High Humidity and temps in the 90s took its toll on several Saints players this morning as the team practiced under mostly cloudless skies.
Running back Pierre Thomas was seen getting a water-soaked sponge to the back of the neck in an effort to cool him down. Also in the final half hour or so of practice, linebacker Curtis Lofton, receiver Courtney Roby and left tackle Jermon Bushrod left practice thanks to heat related issues.
Linebacker Chris Chamberlain after practice tweeted, “Practice was a beast today! Never seen so many guys have to get IV’s in my life…this New Orleans weather is undefeated! Lol #GRINDN.”
Following Monday’s practice Drew Brees via Twitter asked if it was normal to lose eight pounds after practice. So that last two days practicing in the steamy conditions have taken a toll on the team.
Tuesday's injury report: Cornerback Kammal Mcllwain (groin), linebacker Aaron Tevis (knee) joined the same group of players that did not work yesterday. Running back Darren Sproles (knee), recciever Adrian Arrington (knee), receiver Nick Toon (foot), defensive tackle Turk McBride (ankle), defensive tackle Tom Johnson (ankle), and cornerback Jabari Greer (groin) all did not participate.
Saints 3rd round draft pick Akiem Hicks’s play and practice in New England last week has had many media members talking.
Assistant head coach Joe Vitt was asked following Monday’s practice to assess Hicks at this point of training camp. “He plays with power and leverage and has a lot of athleticism. We know based on where he played a year ago and its nothing against this program, but he is raw. We still need to get him quality reps and looks in the preseason. But he really is where we thought he was going to be. He is big and athletic. He wants to be a good player and has some real good power.”
It seems that his teammates have also taken notice. “He’s just really green right now, but if you look at his physical gifts and his talents physically, I haven’t seen very many people with his abilities,” said defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis following Tuesday’s practice. “He’s a huge guy and he moves pretty well. I think once he gets down the small techniques of the inside play of the defensive line, I think he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with. It’ll be pretty scary for offensive linemen because he’s their size if not bigger, which a lot of defensive tackles are not. If he’ll be able to get his technique down naturally with his size and his speed, it’ll be tough for any offensive lineman to guard him.”
The 6-4, 318 pound Hicks was supposed to be an LSU Tiger coming out of high school. Ken Trahan of SportsNOLA has a nice piece as the background of what kept Hicks from playing in Tiger Stadium.
Defensive players continue to get my "getting noticed" tag. Monday at practice safety Malcolm Jenkins and cornerback Patrick Robinson picked off quarterback Drew Brees. Tuesday one against Malcolm Jenkins picked off Brees. The play of the day by many at practice was linebacker Jonathan Casillas going up and getting a one-handed pick of Brees.
We have seen that since the team went to practicing in full pads that the defense has had solid moments at practice. Frankly isn’t this what Saints fans have been craving to see from their Black and Gold defense? A defense creating turnovers through pressure and better coverage?
Against New England, cornerback Marquis Johnson had an interception and linebacker Curtis Lofton recovered a fumble. Safety Malcolm Jenkins and linebacker Lawrence Wilson had interceptions in the preseason opener against the Cardinals.
The Saints will continue their work week tomorrow morning outside at their training facility in Metairie. Thursday’s practice could move indoors due to the fact the team plays the following day against Jacksonville in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.