Saints shine on both sides of the ball in scrimmage Friday

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NEW ORLEANS, LA – JANUARY 07: Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints reacts before the NFC Wild Card playoff game against the Carolina Panthers at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on January 7, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS, La. – The New Orleans Saints scrimmaged outdoors today at the Ochsner Sports Performance Center with the team going through about 8 different “roles” according to Head Coach Sean Payton.

“I thought we got a lot of work done,” said Payton.

“There were some good things and some things obviously that we’ll need to be better at but I thought it was good work this morning,” added Payton.

The Saints shined on both sides of the ball during today’s scrimmage.

The defense has been on fire all training camp and they continued their hot streak at the beginning and the end of Friday’s scrimmage starting with Patrick Robinson intercepting Drew Brees at the end of the first dive.

When taking about the production from Robinson, Payton says “he’s turned the ball over a few times for us and taken it away. He’s stayed healthy, he’s a real good foot athlete, he can run and I would say your observations are correct. I think he’s playing pretty well.”

Another players in the secondary turning heads is D.J. Swearinger. On Brees’ final drive of the day, Swearinger ended his day with an interception, continuing to show the Saints coaching staff that he is prepared for an increased role in the 2020 regular season.

“He’s a veteran player… He’s someone that can do a number of things. he’s someone that’s helping us in the kicking game as well. So his versatility, obviously his football IQ, are all positives for us. I think he’s a real good run player, so I have kind of been encouraged with the camp he’s having, and I think football is real important to him,” says Payton.

On offense, Brees would bounce back with two touchdown passes to both Michael Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders, something Saints fans expect to see a lot of this season.

Also in the mix with two passing touchdowns and an interception was backup quarterbck Jameis Winston.

Payton says that both Jameis and Taysom Hill have continued to improve throughout the course of camp, but he would like to see more from both players.

“They’re never really where you want them to be. You always as a coach want more and more. I think they’re two different type players and yet I really like the room.I think obviously Taysom gives us a different type of threat at that position and I think Jameis has come in and picked things up quickly. This last week for him has been really positive. So, i’m encouraged with their work. I think it’s a good room overall and I feel like we’ve got some versatility at that position.”

In the case of Winston, the Saints coaching staff continues to evaluate every move and decision that he makes when he has the ball in his hand.

Payton says that Winston has been aggressive during camp with more downfield throws, and the team continues to pay attention to the smaller things he dos each and every plays.

“Look, it’s all the above. Where’s he going? Is it the right decision? What’s his feet look like, his mechanics look like and then you know how well is he doing it? The first job for that position is to move the ball and get the team in the end zone and so you’re evaluating every part of that.”

Alvin Kamara, Marcus Davenport and Malcolm Jenkins were on a list of ten players that did not practice today.

The Saints will be practicing in the Superdome tomorrow night, something Payton says his team needs to get accustomed too heading into their regular season home opener against Tampa Bay.

“Just getting used to (it). Tomorrow will be really getting a feel for the turf. Every year they lay a new turf in there. It was a mixture of rubber and sand. Sometimes it’s a little too spongy, sometimes maybe a little firm. So the first time we’re in there, we’re having a practice, but you’re also getting used to the footing. And then there’s enough time between that practice and when we practice again next week for them to add one or the other, roll it some more. So it’s really the footing. And then obviously the lighting and all the other elements that some of these guys haven’t experienced yet.”

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