By Larry Holder - NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune
Sheldon Rankins speaks openly about how dissatisfied he’s been with his play from 2017. The New Orleans Saints defensive tackle spent much of his downtime this offseason working to improve his game.
The Saints are seemingly pushing Rankins to improve as well. That’s probably one reason why David Onyemata received the majority of the first-team snaps since padded practices commenced Saturday (July 28).
Onyemata’s play has improved since being a fourth-rounder in 2016. Don’t get me wrong. But I’m smelling some motivational tactics on the part of the Saints coaching staff as well.
I think it’s working through four practices.
Rankins has caught my eye every day in practice at least once, and usually more than once. He picked up a sack on Taysom Hill on Friday and popped Shane Vereen at the start of a screen pass Sunday to stop the play. Defensive line coach Ryan Nielson loudly lauded Rankins after the play.
Onyemata noted after Sunday’s practice how everyone is pushing each other along the defensive front. The back-and-forth push between Rankins and Onyemata should help both players. ...
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