(WVUE) - Take One: Sean Payton misses to attend Tony Sparano's funeral
As expected Sean Payton attended the funeral of Tony Sparano and missed practice. Payton and Sparano were on Bill Parcells' staff in Dallas. I recall vividly before the crazy 2009 game against Miami how complimentary Payton was of Sparano and how much he valued his friendship. I also thought it was interesting that Payton revealed he tried to hire Sparano several times. He was a well-respected guy in league coaching circles.
Take Two: Defense Shines
Another day, another win for the defense. Sheldon Rankins got things rolling with a sack on Taysom Hill. Jay Bromley batted down a J.T. Barrett at the line of scrimmage. In a separate period, DeVante Harris picked off Barrett's pass and returned for a touchdown. Marcus Williams also had back-to-back PBU's on Drew Brees' passes. The first was an overthrow to Josh Hill on a corner route; the second was on a throw down the seam to Alvin Kamara.
Take Three: J.T. Barrett struggles
This was not a practice Barrett will include on his highlight reel. His final period of the day was disastrous. He began with the interception to Harris described above. On the play, Barrett stared down Deon Yelder and didn't see Harris sitting in a soft zone. Harris made the easy pick and raced for the end zone. On the next play, Barrett misfired a low throw. Then, while setting up a screen pass, Barrett had his pass tipped. On his final play, he was sacked by Alex Jenkins.
Barrett is a rookie in his second training camp practice. Days like this are going to happen. I'm curious to see how he bounces from today's effort on Saturday. If he has the intangibles that everyone says he has, he should be able to overcome this early adversity.
Take Four: Taysom Hill excels on special teams
I don't want to have a special category for Hill every practice, but he's a unique player who always seem to do something that catches the eye in practice. On Friday, it came on special teams. On kickoff coverage, Hill was running down and collided with Arthur Maulet. Maulet, who was holding a pad, fell to the ground on the impact. Hill covers punts and kicks like a player who's done it for years.
Hill is standing out simply because he does things you don't normally see. On Thursday, he was the upback on punts and threw a pass on a fake punt. As a quarterback, he's still erratic but I thought he played better today. Overall, I understand now why Payton is so enamored with his skillset.
Take Five: Other Observations
- Boston Scott had a solid effort Friday. He appears to be catching on to the offense quickly which is not always easy as a rookie. Scott’s best play came when he caught a flat route and made an incredible cut in the open field to make a defender miss.
- Tom Savage was not present at practice Friday.
- The Michael Thomas slant route is in mid-season form. Brees hit Thomas on one Friday after he beat Marshon Lattimore for a big gain.
- Ken Crawley had a pass breakup on a slant route to Travin Dural. The problem for Crawley was he grabbed a whole lot of jersey on the play. Crawley is a legitimate number two corner in the NFL but he has to shake his tendency to hold receivers.
- Josh LeRibeus ran with the first team at left guard today with Andrus Peat limited.
- David Onyemata ran with the first team at defensive tackle. Rankins was with the second team.