Saints training camp Day 9: Alex Okafor has a strong day, Dan Arnold keeps flashing, more
Dress code: Pads
Attendance: Tight end Benjamin Watson, rookie defensive end Marcus Davenport, wide receiver Cameron Meredith (recovery from torn ACL), tight end Garrett Griffin, center Cameron Tom (shoulder), rookie safety Kamrin Moore (hamstring), wide receiver Brandon Coleman and defensive back J.T. Gray did not practice.
Overview: Friday brought about a spirited practice as the Saints spent more time working the red zone. The practice started outside but had to be moved indoors after a crack of lightning was spotted over the practice field. This created an unfortunate environment for observing practice since the team practiced on the far end of the indoor field, with a line of players standing across the field behind the play, making it hard to see from the media’s viewing area.
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Okafor shines: It looks like Alex Okafor is coming along well from the Achilles injury that ended his 2017 season prematurely. The defensive end was consistently in the backfield during the practice. He had a sack and two pressures during team drills and had another good rush during one-on-one drills. If Okafor can merely get back to the level of play he was at last season, the Saints will be in good shape on the defensive line. It looks like he’s on the right path.
Second-year step: Marcus Williams continues to have a strong training camp. He broke up two passes during team drills. Both of them were on plays where he sniffed out an intermediate route and crashed down on the play. It’s been interesting to see Williams’ take the next step. Not that it’s a surprise, but he certainly looks more comfortable in the defense than he did a year ago at the same time.
Arnold up: Tight end Dan Arnold keeps making flash plays. The tight end had a diving catch in the end zone for a touchdown, as well as a second score. He has inserted himself into the conversation at tight end, a position where the battle for spots has suddenly started to heat up. It might come down to what some of these guys are capable of doing on special teams.
Missed field goals: Perhaps it was due to the weather, but kicker Wil Lutz had a tough time on Saturday. He missed five of his six attempts. Taysom Hill was serving as the holder. Something was off. Lutz hasn’t had any issues during training camp thus far.
One-on-one highlights: Andrus Peat had a few good reps, including a win over David Onyemata. … Larry Warford had a strong win against Sheldon Rankins. … Jay Bromley, who keeps showing up, had a good win against Will Clapp. … Another unheralded player, Taylor Stallworth, also had a few good reps. … Trey Hendrickson might have had the most decisive victory of the day on a speed rush against Rick Leonard.
Other notes: The Saints’ tight ends often have to do it, but it’s notable that rookie Deon Yelder took a rep from the H-back spot. … Don Barclay and Will Clapp both took some reps at left tackle. Both got beat on back-to-back plays. … Terrence West fumbled on a screen pass. He also had a fumble on Thursday. … Alex Anzalone broke up a pass intended for Alvin Kamara. … Mitchell Loewen had another sack. … Taysom Hill ran another read-option play.
Quarterback stats in team drills:
Drew Brees: 5-for-9 (Camp overall: 53-for-90, 1 INT)
Taysom Hill: 3-for-5 (22-for-53, 2 INTs)
Tom Savage: 3-for-3 (27-for-36)
J.T. Barrett: 2-for-3 (13-for-29, 2 INTs)