Defensive diversity was the theme for the Saints' second OTA open to the media Thursday.
Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan brought a lot of new wrinkles Thursday. And with those wrinkles came one common denominator: pressure! The defense blitzed on every play from all possible angles.
There was no base 3-4 work. Everything came out of their nickel and dime sets. The different packages brought a lot of mixing and matching with the personnel. It didn't appear to be a true first or second team but rather certain players for certain situations.
One group had Corey White and Patrick Robinson on the outside playing corner. Another had Keenan Lewis and Jabari Greer. One group had Will Smith playing defensive end. One group even had rookie Kenny Vaccaro running with the one's as a nickel corner, with Rafael Bush and Jim Leonhard at safety.
It truly was a mixed bag and was really fun to watch. Honestly, it was something I wasn't expecting to see at this stage of the offseason. At times, it appeared the relentless pressure and exotic looks confused the offense, which should make for a real competitive offseason.
On offense, it was rookie Terron Armstead's chance to run with the first team at left tackle.
Thus far, coaches said he's done pretty well but the real test won't come until training camp when the pads come on.
I wouldn't read too much into Armstead being with the first group as him having the inside track to the starter job. They are obviously rotating at that spot. But what is clear is that Armstead will be given a real shot to win the job. This battle is far from over.
- Charles Brown and Jonathan Vilma got back to full participation Thursday. Vilma worked at inside linebacker; Brown ran with the third team at left tackle.
- Tight end Ben Watson wasn't at practice at all while Malcolm Jenkins was held out of team drills. David Hawthorne was at practice but he too was held out of team drills.
- Vaccaro played all over the field Thursday. When he was at safety he nearly intercepted a pass but couldn't get feet down in bounds after catching a tipped pass.