Saints training camp takeaways (Aug. 3): Defense ready, waiting on 1st day in pads

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T-minus 11 days until preseason game number one for the Saints. Cornerback Grant Haley remained out of practice, while LT Terron Armstead, LB Demario Davis and DE Cam Jordan got a veteran’s day of rest.

Coach Sean Payton explained that the Saints training camp schedule gives older players off every fourth day.

WR Tre'Quan Smith and CB Keith Washington II got hurt during the workout and ended up leaving practice early.

DEFENSE AWAKENS

CJ Gardner-Johnson
Saints defensive back C.J. Gardner-Johnson goes through drills during the first padded practice at 2021 training camp. Photo credit Pool photo by David Grunfeld/NOLA.com

First off, the defense hasn’t looked bad, but we will say a slumbering beast woke up for day one in pads. Things got more physical and cornerback Marshon Lattimore looked dialed in as he dominated the day in coverage and breaking up passes. An offseason arrest has not derailed his development or preparation.

Rookie defensive end Payton Turner put up a big paw to bat down a pass from Taysom Hill. We also saw the first turnover of camp occur when linebacker Zack Baun intercepted 4th round pick Ian Book. The rookie QB threw into heavy traffic.

CBs Paulson Adebo and Brian Poole had pass break-ups, while LB Andrew Dowell almost had a pick.

McCLESKEY BURNS

Another Jalen we are following is receiver Jalen McClesky.  He’s looking to carry down the family tradition after his father, JJ , played for New Orleans ’94-’96.

Jalen signed as an undrafted free agent with the Falcons last year, following a college career at Oklahoma State and Tulane. The 5ft8, 178-pound target’s quickness stands out. He says Julio Jones was a positive influence last year in Atlanta since Jones loves to coach guys up.

OFFENSIVE ODDS & ENDS

Ty Montgomery, Lil'Jordan Humphrey
WR Ty Montgomery carries the ball as teammate Lil'Jordan Humphrey looks on at 2021 Saints training camp. Photo credit Pool photo by David Grunfeld/NOLA.com

Juwan Johnson is converting from WR to TE and made a great diving grab over the middle on a pass thrown by Trevor Sieman.

WR Chris Hogan joined the team from playing lacrosse and has made a pretty seamless transition by being a consistent presence in practices.

Now that newly signed cornerback Prince Amukamara has taken the #6, Alvin Kamara is back to being #41. He had worn his old college number the past two practices.

Featured Image Photo Credit: David Grunfeld/NOLA.com