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Sean Kelley: Observations from Friday's Saints training camp practice

Final day without pads

White Sulphur Springs, W. Va.  - Day two of New Orleans Saints training camp presented by Verizon saw the team on the lower artificial turf field at The Greenbrier on Friday. Overnight rains were primarily the reason for the change from grass to the artificial surface. Friday was also the last day without full pads for the foreseeable future. Here are a few observations:

  1. For the second straight day, there were some big-time highlights from the passing game. Just like Thursday, wide receiver Drew Brees made a bid for catch of the day. In traffic and with cornerback Delvin Breaux draped over him, Cooks came up with the near impossible catch. The impossible, though, was achieved by rookie receiver Michael Thomas. Thomas' one-handed catch going to the ground inside the 5-yard line stole the show.  It drew slack-jawed reaction after practice by  Coach Sean Payton, teammates, and the media alike.
  1. One couldn't help but notice the Saints defensive front especially in the full final 11 vs. 11 period. Nick Fairley, Kasim Edabali, Sheldon Rankins, and Davis Tull all caught my eye with significant pressure, if not possible sacks on Saints quarterbacks. There was a tipped ball or two as well. Fairley and Rankins received more reps with the first-team defense and it looked like they made well with their time. See below for more on that.
  1. Veteran wide receiver Hakeem Nicks joined the team Friday. He now possesses the most NFL experience in that position group. He has to make the team, but it will be interesting to see what he brings to an already intriguing process to find the final group of receivers on the 53-man roster. Also, second-year quarterback Garrett Grayson had a nice day with some pretty and well-placed passes.

The pads go on Saturday. I can't wait. It well help us learn a lot more in the coming days especially upfront on the line of scrimmage.

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