Take One: Ideal conditions
It took all of five minutes to figure out why Dennis Allen preferred Green Bay to hold join practices. The obvious reason was the Packers are one of the best teams in the NFL. But the other reason was simply the weather.
Green Bay in August is a whole lot different than Green Bay in December. It was sunny and in the mid- to -high 70′s all day with a slight breeze. In fact, standing in the shade for too long, even felt a little bit chilly.
Allen even joked that it was nice to do the post-practice press conference not feeling like he just got out of the shower. We all know August days in New Orleans are either crazy hot or filled heavy downpours. So, it was a good changeup to the daily grind of a typical training camp practice.
Take Two: Defenses dominate
It was interesting hearing Packers coach Matt Lafleur say in his pre-practice press conferences that he felt like the offenses were going to be at a disadvantage in the first practice.
Clearly, he knew that the scripted work tilted more in the defense’s favor, and that’s exactly what happened.
While both offenses eventually scored touchdowns in their red zone periods, for the most part it was the defenses that won the day. Both particularly dominated in the third down period. The Saints offensive line struggled with protection during that period, and Andy Dalton was off target. With the second team, Shawn Davis picked Ian Book.
The Saints front and secondary stayed on their hot streak. Aaron Rodgers tested them frequently but didn’t connect with nearly the frequency he’s accustomed to. At one point, Bradley Roby picked off Jordan Love.
All in all, it was a good day for both defenses.
Take Three: Two-minute work
The Packers offense did their two-minute drive first. Rodgers connected with Allen Lazzard downfield for a big gain. C.J. Gardner-Johnson had good coverage on the play and may have knocked the ball away. The officials, however, ruled it a catch and the Packers shifted field position. Eventually though, the Saints defense stiffened and forced three straight incompletions. Green Bay ended up settling for a field goal.
The Saints didn’t have nearly the success when it was their turn to operate. After a Dalton connection to Juwan Johnson opened the drive for seven yards, the Saints were then flagged for an illegal shift penalty. On the next play, Dalton scrambled for a minimal gain. On third and long, a Packers defensive back knocked down Dalton’s pass to Michael Thomas.
Take Four: Participation Report
Jameis Winston was the first one on the field for the Saints in pads. He did a workout before practice but then exited. He came back out without his pads on and did not participate.
Taysom Hill is no longer wearing a red jersey. He’s now a full go at practice. Alontae Taylor returned to work as well.
Pete Werner and Nick Vannett both did not practice.
Take Five: Other Observations
- Hill had a drop during the third down period but made up for it with an impressive catch on the period before two-minute on an in-route.
- Alvin Kamara had another great day. He scored the team’s lone touchdown when he easily beat the Packers’ defender on a pivot route near the goal line.
- Right tackle Landon Young exited practice early. Defensive end Marcus Davenport left early as well but returned.
- Defensive tackle Malcolm Roach was very active for the Saints.
- Both teams return for their second joint practice Wednesday.