Winston to Winston
Well, it took 13 practices, but I would say in the indoor portion of Thursday's practice, we finally had a Play Of Camp. Coincidentally or not, the principal characters have the same name - Jameis Winston at quarterback, and Easop Winston Jr. at wide receiver. As the play began, Jameis was pressured slightly and began to roll to his right. As he was still rolling at midfield he uncorked a high long pass in the center of the field that was destined for the goal line. The only question was would it be caught. About five seconds later the question was answered, and then some. Running a deep post, Easop would eventually run under the ball and then lay out parallel to the ground starting around the 4-yard line, making a sliding, finger-tip catch at the 2 and then into the end zone. Pretty impressive throw, but definitely a better catch, and as was talked about with all the media who saw it and have been there everyday at camp, DEFINITELY, the Play of Saints camp.
Coach Sean Payton also mentioned post practice Thursday that the large portion of the indoor practice was heavy on short yardage, boy, was it. Also with the team in full pads, for the first time in 13 practices it was SANCTIONED full contact, live tackling. Coincidentally or not, running back Alvin Kamara was not at practice (vet day). We have seen contact and guys on the ground, but definitely not like we saw Thursday. Lots of hitting, lots of yelling by the defense. Some highlights were linebacker Andrew Dowell wreaking havoc on a couple of plays, Linebacker Kaden Ellis body-slamming Latavius Murray on an inside run, and linebacker Zack Baun racing to his right to stonewall running back Devonta Freeman on a stretch play. Looks like the guys are ready for Baltimore on Saturday night.
New kicker update
For the first time on the practice field Thursday, we watched new kicker Brett Maher attempt live field goals during the outside portion of practice. With a breeze coming from the east, basically in his face, Maher attempted six field goal anywhere from 34 to 46 yards. Successful kicks coming from 34 yards (middle of the field), 36 yards (right hash), 39 yards (left hash), and 44 yards (left hash). The two misses coming from 42 yards (right hash) and 46 yards (right hash). Missed kicks were pushed to the right. Watching Maher warm up prior to live kicking he has a distinct right to left draw on the football after he makes contact. On the two misses, neither drew back to the left. Leg-wise though, Maher appears to have plenty of it. Hopefully, we'll see him in action a bunch on Saturday in Baltimore.