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Lyons Yellin / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: lyellin@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

Saints cornerback Keenan Lewis jokingly said he tries to stay away from speedster rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks.

However, Lewis is showing he doesn't need to stay away from anyone. It'd be more apt to say opposing quarterbacks and receivers ought stay away from him.

The Algiers native has firmly cemented himself as the Saints No. 1 cornerback, a job that calls for him to shutdown the opposing team's top wide receiver.

At Monday's practice, he did that (only against his own team), and then proceeded to do the same with anyone else who dared challenge his side of the field.

On Drew Brees' first pass attempt of live team drills, Lewis teamed with the safety Kenny Vacarro to break up a throw intended for the Saints' top receiver Marques Colston.

After that, Lewis demonstrated why the Saints targeted him as free agent last year, signing him to a five-year, $26.3 million deal after a season in which he led the AFC with 23 passes defended.

On consecutive plays, he blanketed Andy Tanner on a sideline comeback route and then baited Brees into attempting a high-arching throw to Joe Morgan, which Lewis nearly picked off.

With Lewis having effectively locked down one side of the field, the Saints defense showed flashes of its potential and why many believe it will be one of the best in the league.

Still, questions remain about who'll start at the other corner opposite Lewis. Champ Bailey, Patrick Robinson and Corey White have all taken reps there, with each having their moments.

After practice, head coach Sean Payton cautioned against reading too much into the day's strong defensive performance.

'There are some periods where all of a sudden you are completing a lot of balls and then there are other periods when you are not,' he said. 'I thought defensively it was better today than it was yesterday in the morning. So you just keep on looking for signs of improvement, and you want that to happen back and forth, but on both sides of the ball.'

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