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After Further Review: Secondary shines, Grayson rebounds and other observations from Saints practice four

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WEST SULPHUR SPRINGS, WV (WVUE) -

It was another grueling session for the second day of pads for the Saints. Practice number four went over two and half hours. As promised, the intensity was high though it was evident they were coming off their first day of pads. 

Play of the Day I

On the defensive side of the ball, the POD goes to undrafted rookie Ken Crawley who made an acrobatic interception on Drew Brees. The ball was intended for Cooks who was running a corner route. Bree tried to drop the ball into Cooks but Crawley was able to
recover in coverage and dive to make the INT.

Play of the Day II

Brees, being the ultimate competitor that he is, responded to the pick just as one might expect. On the very next play, he fired a strike to Coby Fleener down the seam for touchdown.  

I’m starting to REALLY like the amount of explosive players on this Saints’ offense. Fleener is one of them.

Grading Grayson 

On Saturday, Garrett Grayson looked like he didn’t belong on the field.  Sunday may have been his best day as a pro. Running with the second team, Grayson dropped two dimes during seven-on-seven’s. His first was to Brandin Cooks on a nine route; his second
was to tight end Chris Manhertz on a seam route. During two other periods, he connected twice on deep balls to undrafted receiver Jake Lampman. Any one of those deep passes could’ve qualified for a play of the day. 

Overall, Grayson has not done enough to supplant Luke McCown as Drew Brees’ backup. He’s still too inconsistent. However, practices like Sunday’s have to give the Saints reason to not give up on him yet. 

Secondary Shining

Though we have no official comparison, it sure feels like this Saints secondary is getting their hands on a lot more passes than they had in recent years. Delvin Breaux picked up where he left off from the previous with multiple PBU’s on Sunday.  P.J. Williams
also had a nice afternoon with at least two PBU’s. He played both outside and nickel.  

Other Observations

- Nick Fairley, Erik Harris, Michael Hoomanawanui and Jairus Byrd did not participate in Sunday’s practice. In Byrd’s case, it was likely a case of the Saints monitoring his reps as Sean Payton hinted they would Saturday.

- We’ve been singing his praises all camp but on Sunday Michael Thomas showed a different side to him. After committing a false start, he immediately jogged to the sideline and took a lap around the field as punishment. After practice Thomas said running the
lap was a self-imposed punishment. 

- Michael Mauti received significant reps with the first team at strong side linebacker. When he is not playing special teams, strongside plays more to Mauti’s strengths.

- Travaris Cadet and Daniel Lasco fumbled on back-to-back plays during a five-on-four drill.

- Sheldon Rankins had a nice win during one-on-one drills against Tim Lelito. Lelito beat him earlier in the drill. Rankins received plenty of first team reps with Fairley out of practice.

- For the first time in camp, David Onyemata caught my attention by beating Senio Kelemete during lineman drills.

- Obum Gwacham and Davis Tull both appeared to have multiple sacks.

- Jimmy Pruitt nearly had his second interception in as many days. In fact, I credited him with one until I saw the video where it’s obvious the ball hit the ground before he could come up with the pick.

- John Jenkins badly beat Kaleb Eulls to get a sack of his own along the interior.

- Newly signed Hakeem Nicks is clearly not used to Breaux’s press coverage. During one-on-one’s Breaux absolutely smothered Nicks to the point where Nicks came to a complete stop three yards past the line of scrimmage. They had to line back up and run the play
again.

- The defense won the final period of practice which meant the offense had to do ten up-downs to close out the day.

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