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The Fleur-De-Lis Report: Recapping a Busy Week of Practice and a Triumphant Conclusion to the Preseason

9 months 3 days 11 hours ago Sunday, August 28 2022 Aug 28, 2022 August 28, 2022 10:45 AM August 28, 2022 in News
Source: WBRZ

It was a busy week of New Orleans Saints football as the coaching staff got a better grip on the final 53-man roster. The team closed out the preseason Friday night very strong, giving fans a lot to look forward to ahead of the regular season.


Dennis Allen and his coaching staff have until Tuesday afternoon to slim the roster from 80 players to 53. Although no cuts have been made, the Saints have already conducted a series of roster moves.

Kicker John Parker Romo, QB K.J Costello, and RB Devine Ozigbo were waived earlier this week. The team reached injury reserve settlements with DB Jordan Brown, DT Jaleel Johnson, OT Sage Doxtater, and WR Kevin White. TE Chris Herndon was moved to the injury reserved list.


This week was a very productive week of practice for the Saints as several key players made a return to the field. The team is still working to get guys healthy ahead of playing the Falcons week one. 

Last Sunday, fans packed the Superdome to watch their final public practice. Lots of players didn’t report to camp including Michael Thomas who’s battling a hamstring injury. Dennis Allen has yet to mention the severity of Thomas’ injury. The hope remains that his absence is precautionary and he’ll be ready for week one. Among others not seen at practice were Taysom Hill, Adam Trautman, Pete Werner, Chase Hansen, Alontae Taylor, Cesar Ruiz, James Hurst, Landon Young, Dwayne Washington, and Taco Charlton.

Quarterback Jameis Winston participated in 7v7 drills with the first team which was great to see as he comes back from his foot injury. Overall, Winston had a productive day connecting on 9 of 12 passes along with 2 TDs to Dai’Jean Dixon and Rashid Shaheed during the period. LB Demario Davis intercepted Winston during one rep, which got the crowd on their feet.

Andy Dalton took over for the first team in 11v11 drills. He connected with WR Jarvis Landry on a 5 yard fade for a TD which was considered the play of the day. 

Sunday was perhaps the most competitive day between the defensive and offensive units. While the offense managed to win some reps and get in the endzone, the defense shined in the redzone and in two minute drills. CB Paulson Adebo continued to ascend with a pass breakup on WR Chris Olave and Marshon Lattimore played like a true shutdown corner down the sidelines. Demario Davis also had an excellent day contesting Alvin Kamara in the backfield and in the flats. 

Monday, however, was a much different story in terms of competitiveness. The defense dominated a sluggish offensive group for the vast majority of practice. The defensive line controlled the line of scrimmage starting with guys like Malcolm Roach who is solidifying his spot on the final 53. He had a strong day disrupting plays and applying pressure to Dalton during team drills. 

Jameis Winston had a mediocre day, but he did take a major step forward, participating in full 11v11 team drills for the first time in weeks. He went 1 of 6 in three separate drills, including 0 for 2 in the redzone. The play of the day was made by CJ Gardner-Johnson who intercepted Winston after he tried avoiding a heavy pass rush. Dennis Allen chalked up Winston’s day to ‘being rusty’, though it was an encouraging sign to see him fully participate.

Tuesday, most of the players who didn’t report to Sunday and Monday’s practice were still out. Marshon Lattimore, Tre’Quan Smith, PJ Williams, and Ryan Ramczyk were some of the new names who sat out during Tuesday’s practice. Taysom Hill and Taco Charlton returned while Pete Werner and Marcus Davenport reported to camp but only did drills on the side.

Jameis Winston participated in team drills for the third day in a row, bouncing back in a big way by finishing 10 of 16 overall.  He displayed good mobility in many of his reps, showing he’s close to full health. Some of his best work came in timed drills, where he was placed in an “under a minute, no timeouts” scenario, completing 5 of 6 passes and marching the offense down field. 

Rookie OT Trevor Penning had his best day of camp. He did allow a single sack in a rep against Payton Turner but overall he won 9 of his 10 reps. He has shown a steady progression, especially in pass protection, all throughout camp. 

Wednesday was the final day of training camp ahead of the preseason finale. Everyone except Michael Thomas returned to practice which was great for the Saints coaching staff. 

There were no 7v7 drills during Wednesday’s practice but Dennis Allen made it a point to do simulated noise work during team drills. Loud music was played and the offenses were tasked with communicating with a silent snap count. 

Jameis Winston had his best day of camp by far, completing 12 of 16 passes including starting off a perfect 8 for 8. The first team defense still had a good day, holding firm in redzone drills and not surrendering a TD in the period. Cam Jordan was very effective against Alvin Kamara in the run game and Paulson Adebo won another battle against Chris Olave.

The offensive line is still pretty banged up but they are getting healthier. The group stepped up their play this week, especially in pass protection, which was a far cry from last week’s camp in Green Bay.

Kicker Wil Lutz didn’t miss anything Wednesday as he closed out camp 49 of 51. 

Kirk Merritt is a name I haven’t mentioned much lately but it's worth noting how productive he’s been this week and all throughout training camp. He makes the on-going RB competition much more interesting as he has transitioned into that WR/RB hybrid role this week. Throughout practice, he worked on receiving from the backfield including lots of screen and swing plays.

While the defense had an overall strong series of practices, Paulson Adebo has to be the MVP of camp. His leap from year one to year two was the most noticeable of all players on the team. Now the Saints have found that second cornerback to complement Marshon Lattimore on the outside. Adebo also showed the ability to take on the more premiere receivers in the league evident by the way he challenged Michael Thomas earlier in camp.


Last week, the Saints were anything but impressive against the Packers but that was expected given the personnel on the field. This week was a completely different story as Dennis Allen played nearly all his starters, with exception to Michael Thomas. Jameis Winston did not disappoint during his first game back since October of last year. It was great to see him start after a week of speculation. 

During the opening drive, Winston connected on all four of his passes, two to Landry for 20 and 15 yards, once to Olave for 19 yards, and once to Kamara for 5 yards. He was able to slice through the Chargers defense, leading the team 75 yards down field to set up Mark Ingram for the touchdown. The most impressive throw Winston made was his second pass to Landry where he evaded the pass rush, stepped up in the pocket and delivered a beautiful strike for the first down. His night was done after the opening series but he did more than enough to show that he is back and near full health. Winston also impressed me with his excellent decision making on his reads and great awareness in the pocket.

Andy Dalton was up next and what a preseason it's been for him. He finished 5 of 5 during his time in the game, leading a TD drive of his own. He concluded the preseason a perfect 10 of 10 passing.

The running game was also on point for the Saints with Alvin Kamara looking like he’s in full form. Mark Ingram wowed me with his showing of burst and explosiveness, leading all runners with 2 goal line TDs.

The first team defense continued the great start for the Saints, forcing the Chargers to punt on their opening series. Demario Davis capped off the defensive stand with a sack on former Saints QB Chase Daniels on third down. 

The pass rush made it a difficult night for the Chargers offensive units with guys like Payton Turner having perhaps his best game so far coming off the edge. LB Eric Wilson led the team in total tackles with six and the team managed to force one turnover on a forced fumble by S Justin Evans recovered by Daniel Sorensen. 

Kirk Merritt didn’t take snaps from the RB position but he was effective in the passing attack. Merritt logged 4 receptions for 32 yards and a TD from Ian Book. He’s made a very solid case to make the final 53. He has shown true dedication and willingness to fulfill any role the coaching staff ask of him, making him a versatile asset to the team.

Wil Lutz was a perfect 2 of 2 on field goals, from 47 and 29 yards out. He finishes the preseason without a blemish.

Unfortunately the Saints would not come out of the game unscathed. Rookie Trevor Penning suffered a toe injury towards the end of the first quarter. An MRI later confirmed it was a torn toe ligament. Due to the specifics of this injury, I can see him missing no less than 3 months before getting back to football activities. If we do see him play this year, it would be in the last quarter of the season. This is a huge blow for Penning as he was starting to develop as a rising young star on the offensive line.

Looking ahead, the team will finalize their roster by the Tuesday deadline. The real deal starts in two weeks on the road against the Falcons on September 11th.


The final preseason game gave Saints fans a lot to look forward to this year. This team looks primed and ready to have a successful season and return to the playoffs. Jameis Winston has had some setbacks but I am very impressed with the way he’s fought back. While it was just one series during a preseason game, it was such a great showing of his potential and the team’s overall potential going into the new season. 

I also believe we could be witnessing another historic NFL defense in the making with this Saints group. Not only are they extremely talented on the field, but they each exude confidence and leadership in the locker room. They performed well during the preseason and I have no doubt they will carry this over in the regular season. We always talk about defenses like the ‘85 Bears, ‘00 Ravens, and the ‘15 Seahawks. I don’t think it's too much of an exaggeration to say that we could hold the ‘22 Saints in the same light when it's all said and done.


Follow the publisher of this post on Twitter @Chris_Lunkin98 for weekly content and up to the minute updates on your New Orleans Saints. 

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