The New Orleans Saints spent Sunday morning sweating through a two-and-a-half hour practice in full pads at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center. The practice was open to the public. Temperatures soared in to the low 90s and the heat index made it feel like 103 degrees by the end of practice. Here are some observations:
Andrus Peat is participating more in the full team periods this weekend. The Saints starting left guard is making his way back from a broken leg suffered late last season. Peat saw some snaps with both the first and second team offensive lines Sunday. He is the only member of the starting offensive line not able to fully participate yet. It looks like there are still weeks to go in the process, but this weekend marks significant progress. Josh LeRibeus continues to take a majority of the snaps that Peat would normally have.
There is still a long way to go in the evaluation process at the position of kick returner. Sunday it was Natrell Jamerson, Josh Huff, and Shane Vereen getting the most looks. I would expect those three to handle the kick return duties in Friday’s upcoming preseason game vs. the Arizona Cardinals. Game one at Jacksonville saw Boston Scott and Brandon Tate get their turn. Coach Sean Payton said it’s still a wide open competition for the job. He seems ready to take the entire preseason in coming to an answer.
Payton also pointed out the play of rookie defensive tackle Taylor Stallworth saying he has had a very good four or five days. The South Carolina Gamecock, who hails from Mobile, Ala., had a sack and a fumble recovery in the first preseason game. He also deflected a pass which turned into an interception this weekend at practice. Stallworth and his family are life-long Saints fans making this camp extra special. It’s hard to stand out in a stacked position group like defensive tackle. Devaroe Lawrence has also turned some heads as he looks to justify the team’s decision to keep him following injury problems last year.
It was a good day for Justin Hardee. He needed a splash play in the defensive secondary and he got one with an interception of a Tom Savage pass.