Training Camp

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Todd Graffagnini's Saints training camp observations for Monday, Aug. 12

1.      Beating the heat: After Sunday’s sluggish practice where New Orleans Saints Coach Sean Payton thought his team “hit a little bit of a wall,” the team responded well with a more crisp workout despite the still very hot, humid conditions Monday, Aug. 12. It also might have had something to do that the Saints spent a full 20 minutes more in the indoor facility at the Oschner Sports Performance Center and wrapped up practice about 30 minutes earlier than we have seen the last couple of weeks when the session was moved outside. I would say to a person everyone in the entire Saints organization is ready to get on the charter to California on Wednesday.

2.      He’s baaaaack: During the first week of practices, the annual “camp darling” of the media was wide receiver Emmanuel Butler who dazzled media and fans alike with his difficult catches which he made day after day until injury forced him out for five practices. He has returned in a big way, still making those difficult plays including one of the best catches of camp Monday morning. In the indoor portion of practice during the wide receiver vs. defensive back drill, Drew Brees threw a 25-yard pass to the left side just inside the numbers. With cornerback T. J. Green blanketed on his back, Butler laid out parallel to the ground and came up with a brilliant fingertip grab, drawing oohs and aaahs from the media contingent. Looking forward to seeing Butler go against the Chargers this week.

3.      Solid Washington: Very quietly, maybe not to the coaching staff, third team running back Dwayne Washington continues to have an excellent camp. It seems every practice (including Monday) he breaks a long run during team periods, performed well vs the Vikings, (eight attempts for 36 yards for a 4.5 average) and is active on special teams as well. The fourth-year vet from the University of Washington seems a lock to make the 53-man roster and you feel like there won’t be much dropoff in the backfield if he has to long time behind Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray.

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