After Further Review: Thomas shines again, Harper embraces role - FOX 8, WVUE, fox8live.com, weather, app, news, saints

After Further Review: Thomas shines again, Harper embraces role and other Saints OTA notes

Drew Brees had a fantastic practice for the Saints. (Photo by Kyle Encar) Drew Brees had a fantastic practice for the Saints. (Photo by Kyle Encar)
METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) -

Another practice, another impressive showing by rookie wide receiver Michael Thomas.

Thomas continues to demonstrate that the moment is not too big for him. In red zone drills, Brees threw a short fade/jump-ball route to Thomas, who went up and grabbed it over PJ Williams. Williams had perfect coverage but just lost out to a player that has three inches on him.

Thomas also stepped up in the two-minute. On a fourth and ten when Brees read blitz and lofted the ball up for Thomas. Thomas was able to re-adjust his body then go low to grab the ball just before it hit the ground.

It’s June, thus excitement must be tempered. No one wants Thomas to peak now. However, it has to be encouraging to the coaching staff that Thomas is showing them the exact skill set they hoped to get when they drafted him in the second round.

Final first team period play-by-play

  • 1st-and-10: Incomplete pass. Nate Stupar pass break-up
  • 2nd-and-10: Drew Brees to Willie Snead, post route for a big gain.
  • 1st-and-10: Incomplete pass intended for Coby Fleener
  • 2nd-and-10: Incomplete pass. Stupar ran free on a blitz, forced a quick throw.
  • 3rd-and-10: Incomplete pass. Roman Harper pass-breakup.
  • 4th-and-10: Brees to Michael Thomas, post route for a big gain. PJ Williams was in coverage. (described above)
  • 1st-and-10: Incomplete pass. Delvin Breaux in tight coverage.
  • 2nd-and-10: Brees to Mark Ingram, check down.
  • 3rd-and-7: Incomplete pass intended for Willie Snead downfield. Damian Swann in good coverage.
  • 4th-and-7: Kai Forbath hits 43-yard field goal.

Other Observations:

  • Andrus Peat was back at right guard. Senio Kelemete played the majority of snaps at left guard with Tim Lelito getting first team reps at left guard in red zone drills.
  • Keenan Lewis and Brandin Cooks were both able to see some action in team drills today. In Lewis’ case it was much more limited. With him out, PJ Williams ran with the first team at cornerback opposite Delvin Breaux.
  • With Jairus Byrd and Jamarca Sanford out, Erik Harris got first team reps at free safety. He seems to have gotten the attention of the coaching staff.
  • Unofficially, Kai Forbath was 4-4 in field goals from 35, 39, 45 and 52 yards. Connor Barth was 2-3 from 34, 39, and 45 yards.
  • We got our first glimpse of Roman Harper Thursday and it sure looks like the Saints have a pretty specific idea of what they envision him doing. He’ll be the third safety in the three-safety package but unlike some other three safety looks, it doesn’t appear Harper will be asked to guard any tight ends. Instead, he’ll be viewed as more of a dime linebacker where he can blitz or cover the flats. In fact, it may even be misleading to call him at a safety at this point. When he is in the game, he’ll be close to the line of scrimmage.
  • Thomas’ Buckeye brother Vonn Bell also stepped up. In the red zone portion of practice, Bell picked off Garrett Grayson on the goal line and likely could have taken it back for a touchdown. By my recollection, Bell’s was the first interception I’ve witnessed through OTA’s.
  • A good day for two veteran newcomers: Nate Stupar and Craig Robertson. Both had solid pass break ups. Stupar is a little faster than I originally thought he was.
  • Thursday’s practice had a really good flow to it with both the offense and defense making plays. As I said last week, it feels like this team is a little ahead of where a team normally is in June.

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