The New Orleans Saints moved their training camp practice indoors at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Saturday. Persistent inclement weather caused the change for the second day in a row. The Saints practiced in full pads. The greatest emphasis of the practice was the installation of the two-minute offense and defense. Here are some observations:
Saturday was the third practice in a row that saw an equally competitive result from both the offensive and defensive units. Earlier in camp, the defense was "winning" practice on a regular basis. The Offense has now caught up. Two factors are in play. One, is that there has been more installs allowing the offense to work off of a greater playbook and its full cache of weapons. Two, is that the grind of the first nine practices has sharpened everyone up and has the team eager to work against someone other than their own. Preseason game one will soon provide that opportunity.
I tip my cap to Ken Crawley. The Saints cornerback was challenged and rose to the occasion. Crawley was matched up one-on-one with wide receiver Michael Thomas on four particular plays that I watched closely. Crawley won three of those plays with nice breakups against the Saints' top wide receiver. That is no easy task especially knowing how competitive Thomas is on every single rep.
It was a needed good day for Tommylee Lewis. Lewis, who has starred during August the last two years, has been somewhat quiet. He broke out Saturday with some great catches and showcased his speed, too. Lewis was a consistent piece of the puzzle last season. He is in fight this year to make it to the regular season 53-man roster.
The competition to be the Saints' sixth or seventh offensive lineman continues and Saturday provided a chance to make a move. Veteran guard Larry Warford had the day off and that provided some reps for the backups with the first team offensive unit. LSU's Will Clapp stepped into Warford's usual spot and the rookie seemed to fair pretty well. Clapp has also worked as a backup center during his rookie camp, too.