Kristian's Quick Hits: Defense making strides at Training Camp
by Kristian Garic,posted Jul 28 2012 9:03PM
Kristian@wwl.com - "Finally" was the word a fan said when she got to see the Black and Gold step on the field Saturday afternoon. Finally, indeed. After rain forced the Saints indoors for the first two days of training camp, the team finally worked outdoors in front of a large contingent of the Who Dat Nation. A very appreciative fan base cheered on nearly every move of the team.
Padded: The Saints were in pads for the first time in training camp on Saturday. Coach Joe Vitt said it was a good first day in pads, but also said, “The tempo has to be a little bit better, we gotta work through that. It’s never perfect the first day, that’s why we practice and this is a long process.”
Injury report: Tight end David Thomas did not practice again on Saturday after missing Friday’s workout with a sore lower back. Thomas is expected to be back on the field with a few days. “He went through the stretching and we are going to try and bring him along the right way,” Vitt said. “He’s about where we thought he’d be.”
Defensive Day: The defense might still be learning the new scheme under Steve Spagnuolo, but they were impressive on Saturday. Jabari Greer picked off a Drew Brees pass on the sideline and took in for a score. Drew Brees talked about the play following practice: “I know this; that made me angry. The very next play, Pete called the play and I said, ‘Can I call this instead because I want to throw one over the top of Jabari?’ He got depth so we weren’t able to get past him, but I was looking to make him pay the very next time.” Greer jumped in front of the pass that was intended for Lance Moore. Second-year defense back Johnny Patrick made a nice leaping interception of Chase Daniel and went about 20 yards for the score.
Tez: Martez Wilson is going from linebacker to defensive end, and he's certainly intriguing to have on the outside. Wilson, often referred to as "Tez," was pretty dominant in one-on-one pass protection on Saturday. He won 4 of the 5 match-ups against various offensive lineman. Wilson also had two would-be sacks in the team portion of practice. “Martez continues to really grow in the system. You guys have seen it with dropping defensive ends into coverage and things like that,” Coach Vitt said. “We drafted him here as a linebacker so he’s got a skill set to cover.”
Who's hot: I am beginning to sound like a broken record, but wide receiver Adrian Arrington has put together three really nice practices now. He's been in this system for 5 years now and has a huge mental advantage over the guys like Joe Morgan and Nick Toon.
Who's not: Clearly, it's safety Malcolm Jenkins. It's that not Jenkins keeps getting beat over the top in pass coverage, or that he can't tackle…It's when he has a chance to get his hands on the ball that he drops it. I can count three different times Jenkins has dropped would-be interceptions.
Foot race: The Saints are in camp with two place kickers. Garret Hartley is the man that kicked the Saints into a Super Bowl, and John Kasay filled in for Hartley last season when he went down for the season with a hip injury. I think Hartley has the upper hand here, but Kasay won't go away without a fight. Hartley and Kasay kicked well, with Kasay making all of his attempts from inside the 30 yard line. Hartely pushed one wide left.
The leg: As he's often referred to on twitter, Thomas Morstead was booming touchbacks on kickoff return drills. He set a record for most touchbacks in a season last year; he might break his own record this year. On punts, he was working on that corner kick, and he was drilling them today. He's come up with new style, and the ball comes off his foot almost like a helicopter propeller. That spin allows the football to bounce back up into the field of play.
Cool, classy move: Drew Brees bought the fans snoballs this afternoon at practice, and talked about it later, saying that it was a nice happenstance that came together.
''It was funny because a few days before camp, it was a hot New Orleans summer day and we were at Audubon Park, just playing on the swings there, and thought to get the boys some snoballs at Plum Street,” Drew told us. “We drove on over and at the time their catering truck was headed out to go somewhere. I asked if they would come out to training camp and take care of the fans and they said absolutely. Especially the first weekend, when a lot of fans couldn’t be here and watch us practice, it got rained out the first two practices, I just wanted to do something special for them, just cool them off on a hot summer day while they watch their boys play football.” How cool, indeed.