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Sean Kelley's Saints training camp observations from Thursday, Aug. 17

Photos from L.A. as the New Orleans Saints join the Chargers for Training Camp on August 17, 2017.

Costa Mesa, Calif. - The New Orleans Saints practiced jointly with the Los Angeles Chargers at the Jack Hammett Sports Complex on Thursday. It was the first of three joined practices scheduled this week leading up to a preseason game Sunday in Carson. Here are some observations from the two and half-hour session:

  1. Saints Coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees found great value in the joint practice. Brees even said that practices may be even more valuable than preseason games for starters. Brees, Payton, running backs Mark Ingram and Zach Line all seemed disappointed, though, in the team's execution Thursday. They stated that things went, "OK." The less than glowing review of the Saints play came from a number of team periods that saw the Chargers as the winning side.
  2. There was a bright spot in one of the position group periods. The Saints quarterbacks and wide receivers dominated in one-on-one pass plays against the Chargers secondary. By my count, the Saints side won 13 of 16 reps in the period with Michael Thomas, Drew Brees, and Brandon Coleman shining especially bright.
  3. The Saints offensive line group has its hands full with the Chargers defensive front this week. It was often a struggle against the likes of Joey Bossa and Melvin Ingram. It's a great test for the Saints starters; especially Zach Strief and Ryan Ramczyk. It also exposed the needed development with regard to the depth chart along the entire offensive line.
  4. Saints first-round pick Marshon Lattimore received more reps Thursday as he continues to come back from injury. He has a long way to go, but the Saints are in need of his services with the loss of Delvin Breaux to a broken fibula. Lattimore and the other cornerbacks are under the microscope this week and have to stay poised while up against a top-flight quarterback like Philip Rivers.
  5. Center Max Unger was in full pads and helmet today. He worked on his exchanges with the quarterbacks and worked extensively off to the side with the Saints training staff. He's still on the PUP list, but it's great to see a little more each day. The Saints may have Unger as a full participant very soon.
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