White Sulphur Springs, W. Va - The New Orleans Saints returned to the practice field Tuesday following their final day off of The Greenbrier portion of training camp. It was full pads and the first practice featuring goal-line packages. Here are some observations:
- The live goal-line period featured some players who will serve prominent roles this season. Running back Mark Ingram punched in a scoring rush and tight end Josh Hill made a catch for a score. On the defense, middle linebacker Stephone Anthony showed again with a punishing stuff of running back Khiry Robinson's rushing attempt. Scores and stops were split evenly between the offense and defense.
- The next two days of practice and subsequent preseason game with the New England Patriots couldn't come at better time. Its becoming harder and harder to determine whether a player does something that truly stands out or did his opponent help by not making a solid play. It's really a great chance to measure Saints player performances against those we don't commonly see.
- Some random thoughts. ... Backup quarterback race still to close to call. ... Dustin Hopkins was one better than Zach Hocker in kicking competition and probably has the edge. ... Coach Sean Payton was an absolute stickler for details Tuesday, especially when it came to lining up on time and more importantly, on-sides.