The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 7 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
Welcome back, Kwon! The first thing anyone who covers a football practice on a daily basis does is to check the roster and see who is (or not) present. Thursday, Aug. 5 was a bit of an unusual day early on during New Orleans Saints camp. Other than wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith, who left Tuesday's padded practice early with an apparent injury, everyone on the roaster was present and accounted for. That included newly signed linebacker Kwon Alexander, who along with cornerback Grant Haley were working on conditioning drills apart from the team. Haley, unfortunately, had been away from the team the past few days dealing with a personal family tragedy, while Alexander, a team (see Demario Davis) and fan favorite will be brought along slowly while recovering from a torn Achilles that he suffered last December. Look for Alexander to continue working on the side for a bit while he gets back into shape.
Defense rules the day again
Since the pads have been put on back Tuesday (Thursday's practice was helmets and shorts) the defense has clearly had the advantage over the offense. Even in 7-on-7 drills Thursday, a drill that usually the offense wins consistently, defense won out, with a plethora of pass breakups (PBU's), incompletions, and a Demario Davis interception of a Taysom Hill pass intended for Marquez Callaway. Cornerback Patrick Robinson got a hand in there and forced the tip. During team drills, defensive end Marcus Davenport registered four sacks going against tackle James Hurst. Linebacker Andrew Dowell seemed to make play after play highlighted by a tackle for loss on a toss sweep to Tony Jones Jr. We'll see if the offense can swing the pendulum back their way during Friday's scheduled outside practice at the Oschner Sports Performance Center.
No, Jameis, no!
So far, quarterback Jameis Winston has had a very solid camp with his decision-making. Interceptions have been minimal (one coming Wednesday) and he has been very careful with the football. On Thursday, however, we saw a glimpse of the Winston we do not want to see in a Saints uniform. During his last rep of the second to last team period, Winston rolled to his left, went through a couple of progressions, then pulled the big NO-NO of quarterbacking, throwing back across your body (see Brett Favre in the NFC championship game in 2010). Sitting there waiting for the interception was linebacker Zack Baun who did Winston a favor by dropping what would have been an easy touchdown. As Winston came off the field, Coach Sean Payton met him. Thankfully, that's what training camp is for, to make mistakes that can be corrected.