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Sean Kelley's Saints training camp observations for Saturday, Aug. 18

The New Orleans Saints returned to the indoor practice field Saturday at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. Saturday’s work for the team came one day after a 20-15 exhibition loss to the Arizona Cardinals. It included time in the film room, treatment, weight training, and a full team practice. Here are some observations:

First-round pick Marcus Davenport was on the field and dressed Saturday, but was not a full participant. Coach Sean Payton anticipates that Davenport, “will work and get playing time” this upcoming week. Defensive end Alex Okafor was absent Saturday. The first team defensive ends in Saturday’s practice were Cam Jordan and Trey Hendrickson. Mitchell Loewen and Al-Quadin Muhammed worked on the second unit.

One particular period saw Coach Payton really drilling down on the details of the wide receivers lining up and running their routes. Payton was hunched over with his hands on his knees as he spoke on nearly every snap of the period. It was a lot of teaching and perhaps some cleaning up after reviewing Friday night’s tape of the game vs. Arizona.

Friday night’s game saw the first on-side kick of the preseason games. The Saints worked more on it during Saturday’s practice. The new kickoff rules impact the on-side too; especially for the kicking team. There’s some adjusting to do as the kicking team can no longer load up one side of the field, and cannot take a running start as in the past.

The catch of the day, and maybe even the catch of training camp, was made by Michael Thomas. The Saints' No. 1 receiver was 20 yards down field along the left sideline. On a ball thrown behind him, Thomas spun around his right shoulder and reached back to make a one-handed catch. It’s hard to put into words what only a select few on this planet can do.

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