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After Further Review: Saints start camp with energy, newcomers make plays

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WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVUE) -

The Saints opened training camp with a spirited workout that lasted a little over two hours. The theme of the day was "flying around." Everyone seemed to have an extra pep in their step for day one, and the energy was outstanding. That first practice is generally the most anticipated because of the time off leading up to it. Mistakes were made, but the workout as a whole was very lively.

Play of the Day I

Vonn Bell can say he intercepted a Hall of Fame quarterback on his first professional training camp practice. The play came during team when Drew Brees went deep to Brandin Cooks who was covered by Delvin Breaux. The pass hung a little bit on Brees but Bell
came from out of nowhere to pick the ball off. It was an impressive play and one I’m sure the Saints were hoping to see when they traded up to take Bell. Perhaps they weren't expecting to see it this quickly.

Play of the Day II 

Brees was actually picked off twice Thursday, the first came during seven-on-seven drills when it appeared his receiver stopped on his route. The ball had already left Brees’ hand and Craig Robertson was there to make a pretty easy pick. Its not the first time
we’ve seen Robertson around the ball in his short time in New Orleans.

Play of Day III

Safety Erik Harris received the majority of first team reps at free safety with Jairus Byrd being limited. Harris stepped up with a nice pass break-up on a pass intended for Josh Hill. Harris has now moved from someone we were curious about to someone that
may be in the mix for a starting role.

Play of Day IV

The offense made their share of plays Thursday as well. Luke McCown connected on a huge gain on a nine route to Brandin Cooks. Cooks caught the ball over Tony Carter though it appeared may have Cooks pushed off.

Play of the Day V

Drew Brees threaded the needle nicely on a seam route to Coby Fleener for a big gain during team drills. Brees said after practice that he is still getting to know Fleener from a chemistry standpoint. Plays like these will allow that chemistry to flourish. 

Play of the Day VI

Garrett Grayson needs a big training camp. He must show growth or he could be on the outside looking in when the final 53 is announced. Today, he demonstrated some growth when he threw perhaps the best pass I’ve seen him throw when he connected with tight end
Rashaun Allen down the seam for a big gain.

Other Observations

- Sean Payton promised a more intense camp and has even adjusted his schedule to accomplish that goal. Payton said morning practices will likely be longer so they won’t do an afternoon walkthrough everyday where they install the next day’s work. He wants that
time to be where the players recovery from the morning. They’ll do their install work in the classroom.  

- With Terron Armstead out, Andrus Peat played left tackle at practice with Tim Lelito and Senio Kelemete at guards.

- Brian Dixon had a nice pass break-up during team drills that could have been an interception when he stepped in front of a Luke McCown pass.

- Damian Swann got plenty of first team reps at cornerback with Keenan Lewis out.

- Jairus Byrd did something he’s never done in New Orleans - participate in the first day of training camp albeit on a limited basis. Byrd practiced early and took part in the final team drill. He is also getting a look at punt returner.

- Both Kai Fortbath and Connor Barth were perfect in their field goal attempts Thursday.

- Michael Thomas made a nice catch in traffic on a slant from Drew Brees.

- Not only did Fleener make that nice catch from Brees, he made a similar one on almost the exact same route from Luke McCown earlier in practice.

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