It was hot and steamy, to say the least, at the Saints Wednesday morning practice at their facility on Airline Drive. The Black and Gold worked on the outdoor fields in front of members of the Who Dat Nation for about two hours and forty-five minutes.
After installation and individual drills, the Saints worked on team drills with some of the focus being in the Red Zone this morning. “I can see the defense improving each day. I think that the Saints defense is getting more and more comfortable in Coach Steve Spagnuolo’s new scheme,” said Bobby Hebert.
The Saints will practice again Thursday and Friday before traveling to Canton for this weekend’s Hall of Fame Game on Sunday Night against the Arizona Cardinals in Fawcett Stadium. The team will also be on hand to see another former Saint, Willie Roaf, go into the Hall of Fame this weekend.
Saints Coach Joe Vitt thinks highly of Willie Roaf. “I think he was the most dominant tackle along with Jackie Slater of our era. He was a great player,” Vitt said.
Black and Gold fans will be excited to hear of the progress of second year DB Johnny Patrick.
Patrick could very well start this weekend due to injuries to other Saints players, and so far he has had a good camp. In six Saints practices, Patrick has picked off three passes, including one at today’s practice.
“Johnny is really playing well right now. He will be in the corner back rotation and he has not only been making plays but he seems to be in the right place most of the time,” said Bobby Hebert.
Patrick put a hit on WR Devery Henderson this morning that jarred the ball loose on one play. Patrick would later pick off a pass from QB Drew Brees in Red Zone drills. Saints safety Roman Harper also picked off Brees this morning as fellow DB Marquis Johnson did a nice job of providing underneath coverage allowing Harper to roam freely.
Other highlights included a nice run by RB Chris Ivory, Drew Brees hitting Jimmy Graham on a 25-yard gain, and then #9 connected with Darren Sproles for a ten-yard gain. Brees then went deep as he tossed a 30-yard TD strike to WR Marques Colston.
Whenever Brees has to check down he always seems to find Darren Sproles, and each time he does it seems like a guaranteed seven to ten yard gain. The team later went into seven-on-seven Red Zone drills while the linemen did one-on-one drills on the opposite end of the field.
DB Corey White had a nice pass break-up while covering WR Lance Moore. Brees then tossed a TD to Jimmy Graham with Johnny Patrick covering, and later Rookie WR Nick Toon hauled in a TD pass from Brees as Toon beat A.J. Davis.
Davis would later redeem himself with a pass break-up. On the other end, Zach Strief held his own in pass protection in one-on-one drills while Cam Jordan once again had a nice day during the drill as well.
The Saints will practice again in the morning from 8:50 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Be sure and tune in to SportsTalk today for the latest Saints Camp News from me, Bobby Hebert, Hokie Gajan, and our entire sports team!