First Half of Training Camp Thoughts (1 Viewer)

dutar76

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We're at the halfway point of training camp already. From now until February, every week other than the bye week is a game-week.
As we head towards preseason game 2 this week in SanDiego, here are a few thoughts on what we've seen so far. Position by position.

QB
Drew Brees looks like Drew Brees in camp.
Teddy looks to have improved and a lot more comfortable running the offense. His arm strength and accuracy impressed me. He seems to trust himself throwing into tight windows more now.
Taysom looks exactly like I expected him to. His pocket clock has a very short timer. But he's still more valuable to his team than any 3rd string QB in NFL history.

RB
- Alvin Kamara is Alvin Kamara.
- Latavius Murray looks like he is going to mitigate the loss of Ingram. I'm starting to think that's his floor. His ceiling may surprise everybody.
- Dwayne Washington is going to be our #3 RB. I think it's a role he's perfectly suited for. Can't see us finding anyone more suited at this point. Especially with his special teams value.
- Devine Ozigbo - Has looked good in camp and in limited snaps vs the Vikings. Practice squad candidate unless he shows a knack for special teams. Seems to be outperforming the vets we've brought in.
- Zach Line is our FB. All others have been and will be camp body's for team drill rotation #'s.

WR
- Mike Thomas is RICH... and worth it.
- Ted Ginn is the elder of the WR group. He can still stretch and stress a defense as well as making an impact on short and intermediate routes.
- TreQuan Smith is a better route runner than he was a year ago. He says he knows his role and can read defenses better than he could last year. Having a good camp. Just needs to show consistency.
- Keith Kirkwood has looked like he's developing on schedule. But he's missed too much time so far in camp to get a good feel for where he's at.
- Simmie Cobs, Emmanuel Butler, and Cyril Grayson have all stood out in camp. By far the most tweeted about group of guys on the roster.
- Austin Carr is the incumbent, and although he's made some plays in camp, so far he hasn't done anything notable to distinguish himself. Of course, the coachs' perspective could be a lot different.
- Lil'Jordan Humphries has been very quiet at the Saints training facility. Then Friday happened. Flashed big time on the TD where he wow'd us all with that Jared Cook-esque stiff arm bodyslam.

TE
- Jared Cook is going to be a monster for us. Q: What do you give an aging HOF QB in a WCO that already has an elite split end and a do-it-all RB? A: Jared Cook.
- Josh Hill gonna Josh Hill.
- AJ Derby and Dan Arnold are the two guys competing for the #3 TE job but there's a good chance we'll keep 4 anyway. Arnold looks like he beefed up some.

OL
- Erik McCoy appears to be the real deal.
- Ryan Ramczyk is the real deal. Already considered one of the best OT's in the league going into his 3rd year.
- Terron Armstead is healthy. That is all the news I want to hear out of him during camp. His main job this preseason is to help develop last year's first round draft pick DE.
- Andrus Peat and Larry Warford are having quiet camps which for O-lineman is a good thing.
- Cameron Tom and Nick Easton appear to be roster locks and are reportedly having good camps.
- The trick or treat is going to be finding at least one serviceable back-up tackle. It's hard for a fan to forecast this position since OL depth competition is something that isn't reported on often. But going by the first preseason game, my best guess is that there is a huge drop off from our starters to the guys battling for a roster spot behind them.

DT
- Malcolm Brown is said to be dominating the one on ones in camp and making about as much noise as a NT can make. We haven't seen him turned loose as a pass rusher yet, so it's still wait and see.
- David Onyemata came on strong at the end of last season, and appears capable of holding down 3-tech spot until Rankins returns from injury.
- Mario Edwards has impressed coaches in camp. Buddy of mine watching the first preseason game messaged me. "Mario has a huge *butt!" Guessing that's a good thing for a DT???
- Taylor Stallworth was a solid rotational NT for us last year and so far in camp it sounds like he picked up where he left off.
- All the vets behind Stallworth appear to be headed for the speed-dial roster. It's not an elite interior (at least not until Rankins returns), but may be a team strength and a tough place to find a job.

DE
- Cam Jordan is the best all around DE in the NFL.
-Marcus Davenport has been hot and cold in camp and did not appear to "win" many reps vs the Vikings starting OL.
- Trey Hendrickson has shown up in practice but disappeared in the first preseason game. His only notable play that I recall was when he tackled a RB that ran out of gas 50 yards down the field.
- Nobody behind Trey has stood out. There's a job up for grabs here and we desperately need somebody to fill it. At this point, LB Vince Biegel may win a roll as a pass rush specialist. This is the biggest and most important question mark remaining.

LB
- Demario Davis is a borderline pro-bowler. He has been beaten at time in camp while covering Jared Cook. I'm going to go with the notion that Cook is the best TE Davis will face this year.
- Alex Anzalone has had a quiet camp. He was quiet in camp last season as well.
- AJ Klein is what he is at this point. Good at what he does, as limited as that might be.
- Craig Robertson reminded us all that he's a gamer and a very solid and versatile back-up for all 3 LB positions.
- Rookie Kaden Ellis has become a fan favorite in camp with his post-practice levity. There's a roster spot open and he appears to be the front runner.
- Porter Gustin, Darnell Sankey, Colton Jumper, and Josh Kelly have all made plays in camp. Kelley's a vet. I could see 2 of the other 3 making the practice squad. Sorta like Biegel did last year.

CB
- Marshon Lattimore is our best CB and it's not close. Which is as it should be.
- Eli Apple appears set to have his best season so far. He's having a very nice camp. If he was turning some of the many PBU's into INT's, we could say he's having a great camp.
- PJ Williams and Patrick Robinson seem to be in a battle to be the starting slot corner. PJ has gotten most of the first team reps so far.
- Rookie SS Chauncey Gardner-Johnson seems to be getting a lot of looks at slot corner himself.
- Justin Hardee surprisingly seems to be getting a hard look at outside corner. Not sure if this is due to his play or an indictment of the other CBs trying to make the roster.
- Kayvon Webster and Ken Crawley appear to be the other battle going on. Webster has been quiet in camp. Crawley has not. He's had his name called often, and usually not in a good way.

S
- Marcus Williams has also had a quiet camp. Like many others, he's missed some time with what appears to be minor dings.
- Vonn Bell is having a good camp. He came on very strong last season and it looks like that wasn't a fluke.
- Saquan Hampton has been a pleasant surprise so far in camp. Doing all the things the DBs we drafted last year didn't do... and that's why they didn't make the team. Potential ballhawk of the future.
- Chauncey Gardner-Johnson has impressed fans and coaches alike. He's learning multiple roles (SCB/SS). He provides depth we haven't had in years, and his ceiling is very high.
- Chris Banjo, like Hardee has gotten a lot of reps in on defense. His main role will remain special teams, but it's good to see he's earning some looks on defense at a position we've been thin at in the past.

ST's
- Will Lutz is money.
- Thomas Morstead is elite. Maybe the best in the game.
- Deonte Harris had been having a quiet camp up until the lights came on in the Dome Friday night. He got the start as the kick returner and wow'd with his performance. We've not had a bonafide weapon returning kicks in New Orleans in what feels like forever.
- Cyril Grayson ran back 2 kicks vs the Vikings and averaged over 30 yards per return. It looks like Sean Payton is going to give him every oportunity to make this team with his world class speed.
- Marcus Sherels has been one of the best kick returners in the league for a long time. The fact that it appears he's got a real battle on his hands to make the team speaks volumes of the talent we've added at this often ignored position.
- Zach Wood has outplayed his league low Madden rating so far in camp.

Positives so far in camp are too many to name.
Negatives are:
- DE talent and depth behind Cam Jordan.
- OT depth behind Ram, Armstead, and Peat
- Ken Crawley
 

jayd265

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good insight. appreciate the time it took.

it amazes me how crawley went from above average to almost jason david in an offseason and is following it up with another jason david-like season.
 

silverbullet

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I haven't read a single thing negative or positive re Crawley. Where's that coming from?

Mostly agree with the assessment. I think it's clear the team's weaknesses at this point:

- Backup T - not impressed with what's currently on the roster
- DE - More questions than weakness but if Davenport and Hendrickson don't perform, this is a very weak spot.
- WRs 3-6 - Again more question marks than weakness. Big logjam there. Need some separation from the top 5.
 
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dutar76

dutar76

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I haven't read a single thing negative or positive re Crawley. Where's that coming from?

Mostly agree with the assessment. I think it's clear the team's weaknesses at this point:

- Backup T - not impressed with what's currently on the roster
- DE - More questions than weakness but if Davenport and Hendrickson don't perform, this is a very weak spot.
- WRs 3-6 - Again more question marks than weakness. Big logjam there. Need some separation from the top 5.
On Crawley, in training camp he's getting a PBU once in a while, but more often it's being reported that he's getting burned or flagged for PI and holding. A couple of the PBU's tweeted came with the note that although he broke up the pass, it would've been a penalty. More of the same as last year from him. He lost his confidence somewhere and doesn't trust himself and panics. When he panics, he grabs. What makes this most concerning is that it's happening against our back-up WRs.

Back-up tackle is a concern. However, I'd like to add that it is a concern on most if not all NFL teams. Everybody has bodies, but nobody has replacements for their starting OTs. We have Peat and that's about as good as any team has and a lot better than most.

I'm not sure that the WRs after Thomas and Ginn are going to separate themselves. They all seem to be on near the same level talent-wise. This includes TQS and Kirkwood.
 

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