Practice 1/6, Day 4, Training Camp Observations
TE Jeremy Shockey (knee) was held back again Monday morning with a sore knee, Head Coach Sean Payton said. While he at least attended Sunday's practice, he wasn't on the field for Monday's early session. The team had the tight end's knee looked at, but deemed it not serious. Payton said Shockey should be back in two days. Shockey injured his right knee in the playoffs this past season, but was healthy enough to play in the Super Bowl, scoring a touchdown.
WR Marques Colston (left knee) is expected to return from the active PUP list Tuesday, leaving only three players on the list. The PUP crew WR Robert Meachem (toe), LB Clint Ingram (left knee) and S Darren Sharper (left knee) all missed team drills Monday.
DL Jimmy Wilkerson (left knee) sat out Monday's early session, resting his surgically repaired knee. Wilkerson had surgery to fix the anterior cruciate ligament that was torn in December and the coaching staff doesn't want to push him too hard or too much too early.
Heat Index (calculated from NWS numbers at MSY):
8:50 a.m.: 96 degrees
10:53 a.m.: 111 degrees
At 10 a.m., the Saints training staff recorded a 117.6 degree heat index on the field.
By our count, the cornerbacks outshone the receiver 6-4 in this one. We didn't count quick hitches or slants, where the receiver has the decided advantage because the CB gets no help from the linebackers or the defensive line.
The nicest play was WR Lance Moore redirecting his pattern to fit QB Drew Brees' throw. It came over CB Randall Gay, who had nearly perfect coverage on Moore, but not help over the top from a safety because they weren't included in the drill.
CB Jabari Greer came out the best, going 3-0 in the period, stopping passes to WR Devery Henderson, WR Larry Beavers and WR Adrian Arrington.
Punt Return Issues:
In an attempt to beef up the punt return unit, Payton opened up the return position to open camp. Until Monday morning, everything looked good there.
But it all came unhinged in the heat of the morning.
WR Reggie Bush, Moore and CB Tracy Porter all fumbled punts. Porter dropped two in a row and on the second one, he threw the ball back in frustration to the managers. Bush wasn't much better, missing two of his own
(DE Bobby McCray and LB Jo-Lonn Dunbar were both working the first-team.)
Brees didn't have his best period or his best day. In the first four plays, the Saints offense ran twice, Brees scrambled on the third play and threw incomplete to WR Courtney Roby after CB Jabari Greer batted the ball down.
QB Patrick Ramsey took the second-team snaps and had his first pass fly right through the hands of TE Tory Humphrey. On the fifth play, Ramsey had possibly his best pass of camp. He rolled to his right and found WR Montez Billings on the sideline.
Pass Skele (7-on-7):
Not much of note here. It was third-down work for the second day in a row.
The nicest play was on a third-and-11 from the plus-45. Brees pump faked, allowing Roby to get behind S Pierson Prioleau, who bit on the fake. Brees hit Roby in stride for a 45-yard touchdown.
Ramsey threw to RB Reggie Bush with LB Jonathan Casillas lunging in front of the running back. Bush displayed nice concentration to bring the ball into his hands despite Casillas' attempt to knock it away.
Brees continued his less-than-great day in the final team period. With third-down the specific thing to work on, here are the first-team plays.
3rd-and-5 @ 40: Brees to Moore, one-handed grab, but Gay stops Moore a yard short
3rd-and-6 @ 40: Brees pump fakes as Bush clears his defender, but the pass sails a bit too far and Bush can't corral the pass.
3rd-and-10 @ 40: Brees throws incomplete
3rd-and-10 @ 40: Brees under pressure can't quite get ball accurately to Roby, who was behind secondary.
3rd-and-12 @ 40: Bad snap that Brees can't get to; LB Marvin Mitchell recovers for defense
3rd-and-5 @ 45: RB Pierre Thomas quick give left for first down
3rd-and-5 @ 45: Brees short left to Bush, who can't get ball into his hands as he's running backwards
3rd-and-10 @ 45: Brees checks down to Thomas, who gains only six yards.
The Saints will go again at 4:20 p.m. in the indoor facility. The session is closed to the public. Tuesday's practice has been switched from the afternoon to 8:50 a.m. It's scheduled for the outdoor fields and is open to the public pending weather.
Practice Observations: Brees has down session, punt return needs work