The New Orleans Saints have been busy in the months leading up to training camp, working out privately with personal trainers and their more-experienced peers. Let’s take a quick look around the roster to see how different players are preparing:
There’s been a lot of noise made over how “raw” Davenport is coming out of the gate, especially his lack of experience in a three-point stance. He’s had a busy summer since getting drafted, working out with other rookies on the beach in Los Angeles and attending Von Miller’s Ozarks Mountains retreat, featuring guest coaches like Bruce Smith and Warren Sapp. We know Davenport will enter training camp ready for action after a minor thumb injury sidelined him in OTA’s. I’m eager to see how he develops under defensive line coach Ryan Nielsen’s instruction.
Marcus Williams ended his rookie year with a big mistake that we won’t discuss further in this space. He apparently locked himself in a gym for the next six months, motivated to be the best version of himself. Now the sophomore looks the part of a Mr. Universe competitor, and maybe a Pro Bowl safety. Send thoughts and prayers and good vibes to whichever poor receiver (Mike Evans) is going to get tested by Williams first on an ill-advised sideline jump ball (from Ryan Fitzpatrick) first (week one, against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers).
On the other side of the ball, Saints left tackle Terron Armstead has been going through the ringer at Duke Manyweather’s offensive line training facility. Manyweather is an innovator in training techniques for linemen, and has recently been working with clients like Armstead, Philadelphia Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson, and Jacksonville Jaguars tackles Jermey Parnell and Cam Robinson. Now that he’s back to his old self after a few untimely injuries, Armstead should cement himself as a top five left tackle in the NFL.
Alvin Kamara went viral earlier this summer for hauling a Jeep and loaded squat rack down the road, but he’s also kept busy by putting on a couple of youth football camps in Chattanooga and New Orleans. Michael Thomas (now bulked up to about 220-pounds) flew out to join Drew Brees near the future Hall of Famer’s San Diego home to practice timing routes and keep fresh during the long break between OTA’s and training camp.
Even the special teamers are getting in good work. Saints placekicker Wil Lutz first took the field on the coaching staff for the Kohl’s College Football Kicking Camp, then worked out last week with his NFL peers at Kohl’s facilities to warm up for training camp.
That’s not to mention the different team-building exercises the Saints players have taken on. Cameron Jordan took the team bowfishing one night, and seemingly everyone but Kamara caught something. Kamara found payback by challenging his teammates and fans to paintball, and is apparently still-undefeated weeks later. The coaches got involved, too, with Sean Payton losing a couple of bets on the green to Eagles head coach Doug Pederson. Payton’s golfing shenanigans only got worse, and it’s fair to think he’s more ready than anyone to get back to football: