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Kristian: Saints Training Camp day 1 news and notes

Stephone Anthony changes position again

Kristian Garic
July 27, 2017 - 1:53 pm

The first day Saints training camp went pretty much as expected.  Third year linebacker Stephone Anthony worked at weak side linebacker.  Remember last season when Sean Payton openly criticized Anthony for his run/pass recognition abilities? After the first day of camp Payton sounds more positive about Anthony this season. "I wanna see Steph over there on weak side for a little while. I thought today's practice he looked good there. I think he's done well. I'm anxious to see him get back out there I expect him to do well," Payton said.  In his rookie season in 2015 Anthony was the week 1 starter at middle linebacker, but in 2016 the Saints decided to move him to the strong side linebacking spot and it was a miserable failure for both sides. He played in just 10 games registering just 16 tackles.  Anthony landed on Injured Reserve in December last season. 

Sean Payton & and the Saints placed CB Damian Swann on the PUP list today.  When Payton mentioned yesterday that a player failed his conditioning test but didn't reveal who it was, Swann was my guess.  Swann told me "I just cramped up real bad during the conditioning test, and I expect to come off the list in a couple of days".  That's a good sign considering the concussion history's he's dealt with.  Swann spent all of last season on Injured Reserve after fighting through a handful of concussions in his rookie season.  We saw the Saints make a decision with LB Danelle Ellerbe that landed him on IR and will eventually be cut do to availability.  Swann needs to get on the field quickly or he could suffer the same consequences.  In particular there are a ton of corner backs on this roster that are fighting for playing time. 

As I mentioned above Stephone Anthony worked at the weak side Linebacker position today, Free Agent newcomer A.J Klein worked at the strong side spot, and Manti Te'o played the middle linebacker position with the first team defense.  It's way to early to start penciling in positions, and with that said Sean Payton said after practice that we will see a continuous rotation of players at different positions at linebacker.  As we expected, this group will be one to watch during camp with a lot of competition and a ton of questions. 

"Felt great. Little rust but felt good," was how Saints linebacker Hau'oli Kikaha described his first training camp practice since returning from an ACL injury that caused him to miss last season.  He moved really well, and put together a couple of nice pass rushing plays in team drills. Kikaha has been re-habing his knee injury pretty furiously working out multiple times a day and he feels like he's master the art of rehab considering he's done it three times in his brief playing career.  If you have doubt about his ability to return he'll remind you he did it in back to back years at the University of Washington. "I've been refining this process year after year.  Now at this point I feel like I can't get any better re-habing a knee injury."  He wasn't wearing a brace today at practice, but he said he would try one out at some point during camp perhaps when the pads come on. 

As far as practice notes and thoughts, here goes:  

  • Today without pads it looked more like what we saw in OTA's and Mini Camp in terms of the style of practice. 
  • The highlight today was Rafael Bush making an athletic interception of QB Chase Daniel. Bush has been impressive since returning to the Saints in the off-season.  Bush has been around the football in practices that we've seen in the media making a couple of interceptions in OTA's and Mini Camp. 
  • There was a 'hold your breath' moment in practice today when QB Drew Brees got tangled up with an offensive lineman and hit the turf, and the defender accidentally fell on him.  Brees got up flexing his hand and leg after the mishap but appeared to be fine after. 
  • Rookie Ryan Ramcyk took first team reps at left tackle. 
  • The Saints are back on the field tomorrow, for one more day without pads and looking ahead to Saturday for the first day of padded practice. 
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