chip Vaughn.aspx">Chip Vaughn and LB Stanley Arnoux (both from Wake Forest) and P Thomas Morstead (SMU), the rest of the players on the field were either players signed as rookie free agents or here for three-day tryouts. In addition, RB Lynell Hamilton and G David Thomas/Tim Duckworth.aspx">Tim Duckworth, both first-year players, participated in the practice sessions.
Though there wasn't any contact, players worked at a brisk pace throughout the long morning session, which focused on special teams work, an offensive and defensive walk-though period, stretching, position and group specific drills followed by team drills.
Head Coach Sean Payton said that the point of the rookie camp is to quickly try and help the players understand the basic schemes and principles that the Saints employ, while also using the time to look at all of the players in attendance.
"It looked like most rookie camps do on the first day," Payton remarked. "It's a time for the coaches to really stress the fundamentals to the players and for the players to be taught the basics of our system."
New defensive coordinator spent time with each of the positions groups and was in the mix throughout the practice. Payton spent time with all the different positions groups throughout the practice session and also spent quite a bit of time with the offensive rookies.
Three quarterbacks took turns alternating the snaps, starting with free agent signee Patrick Cowan (UCLA). Former Florida State Seminole Drew Weatherford and Central Arkansas QB Nathan Brown also saw plenty of time.
Linebacker Jonathan Casillas of Wisconsin spent practice on the exercise bike during practice, something Payton remarked the team was aware of before signing the player as a rookie free agent ... Owner Tom Benson and his wife, Gayle, watched practice from a balcony at the practice facility … the team will also practice this afternoon, twice on Saturday and once on Sunday before wrapping up the three-day mini-camp.