AFR: Saints Day 1 recap - CBs excel, offense goes deep

AFR: Saints Day 1 recap - CBs excel, offense goes deep

(WVUE) - With steady rain falling down, the Saints officially got off and running for training camp 2015.

Their first practice was padless and lasted about two and half hours. And both sides of the ball made their fair share of plays.

Play of the Day I

Offensively, big plays were the theme. Ryan Griffin started things off with a bomb to Lance Lewis who blew past Terrance Frederick
for an easy score. Griffin spent most of the day with the third team. 

Play of the Day II

Drew Brees was next when he hit Nick Toon on a nine route over Keenan Lewis. It was a classic bomb down the sideline which displayed
not only his uncanny accuracy, but also his, wait for it, ARM STRENGTH.  

Yes, he has more than enough of it.

Play of the Day III

Garrett Grayson had his best throw as a Saint when he dropped one in to Willie Snead who made a great grab. 

Grayson is likely destined for third string but the quicker he gets accustomed this offense, the better off it will be for everyone.

Play of Day IV

It didn't take long for newly signed cornerback Brandon Browner to flex his muscle. Browner's physicality was evident early and
often today. He had two pass break ups where he jumped slant routes to break up passes intended for Brandin Cooks and Josh Morgan. On both plays, he put both players on the ground when they collided at the ball.

Browner's imposing presence is exactly what the Saints want on their defense.

Play of Day V

Browner also had an impact on special teams. On Zach Hocker's early field goal attempt, he was able to block the punt at the line of scrimmage.

As I think back to all the practices I've watched, I don't think I've ever witnessed a blocked field goal in any of them.

Play of Day V I

Keenan Lewis may have gotten beat on the throw to Toon but that was the only negative for him. He had an outstanding day with
two pass break-ups on passes intended for Cooks. During 7-on-7 drills, he undercut Cooks, who got by him on a seem route, and picked off the Luke McCown pass.

Injury Report

- Marcus Murphy is now off the NFI list and was a full participant.
- Davis Tull and Glenn Foster were both working on the side with trainer Scottie Patton for much of practice. Marques Colston observed
from the sideline while Jairus Byrd was not seen on the field.
- Long snapper Justin Drescher was not present at practice. His injury is unknown.

Other Observations

- Not a good start for kicker Zach Hocker in the competition at his position. Not only was his field goal attempt blocked at the
line of scrimmage ( a clear sign of a low kick), his next one sailed wide left.

- I thought one of the more interesting nuggets from Sean Payton's press Conference was him saying Cam Jordan could be used more
this season in the stand up 'jack' linebacker role. Jordan has been a very good five-technique defensive end and this will be a whole different position for him, though he did call it more 'Cam friendly.' As for the scheme, it appears Rob Ryan will use that
4-3/3-4 hybrid. 

- Speaking of the defensive line, I was not expecting to see Bobby Richardson getting some first team reps. I was even more surprised
to see him to get a sack. 

- Akiem Hicks added a sack as well when he beat Max Unger to Brees. Hicks appeared to be in more of a five technique defensive
end role today with Kevin Williams and John Jenkins at the defensive tackle spots.

- Sean Payton said after practice that Stanley Jean-Baptiste is improving. I didn't see it. SJB was beat badly on a crossing route
by Seantavious Jones then was completely faked out by Willie Snead who beat him to the inside. 

- Austin Johnson and Erik Lorig both rotated with the first team at fullback. As I wrote in my training camp competition post last
week, this could be a very underrated battle in camp.

- Griffin had a couple of other nice throws today including a deep crossing route where he hit newly signed tight end Kevin Brock.
Griffin's 'bonus time'  as the developmental quarterback is over. He must perform and beat out McCowb or he will be gone. He got off to a decent start today. 

- The wet ball caused a few slip ups this morning. Grayson fumbled a snap that was recovered by fellow rookie Tyeler Davison. McCown
had a ball slip right out of his hands when he cocked back to throw it. Thomas Morstead dropped a long snap on a punt.

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