The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 5 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.
Even though Tuesday, Aug. 3 was the first day in pads, there were noticeable absences when we walked into the indoor facility at the Oschner Sports Performance Center, specifically, left tackle Terron Armstead, linebacker Demario Davis and defensive end Cameron Jordan. Not to worry though, Saints fans. Coach Sean Payton mentioned after practice that the team's training camp schedule includes off days for veteran players. The "older players" are given off every fourth practice. There are also scheduled off days for the younger players as well.
Saints Defense wins the day
Without question the offense has been the superior of the two units the first four practices of camp. That all changed Tuesday when the pads came on. It almost seemed like the defense took exception for the first few days of offense superiority. The practice was full of run stuffs, pass breakups, incompletions, near interceptions, and FINALLY, the defense registered its first interception since the beginning of camp when second-year linebacker Zack Baun picked off quarterback Ian Book on an intended middle route that hit Baun between the numbers. Now that the first interception is out of the way, we'll see if the defense begins to collect more turnovers, though the quarterbacks' decision-making as a whole has contributed greatly to the lack of interceptions.
Second-year wide receiver Jalen McCleskey has had a pretty solid cam. Not only has he caught everything thrown his way in the first five practices but he has also been used as a punt returner. What does Jalen bring to the table? He was asked this after Tuesday's practice and the answer was simple. His speed. The former Tulane standout mentioned he has been clocked anywhere from 4.28 seconds to 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash. We have seen that speed during practices in the first week where he has taken moderate yardage passes for big gains by running away from defenders. The son of J.J. McCleskey, a former Saint and current defensive backs coach at Tulane, Jalen also mentioned post practice Tuesday that watching his dad growing up taking care of his body after practices and games has been a blueprint for him to do the same. So far, so good as far as production on the practice field.