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Kristian Garic

Talk sports and more with Kristian and T-Bob Hebert on "Double Coverage!" 

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Twitter: @kristiangaric1
Email: kristian@wwl.com

Kristian: Likes and dislikes from Saints vs Texans

Likes: I liked Willie Snead's performance with 4 catches and 56 yards. Snead was clearly a featured player, as coaches were trying to get a proper evaluation on him. I also, really liked the Saints return game spearheaded by running back Marcus Murphy. He was electric this week, providing some exciting moments in the return game. He had a long punt return that was negated by penalty, but you can see he's got some explosive ability in the return game. "He's making this team. He's making this team," Sean Payton said after the game. Murphy also showed off his ability to run the ball as well with 8 attempts for 43 yards for 5.4 yard average running with power between the tackles.

Dislikes: Penalties! The Saints have racked up double digit penalties in two of three preseason games so far. New Orleans had 11 flags for 148 yards against Houston. The week before in the win over New England the penalties were cut to 8, but in the opener against Baltimore the Saints were tapped for 16.

The Saints only tallied one sack, and that's the total for the preseason for the Black and Gold. It looks like they're going to have problems in that part of the game. Sean Payton joked, "We can have a second line," after getting one sack against the Texans.

I also didn't like the Saints red-zone efficiency against Houston. The Saints were 0 for 3 in red-zone attempts. With that said, the first team offense had only 1 attempt and came up with just three points, but it's a concern that Bobby Hebert highlighted: "Without Jimmy Graham, it makes me wonder if they are going to struggle their in the regular season. They don't have that automatic go-to player down there anymore".

Here are a couple of random thoughts that entered my mind during the game.

Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers said he wouldn't need the preseason to get ready for the games that count. When he first said it, I was thinking he reached a bit, but after watching how the Saints handled the preseason this year, I changed my stance. Maybe the teams don't need preseason football, judging by the teams cautious approach with starters this year. Drew Brees and most of the frontline players played about a series in the third game of the exhibition schedule against Houston.

Since several NFL teams hold joint practices during training camp, with two or three days of work with another team, the preseason has been devalued even more. College football teams don't have the preseason, so I'm wondering if NFL teams even need it. Veteran players secretly hate the preseason. I mean guys that are already on the team know that it's unnecessary risk for senseless injury. Players that are on the bubble certainly need the preseason.

Also, look at the attendance. I'm glad fans are getting wise and are not getting sucked in for full price in nothing more than a practice game. It's just sloppy. It's a poor product and the league would be wise to consider making the move away from preseason games. The problem is, owners of the league generate revenue they wouldn't be willing to part with. I'm not so sure it's that simple, the owners would want a guarantee to replace that cash lost from no preseason games.
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Kristian: Saints ready for preseason game 3, training camp over

Saints vs Texans:

The Saints are clearly game planning for the third preseason game, running scout offense and defensive plays. Coach Sean Payton said that Drew Brees would play against the Texans, but wasn't specific on the amount of snaps. I would expect to see Drew for about a quarter, maybe a series into the second quarter. Luke McCown will follow Brees at QB, yielding to Ryan Griffin and Garret Grayson in the second half.

Browner & Humber:

Saints defensive back Brandon Browner and linebacker Ramon Humber look like they are quickly on the mend from their respective injuries. Browner and Humber did not practice Friday, but worked off to the side with trainers. Both were moving well. I wouldn't be surprised to see Browner held out of the rest of the preseason, but looks like he should be good to go for week one against Arizona. Humber was working out on the side wearing shorts, shoulder pads and his helmet.

Roster cuts;

The Saints have to trim their roster to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon and down to 53 by Sunday September 6th.

Camp Ending:

The Saints invaded the campus of Tulane University wrapping up the week and the final practice of training camp Friday. First, if you haven't been in Yulman stadium, you should go check out a game. It's a fantastic venue for college football. The Who Dat Nation showed up in force, filling up at least half of the stadium.
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Kristian: Cooks looking deadly as Saints offense rebounds

Offense: With Coach Sean Payton back at practice, the Saints offense looked like they had something to prove after two previous days dominated by the defense. Saints WR Brandin Cooks is primed for a huge year. He had several targets and receptions today. Deep balls, short routes, it didn't matter; Cooks was electric today. Sean Payton mentioned he might get a couple of punt return opportunities in the preseason game against Houston this Sunday. Payton also added that Cooks might just call a fair catch, but he wants him to get some reps and track the ball in the dome.

Two minute drill: The Saints first team offense carved up the defense in two minute drills today with Drew Brees leading the team down the field for a touchdown. With the second and third team, QB Luke McCown hit rookie WR R.J Harris on a deep pass, beating double coverage for a touchdown. It wasn't all bad for the Saints defense; Brian Dixon had a solid showing with a couple of pass break ups. Stanley Jean-Baptiste was victimized a few times in the passing game. However, CB Delvin Breaux continues to raise eyebrows, flat out dominating in one-on-one drills against wide receivers. If I seem like I'm getting repetitive with Breaux, it's because I probably am. He's just been that good.

Quote of the day: Sean Payton recalled the initial workout the team had with Breaux prior signing him back in January "His workout was one most impressive I've seen from a cornerback, we wanted to make sure he didn't leave the building". Breaux at the time was scheduled to work out with 8 other teams, but the Saints kept him in the building and in his own home town.

Injury notes: Saints defensive back Brandon Browner worked off to the side with trainers today during practice. Browner hasn't practiced since injuring his knee in the preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens, more than two weeks ago. I expect the Saints to take this one slow - there is no need to play him in the preseason, and for that matter it gives other younger players an opportunity to get more reps. I do expect Browner to be ready to return for week 1 against Arizona. Linebacker Ramon Humber also looked like he was closer to returning to action today wearing shoulder pads and his helmet working with the training staff on the opposite field during practice. One final note, safety Jairus Byrd remains on PUP.

President fly over: Air Force One flew over the Saints facility during practice today, before landing at New Orleans Armstrong International Airport. President Obama is in town for the 10 year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina this Saturday.
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Kristian: Saints pass rush finally shows up; Payton skips practice

Daddy Duty: Saints Coach Sean Payton was not at practice today because he was escorting his daughter to the first day of college at Pepperdine University. Payton has always placed a significant interest on family, and has excused players in the past for family matters, and it's no different for him. Some might make a big deal out of this, and most shouldn't. I tip my hat to Payton for recognizing the importance of the big day for his daughter. I know I feel guilty all the time for missing certain events going on in my children's lives and wish that I would have taken more time off to share that moment with them. Payton missing one training camp practice will have no impact on the Saints winning or losing one single game this season. Don't be silly and make a big deal out of this.

Sean Payton skipped practice today so he could bring his daughter to college. Was he right to do that? Bobby Hebert says old school coaches would have never done that. What do you think?

Posted by WWL Radio on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Defensive pressure: We've been wondering when the Saints pass rush was going to show up, and today it did. I counted at least three different sacks from players like DT Kevin Williams, DE Cameron Jordan, and DE/OLB Kasim Edebali. When the Saints weren't getting sacks, the defensive line was constantly in the face of the quarterback, forcing them to pull the ball down and re-set their offensive reads. The secondary feasted off the pass rush, and were able to contest throws on WRs. The defensive has stacked together several solid days of practice here in the last week, and it has increased my level of optimism about what could be with the defense.

Play of the day: I just finished telling you about how good the defense looked, but the offense had their moments as well. Drew Brees found WR Joe Morgan streaking down the sideline past CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste for a long touchdown pass. Brees dropped the ball in perfectly to Morgan, and he turned on the jets, racing to the end zone.

Veteran spotlight: Safety Kenny Phillips has been relegated to the second and third team defense. Phillips had been working with the first team with Jairus Byrd sidelined on the PUP. Phillips is trying to make a comeback in the NFL after three seasons away from the game due to a career-threatening knee injury. Phillips can still play in the league, but Pierre Warren can play special teams and that might make the difference in the final roster spot in New Orleans.

Rookie Spotlight: Rookie offensive lineman Sean Hickey is a bit of a long shot to make the final roster for the Saints, but I think has a shot to land on the practice squad. Hickey played right tackle in college, and has been moved to right guard in camp with the Saints. Hickey could develop into a starter down the line for the Saints. "He's been strong at run blocking during camp. He needs to get stronger in his pass protection sets," explained the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.

Quote of the day: "I think he's going to be a super star in this league," said Saints safety Kenny Vaccaro talking about CB Delvin Breaux. Breaux is going to be a big time player in this defense and Saints color analyst Hokie Gajan thinks he might be the best cornerback on the team. "He might not play ahead of Keenan Lewis, or Brandon Browner but he's got the best cover skills in that secondary." Breaux is lauded by his teammates for his work ethic, and physical play at the line of scrimmage in bump and run coverage.
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Kristian: Saints defense continues to play strong

Contested throws: The Saints defense clearly got the better of the offense today in team drills and even one-on-one drills. DB Keenan Lewis made his return to the practice field today and got right down to business with two pass break ups in team drills. Delvin Breaux continues to be a menace in pass coverage. "That's a guy you don't want him to get his hands on you, he's so strong," said WR Joe Morgan after practice. Brian Dixon had his best practice with a couple of contested throws in team and individual drills. Kyle Wilson is also making a late surge to make the roster, with a solid practice as well.

Browner progress: Saints defensive back Brandon Browner was dressed out for practice today in shorts and a helmet and did some light jogging with trainers on the side. Browner has been out since taking a helmet to the knee in the preseason opener against the Ravens. I wouldn't expect to see Browner return to a full practice mode for several more days. Safety Kenny Vaccaro also returned to the practice field today and participated fully.

Rookie Spotlight: Defensive Lineman Tavaris Barnes looks like he's working his way into the defensive line rotation ahead of rookie Bobby Richardson, and Kaleb Euells. Barnes has been disruptive on passing downs and against the run. Barnes will continue to get a majority of the first team reps in the next two preseason games in his attempt to make the roster.

Saints D Has another strong day at practice

Posted by WWL Radio on Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Veteran Spotlight: DT Kevin Williams still looks like the same player that was very productive with the Minnesota Vikings and with the Seahawks last season. At 35, with thirteen years in the league the Saints will be carefull with the amount of snaps he takes during the preseason and in practice but Williams looks like he can be a really productive player for the team in the middle this season. Williams was brought over in the off-season as an unrestricted free agent.

Quote of the day: "There is still very much undecided about this roster," Saints Coach Sean Payton explained today when asked about looming roster cuts on Tuesday and the following week. Payton is being completely candid in his response. I can rattle off a few questions that remain un-answered at this point. Who's going to be the 4th & 5th WR's on this team? Who's going to be the dime CB? Who's going to start in the middle at linebacker for the Saints aside from Stephone Anthony? Who's going to be the primary return guy? Stay tuned the picture will slowly start to come into focus over the next few weeks.
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Kristian: Saints release TE Michael Egnew

The Saints will release TE Michael Egnew today, according to a league source. Egnew has been with the team for just seven days.

I expect the team to continue to work out several veteran players at tight end. The Saints' current third tight end, Orson Charles, is suspended by the league for week one against Arizona.

Taking his place on the roster will be Chris Manhertz, according to the league's transaction wire. He's a former basketball player from Canisius College, signed by the Buffallo Bills last year and released last week.

Manhertz is making the transition from basketball, and had never played football until the Bills came calling. Now the Saints are kicking the tires!
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Kristian: Saints still very much in training camp mode

Not yet: Saints coach Sean Payton has often said "there is no light at the end of the tunnel" when referring to training camp, and keeping the team in that frame of mind during the preseason. The Saints returned to the practice field less than 24 hours after their second preseason game today in Metairie. "It's still training camp, that's the mindset we have right now," reiterated offensive tackle Zach Strief. I've covered the Saints for going on seven seasons and I don't recall them ever practicing the day after a game, regular season or preseason. I fully expected a bit of a review from the day before but, that wasn't the case either. The Saints were in shorts & helmets, but were working at full speed and a lot of team periods (offense vs defense).

Getting Healthier: The Black and Gold appear to be getting some players back who've been sidelined with various ailments. WR Nick Toon was the only casualty from the match up with New England (more on him in a moment). CBs Keenan Lewis and Delvin Breaux both took team reps today. Lewis has been sidelined for a few days with an undisclosed injury, and Breaux fell awkwardly in the preseason opener against the Ravens and hasn't practiced since. In his first day back, he didn't show any signs of rust breaking up two passes intended for Marques Colston. I wouldn't be surprised if Breaux ends up leading this team in pass break ups this season, and interceptions. He's going to be a really good player. Safety Kenny Vaccaro was dressed out but didn't participate in practice today, but another positive sign he's on the mend.

Notable absences: At this point, Jairus Byrd is still the top name on the list of players that haven't practiced, but trust me you won't miss out when he returns. Twitter, Facebook, and any other social media site will blow up when Byrd finally gets on the field this season. OLB Anthony Spencer has also missed considerable time here recently and did not practice today. CB Brandon Browner and LB Dannell Ellerbe were also nowhere to be found at practice. Rookie CB PJ Williams is falling behind with every rep, as he's only practiced just a handful of times during camp. Damian Swann is by far ahead of him on the depth chart at this point.

Nick Toon: Ah yes, one of my favorite players to talk about. WR Nick Toon suffered an injury in the match up with New England, and as I reported during the game, the training staff was looking at his left ankle. Toon had a golden opportunity to make this roster and contribute a lot this season, but has been leapfrogged by Brandon Coleman, Josh Morgan and Joe Morgan. It wouldn't surprise me at all if Toon is released on or before the final roster pairing at the end of the preseason. Toon came to the Saints in 2012 as a fourth round draft pick out of Wisconsin, but hasn't lived up to what many thought could be a great fit in New Orleans.

Quote of the Day: "I am an every down running back," Saints running back Mark Ingram said following practice after a strong game running and receiving for the Saints against the Patriots. Ingram has turned into a solid threat out of the backfield in his fifth season, and early in his career it was something he wasn't asked to do a lot. This season, I think you'll see more of that from Ingram. "I've got five years now with Drew Brees, so he's so much more comfortable with me now," Ingram explained.
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Kristian: Saints move TE Brock to IR, re-sign TE Alex Smith

The Saints have placed tight end Kevin Brock on injured reserve and re-signed TE Alex Smith.

Brock is a rookie out of Rutgers, and it's unknown at this point what his injury is.

Smith joined the Saints late in camp and was released last week, but is now back with the team.

DT Austin Brown is also on injured reserve.
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Kristian: Banged up Saints secondary holds up against Patriots

Saints & Patriots: The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots worked out against the transitioning Saints today at the Greenbrier. You could feel the intensity dialed up with the players and coaches. The speed of practice was much faster, the increased pressure and tempo was obvious. It was about as "game like" atmosphere as you can get at this point in camp. "That's the best practice I've seen so far this camp. You gotta like what you see out there. There was six drills going on at one time, it kept you on your toes!" said Saints Color analyst Hokie Gajan.

Standouts: The Saints were without their entire starting defensive backfield working against the Patriots. CBs Brandon Browner, Delvin Breaux and Keenan Lewis and safety Kenny Vaccaro were held out of this morning's practice against New England. "Tom Brady and the other Patriots quarterbacks were holding the ball because our coverage was good in the secondary," explained the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert. Stanley Jean-Baptiste is vastly improved over last season, along with CB Brian Dixon making a couple of plays today. Another standout player from today was WR Josh Morgan. He had two receiving touchdowns from Drew Brees today. He's a great athlete that put in the right situation can be really good for this team. It's hard to get a read as to how the final roster will shake out at wide receiver but right now it looks like this: Brandin Cooks, Marques Colston, Brandon Coleman, Joe Morgan, Josh Morgan, and Seantavious Jones. Joe Morgan has a distinct advantage over the other candidates - he is an excellent blocker in the running game.

No fights: We've seen several joint practices around the league turn into WWE style cage matches over the last week. None of that even came close to happening today with the Saints and Patriots. Each team emphasized it to the players prior to today "They know how to practice, they know how to get something accomplished, they're not soft; they're smart," said Hebert.

Rookie spotlight: Saints rookie OLB Hau'oli Kikaha returned to practice today after missing yesterday. He and Akiem Hicks were the two that had the biggest impact getting after Patriots QB Tom Brady. Kikaha is still learning, but you can see the non-stop motor and intensity he plays with. He's still learning to get into his drops in pass coverage but he has a lethal first step in the pass rushing department.

Veteran spotlight: Left tackle Terron Armstead was putting on a clinic today in 1 on 1 pass rush against the Patriots defenders, twice handling OLB Rob Ninkovich, who had hight praise for Armstead. "Very good tackle. He's got really quick feet and he's tough to match up against!" Patriots DE Chandler Jones did get the better of Armstead on one rep, but it wouldn't have been a sack on the quarterback.
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Kristian: Saints add DT David Hunter

The Saints will sign defensive tackle David Hunter, according to a league source.

Hunter worked out with the Saints earlier in the week, and the team renewed interest in him after this morning's injury to DT Austin Brown, who was carted off the field with a leg injury. Brown is likely headed for injured reserve and Hunter will take his spot on the roster.

Hunter was signed by the Houston Texans as an undrafted free agent in 2012.
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Kristian: Davis Tull off PUP list, but Saints injuries pile up

Injuries: They're starting to pile up for the Saints in training camp. CBs Brandon Browner, & Delvin Breaux still sidelined along with LB Dannell Ellerbe. Safety Kenny Vaccaro left practice early with the trainers today, walking off the field under his own power - it looked like it wasn't anything significant. LB Hau'oli Kikaha also sat out of practice today for unspecified reasons but a source told me "it's no big deal." Kikaha was at practice on his feet dressed in just a jersey but later went back into the facility with trainers. OLB Davis Tull officially came off the NFI list today and was practicing with the team.

Saints go live tackling in goal line drills

Posted by WWL Radio on Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Goal line: For the first time in camp, the Sants went to a "live" period in training camp. In other words, it was all out tackling in goal line/short yardage. The defense and offense were about even. Linebacker Stephone Anthony had a nice run-stuffing effort against Khiry Robinson. Drew Brees connected with FB Austin Johnson for a short passing touchdown from about three yards out.

Austin Brown: The Saints signed Brown yesterday and he went down hard in practice today - he had to be carted off the field. The training staff put an air cast on Brown's right leg before loading him on the cart. Sources tell me that the injury is "not good." It's tough to see a player go down in practice especially one that hasn't even been on the roster for more than 24 hours!

Patriots: The defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots arrive at the Greenbrier later today and are scheduled to practice against the Saints on Wednesday and Thursday. The Patriots and Saints play in the preseason on Saturday night in the Superdome. "It's always good to go up against different competition, and at this point in camp and it will be good for our younger players," explained coach Sean Payton after practice.
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Kristian: Saints add DT Austin Brown, make roster moves

With several defensive players banged up on the defensive side of the football, the Saints added defensive tackle Austin Brown today, according to a league source.

Brown was with the Houston Texans last season and made it to the final cut down.

The Saints continued to turn over the roster today, signing TE Michael Agnew to a 1-year deal, according to a source. The Saints also released WR Kyle Prater and defense lineman Lawrence Virgil with an injury settlement.

The Saints are back on the practice field tomorrow morning at 8:50am, wrapping up their final week in West Virginia on Thursday.
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Kristian: Saints break out boxing gloves; Davis Tull coming back

We could see another member of the Saints 2015 draft class participating in practice tomorrow morning. OLB Davis Tull is expected to come off the NFI list (Non-Football Injury) and on to the active roster. Tull has been rehabbing a shoulder injury going back his days in college at Tennessee-Chattanooga. The Saints need some numbers at linebacker, with several players banged up.

Who's in, who's out: Here is the injury list or at least the players that missed practice today. CB Brandon Browner, CB Delvin Breaux, LB Ramon Humber, LB Dannell Ellerbe, OT Sean Hickey, OT Cyril Lemon, S Jamarca Sanford, CB P.J Williams, LB Anthony Spencer, LB Ronald Powell, NT Lawrence Virgil. and RB C.J Spiller.

Rookie Spotlight: Un-drafted free agent defensive lineman Ashad Mabry is up today in the rookie spotlight. This young man has a great story - he started out in college at Oklahoma State, but transferred to the University of Texas-San Antonio after his mom got sick. He said "I thought my hopes of playing in the NFL one day were done when I transferred but, I got some good feedback after my junior year and it opened up again." Mabry also said he was star struck by getting the chance to play with his boyhood idol in defensive tackle Kevin Williams.

Veteran Spotlight: Veteran nose tackle John Jenkins is having a solid camp and preseason so far. Jenkins was hampered last season at the start of training camp with a torn pectoral muscle, and never got into great playing shape. Jenkins says he's about 25 pounds lighter this season, weighing a svelte 320 lbs. Jenkins also admitted that he lost 25-30 lbs from the start of OTA's to the beginning of training camp. He'll be counted upon pretty heavily to stuff the run this year for the Saints.

Play of the day: Tight End Alex Smith made several nice catches today in the team portion of practice. Smith was signed last week after Jack Tabb went down with a torn ACL. Smith could be one of the sleepers to make the team at the third spot behind Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill.

Quote of the Day: "Man I think the Saints could be the best team in the NFL, behind the Patriots and Packers," That was from a fan I overheard talking to his friend at practice today. I don't know if I agree with that statement. What about Seattle? Where are they in that conversation?

Knock out: The Saints delivered the knock out punch to the kick/punt returners in practice, forcing them to wear boxing gloves in practice while fielding kicks and punts. The thought is that it will force them to keep their elbows tucked in, and they can't rely on their hands as much. The Saints have used volleyballs in practice this camp, and now they've used boxing gloves. Sports intertwined!
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Kristian: Browner, Breaux, and Ellerbe miss practice; Saints add linebacker

Missing in Action:

The Saints were without several front line players returning to the field in their first practice following Thursday night's preseason opener against Baltimore. CB's Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux did not practice. Browner took a helmet to the knee against the Ravens, but it's not expected to keep him sidelined for an extended period of time. Breaux's injury is unknown and undisclosed by the team, but also not believed to be anything serious. LB Dannell Ellerbe missed practice after reaggravating a toe injury that sidelined him at the start of camp. Offensive Lineman Sean Hickey and Cyril Lemon also missed practice with undisclosed injuries.

Quote of the Day:

"I have not read that report," Saints coach Sean Payton replied after he was asked about the report from ESPN's Adam Schefter that RB C.J. Spillier required arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday and will miss the remaineder of the preseason. Payton is usually pretty tight lipped on the injury front, so why would we expect that to change now?

Play of the Day:

There was a really nice back shoulder throw from QB Drew Brees to WR Brandon Coleman down the sideline in two minute drills. Coleman played sparingly against the Ravens, but he has really done a nice job of using his big body to catch passes in camp. Right now it looks like he's the third option in the receiving depth chart.

Rookie Spotlight:

QB Garret Grayson is surging in practice after a rough first week. Grayson was impressive in his pro debut against the Ravens the other night. "He looks more and more comfortable every day in practice. You can see it because he's more accurate with his passes, and he's seeing the field better and reading the defense," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.

Veteran Spotlight:

Terron Armstead is dominant at left tackle. "Nobody even get's close to the QB in one on one drills. He's so quick. He moves like a tight end and has the power that you want from a left tackle," added Saints Color Analyst Hokie Gajan. Armstead is a book end left tackle that will be in the league for over a decade. The Saints stole him in the 3rd round three yeas ago, and Zach Strief said, "He's got the chance to be one of the best of all time."


Saints Cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste worked with the first team defense with Brandon Browner and Delvin Breaux sitting out. Jean-Baptiste has been much improved after a disappointing rookie campaign. I think it's interesting that he is the player ahead of veteran Kyle Wilson to get the reps with the first team defense. SJB has been pretty solid in camp and looks like he's really improved his man on man coverage skills.

Saints add LB:

Former ULL Linebacker Justin Anderson worked out today for the Saints with the team short on numbers at that position. The team will sign him according to a league source. Anderson was with the Vikings last season and in camp with Dallas this offseason. Anderson could be an interesting addition. Saints Defensive Assistant/Linebackers Coach James Willis coached Anderson in college at ULL.

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Saints RB Spiller gets knee scoped; out until regular season

According to ESPN, Saints running back C.J. Spiller had arthroscopic knee surgery on Friday. He will miss the rest of the preseason but is expected to be ready in time for the Saints season opener.

"It's not that big of a deal, unless he's not ready to go by Arizona," said the Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert.

Typically that surgery takes 3 to 4 weeks for recovery.
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Kristian: Saints' Browner injury not expected to be serious

Saints CB Brandon Browner suffered a knee injury in last nights preseason opener against the Ravens. Browner was carted off the field but I've learned that his injury is not believed to be serious and he should be fine.

Browner limped to the sideline following a goal-line collision with teammate Hau'oli Kikaha in the first quarter. The cornerback came to the Saints in free agency.

He initially played for the Broncos in 2005. He failed a drug test, and Denver released him.

He got back into the NFL five years later when he played for the Seahawks from 2011 - 2013.
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Kristian: 5 players to watch in Saints vs Ravens

The Saints kick off the preseason tonight in Baltimore against the Ravens. While we won't be able to draw any conclusions about the team or players just yet, we can learn some things about how the players are taking to scheme and who's going to be some potential playmakers for the team. Every year there is always one surprise that impresses during the preseason and ends up making the roster. Here are a few players I'm interested in watching tonight.

Stephone Anthony: The Saints rookie linebacker has been running with the first team defense during camp, and has been active around the football in practices. Anthony is very physical, and hasn't been able to turn it loose yet in practice. I want to see how much contact he delivers in the middle of the defense. The Saints haven't started a rookie at middle linebacker in the regular season since Courtney Watson in 2004. Anthony will likely be the team's starter come week 1 against Arizona.

Hau'oli Kikaha: Another rookie linebacker to watch tonight. Kikaha plays the outside, was brought in to give the Saints some juice in the pass rush. Kikaha has aslo received a majority of the snaps with the first team defense. He's had his moments in camp, and he's also had his share of rookie blunders. Kikaha is a high motor player that is relentless, and focused on the field. Watch his pass rush skills, you will be impressed with his first step off the line.

Willie Snead: The wide receiver out of Ball State has drawn comparisons to former Saints WR Lance Moore. They're built similarly, but let's not forget Lance Moore came up big in a lot games for the Saints, and until then I'm not putting him in that conversation. However, Snead had made a lot of plays in camp so far and he's a really good route runner with sure hands. Saints defensive back Keenan Lewis told me "he knows how to really set up a defender." He will remind you of Lance in his build and the way he runs. Let's see if he can make plays like Lance.

Delvin Breaux: Saints color analyst Hokie Gajan feels like Breaux is the best cover corner back on the team. Say what? Yeah, pure cover corner. Over Keenan Lewis and Brandon Browner. With that said Hokie is talking about from a skills standpoint and athleticism. Breaux doesn't have the experience and knowledge that Lewis and Browner do, but he'll be the nickel cornerback this season. "He's by far the nickel back, there isn't anyone even close to competing with him so far in camp," explains Gajan. The hometown kid will quickly become a favorite among the fans, locally and nationally. Breaux should be a really nice find for the Saints.

Marcus Murphy: With most of the front line starters playing sparingly, rookie running back Marcus Murphy out of Missouri should get a lot of action in the return game and on offense. "He's got another gear, you can see that when he's on the field," Gajan said when talking about Murphy. He's small in stature but he gets up the field quickly and has some shake to hm that is fun to watch. Murphy will compete for time on special teams in order to make the roster. Let's see what kind of impact he'll have tonight.
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Kristian: Saints D toughens up; Jordan biggest offensive threat

Almost game time: After nearly two weeks, it's hard to believe the Saints are about 48 hours from their first pre-season game Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens. The Saints went through a lot of situational periods in practice the last two days. "It's important to get all of that in with all three units, because they're going to likely be in the game when in two minute situation comes up on Thursday," Coach Sean Payton explained after practice.

Practice notes: The first team defense kept the first team offense out of the end-zone in the first team period. Drew Brees and the offense drove the ball down the field inside the five yard line, before Kasim Edebali logged a would-be sack, pushing them back to the 13 yard line. Three straight pass attempts were either incomplete or batted away by the Saints defense. Ramon Humber continues to be a player to watch in coverage.

Rookie Spotlight: Rookie linebacker Henry Coley (Virginia) is an impressive rookie that has flashed at times during camp, and we learned today in college he was called "Henry the Hammer" for his physical style of play. Coley was in mini camp with the Ravens before landing a tryout with the Saints the following week. Coley said despite suffering massive blisters on his feet from the week before, "I'm not going home!" Coley has made a bid to land on the practice squad, with several solid plays.

Veteran Spotlight: Cameron Jordan looks like he'll be the biggest threat as a pass rusher this season. As he has previously been, Jordan is tremendously tough against the run, but has flashed really good power and speed in camp coming off the edge in a defense that he called "more Cam friendly."

Injury status: Running back C.J. Spiller remains sidelined with an undisclosed injury. I'm told that Spiller's injury isn't significant and the team is just being cautious. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks returned to practice today after being sidelined for several days with an undisclosed injury. WR Brandin Cooks looks to be back to full speed after a few days out of work.
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Kristian: Saints almost ready for first test of preseason

Dog days: We've reached that time of camp for the players and media covering the team where you just need to see something else. Fortunately for the Saints that something else will come in the form of the Baltimore Ravens Thursday night in the preseason opener for both squads. "It's always nice to mix up the routine, and hit someone else other than your friends," said Safety Kenny Vaccaro.

Play of the Day: Safety Vinnie Sunseri has more interceptions in camp than any player on the Saints defense. He collected his third INT of camp today, picking off QB Luke McCown jumping an underneath route. McCown didn't even see him. Sunseri has been active in camp, and could be in line to see more reps with the first team defense in sub packages.

Quote of the day: "That's the guy we should be paying $9 million dollars to this year. At least he's on the field making plays!" That's Saints color analyst Hokie Gajan tounge-in-cheek remark today following Sunseri's interception off McCown.

Rookie Spotlight: WR Kyle Prater is fun to watch, he's perhaps bigger than Marques Colston. Defensive backs really struggle with his size, but he's stacked behind guys like Nick Toon, Brandon Coleman, and Seantavious Jones on the depth chart. Prater is a rookie from Northwestern that could find his way onto the practice squad.

Veteran Spotlight: Linebacker Danell Ellerbe has finally made his way onto the field after starting camp watching from the sidelines. Ellerbe immediately worked in the first team defense playing 'sam' linebacker next to rookie Stephone Anthony as the 'mic' backer. Ellerbe is much better in pass coverage than David Hawthorne, and you notice that part of his game right away in 7 on 7 and team drills.

Injury update: While the Saints are starting to get a little healthier, WR Brandin Cooks and Brandon Coleman didn't work with the team today in practice. Coleman and Cooks were in full pads. Both of the players did take part in the two minute install portion of practice, and on special teams.
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Kristian: Saints getting healthier; Byrd remains sidelined

Healthier Saints: Following Friday's scrimmage, the Saints look like they are starting to get several players back on the field. G Tim Lelito, RB CJ Spiller, LB Dannell Ellerbe, CB Damian Swann, G Mike McGlynn, and WR Brandon Coleman were all back and in pads today at practice. Lelito, Swann, and Ellerbe practiced fully. Coleman and Spiller were both dressed out but did not participate in the team portion of practice. WR Brandin Cooks did not practice, but I think after a heavy work load on Friday, it was just a scaled back day for him. He's been outstanding during camp.

Hawthorne with twos: With LB Dannell Ellerbe returning the field it was interesting to note that David Hawthorne was pushed back with the second team defense while Stephone Anthony and Ellerbe worked with the first team.

Play of the day: I haven't talked about this player very much in camp, but WR Josh Morgan had a nice deep reception today form Drew Brees in the team portion of practice.

Quote of the day: 'He's coming off his knee, whatever the doctors say he's going to listen to and not rush himself back. When he's healthy he'll be the same old Byrd," Safety Kenny Vaccaro said. This might have been the first time we've heard details as to what exactly might be slowing Byrd down.

Peat at LG: Saints rookie Andrus Peat has worked at three different positions on the offensive line, today he worked at left guard with rookie Cyril Lemon held out of practice. "They're just trying to create competition and get the best guys on the field, the best five linemen," Bobby Hebert explained.

Big Kicks: Both Zach Hocker and Dustin Hopkins showed off their leg strength today. Each kicker was assigned to either the offense or defense with the winner getting out of conditioning following practice. You could tell it was a competitive period in practice. Hopkins and Hocker were perfect 5 for 5 in their kicks, including a shot from 59 yards. Because of the tie, the coaches had to run after practice with the players.

Bobby Hebert says Garret Grayson had his best day of camp

Posted by WWL Radio on Sunday, August 9, 2015
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Kristian: Saints waive injured rookie TE Jack Tabb

The Saints have waived injured rookie tight end Jack Tabb and signed tight end Alex Smith to fill his spot on the active roster.

Smith is going into his 11th season in the NFL after being drafted by Tampa Bay in the third round back in 2005.

Smith has spent time with New England, Cleveland, Philladelphia, and Cincinnati over his career. Smith has 163 career receptions for 1,473 yards and 13 touchdowns.
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Kristian: Saints have lots to fix after bad scrimmage

Sloppy: That would be the best way to describe the Saints Black and Gold scrimmage today at the Greenbrier. It's not my word - QB Drew Brees described it that way, and Sean Payton was visibly frustrated with the amount of mistakes on the defensive side of the football. Last season, if you recall, Rob Ryan's defense had frequent substitution problems, either not having enough players on the field, or having too many. That problem cropped up again today in the scrimmage. Early in the scrimmage after two straight mishaps with substitutions, defensive coordinator Rob Ryan went into a profanity laced tirade. They have plenty of time to correct the problems, but it's troubling because it seems like it's something that spilled over from last season. After practice the defense had to do 25 up/downs with Ryan and Coach Joe Vitt watching.

Positives: The first team offense lead by Drew Brees marched the ball down the field in their offensive series and scored right away. Brees connected with Marques Colston on nice fade route in the back corner of the end-zone over CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste. Luke McCown later took over with the first team offense after Drew Brees gave way, and lead them on a scoring drive connecting on a nice short post patter with RB Mark Ingram out of the backfield.

Negatives: As I mentioned at the start, the defensive penalties and substitution problems were way too frequent. Hau'oli Kikaha was one of the players admonished by the coaching staff for not knowing what package he was supposed to be a part of.

Tim Lelito: Missed practice today with an unspecified injury, Senio Kalemente filled in at Left Guard for Lelito. Andrus Peat took snaps at left tackle with Terron Armstead sitting out of the scrimmage. Sean Payton said Armstead will be back on Sunday. Defensive lineman Akiem Hicks did not participate in the scrimmage either. Running Back C.J. Spiller also did not participate in the scrimmage today and Sean Payton wouldn't talk about any injury news regarding Spiller.

Rookie Spotlight: Markus Pierce-Brewster (LB West Texas A&M) has flashed at times during camp and could be a player to keep an eye on in the pre-season. He's got some pass rush skills that the coaches like, but at times has some mental busts. I think he has a chance to land on the practice squad as an edge rusher.

Veteran Spotlight: Kasim Edebali (LB) has really opened some eyes during camp after making the squad last year as an un-drafted rookie out of Boston College. Edebali has fantastic energy and a relentless motor that gets him to the quarterback. Edebali has been routinely disruptive in team portions of practice so far in camp and plays the run rarely well.

Play of the Day: There weren't too many highlights for the defense today, but Safety Vinnie Sunseri picked off a pass over the middle from QB Garret Grayson "Yeah, you could tell Grayson was late getting the football out and Sunseri had the play diagnosed very early and jumped the route" Sunseri is another player that is quietly having a pretty good camp ( I tweeted out a photo of the picture).

What's next: The Saints are off tomorrow and return to the field Sunday afternoon, and begin gearing up for Thursday night's pre-season opener against the Baltimore Ravens.
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Kristian: Saints waive DL Glenn Foster, sign free agent CB

The Saints have waived defensive lineman Glenn Foster, (failed physical) and signed free agent cornerback Travis Manning, who went undrafted out of Northwest Missouri State this past April.

Foster made the team last year as an undrafted free agent, before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury. The Saints have a need at the cornerback position, with P.J Williams, and Damian Swann both dealing with injuries. Also, Keenan Lewis missed two practices this week with an undisclosed injury.

The Cajun Cannon Bobby Hebert, says "It just goes to show you how much they like undrafted rookie free agent Bobby Richardson if they are willing to release Glenn Foster. He's a better player than Foster".
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Kristian: Lewis & Coleman miss Saints practice

Bumps and Bruises: are starting to mount for the Black & Gold. Defensive back Keenan Lewis and WR Brandon Coleman both sat out of practice today with undisclosed injuries. Defensive back Delvin Breaux and cornerback Stanley Jean-Baptiste worked with the first team defense in the absence of Lewis. Seantavious Jones filled in for Coleman at WR with the first team offense. And, for the first time, Safety Jairus Byrd was jogging on the field with the training staff in the end zone during individual drills, but remains on PUP.

Red-Zone: was the emphasis this morning in the team portion of practice. The defense forced Drew Brees and the first team offense off the field after three plays in the first period, forcing Brees to pull the ball down and scramble to make plays. Later Brees and company would get some rhythm with touchdown strikes to TE Benjamin Watson, Willie Snead and Seantavious Jones. The secondary did a nice job later in the team period in the middle of the field. Linebacker Stephone Anthony and cornerback Bradon Browner each came up with a pass break up. And, D-lineman Tyeler Davison batted down a pass at the line of scrimmage, prompting defensive coordinator Rob Ryan to yell out, "Yeah, it's the dead zone. Not the Red-Zone today!"

Play of the day: Tight End Benjamin Watson was on the receiving end of a nice fade route from Luke McCown from inside the twenty yard line. It was nice coverage by Stanley Jean-Baptiste, but perfectly thrown by McCown.

Quote of the day: "I use my size to an advantage not a disadvantage," said WR Brandin Cooks, when he was asked about the notion that he lacks prototypical size for an NFL receiver. Cooks has been sensational this camp. He's all business, and I expect a big year from him based on what I'm seeing @ The Greenbrier.

Rookie Spotlight: wide receiver R.J Harris, the undrafted rookie out of New Hampshire is a prime candidate for the practice squad. He's got impressive elements to his game; speed being his best attribute. He catches the ball well, and knows his assignments. While Harris might be buried on the depth chart for a final roster spot, I think he's got a really good shot at landing on the practice squad. The Saints usually like to keep two younger players, and allow them a year to develop, getting valuable practice snaps.

Veteran Spotlight: Defensive tackle John Jenkins is a different player than he was at this time last year. He was battling a pectoral injury a year ago and never really got into good enough shape for the season and his play suffered. Jenkins has been particularly impressive displaying power in stopping the run and pushing the pocket in the passing game.

Injuries: Saints rookie Tight End Jack Tabb was carted off the field after falling awkwardly and immediately grabbing his leg in obvious pain. After some medical attention, he was taken to the locker room for further evaluation. Tabb is an un-drafted rookie out of North Carolina, and was getting some opportunities with the first team offense, while Josh Hill misses some time with an undisclosed injury.
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Kristian: Coleman & Keenan leave Saints practice early, Armstead out

Two of the biggest playmakers so far at Saints camp left practice early. WR Brandon Coleman and CB Keenan Lewis both started practice but were absent later when the Saints went to the team portion. I didn't see an injury with either player... usually they'll walk off with a trainer or a member of the medial staff, but both players were able to leave the field without a lot of awareness by the media. Sean Payton will not discuss injuries following practice. Seantavious Jones filled in for Coleman with the first team offense, and Stanley Jean-Baptiste filled in for Lewis on defense.

Armstead: Saints left tackle Terron Armstead was dressed and in full pads today at practice but didn't participate in the team portion of drills. Once again, injury news is not a subject the Saints talk about during camp or the regular season. Rookie offensive tackle Andrus Peat worked a little bit at left tackle today, and behind Armstead on the depth chart is Bryce Harris, and Nick Becton.

Veteran spotlight: Jahri Evans has been a mainstay in New Orleans; a fourth round draft pick in Sean Payton's first class in 2006. The Saints restructured Evans' contract this off-season extending it by one more year to free up some much needed cash. Evans doesn't look like the same player he was just a few years ago. Maybe I'm reading to much into it, I've just seen him on the ground a lot in some one on one drills, team drills, and other competitive offensive drills in camp so far. Five years ago, Evans was one of the top guards in the NFL, and going into his 10th season, you can tell the physicality has perhaps started to catch up to him. He's not the same player that he once was, but he's still the best option the team currently has at right guard. The addition of Max Unger at center will help Evans this season.

Rookie Spotlight: Tyeler Davison has been impressive as one of the many that currently occupy roster spots along the defensive line. The Saints grabbed Davison in the 5th round out of Fresno State in this past draft and he's got a chance really play a lot of snaps this season. "He's got a pretty good first step, real good instincts with really good hands," Payton said. With a wrestling background in high school you can see Davison use some of those skills he learned on the wrestling mat coming out on the field.

Byrd update: Safety Jairus Byrd is stil on PUP in training camp, and hasn't done much rehab in front of the media. Byrd is still re-habbing a knee injury that sidelined him after four games last season. "He's progressing well, and sooner rather than later, we'll get a chance to see him, but we're going to be smart," Payton explained.

Practice after an off day: Is sometimes a mixed bag, today was a pretty good practice for the Black and Gold. "It had its ups and downs. I thought we finished strong, but there was a little bit of a lull in the middle of it," Payton explained. The defense had the edge today in practice, especially slowing down the run in team portion.

Play of the Day: I think it's the first time I've even written his name down during camp so far - but Safety Vinnie Sunseri came up with an interception on an overthrown pass by Garret Grayson. Sometimes the easiest play is the toughest one to make, hauling in the high pass. If I was handing out a runner up play of the day, it would go to Kyle Prater, with a nice diving catch on a back shoulder throw down the seam from Grayson in the team drills.

Quote of the Day: "I worked out for the Saints during the off-season and it just worked out," said Safety Kenny Phillips meeting with the media today. Phillips is trying to make a return to football after missing two seasons with various injuries.

Kicking update: Dustin Hopkins continues to maintain the edge in the kicking competition in camp over Zach Hocker. Hopkins was 4 of 4 today from 46 yards in, Hocker missed his first attempt from 33 yards, but rebounded with three straight makes from 40 plus. Hopkins is a perfect 12 of 12 in camp so far.

Sitting out of practice: The list of players riding the exercise bike and sitting out of practice is growing rapidly for the Saints. Safety Jairus Byrd remains on PUP, along with defensive lineman Glenn Foster. Linebacker Davis Tull is still rehabbing a shoulder injury, and remains on the NFI list (Non-Football Injury). Linebacker Anthony Spencer, has missed the last three days of work. CB's P.J Williams, and Damian Swann are both newcomers to the list of players that have missed time. Tight End Josh Hill also has sat out of practice the last two days.
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Kristian: Five things you can bank on for the 2015 Saints

Go ahead, roll your eyes! I'm doing the same thing, but with the Saints taking the day off today I thought it would be a perfect time to talk about some of the observations I've made, and why I believe they'll work for the Saints.

1. I would be mind-blown if the Saints secondary isn't vastly improved this season.

Brandon Browner and Keenan Lewis look like a formidable duo on the outside at cornerback. Delvin Breaux looks like a really solid addition in the sub packages on defense. Stanley Jean-Baptsite has established himself as the fourth cornerback ahead of guys like Terrence Frederick, Kyle Wilson, Brian Dixon, P.J Williams, and Damian Swann. What was a weakness a year ago now appears to be strength!

2. Max Unger will be the anchor of the offensive line this year.

He's lived up to the billing of being a dominant force in the interior offensive line. Unger has dominated in 1 on 1 pass rushing drills and in the team portion of practice. Not only will he be a galvanizing force on the field, I love Unger's passion and leadership off the field!

READ MORE: Steve: The biggest letdowns so far at Saints camp

3. The Saints will score with special teams this season.

Merely the odds tell you that. The Black and Gold haven't scored a special teams touchdown since.. well to be honest I can't recall. The return game for the Saints should have some juice this season with C.J. Spiller returning kicks, and Brandin Cooks potentially returning punts, or some combination of both. If nothing else the Saints should improve their starting field position this year with a better return game. Rookie running back Marcus Murphy also has been impressive in the return game.

4. Stephone Anthony will be the starter at middle linebacker in Week One.

He's getting a ton of reps right now with the first team defense, and not only looks like he belongs but has a "presence you can feel," said Sean Payton. Anthony has been a menace in run downs, but vulnerable at times in pass coverage. He'll start against the Arizona Cardinals.

5. The Saints will struggle getting after the passer this season. Here comes the wet blanket... I haven't seen too much in the pass rush category during camp. Cameron Jordan has looked good at times along with Akiem Hicks, but from a rush linebacking position, it might be a trouble spot for the team.

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Kristian: Kikaha shines, Peat struggles at Saints camp

Tempo: It has been a common theme at Saints training camp, and after a really intense workout yesterday, the Saints followed it up with another solid day of work ahead of tomorrow's scheduled day off. There weren't nearly as many big hits as we saw on Sunday, but we still saw a lot of energy.

Play of the Day: After having a rough first period in practice with a dropped pass from Brees, Wide Receiver Brandon Coleman redeemed and restored faith in the team portion of practice with a tough contested catch going over the defender and hauling in the pass. Coleman continues to get a lot of looks with the first team unit.

Rookie Spotlight: I thought today might have been the best day in camp so far for Rookie Linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha. He had a nice pass rushing performance in 1 on 1 drills, beating Bryce Harris at left tackle for a sack. Kikaha looked like he was playing too fast the first few days of camp, almost trying too hard. By far the most impressive rookie in camp so far? Middle linebacker Stephone Anthony.

Veteran Spotlight: Cam Jordan had a solid effort today in camp. In the team portion of practice, he's always tough to move around against the run and today bull rushed Zach Strief right into the lap of the QB Drew Brees. If they were playing in a game it would have been a sack. Jordan has been very vocal at practice, providing solid leadership for the younger defensive linemen, and setting a really good example being the first up in drills.

Struggling: This won't make a lot of Saints fans happy, but rookie tackle Andrus Peat is not a threat to veteran Zach Strief, at least not this year and in the early part of camp. Peat has struggled at times in 1 on 1 pass rushing drills, getting beat by players that might not end up making the final roster. Now in fairness to Peat, I think he's still trying to catch up on conditioning time he missed during the off-season while he was finishing school.

Quote of the day: "In a couple of years he's going to be one of those elite linebackers. He prepares, he's smart, he's physical, he understands football and has a really bright future!" That was Saints linebacker Parys Haralson, after he was asked about his impressions of rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony.

Joe Morgan: Had his best practice of camp making two really difficult grabs in team drills. Morgan is stacked behind the depth chart now, but has some advantages over some of the younger guys trying to bid for a roster spot. Morgan still has very good deep speed, knowledge of the system, and is a very willing and capable blocker at wide receiver.

Kicking update: Dustin Hopkins might have the proverbial leg up in the kicking battle with Zach Hocker at this point in camp. Hopkins has the stronger leg, and the kicks jump off his foot. Today each kicker had four attempts from inside of 44 yards, Hocker missed one, and Hopkins was perfect on all four of his kicks.
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Kristian: Intense second day in pads for the Saints

Urgency: That was the popular word of choice from the players and coaches today in practice. Today was the most physical practice the Saints have held in a while. There were several big hits that we'll talk about in a bit. "The players did a good job with the tempo of practice today," Sean Payton explained following the workout. Payton added the team put an emphasis on focus and getting the most out of each player the previous night in meetings. If a mistake was made the coaches were constantly reminding the players "move onto the next play."

Play of the day: Veteran safety Kenny Phillips logged the first interception in the team period of camp so far, jumping a deep passing play over the middle coming and picking off QB Ryan Griffin's pass. Phillips has been getting some reps with the first team defense rotating with Rafael Bush, in the absence of Jairus Byrd (PUP).

Quote of the day: "I thought I was a quiet guy until I met him!" WR Brandon Coleman explained when I asked him if he has a similar personality to Marques Colston. Coleman is having a solid camp so far... we learned today that an injury in college really hampered him last camp, but he looks fully healthy so far and has really impressed.

Rookie Spotlight: Undrafted rookie free agent defensive lineman Bobby Richardson has been a disruptive player in the middle on defense so far in the early goings of camp. Richardson has been active on run downs, getting pressure on the QB, and also swatting down a pass today at the line of scrimmage. Richardson and fellow rookie Tyeler Davison have been standouts among the young defensive lineman on the roster. The defensive line might be the best opportunity for a young player to crack the roster.

Not so special teams: The special teams period of practice is usually a good time for the media to catch up on social media posts, or write some notes. However, I've payed particular attention to the return game element of special teams in practice, and I really think you'll see improvement in the kick off and punt return element of Gregg McMahon's unit. First, I really like the options they have with some explosive players getting a chance to touch the ball in space. The Saints are using Brandin Cooks, C.J Spiller, Marcus Murphy, Jalen Saunders and Joe Morgan as kick returners. Right now it looks like C.J Spiller could be the primary guy handling kick offs.

Big hits: As I mentioned earlier, the pads were really popping today at camp. WR Nick Toon had a rough day, getting lit up on two occasions from CB Brandon Browner one play, and just a few reps later Ramon Humber de-cleated him in 'pass skeleton'. Pass skeleton is a drill with just the quarterbacks and wide receivers/tight ends against the linebackers and defensive backs. In the team portion of practice the defensive side of the ball was dealing today with several big shots from guys like David Hawthorne, Kenny Stills, and Stephone Anthony.

No excuses: Saints Wide Receivers coach Johnny Morton delivered a stern butt chewing to WR Seantavious Jones today. Jones didn't know where to line up in formation, and Morton climbed up and down his back yanking him out of the play and replacing him for the play. The Saints have always maintained that you have to know what you're doing or you won't even sniff the field. Morton and Patyon both took turns chewing on Jones from the mental bust.
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Kristian: Pads pop at Saints Camp

Contact: Finally the Saints were back to 'real football' in full pads this morning. The pace of practice was much faster than the previous two days, with a variety of different drills. You could see an uptick in energy among the players and coaches this morning at the Greenbrier.

1 on 1 Offensive and Defensive line: This is one of the better drills to watch in camp as the offensive and defensive lineman battle in the trenches, along with the Linebackers in pass rush/pass protection. The most dominant player on defense was Akiem Hicks. He bull rushed a few players on the inside. Terron Armstead didn't get beat on one single rep. Defenders have a hard time competing with his quickness and strength. "His skill set for that position (left tackle) is outstanding," said saints coach Sean Payton following practice. Anthony Spencer also flashed some pass rush skills, registering a would-be sack after a nice spin move against rookie right tackle Andrus Peat. Zach Strief is firmly in place at right tackle the way I see it right now, in case you were wondering.

Kicking competition: Let's be clear, this competition will play out over the entire course of the preseason. You'll probably get tired of reading about the updates, but several fans have asked for a peek at the kicking competition. I charted every kick today in practice, both Dustin Hopkins and Zach Hocker made their four attempts from inside the 40 yard line. Hopkins and Hocker also worked on kickoffs, and Hopkins clearly had the more consistent efforts booming kickoffs several yards further than Hocker. Neither figure to threaten Thomas Morstead who handles the kickoff responsibilities, so Payton says the emphases in the competition will be based more on accuracy of field goals and extra points. "Pretty soon you get to gather enough information where you are seeing a kind of percentage or consistency. I think there is a little bit more of a premium on their accuracy being that those point afters are going to be further away." Former Saints kicker John Carney is spending three days of camp with the team working with Hocker and Hopkins.

Quote of the day: "The Patriots asked me to take a pay cut, so it was time to get the hell up out of there," Saints defensive back Brandon Browner said. Browner almost joined the Saints last offseason before signing with the Patriots, and now's he excited about being teamed up with his former Oregon State teammate Keenan Lewis this season. He's been impressive so far in the locker room and on the field.

Play of the day: Joe Morgan flashed solid hands and blazing speed streaking down the sideline for a long bomb, running underneath the Drew Brees pass beating Delvin Breaux for a big gain. Breaux had solid coverage, but Brees dropped the ball right over Morgan's outside shoulder.

Rookie Watch: It was hard to not notice rookie linebacker Stephone Anthony today in practice. On three consecutive plays Anthony snuffed out a couple of running plays. Anthony figured to be impressive once the pads were on, and he didn't disappoint today. The physical element to his game is very noticeable. Fans are going to really like Anthony in the preseason. He arrives at the football with serious intentions.

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