After Further Review: Five takes from Saints practice #8

After Further Review: Five takes from Saints practice #8
Saints offense struggled at Ochsner Sports Performance Center on Wednesday. (Copyright New Orleans Saints, Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr.) (Source: Layne Murdoch Jr.)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Take One: Windy conditions

The Saints got a break from the August heat but instead had to deal with some intense wind at practice. It had clear impact on the offensive side of the ball in the passing game in particular. With Drew Brees taking a veteran day off, Sean Payton wasn’t pleased with his offense’s performance even with the non-ideal conditions. He did say it was good to get some work in the non-ideal conditions.

Had this been a real game, it would have likely forced the Saints to rely heavy on their run game.

Take Two: Defense dominates team periods

During the first team period, Sheldon Rankins, who had his best practice of camp, set the stage with back-to-back tackles for loss. In the second team period, Rankins recorded a sack on an interior rush that collapsed the pocket. Patrick Robinson was able to undercut a seam route by Alvin Kamara, who ran it from the backfield, and intercepted Taysom Hill’s pass.

In the third team period, Kaden Elliss came free on a rush to sack Jameis Winston. Winston then closed out the period with an interception on a throw to Tommy Stevens by Keith Washington, Jr. It’s possible that was one of the passes impacted by the wind.

Take Three: Defense dominates two-minute drill

Things got interesting during the final two-minute period. There were four drives in total: two from Hill and two from Winston.

On the first drive, led by Hill, David Onyemata opened with a pass breakup at the line. Three plays later, P.J. Williams picked off Hill’s pass that appeared to be tipped by Cam Jordan.

On the second drive, led by Winston, he opened with a first down throw to Marquez Callaway. Then was sacked by Elliss and missed badly on three consecutive throws.

On the third drive, Hill opened with another tipped at the line of scrimmage. Then, C.J. Gardner Johnson (Ceedy Duce) sacked him on a blitz. He connected with Adam Trautman for seven yards on third and ten but finished with an incompletion to turn it over on downs.

The final drive, Winston was able to get into a little rhythm with four completions to get the team inside the ten-yard line. But he closed out the period with a throw to Deonte Harris in the back of the end zone, that was picked off by Washington, for his second pick of the day.

Take Four: Defense shuts down one-on-ones

It’s been a long time since I’ve seen a defense shut down one-on-ones the way the Saints did Wednesday. That period is heavily slanted for the offense to have the advantage, yet the Saints safeties and linebackers dominated the tight ends.

Elliss made play of the period when he undercut an in-breaking route by Garrett Griffin to make an interception. Marcus Williams jammed Tommy Stevens at the line of scrimmage so hard that Stevens couldn’t even get into his route. Saquan Hampton, DeMario Davis, P.J. Williams and Andrew Dowell all had PBUs.

In all, Winston was only able to complete seven of his 23 passes thrown in the period.

Take Five: Other Observations

- Along with Brees, Malcolm Jenkins, Andrus Peat, Anthony Chickillo and Zack Baun all missed practice. Ryan Ramczyk, Kamara and Shy Tuttle returned to action.

- One offensive highlight of the day came after Hill’s first interception. On the very next play, he connected with Trautman down the seam for a 45-yard touchdown.

- Winston’s best throw came on an option route to Kamara where he threaded the needle nicely during seven-on-sevens.

- Though I wasn’t able to watch the entire period, in one-on-one lineman drills, Margus Hunt had a great rep against Cameron Tom, while Jordan beat Terron Armstead. Offensively, Cesar Ruiz was back at center and had a solid rep against Malcom Brown, while Calvin Throckmorton beat Carl Granderson.

- Speaking of Granderson, he showed great athleticism to run down Dwayne Washington on a toss play on the sideline. Later, he set the edge on a Hill zone read.

- Kamara dropped a pitch from Hill on an option play that rolled out of bounds.

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