T-Bob: Saints O-line has me optimistic
Mini-camp is in the books, and unfortunately there is not too much to report on from an O-line perspective. The media's line of sight was not ideal at times and there were a couple of periods where I couldn’t see much more than who was with the 1st and 2nd groups. Overall, I thought the line looked solid, but that is not to say that there isn’t anything to improve. Coach Payton pumped in crowd noise during a couple of periods yesterday and it caused a few mental mistakes.
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Most notably, there were a couple of false start penalties and a general sense that the line’s timing had been disrupted. I wouldn’t worry about this, however, as it is to be expected when using silent cadences and crowd mechanics for the first practice. In a couple weeks I expect the “silent” play execution to be right on par with their operation while running plays on a “normal” cadence.
The ongoing competition between Tim Lelito and Jonathan Goodwin has remained almost wholly unchanged. Tuesday, Goodwin took one period of plays with the 1st group where as Wednesday I don’t think he did (I say don’t think because sometimes it was hard to see, but from what I saw he didn’t run with the Ones). Besides this slight change in the allotment of reps, I thought both players continued to look solid.
The operation of the huddle and the hustle to the line has been excellent so far. The communication and mental aspect of playing center seems to be top notch as well as both players are assessing and processing the defense quickly while making the calls to make sure everyone is on the same page. I will continue to look for some separation between the two but so far I have been impressed with Lelito’s ability to stay focused and put some great practices together despite the presence of a thirteen-year vet behind him.
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I attempted to keep a closer eye on Terron Armstead, and from what I saw, he seems to be playing well, and more importantly playing consistently. He looks confident in both his pass and run sets, and I am starting to get excited about how high his ceiling is in year two. I would still offer a word of caution though, temper your excitement because it still remains to be seen how he handles the grind of going against the best pass rusher for every side the Saints will face.
Even the “worst-best” pass rusher is REALLY GOOD. I remain optimistic, however, as he played well in huge situations last year and must be feeling far more confident going into this fall with an entire offseason under his belt.
On a side note for tackles, rookie Tavon Rooks continues to impress. He has a ways to go to challenge Bryce Harris for a roster spot but he seems like he has the ability to pass block on this level.