METAIRIE - The Saints had their third consecutive padded practice Monday, before a much needed off day scheduled for Tuesday. Sunday's workout was sloppy at times. Sean Payton was happier Monday.
"Better from a run defense standpoint. One live period we had early in practice I thought was good. Yesterday there were a handful of plays that weren't as good. They came back and responded. Overall I thought it was a better practice."
Sunday's practice is what Payton refers to as "thud up", Monday was a lot of live action - more than normal for this early in training camp compared to what Payton's done in the past.
Ryan Ramczyk continues to be a focal point since he's the forerunner to cover Drew Brees' blind spot to start the season. Khalif Barnes is also getting reps with the first team offense, but Ramczyk seems to be getting more. The rookie was the team's 32nd overall pick, the job seems to be his to lose.
"He's picked things up, he's smart. Some things he needs to work on but it's a position he's played, so far he's handled the transition well not having been involved really in the spring," Payton commented.
Once again bad snaps was an issue for the Saints. Payton specifically called out Jack Allen on Sunday. The Saints hope to get Max Unger back for the start of the season, but Payton said in the meantime, the other guys have to do their job.
"It was an issue yesterday, a handful of them today, but listen the first thing you have to be able to do when you're a center is snap the ball. Obviously you have to punch it in the shotgun so we'll get that corrected. "
Hau'oli Kikaha has been rushing the passer past few days and has looked good. He's back on the field after missing the entire 2016 season with his third career ACL injur.
"Good to have him back out here healthy. Sure there's some things being away from it for as long as he has, he's going to work on. We'll have a chance as we get closer here, see him in situations, in the one man rush, the team rush, obviously he's a guy that's kind of a run and pursuit player but he feels healthy. First battle is getting the snaps and getting on the field there," Payton said.
There are 90 players on the roster for training camp - yet there's only one kicker, Wil Lutz, and one punter, veteran Thomas Morstead. Payton was asked if that's a relief to have two less position battles in camp:
"Don't know that it's a relief. There's some consistency there. Yet Thomas was just OK today at practice. I think he'd tell you that and we'll see as the camp progresses if we want to bring another kicker or punter in. "
The Saints are off on Tuesday. Camp practices resume on Wednesday. That practice is open to the public.
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