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Training Camp

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Sean Kelley's Saints training camp observations for Wednesday, Aug. 22

Costa Mesa, Calif. -- The New Orleans Saints practiced jointly with the Los Angeles Chargers at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex on Wednesday. It was the first of three joint practices leading up to Saturday's preseason game that will be played at the StubHub Center in Carson. The two teams were in full pads for the two-and-a-half hour session. They enjoyed perfect weather with clear skies and temperatures around 80 degrees. Here are some observations:

The practice was up-tempo and highly competitive to the delight of both coaching staffs. There was a noticeable difference from what the Saints offered in this same format last August. One year ago, the Saints were flat and showed poorly. Wednesday, they were noticeably different with winning periods and good response to those periods that went the Chargers way. For example, when the Chargers defense intercepted a Drew Brees pass in the two-minute drill, the Saints defense immediately followed with an interception of their own vs. Philip Rivers. The Rivers' pass was tipped over the middle by linebacker Alex Anzalone and then caught by safety Marcus Williams.

The Saints offensive line looked fantastic during a full team period focused on the interior run game. The starting unit of Max Unger, Andrus Peat, Terron Armstead, Larry Warford, and Ryan Ramczyk led the way as the unit pushed and grated its way to large gains for the running backs. Rookie Will Clapp saw some time at guard with this unit as well Wednesday.

Brees looked very sharp in his first work against another team this training camp. He was near perfect on his throws except for the interception during the two-minute period. Brees was also the biggest reason why the first team offense worked with good tempo. His ability to get the Saints in and out of the huddle, lined up quickly, and off the ball causes discomfort to opposing defenses. Those traits were on display Wednesday.

I asked for a big week from Cameron Meredith in this space Sunday, and the Saints wide receiver is doing just that here in California. Meredith shined on multiple plays Wednesday, and his presence is being felt more and more with each practice.  

Lastly, Marcus Davenport increased his amount of play at Wednesday's practice. He participated in all aspects of the practice, and flashed a couple of times in both position group drills and full team periods.

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