AFR: Saints camp day 2; volleyballs, batted balls and deep ball - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

AFR: Saints camp day 2; volleyballs, batted balls and deep balls

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With a heavy fog hovering over the Greenbrier, the Saints completed their second practice of training camp 2015. 

The most interesting part of the day came during what normally is a pretty mundane part of practice. As the team broke for kickoff
return, Sean Payton was rolling a volleyball about a yard away from the sideline to the returner. 

The drill seemed unorthrodox until after practice, when he explained it. Basically, it's meant to instruct the returner that on a kickoff where the ball is rolling to the corner near the sideline, he can put one leg on the boundary then recover the ball. In that scenario, the return team would get the ball at the 40-yard line.

On the flipside, if the returner recovers the ball then steps out of bounds, the ball goes to where the player stepped out, which
would be a huge field position swing. The volleyball was simply used for practical purposes. It allows for a smoother roll on grass while a football can go all over the place.

It's not an overly common circumstance that occurs in games, but Payton brought up how this exact scenario won them a game in 2003
when he was an assistant with Dallas. It's the first time I've ever seen them do it in a training camp practice and clearly speaks to the level of attention to detail they want to have this year.

Play of the Day I

Drew Brees connected on a deep ball once again today, but to an unlikely target. Brees hit fullback Austin Johnson on what appeared
to be a wheel route out of the backfield during 7-on-7s. There was clearly a busted coverage somewhere because Johnson was wide open with no one within 10 yards of him.

Play of the Day II

Luke McCown found newly signed tight end Kevin Brock down the seam for a big gain in 7-on-7 drills. This is the second day in a
row Brock has had a big catch.

Play of the Day III

I have to give credit where credit is due to Stanley-Jean Baptiste. He hasn't been on the right end of too many big plays since
he got to New Orleans, but he made a very nice play today when he was playing off-coverage then broke on a short out route to break up the pass.

Play of the Day IV

Rookie Tyeler Davison keeps bringing attention to himself. For the second day in a row, he batted down a Garrett Grayson pass.
However, Grayson's pass was really low and appeared to hit Davison in the helmet.

Injury Report

-Marques Colston is now officially off the PUP list and participated on a limited basis. As usually is the case, Payton said they
will be smart with Colston and his reps.

- Dannell Ellerbe sat out the morning practice, no reason was given as to why. 
- Tackle Antonio Johnson was taken off the NFI list.

Other Observations

- Brandon Coleman has had a hot start to camp. During the first two practices, he's shown very consistent hands and is a physically
imposing receiver. It hasn't gone unnoticed to head coach Sean Payton who said Coleman is, "definitely in the hunt."

- Rookies Hau'oli Kikaha and Stephone Anthony cracked the starting lineup, at least for today. Both players spent the bulk of the
team drills with the first team. As I've maintained all offseason and now camp, these are the two rookies I believe will make the most immediate impact.

- The Saints alternated first team reps at running back. Today, Tim Hightower got quite a few carries. I'm not sure Hightower makes
the team but he will be given an opportunity.

- The first team secondary continues to make plays. Rafael Bush made a nice play to bat down a seam route intended for Ben Watson.
Keenan Lewis jumped a comeback route by Nick Toon to knock down the pass.

- Terron Armstead lived an offensive lineman's dream during team drills. Drew Brees threw a pass, Cam Jordan batted it up in the
air and Armstead caught it on the way down. He was immediately stopped  but it would have been cool to see him have the ball with a full head of steam running forward. Remember, he ran the fastest 40-yard dash of any offensive tackle at the combine a few years
back.

- The Saints have been tinkering with some new technology. During one of the team periods, a 360-degree camera was mounted on a
stick a couple of yards behind  the middle linebacker. Payton said the camera benefits the mike backer and the quarterback because it takes video of everything in front, to the side and behind him. Payton has been a strong advocate for using virtual reality
to aid in preparation. It looks like he is going full speed ahead in implementing it to his players.

Copyright 2015 WVUE. All rights reserved.
 

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