Camp report 8/06/03
By SHELDON MICKLES
METAIRIE -- When the Saints traded for quarterback Todd Bouman this spring, coach Jim Haslett raved about the arm strength of Aaron Brooks' new backup.
Veteran cornerback Ashley Ambrose learned about it firsthand during the first of two practices Tuesday. Ambrose got one finger on a pass from Bouman to wide receiver Joe Horn, but probably wished he hadn't.
During a 7-on-7 passing drill, Bouman fired a 25-yard pass to Horn in the back of the end zone. As Horn went up for the ball, Ambrose tried to knock it down with his right hand -- and failed.
The ball glanced off of Ambrose's pinky finger and Horn caught it for a touchdown. Minutes later, Ambrose was still trying to shake off the pain from Bouman's hard throw.
"I tipped it, but I didn't get enough of it and my pinky got bent back," Ambrose said. "(Bouman) throws a real hard ball and I had to check to make sure that the tip of my finger was still there. At first, I was kind of afraid that it was lying there in the end zone."
PLAY OF THE DAY
Ambrose, who was working with the first-team defense because Dale Carter is still out with knee tendinitis, came up with a gem during team drills in the morning practice.
Wide receiver Michael Lewis had Ambrose beaten by a step on a long throw from quarterback Aaron Brooks down the right sideline. But Ambrose, a 12-year veteran who still has solid coverage skills, made up some ground as the ball sailed 40 yards through the air and broke it up at the last second.
Reserve linebacker Travis Carroll picked the wrong time to have a breakdown in pass coverage during Tuesday's first practice.
On the final play of the two-hour workout, Carroll was slow to react on a pass from Bouman to running back Curtis Keaton in the flat. Keaton caught the ball inside the 10, turned upfield to find no one there and scored easily.
Carroll immediately incurred the wrath of defensive coordinator Rick Venturi, who glared at the second-year player as he turned around and headed back toward the line of scrimmage.
Guard LeCharles Bentley and tight end Boo Williams returned to practice Tuesday morning after missing some time late last week and Monday.
Bentley strained his pectoral muscle in a weightlifting session last week and Williams had a hamstring injury. Both came through the morning workout fine and were back on the field Tuesday night.
"We've had a bunch of guys nicked up for the last couple of days," Haslett said after the first practice, "so it was good to get a couple of them back."
Counting Carter, who was back on the field Tuesday night, nine players missed one or both practices Tuesday.
They were TE David Sloan (shoulder), LB Darrin Smith (groin), DT Henry Ford (ankle), LB Cie Grant (hamstring), T Scott Sanderson (hernia surgery), G Chad Setterstrom (hamstring), RB Tavian Banks (hamstring), and G Peter Heyer (shoulder).
For the second straight day, the heat index soared into triple digits for Tuesday's first practice. When the two-hour workout ended just before 11 a.m., it was 88 degrees with a heat index of 106.
For Monday's single practice, which got under way at 3 p.m., it was 97 degrees with a heat index of 113.
Despite the heat and high humidity his team has had to practice in, Haslett said only one player has been given intravenous fluids since camp started on July 26.
GETTING A BREAK
The Saints' second practice was held in the team's climate-controlled indoor practice facility. The workout was scheduled for Mandeville High School, but flooded fields and parking lots forced the school to cancel the team's appearance there.
The next night practice scheduled to be held away from the Saints Training Facility is on Friday night at West Jefferson High School's Hoss Memtsas Stadium in Harvey. The workout will begin at 7:30 p.m.
The Saints will work once today from 3-5 p.m. in full pads. The practice is open to the public.
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