In the middle of practice for the 10th training camp, a siren sounds and warns of lightning in the area.
With that, the Saints moved in and away from the huge crowds of fans who had come to watch the team on a scorching Saturday morning in Metairie.
Here’s what fans missed from the interior setup.
The following players did not practice on Saturday: tight end Taysom Hill; defensive end Marcus Davenport; defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, CJ Gardner Johnson and Dylan Mabin; defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson; offensive lineman jerald hawkins; linebacker D’Marco Jackson; and wide receiver Rashid Shaheed.
After practice, Hill and Davenport performed a few position-specific drills as the coaches watched.
End of ramp?
One of the phrases we’ve heard often in this camp is “step up”. Coach Dennis Allen frequently used it to describe the progression of stars such as Michael Thomas and Tyrant Matthewwhich is basically Allen’s way of saying he’s going to gradually add more to players’ plates.
It looked like they were nearing the end of the ramp on Saturday. Mathieu and Thomas participated fully in training, performing full 11-on-11 drills for the first time in training camp.
Thomas has looked impressive every step of the way, and it continued on Saturday. He caught three of his four targets in the team’s full period (including two of his three from the starting quarterback James Winston), the only incomplete being the result of excellent ball play by the defensive back Paulson Adebo.
Mathieu didn’t make any splatter plays in coverage, but he showed his nose for the ball picking up a fumble from Thomas that Bradley Roby strength.
Good day for adults
The Saints offensive line may have had its best day of training camp in terms of run blocking.
Running backs Alvin Kamara, Marc Ingram and Abram Smith all snatched big chunks throughout the team’s period, and when the team switched to red-zone work, the line paved the way for a few rushing touchdowns on the goal line.
James Hurst and Trevor Penning share the training snaps with the first team at left tackle on Saturday. Both had a great time clearing the lanes as run blockers.
Peter Werner stuck with Kamara on a prime route during the red zone works, which is remarkable because Kamara made a lot of people stupid with that exact route.
Rookie defensive back Alontae Taylor should be an impact player on special teams, as evidenced by the impressive speed and tracking ability he showed when taking down a Blake Gillikin punt at the 2 yard line.
Winston had the best throw of the day, making just enough contact with the ball to pass over the linebackers and hit an open Jarvis Landry behind the end zone.
LB Andrew Dowell: Around this time last year, Dowell was making a name for himself with near-daily impact plays. That hasn’t quite been the case in 2022, but Saturday felt like a throwback. Dowell has drawn praise from the coaching staff in back-to-back games in the red zone in seven-on-seven drills, including one game where he interrupted a pass intended for the running back Dwayne Washington near the goal line.
K John Parker Romo: His chances of making the roster are basically nil, but Romo should have the opportunity to land somewhere if he shows he can translate his coaching ability to games. Romo made his six attempts on Saturday.
TE Juwan Johnson: Three targets, three catches for Johnson on full team practice, including a pair of tough catches near the goal line during a red zone period.
The Saints have Sunday off, then return to practice Monday at 9 a.m.