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Saints Training Camp 2021: Key Takeaways from Wednesday, Aug. 4

Kicker Wil Lutz returns to practice

The New Orleans Saints take the field for Day 6 of Training Camp presented by SeatGeek at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center.

Welcome back Wil

Stalwart New Orleans Saints kicker Wil Lutz has been absent at Saints training camp presented by SeatGeek during the first five practices as he has been on the Non-Football Injury list with a groin issue. That all changed Wednesday, Aug. 4 at the Oschner Sports Performance Center on the outside practice field. Lutz made his camp debut and did so in a big way. He attempted six kicks ranging from 35 to 45 yards, and despite a stiff north breeze (left to right direction on the east side goal posts) of about 15 mph, Lutz made all six kicks easily. Coach Sean Payton had mentioned at the beginning of camp that they were't going to rush Lutz back until he was completely healthy, and if Wednesday was any indication it looks like mission accomplished.

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Rushing attack

We talked about Tuesday's lack of offense a day ago, but Wednesday that changed for the better, specifically in the running game. More of a physical, run heavy practice Wednesday, several long runs were there by different running backs. On the first play, Alvin Kamara went off right tackle for a 15 yard gain. Devonta Freeman went for a big gain on a run off the left side helped by a great block from tight end Adam Trautman. Another long run by Kamara on a toss sweep to the right sprung by right guard Cesar Ruiz. But the longest run of the day would have gone for at least 30 yards by Tony Jones Jr. helped by a great block by right tackle Kyle Murphy. The best friend to a quarterback is the running game, and after Wednesday's practice, whomever is named the starter had to be encouraged by what he saw.

Turner shines

Rookie defensive end Payton Turner was the Saints' first round draft pick in 2021. The Saints have been bringing in prototype linemen the last few years, long and lean with tremendous wingspans. Turner is no exception. Standing at 6 feet 6 and 270 pounds, he can wreak havoc on opposing offenses and that's what he has done in the first two padded practices. In Tuesday's inside practice, he batted down a ball at the line of scrimmage thrown by quarterback Taysom Hill, and a few plays later absolutely stonewalled Freeman on a stretch play to the right side. On Wednesday, Turner registered two sacks, highlighted by a bull rush against Murphy where he shoved Murphy back into quarterback Ian Book for the sack, probably the most impressive defensive play of camp to this point.

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