Where Y'at's Chris Romaguera attend the June 12 New Orleans Saints OTA. Bellow are some of his observations from the practice.
·Being no-contact, the offense obviously had a chance to thrive, but some good things were seen from the defense, with the secondary communicating well on switches.
·QB Drew Brees continued to throw a good ball (shocker.)
·WR Nick Toon looked good; being one of the most consistently targeted players throughout the practice, and he caught passes from each QB.
·Despite a rough week during OTAs, C Tim Lelito continued to snap with the first team, in hopes of developing chemistry between him and Brees.
·With the absence of TE Jimmy Graham, TEs Benjamin Watson and Josh Hill were both targeted often with good results.
·QB Ryan Griffin (referred to by multiple fans as “Mr. Tulane” throughout the practice) continued to throw a good ball, being a fan favorite and connecting with receivers.
·That being said, QB Josh McCown does have a great understanding of the offense, and the battle for second string quarterback will most likely be decided in the preseason.
·WR Kenny Stills lined up all over the field, both on the outside and in the slot. He looks primed to build on his strong rookie campaign, and with the addition of WR Brandin Cooks, Stills may have to get used to being lined up all over the field.
·Cooks was not able to practice due to NCAA and NFL rules regarding his classes, but according to Coach Sean Payton, he has worked with coaches every night via the internet in order to continue to be kept up to speed.
·Jarius Byrd sat out the OTAs, but was very active on the sidelines, coaching up the secondary.
·CB Keenan Lewis and S Kenny Vaccaro are the current leaders of the secondary, with Lewis and Vaccaro discussing how to cover flats with S Rafael Bush. CB Corey White came over to listen in.
·Vaccaro jumped in front of a Brees pass and intercepted it, continuing to look like one of the best young safeties in the game.
·WR Brandon Coleman continued with his up and down practices, dropping passes but also catching a cutback from Griffin.
·WRs Andy Tanner and Charles Hawkins both blew by the secondary on separate plays for TDs.
·WR Marques Colston continued to look as healthy as he has in years, with him and Brees connecting on a few passes.
Team assessments thus far from Head Coach Sean Payton:
·Payton on OTAs thus far: ““I think we have four, but yeah, so far I’m encouraged with how they have been practicing because one of the challenges without pads is having the right tempo and yet staying off the ground. I have been encouraged with how they have done that. The weather has been good, so we have gotten through practices ahead of time for the most part.”
·Payton on C Jonathan Goodwin, who was recently signed to compete for the starting job: “He is someone that is a quick study. He is experienced. He’s a quiet guy initially, but he brings experience to that meeting room. I think from a center standpoint he has kind of been through a lot of the nuances of the position and I think he is someone that can help those guys. It has been good.”
·Payton on Jean-Batiste’s progression: “He’s picked things up. There is a lot going on with the different coverages we are playing. He has handled it and is getting a lot of work. So far he has done well.”