As the third day of padded practices wraps up for the New Orleans Saints Thursday acted as a microcosm of what the first week and a half of camps have been as a whole. The Saints offense and defense went back-and-forth in a variety of drills, mostly for focus on third downs. Defensive players made spectacular plays in one on ones while receivers put together explosive moments in team drills. It was truly a balanced practice to wrap up the eighth day at Saints camp; here are our key observations:
Biggest story: iron sharpens iron
The biggest turnaround from one season to the next for the Saints roster has been the wide receiver room. Similarly, the team’s secondary has made a major turnaround as well, considering the early offseason losses of safeties Marcus Williams and Malcom Jenkins.
Now, the two units have been completely revamped and are among, if not the, strongest units on the team. Today, was a perfect example of that. A microcosm representative of the first week and a half of practices thus far, the defense made some splash plays which the Saints offense found their own ways to match.
Whether it was pass breakups being met with big catches, run stuffs being met with breakaway runs or sacks matched by big blocks on the next play, the two units had a tug-of-war from which it is hard to name a victor. This is exactly where some would love to see the team, evenly matched. And this is all still without safety Tyrann Mathieu and wide receiver Michael Thomas in full swing.
Play of the day: Jarvis Landry’s one-hand snag
During the final period of second-team 11-on-11s, quarterback Andy Dalton scrambled to the left sideline with defenders on hot pursuit. Coming from the opposite side of the field, in a display of veteran awareness, came wideout Jarvis Landry. As he sprinted across the hashes, Dalton fired a rocket across his body to the outside. The pass was slightly outside of Landry’s frame, forcing the pass-catcher to stretch out one arm wherein he simply plucked the ball out of the air with one hand.
New Orleans had been working third-down situations in Thursday’s practice. This would have been a third-down conversion that could have extended a game-winning drive or even sealed a victory in the final moments. These are the situations that Landry becomes a game changer. Especially with hands like that.
Hold your breath: CB Marshon Lattimore exits with trainers.
Marshon Lattimore left practice early with a trainer. Unclear what happened.
— John Hendrix (@JohnJHendrix) August 4, 2022
Per John Hendrix of Saints New Network, Lattimore left the field late in practice with trainers. Hendrix noted that the starting cornerback did walk off the field under his own power. No updates were provided after practice. It could have been something simple like heat, cramping or another minor issue. Hopefully we’ll see him back out on the field on Friday.
1-on-1s: Paulson Adebo shines (again)
The presently undisputed camp MVP through the first week and a half of Saints camp has been cornerback Paulson Adebo. Today, he continued his stellar performance with an excellent showing in 1-on-1s against Saints receivers.
Adebo took four reps throughout the drill matching up with wideouts Deonte Harty, Chris Olave (twice) and Jarvis Landry. The only rep he dropped was one of his two against standout rookie Olave. Olave put a great move on Adebo at the line of scrimmage working his way open underneath after a textbook downfield sell.
But Adebo’s day would be defined by his victories, which are a daily occurrence at this point. In his first rep he showed his ability with blanketing, physical coverage, he bounced back from the Olave catch with an interception in his third rep against Landry. During this one, Adebo stayed on the hip of the veteran wide receiver as he worked his way to the sideline, giving quarterback Jameis Winston no angle for a throwing lane. Winston launched the pass (a risk he might not have taken had he other routes to throw to) and Adebo adeptly stepped in front of the pass to pick it off.
No. 29 lined up for his second rep against Olave for his final rep. Olave got loose, made the catch as he was striding toward the endzone, but the second-year corner showed his composure by closing and playing the hands of the receiver. His effort paid off as he ripped the ball out of Olave’s hands and sent it tumbling to the ground. A fantastic play as the corner continues to hold tight to his starting role.
Attendance: Payton Turner returns
Players returning from injury:
DE Payton Turner
TE Lucas Krull
Players getting in sidework:
TE Taysom Hill
WR/RS Rashid Shaeed
Players we did not see:
CB Dylan Mabin
S Smoke Monday
LB D’Marco Jackson
DE Marcus Davenport
The only new name on the not spotted list was rookie linebacker D’Marco Jackson. But positive news with the returns of Turner and Krull after their absences. head coach Dennis Allen clarified that while there is no big update on Hill’s condition or progress, that they feel back. The multi-faceted player was working off to the side along with Shaheed for a large portion of practice.
Wide receiver Michael Thomas looked to be given a light day today after advancing to 7-on-7 participation last practice. Safety Tyrann Mathieu advanced to individual drills after making his return to camp yesterday.