NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -Take One: Brees the maestro
It’s easy to get hung up on exciting plays within the Saints offense. But if you watch carefully, sometime understanding how they develop are just as impressive.
Drew Brees’ mastery in the art of quarterback is really something to watch. He has complete command of the subtle details that make all the difference.
Two examples of this stood out Sunday:
On the first one, the Saints were in a base package with Brees under center. The defense was in man coverage as Ted Ginn went in motion. But on the snap, Marcus Williams came crashing down from his safety spot on Brees’ blindside. Brees felt it and lofted an easy pass to Ginn right where the space was vacated by Williams on a shallow cross. Eli Apple had absolutely no chance guarding Ginn one-on-one across the field. Brees sensed backside blitz and knew, based on the motion by Ginn, that part of the field would pop wide open.
The other example came later in the practice. Pre-snap, Brees was in shotgun and turned to Alvin Kamara. Kamara then widened out from his normal backfield spot next to Brees to past the right tackle a little closer to line of scrimmage. When the ball was snapped, Brees looked left then came back to his right and hit Kamara on an option route over the middle, with no one within five yards of him. That small adjustment pre-snap led to a big play.
Take Two: Emmanuel Butler shows up, again
Every year an unknown player forces his way onto the Saints radar. This year, at least through three practices, that player is wide receiver Emmanuel Butler.
He showed out again Sunday. His first big catch came during an early team period when Taysom Hill threw an middle out route to him. Butler stretched out to make the diving catch. His best catch though came toward the end of practice, when he high-pointed a back-shoulder sideline pass from Hill and caught it over Kayvon Webster. Butler also had two nice catches early during one-on-ones on deep in routes.
It’s still very early in the process, but at the very least, Butler has worked his way into the wide receiver competition discussion.
Take Three: McCoy making progress
Erik McCoy put the pads on for the first time in his young professional career and did quality work. He once again split time with Cameron Tom with the first team at center and looked like he belonged. On one rep, with a little assistance from Nick Easton, who made initial contact, McCoy knocked Malcolm Brown to the ground on a block.
On an inside zone run, McCoy was able to successfully push Taylor Stallworth to the ground on a block. Dwayne Washington cut right behind him.
The snap issues he had early in camp and in OTA’s seem to be gone, and McCoy is holding his own in what is the most important competition battle of camp.
Take Four: Top Plays
The Saints opened practice with a spirited one-on-one period. Eli Apple had two PBUs in the drill, both came against Keith Kirkwood.
Cyril Grayson once again flashed his next-level speed when he beat Chauncey Gardner-Johnson on a deep post. Hill connected with him for a touchdown.
Marcus Williams nearly picked off Brees during seven-on-sevens.
SaQuan Hampton made nice break on the ball when he knocked it way from Garrett Griffin during seven-on-sevens.
Jared Cook continues to impress. Brees found him on a corner route during team. Cook went up and grabbed it over Vonn Bell and A.J. Klein in coverage.
The first interception of camp goes to rookie linebacker Kaden Elliss. He caught it after Gardner-Johnson deflected a Hill pass to Lil’ Jordan Humphrey on a roll out drag route.
Craig Roberston got his hand on a Teddy Bridgewater pass during team. Bell nearly came up with the interception.
Bell made another big play when he was able to get around the big frame of Cook on a slant route and knock the ball away.
Bridgewater threw a beauty to Simmie Cobbs down the seam for a big gain.
Take Five: Other Observations
- Elliss has spent nearly the entire camp with the second team at middle linebacker.
- Both Taysom and Teddy are making noticeable strides in their respective games. Bridgewater looks more comfortable with his knowledge of the offense by the day, while Taysom’s patience in the pocket and accuracy are improving. If those two were in a battle for starter, it would make for a very competitive battle.
-There are times in camp where it’s obvious that Brees is throwing to Cook often to develop their chemistry even if the play doesn’t necessarily call for that throw in the progression.
- Marcus Sherels, Cyril Grayson, Austin Carr and Deonte Harris all received reps at punt returner.
- Brees sported some pink cleats on Sunday. Per Garland Gillen, those cleats were designed by Marcus Rivero of Soles by Sir. Rivero has designed Drew’s ‘my cause my cleats’ the last three years.