The rain briefly fell on the practice fields at 5800 Airline Drive, and the New Orleans Saints appeared to welcome it, getting some work in the elements during a fully padded practice in front of a packed section of fans.
It was a competitive practice that ended with a bit of situational work. Here were the highlights.
The following players did not practice Friday: Tight end Taysom Hill; defensive end Marcus Davenport; defensive backs Marshon Lattimore, CJ Gardner-Johnson, Smoke Monday and Dylan Mabin; defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson; offensive lineman Jerald Hawkins; linebacker D’Marco Jackson; and wide receiver Rashid Shaheed.
Hill and Shaheed worked off to the side.
Another step for Michael Thomas
think Michael Thomas is ready to ramp things up a little more? Watch him dust the guy who’d previously been the star of this training camp.
Participating in one-on-one drills for the first time in camp, Thomas scored a pair of head-to-head victories against Paulson Adebowho prior to Friday had been locking up just about every receiver he’d gone against.
The best word to describe Thomas in action is “crisp.” Put another way, he looks exactly like he used to look, before the ankle injury that ruined two of the prime years of his career.
Performing against live competition is a small step, but an important one for Thomas, who is eager to prove he’s still that dude.
If everything goes according to plan, Andy Dalton will not play a meaningful snap for the Saints this season. But as the last three years in New Orleans have proven, it’s not a very good idea to go into a season assuming everything’s going to be hunky dory at the game’s most important position.
Wisely, the Saints scooped up a capable No. 2 options behind James Winston. It looks like a strong investment so far.
Dalton continued his solid training camp, completing 6 of 7 attempts in team drills, with a touchdown to Devine Ozigbo in a red zone drill. He also had what might’ve been his best throw of camp Friday.
He saw running back Tony Jones in single coverage with linebacker Eric Wilson on a wheel route with no safety help over the top. Dalton laid a perfect pass right over Wilson’s helmet and into Jones’ waiting arms for a big gain.
Another good day for Lutz
Here’s how I charted Wil Lutz on Friday (the view was from the end zone, so I can’t be sure of distances, but his long looked to be just shy of 50 yards): Make, make, make, make, make, make.
Lutz, who missed all of last season, is looking very much like the reliable version of himself.
New Orleans still has a second kicker on its roster in rookie John Parker Romo, and it’s not yet clear whether Lutz will get a chance for some live action in next week’s preseason opener. For what it’s worth, Lutz said Thursday he’s hoping to get some game action before the start of the regular season.
WR Michael Thomas: Seeing him do Michael Thomas things is a very encouraging sign for the Saints.
WR Jarvis Landry: Landry caught all three of his targets in team drills, including a touchdown from Ian Book in a red zone period on the last snap of practice. The veteran clearly knows how to get open, and he appears to have developed trust with all three of the Saints quarterbacks.
DL Kentavius Street: Street showed some pass-rushing promise during the one-on-one period pitting the offensive and defensive linemen against each other, then followed by breaking up a Book pass at the line of scrimmage.
The Saints will return for their 10th practice of training camp Saturday at 9 am It is open to the public.