AFR: 'Special' practice, coaches sprint: Saints recap practice #9

AFR: 'Special' practice, coaches sprint: Saints recap practice #9

WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVUE) - With their largest crowd on hand, the Saints completed their ninth practice of training camp 2015.

Given that they had a day off Saturday, completed the black and gold scrimmage very early Friday and didn't practice until 4 p.m.
Sunday, I was expecting a lethargic pace. But I was pleasantly surprised to see a pep in the Saints step with the energy level high. The practice wasn't long, just under two hours. But the work was pretty clean.

The highlight was the kicker competition. Zach Hocker and Dustin Hopkins both had five field goal attempts and made all five. Their
final attempt was from 59 yards, which both cleared with some room to spare. 

Aside from the excitement of making that kind of kick, it also meant that the coaches would have to run sprints after practice.
And true to their word, the coaches did exactly that once practice ended.

As for the kicker competition, by my count, I have Hopkins perfect at 17-17 and Hocker at 15-17. Clearly, Hopkins is in the lead. But the real test will come when the preseason games begin Thursday. This league has no use for 'practice kickers'. They have to be gamers. 

Play of the Day

Josh Morgan had the play of the day during team drills when he went up and caught a Drew Brees pass on a deep route with one hand.
It was one of those catches where it looked like the ball was going to be picked off. But to Morgan's credit, he was able to wrestle the ball away from the defender.

Injury Report

TE Josh Hill- returned to practice
TE Kevin Brock- returned to practice
LB Dannell Ellerbe- returned to practice
T Terron Armstead- returned to practice
CB Damian Swann- returned to practice
G Tim Lelito- returned to practice
WR Brandon Coleman-limited
OLB Antony Spencer- limited
CB P.J. Williams- did not practice
WR Brandin Cooks- did not practice 
DE Akiem Hicks- did not practice
S Kenny Phillips- did not practice
S Jairus Byrd- PUP
OLB Davis Tull- NFI

Other Observations

- Willie Snead added another responsibility today. He was back returning punts for the first time all camp. It's a good sign for
Snead. Though he has never done it before, coaches are seeing if he can add special teams to his resume', which will increase his chances of making the final 53.

- Andrus Peat is getting a lot of different work. Today, he ran with the second team at left guard. Peat really struggled during one-on-one's at this position. Whether it's right tackle, left tackle or left guard, I still believe Peat is a work in progress.

- Kenny Vaccaro said after practice that Jairus Byrd is working on his knee before he comes back. It was a completely innocent response to a fair question but he may have unintentionally given us at least a clue as to what Byrd is dealing with. Though it's what I suspected all along, no one knew for sure Byrd's injury was his knee.

- I can always tell when the dog days of training camp officially arrive based the size of the media corps. We are at that point now, nine practices in. By my estimation, the amount of reporters shrunk by at least a third.

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