Saints camp, Day 12 observations: Backup QBs are sharp in Jameis Winston’s absence | Saints

The New Orleans Saints conducted the entirety of their 12th training camp practice shielded from the elements in their indoor practice facility.

They were down one important player on the offensive side of the ball, but they saw the return of a key defender from the physically unable to perform list.

Here were Tuesday’s highlights.

Attendance

The following players did not practice Tuesday: Quarterback Jameis Winston, defensive back Marshon Lattimore, defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson, and linebackers Zack Baun and D’Marco Jackson.

The Saints placed Jackson on injured reserve Tuesday afternoon. New Orleans selected Jackson in the fifth round of this year’s draft.

Defensive end Marcus Davenport was activated off the PUP list Tuesday, and he was limited to individual work in his first practice of this training camp.

Sharp day for QBs

With Winston resting his sprained right foot, Andy Dalton and Ian Book both enjoyed sharp days as passers while splitting the competitive snaps among themselves.

Dalton went a combined 12 of 17 during the seven-on-seven and full team periods, with one of his incompletions being a throwaway and another likely being wiped away by what appeared to be a defensive pass interference penalty.

His best throw of the day was a dart to Adam Trautman over the middle of the field during a two-minute drill, getting the rest of the offense fired up on the sidelines. It was a risky throw, with the ball arriving just before safety Marcus Maye could get his hands on it, but it resulted in a big gain.

Book turned in his second consecutive strong practice, completing 9 of 12 attempts during the seven-on-seven and full team periods while continuing to show off his impressive ability to navigate traffic in the pocket with his feet.

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Ref show

The Saints had referees out at practice for the second straight day, and the group received plenty of chances to practice flag-throwing technique. The referees threw four flags during one seven-play stretch during the one-on-one period between the cornerbacks and receivers.

Thompson carted off

Defensive back Bryce Thompson, who has had a strong training camp to this point, appeared to be in a significant amount of pain when he left the field on an injury cart Tuesday morning.

Thompson was covering receiver Kirk Merritt in a one-on-one drill, and he appeared to land awkwardly after his leaping attempt at a pass breakup, immediately reaching for his lower leg when he hit the turf.

Thompson spent much of last year on the Saints practice squad, and he had been taking snaps with the reserve defense at both safety and as a slot corner.

Three stars

WR Michael Thomas: Another day, another strong performance from Thomas, who hauled in all five of his targets during seven-on-seven and team periods. Thomas did not participate in one-on-ones Tuesday.

DB Alontae Taylor: The Saints are bringing their second-round pick along slowly — a luxury afforded to them by their secondary depth — but he’s been coming on strong lately, and turned in another solid day Tuesday, earning praise from secondary coach Kris Richard for locking down fellow Tennessee alumnus Marquez Callaway during one-on-ones.

OT Trevor Penning: The big rookie left tackle has been on his best behavior ever since getting kicked out of practice for getting in three fights in three days. And as attention grabbing as those altercations were, it’s probably worth pointing out that Penning’s play has been the most notable part about him lately. Penning is clearly a quick learner, and he’s applying those early NFL lessons to his prodigious physical gifts to play some excellent football these last few days.

Up next

The Saints return to action Wednesday at 9 a.m. for a practice that is open to the public.

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