The red jersey Drew Brees wears in practice wasn’t enough to ward off contact entirely on the first day of the New Orleans Saints’ training camp.
Near the end of practice, a scrum got a little too close to Brees and knocked over the quarterback.
Brees later said the fall was nothing to worry about.
“That’s just kind of part of it,” Brees said. “The piles kind of get pushed, maybe with pass rushing, that kind of thing, I just kind of went down, but I’m back up, I’m all good.”
A little contact is bound to happen in six weeks of preparation before the regular season.
“We’ve just got to be mindful of the tempo,” Saints coach Sean Payton said. “Obviously, you want to stay clear of the quarterback, feet got tangled and a block fell into his lap, that’s one of the things you try to prevent.”
Anthony in a new spot: Stephone Anthony might have a new position. Or, at the very least, he’ll have the opportunity to win a new job.
The third-year linebacker spent the day playing weakside linebacker after working mostly at middle linebacker throughout the summer. If he can lock down the job, it would give New Orleans a replacement at the position with Dannnell Ellerbe on his way out. But, there’s a long way to go before that happens.
The first impression, while it wasn’t in pads, was good. Anthony had two moments that stood out. The first came when he read a run and stopped Adrian Peterson for no gain. The second came when he read a screen pass for Peterson and nearly broke it up in the backfield.
After sitting out most of last season due to issues with reading run and pass, it was important to see him make some plays and show his instincts. And playing on the weakside, where he can better show his athleticism and make plays, could be to his benefit.
With Anthony on the weakside, the Saints put Manti Te’o at middle linebacker and used A.J. Klein on the strong side. But right now the rotations might not mean much. New Orleans plans to mix and match players with different groups throughout camp until they locate the best three players. What’s more important right now could be where the players are playing since Sean Payton said he wants to get a few players settled into specific spots.
Huddle up: One of the things that stood out throughout the practice was the amount of times the offense had to re-huddle. It’s early, and people are still figuring things out, so this is probably nothing to worry about at this early juncture. It’s more a sign of the newness of camp and making sure everyone is on the same page. That will come, and it’s better to go through these bumps and bruises now instead of later on.
Lattimore looks good: It was a good day for rookie cornerback Marshon Lattimore. His best moment came when he broke up a slant route intended for Michael Thomas, which is no small feat considering the wide receiver caught 17 of 21 slants for 211 yards last season. It wasn’t the best day for Thomas. We saw him get targeted one time and he made one catch. He slipped on one pass, and there was a miscommunication on another, though it’s not clear who was at fault.
Perhaps a good sign for the defense: It’s hard to know if the team is working on something specific, but perhaps it’s notable that all of Drew Brees’ completions were either to tight ends or running backs during team drills. His only target to a receiver came on an incompletion to Thomas. He connected on 7-of-8 attempts. Perhaps it speaks to the quality of coverage by Delvin Breaux and P.J. Williams.
Good signs from Kikaha: Hau’oli Kikaha is on his way back from his third ACL tear, and looked good running around the field. He had a nice stretch during team drills when he started with a nice rush, blew up an Alvin Kamara run while coming off the opposite edge, and then played a part in the pressure that led to Chase Daniel throwing an interception to Rafael Bush.
Tackle shuffle: The Saints used both Ryan Ramczyk and Khalif Barnes at left tackle at various points throughout practice. It seems like the Saints are going to look for one of those players to fill in for Terron Armstead before asking Andrus Peat to slide over to left tackle. Josh LeRibeus played center with Max Unger out of action. It’s hard to know how the players are performing before putting pads on. LeRibeus almost had one snap that went over Drew Brees’ head.
Long snappers: Chase Dominguez handled the snapping during a field-goal period. He’s competing with Thomas Gafford for the job.
Returners: Tommylee Lewis, Ted Ginn Jr., and Kamara handled some return duties on a side field.
Read more about Saints training camp at TheAdvocate.com.