The Saints kicked off their training camp on Thursday, with practice being open to the media. Here’s a few of my observations from the padless practice.
- Ryan Ramczyk opened as the team’s starting left tackle, but Khalif Barnes also got some work in with the first team offense. Of course, Sean Payton alluded to this the other day. However, Ramczyk did have some good moments, especially taking Alex Okafor on head-to-head.
- The biggest observation from today was the starting linebacker group for the first team defense. Manti Te’o anchored the middle, with A.J. Klein and Stephone Anthony both getting work at strong side and weak side.
- Starting defense was a base 4-3, with a defensive line of Cameron Jordan, Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata, and Alex Okafor. The starting cornerbacks were P.J. Williams and Delvin Breaux, with Kenny Vaccaro and Vonn Bell as the starting safeties.
- It was good to see Michael Hoomanawanui and Josh Hill in action, ‘Hooman’ caught a diving pass over the middle with Bell providing coverage.
- Second-team defense, for those interested, saw Darryl Tapp and Obum Gwacham as the defensive ends. Rookie Trey Hendrickson and Hau’oli Kikaha rotated in. Tony McDaniel and Tyeler Davison anchored the interior, with Alex Anzalone (WILL), Craig Robertson (MIKE), and Nate Stupar (SAM) as the linebackers. Ken Crawley and Marshon Lattimore were at cornerback, with Marcus Williams and Rafael Bush at safety. Sterling Moore also got some looks with Lattimore.
- Speaking of Bush, he had the first interception (Chase Daniel) of training camp (Davison pressure). Lattimore looked good against Michael Thomas, not allowing a single catch in three attempts, and a PBU.
- Manti Te’o had some good plays today, blowing up a run in the backfield and running stride for stride with Ted Ginn Jr. Stephone Anthony had some flashes, blowing up a screen play in 11-on-11 play.
- Garrett Grayson had a few shaky moments, slipping on a play and fumbling an attempted pass in which he tried to bring the ball down.
- Alvin Kamara impressed again like he did in minicamp, hitting some holes with his speed and being used in the screen game.
Max Unger and John Phillips were both spotted at practice, but obviously did not participate. Senio Kelemete, who was placed on the PUP list, was limited along with Devaroe Lawrence (NFI).