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Saints training camp observations: Defense has another strong day

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Day 7 of Saints training camp is in the books, with Thursday’s session being indoors.

NFL: New Orleans Saints-Training Camp Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Due to the heavy rain in Metairie, the New Orleans Saints moved practice indoors for Thursday’s session. The team had previously practiced outside for the other sessions, but this particular practice wasn’t lacking in action. Here’s a few of my notes and observations.

Attendance: Coby Fleener, Tony McDaniel, Trey Hendrickson, Marshon Lattimore, and Martin Wallace were not spotted during practice.

First-team defense: Cameron Jordan and Hau’oli Kikaha started as the defensive ends, while Sheldon Rankins and Tyeler Davison anchored the interior for starting reps. P.J. Williams and De’Vante Harris were the cornerbacks with Vonn Bell and Kenny Vaccaro at safety. There was also a nickel rotation that added Ken Crawley, which moved Williams into the slot.

One-on-one drills: This tends to be a focal point when you get the receivers battling the cornerbacks, and today was no exception. The Saints had officials on hand to throw necessary penalty flags and such. Here’s my charting, which had only 3-of-11 completions:

  • Willie Snead vs. De’Vante Harris - Complete, Curl Route
  • Ted Ginn Jr. vs. P.J. Williams - Incomplete, Deep Right
  • Brandon Coleman vs. Ken Crawley - Incomplete (Jersey grabs, no flag)
  • Corey Fuller vs. Sterling Moore - Incomplete (Overthrow, flag thrown DPI)
  • Michael Thomas vs. De’Vante Harris - Incomplete, Middle
  • Tommylee Lewis vs. Arthur Maulet - Complete, Deep Right (Flag thrown, Maulet was physical off the bat, grabbed some jersey)
  • Jake Lampman vs. Taveze Calhoun - Complete, Curl Left
  • Ted Ginn Jr. vs. Arthur Maulet - Incomplete, PBU (Flag)
  • Jordan Williams-Lambert vs. Dejaun Butler - Incomplete, Slant (Drop, JWL made a good inside swim move and had him beat)
  • Willie Snead vs. Ken Crawley - Incomplete, Deep Left (PBU)
  • Travin Dural vs. Sterling Moore - Although complete, Moore had excellent coverage downfield that made this play go longer. Had this been a real situation, Chase Daniel would have likely taken a sack. So, charting this as incomplete.

Goal line work: The Saints receivers started hot on goal line work, hauling in their first four passes inside the 10-yard line. The corners won the next three battles, with Williams-Lambert ending the streak with a fade route touchdown. The defense and offense then traded success on the next four plays.

Punt Return Duties: Tommylee Lewis, Ted Ginn Jr., and Alvin Kamara all received work fielding punts. Kamara had a few issues, bobbling two and muffing one. After practice, Sean Payton said the indoor lighting likely had some to do with that, but he’s learning.

Plays of the Day: There’s a few to call attention to here, with the first being a big 60-yard touchdown pass to Corey Fuller. Drew Brees went play action to Adrian Peterson, who had a big run the previous play, and Fuller had a seam route down the right sideline to haul it in against De’Vante Harris.

Another play, which wound up on NFL Network’s broadcast, was a welcomed sight as Brees hit Adrian Peterson on a wheel end zone route..

Ken Crawley also had a nice interception in red zone work, and there was a good moment with Stephone Anthony in 1-on-1 pass rush drills in which he put on a spin move against Daniel Lasco that would have probably beat any running back blocking him.

More snap issues: Snaps continued to be a big issue at practice, with Josh LeRibeus having several bad ones. Long snappers Chase Dominguez and Thomas Gafford also had some troubles getting Thomas Morstead a clean snap in punt drills.

Scrums: Jack Allen and Mitchell Loewen had an interesting clash after a play, while Jake Lampman and Dejaun Butler got into a scrum. The defense had a good showing on the day, and there were certainly very vocal out there.

More notes: Alex Okafor looked strong overall as a pass rusher today, having two QB pressures and a coverage sack. Tommylee Lewis hauled in a touchdown from Chase Daniel against Damian Swann on a sideline fly route. Adrian Peterson rattled off some good runs, particularly behind Larry Warford.